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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $45.00
  • August 2017
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-60291-3
  • 672 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

The Norton Sampler

Short Essays for Composition

Ninth Edition


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Thomas Cooley (Editor, Ohio State University)


Short essays with just enough writing instruction.

A trusted and engaging collection of 65 short essays, both classic and contemporary. All are arranged by rhetorical pattern, with practical instruction on how to write an essay. The Ninth Edition has a brand-new design, 22 NEW readings, a NEW chapter on the elements of the essay, and the most easy-to-use organization of any reader of its kind.


Short readings—classic and contemporary—by diverse writers

We’ve kept readers’ favorite essays and added 22 (NEW) selections for a perfect blend of classic and contemporary essays that are diverse in subject and perspective. 

A NEW chapter on the elements of the essay

A new chapter, “Topic, Thesis, and Other Elements of the Essay” continues the book’s tradition of offering the most practical and helpful writing instruction. For example, students learn how tone and style are related to audience and purpose, and how to achieve more unity in their writing. 

The most user-friendly, short-essay reader

Marginal links, easily assignable chapters, a thematic table of contents, and a glossary/index make The Norton Sampler easy to use and easy to teach.  

Guidance for reading and writing in every chapter and online

Careful study questions, glosses of unfamiliar terms and allusions, templates to help students get started writing, and grammar tips for each pattern allow for the most practical writing instruction of any short-essay reader, especially for students whose primary language is not English.  

    *new to this edition
    ^appearing in an anthology for the first time

    Chapter 1: Reading As A Writer
    E. B. White, Once More to the Lake
    Chapter 2: Topic, Thesis, And Other Elements Of The Essay
    Chapter 3: The Writing Process
    Chapter 4: Writing Paragraphs
    Chapter 5: Description
    A Brief Guide to Writing a Description
    *Everyday Description, A Cheesy Label
    ^*Joseph Krivda, The Wall [student essay, documented MLA style]
    ^*Sam Quinones, Dreamland (from Dreamland)
    Cherokee Paul McDonald, A View from the Bridge
    Alice Steinbach, The Miss Dennis School of Writing
    Ann Hodgman, No Wonder They Call Me a Bitch
    *Judith Ortiz Cofer, More Room

    Chapter 6: Narration
    A Brief Guide to Writing a Narrative
    Everyday Narration, A Book Cover
    ^*Melissa Unbankes, The King and I [student essay]
    *Steve Hendrix, F-16 Pilot Was Ready to Give Her Life on Sept. 11
    *Junot Díaz, The Money
    Yiyun Li, Orange Crush
    Mary Mebane, The Back of the Bus
    Lynda Barry, The Sanctuary of School

    Chapter 7: Example
    A Brief Guide to Writing with Examples
    Everyday Example, A Lighted Billboard
    Monica Wunderlich, My Technologically Challenged Life [student essay]
    The Onion, All Seven Deadly Sins Committed at Church Bake Sale
    Janet Wu, Homeward Bound
    Richard Lederer, English Is a Crazy Language
    *Matthew Desmond, Cold City (from Evicted)
    Ann Hood, Long, Beautiful Hair

    Chapter 8: Classification
    A Brief Guide to Writing a Classification Essay
    *Everyday Classification, Potato Proverb
    Eric Watts: The Color of Success [student essay]
    Amy Tan, Mother Tongue
    Jack Hitt, The Dollar-Store Economy
    Warren Buffett, Stop Coddling the Super-Rich
    *Julio M. Ottino and Gary Saul Morson, Building a Bridge Between Engineering and the
    ^*Robert Wald Sussman, The Myth of Race (from The Myth of Race) (documented)

    Chapter 9: Process Analysis
    A Brief Guide to Writing a Process Analysis
    *Everyday Process Analysis, Three Steps
    ^*Pegah Moradi, Splitting Hairs [student essay]
    ^*Edward O. Wilson, First Passion, Then Training (from Letters to a Young Scientist)
    Jon Katz, How Boys Become Men
    Allegra Goodman, So, You Want to Be a Writer? Here’s How.
    Philip Weiss, How to Get Out of a Locked Trunk
    *David Brooks, What Suffering Does

    Chapter 10: Comparison And Contrast
    A Brief Guide to Writing a Comparison
    *Everyday Comparison, Buses vs. Cars
    Dan Treadway, Football vs. Asian Studies [student essay]
    Jeff Jacoby: Watching Oprah from Behind the Veil
    *Jennine Capó Crucet, Taking My Parents to College
    Bruce Catton, Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts
    Gary Soto, Like Mexicans
    Deborah Tannen, Gender in the Classroom

    Chapter 11: Definition
    A Brief Guide to Writing a Definition Essay
    Everyday Definition, Social Media Explained
    *Matthew Treacy, She [student essay]
    Dave Barry, Guys vs. Men
    Tanya Barrientos, Se Habla Español
    Geeta Kothari, If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I?
    Jack Horner, The Extraordinary Characteristics of Dyslexia
    Mike Rose, Blue-Collar Brilliance

    Chapter 12: Cause And Effect
    A Brief Guide to Writing a Cause-and-Effect Essay
    Everyday Cause and Effect, Polar Bear Blues
    Elisa Gonzales, Family History [student essay]
    Tim Wendel, The Power of Words
    Marissa Nuñez, Climbing the Golden Arches
    Myriam Marquez, Why and When We Speak Spanish in Public
    *Molly Ivins, Get a Knife, Get a Dog, but Get Rid of Guns
    ^*Sonia Sotomayor, My Beloved World

    Chapter 13: Argument
    A Brief Guide to Writing an Argument
    Everyday Argument, Mysterious Warning Signs
    Liz Addison, Two Years Are Better Than Four [student essay]
    Mark D. White and Robert Arp, Should Batman Kill the Joker?
    ^*Diane Guerrero, My Parents Were Deported
    ^*John McWhorter, Why “Redskins” Is a Bad Word

    Mind and Media: How Is Technology Influencing Our Minds—and Our Hearts?

    ^*Sherry Turkle, Romance (from Reclaiming Conversation)
    Andrea Lunsford, Our Semi-Literate Youth? Not So Fast (documented MLA style)
    *Jane McGonigal, Be a Gamer, Save the World

    Moneyball: Are College Sports Worth the Price?

    Michael Rosenberg, Let Stars Get Paid
    Joe Posnanski, College Athletes Should Not Be Paid
    Laura Pappano, How Big-Time Sports Ate College Life

    Chapter 14: Classic Essays And Speeches
    Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal
    Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
    Sojourner Truth, Ain’t I a Woman?
    Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address
    *Zora Neale Hurston, How It Feels to Be Colored Me
    Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream

    Appendix: Using Sources In Your Writing
    Finding and evaluating sources
    Incorporating source materials into your text
    Acknowledging sources and avoiding plagiarism
    MLA in-text documentation
    MLA list of works cited
    Sample student research paper (documented MLA style)

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