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Step 1: Read the following passage. In it, the author addresses anyone who might doubt his claim that "our culture has begun to go through what promises to be a total metamorphosis":
I would ask these same people to conceive of a time-lapse view of American domestic life—a vast motion study that would track a citizen or group of citizens through, say, four decades of American life. Let them watch what happens to the phenomenology of living; how since the 1950s countless technologies have been introduced and accommodated and how the fundamental transactions of existence have thereby been altered. At midcentury the average household had a radio and a rotary phone, and a small group of pioneers owned black and white televisions. In the 1990s, looking to the same sample milieu, we find several color TVs with remotes, with VCRs, with Nintendo capacities; personal computers, modems, fax machines; cellular phones, answering machines, car phones, CD players, camcorders. . . . When the time-lapse is sufficiently accelerated, the drama of the transformation stands revealed.
— From The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age
©1994 by Sven Birkerts

Step 2: In order to engage his reader in reflection, Birkerts suggests a "thought experiment" of sorts—a kind of "imagine this" scenario. In the box below, identify his "thought-experiment":



Step 3: Why do you think Birkerts wants us to reflect on changes in technology since the Fifties? What is his purpose in using reflection in this passage?




Step 4: What changes in technology have occurred during your lifetime? Or, if you moved to the United States from another country, have you encountered new kinds of technology here in the United States? In the box below, reflect on these changes:



In written work, we reflect for a purpose.
When we reflect, we consider, ponder, or think about something. Often, reflection involves looking at something over time and assessing the extent of change.

Have you received an assignment that calls for reflection? Do Your Own is a section that can help you get started. We also have some samples of CUNY assignments that ask for quotation.


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