A Portable AnthologySixth Edition| ©2020 Samuel Cohen
Portable, affordable, and highly teachable
50 Essays: A Portable Anthology is a bestselling value-priced reader because its virtues don't stop at the price. The book’s carefully chosen selections engage students and include both classic essays and high-interest, contemporary readings. The editorial apparatus is flexible and unobtrusive enough to support a variety of approaches to teaching composition. The sixth edition features new voices on culturally relevant topics as well as sentence guides that help students develop an academic writing voice with templates for a variety of composing situations.
Portable and affordable. With a carefully curated selection of readings at an incredibly low price, 50 Essays is less than half the cost of most other readers.
Highly teachable. 50 Essays offers models of good writing with selections that are proven to be effective in the classroom. Classic selections by authors such as Frederick Douglass, Plato, and Virginia Woolf expose students to time-tested writing. Contemporary writers such as Malcolm Gladwell and Jenine Holmes, and culturally diverse authors including Ta-Nehisi Coates, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Rahawa Haile and Hanya Yanigahara, introduce alternative perspectives and current voices.
A flexible collection that can be adapted to suit a variety of classroom needs. The alphabetical-by-author arrangement of the readings is supplemented by six alternative tables of contents that organize the selections by rhetorical mode, theme, writing purpose, chronological order, Lexile level, and teaching pairs and clusters.
Practical apparatus that meets the needs of writing instructors. The editorial material moves students from critical reading to thoughtful writing and revising.
- An introduction for students discusses the relationship among critical thinking, reading, and writing.
- Headnotes precede each reading, providing biographical and contextual background.
- Five kinds of questions follow each selection to help students understand, analyze, connect with, and respond to what they read.
- A glossary of writing terms provides definitions of important rhetorical concepts, including examples drawn from essays in the anthology.
- New Sentence Guides for Academic Writers help students as they develop their skills as writers both in the classroom and beyond.
New to This Edition
19 new essays include current writers on contemporary, relevant topics as well as canonical writers on enduring topics, and invite students to examine the past and the present while providing excellent models of effective writing. New essays include the following:
- Rahawa Haile’s “Going It Alone” examines race relations and the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
- Matthew J. X. Malady’s “The Ghosts in Our Machines” explores grief in the age of the Internet.
- Ai Weiwei’s “The refugee crisis isn’t about refugees. It’s about us” probes attitudes towards displaced persons.
- Tommy Orange’s “Indian Heads” looks at the history of Native Americans as represented on everyday objects such as coins.
New Sentence Guides for Academic Writers help students develop an academic writing voice by providing them with templates to follow in a variety of composing situations, such as “Presenting direct quotations” and “Presenting and countering objections to your argument.”
Help for grammar, style, punctuation, and more is available when you package 50 Essays with any pocket-sized handbook. Choose EasyWriter, A Pocket Style Manual, or In Conversation--for just $10 more (net). Contact your representative for ISBNs.
A new Lexile Level Table of Contents helps both instructors and students determine the reading levels of the essays in the book.
“50 Essays is a comprehensive volume of provocative and timely essays, and this text encourages student discussion, interaction, and lively debate.”
— Elizabeth Keefe, Gateway Community College
“The particular collection of authors, perspectives, and voices that 50 Essays brings together makes this an essential text for any English Composition course.”
— Robert DeFrance, Long Beach City College
“50 Essays has been a staple for our 100-level composition course for over seven years. It allows instructors to individualize their course, while providing appropriate and essential readings for the first-year college student.”
— Sarah Kirk, University of Alaska Anchorage
Sixth Edition| ©2020
Sixth Edition| 2020
Table of Contents
Preface for Instructors
Alternative Tables of Contents
By Rhetorical Mode
By Clusters and Paired Readings
By Chronological Order
By Lexile Level
MLA Documentation Guide
Introduction for Students: Active Reading, Critical Thinking, and the Writing Process
*Maya Angelou, Graduation
Gloria Anzaldúa, How to Tame a Wild Tongue
Barbara Lazear Ascher, On Compassion
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
William F. Buckley, jr., Why Don’t We Complain?
*Danny Chau, The Burning Desire for Hot Chicken
*Sandra Cisneros, Only Daughter
*Eli Claire, Clearcut: Explaining the Distance
Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Paranoid Style of American Policing
Judith Ortiz Cofer, The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named María
Joan Didion, On Keeping a Notebook
Frederick Douglass, Learning to Read and Write
Barbara Ehrenreich, Serving in Florida
Lars Eighner, On Dumpster Diving
Stephanie Ericsson, The Ways We Lie
Jen Gann, Wrongful Birth
Malcolm Gladwell, Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted
*Jonathan Gold, What Is a Burrito? A Primer
*Rahawa Haile, Going It Alone
*Jenine Holmes, When Pink Ballet Slippers Won’t Do
Langston Hughes, Salvation
Zora Neale Hurston, How It Feels to Be Colored Me
Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
Jamaica Kincaid, The Ugly Tourist
Stephen King, Reading to Write
Verlyn Klinkenborg, Our Vanishing Night
Audre Lorde, The Fourth of July
Nancy Mairs, On Being a Cripple
*Matthew J. X. Malady, The Ghosts in Our Machines
Bharati Mukherjee, Two Ways to Belong in America
*Tommy Orange, Indian Heads
George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant
Plato, The Allegory of the Cave
Mike Rose, “I Just Wanna Be Average”
*Carl Sagan, Does Truth Matter?
*Maria Michela Sassi, The Sea Was Never Blue
*David Sedaris, I Like Guys
Brent Staples, Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space
*Gloria Steinem, Sex, Lies & Advertisting
Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal
Amy Tan, Mother Tongue
henry david thoreau, Civil Disobedience
*Calvin Trillin, Last Days of the Rickshaw
*Mark Twain, The Lowest Animal
*Ai Weiwei, The refugee crisis isn’t about refugees. It’s about us.
E.B.White, Once More to the Lake
*Walt Whitman, Slang in America
Virginia Woolf, Professions for Women
*Hanya Yanigahara, A Pet Tortoise Who Will Outlive Us All
Dave Zirin, Pre-Game
Glossary of Writing Terms
Index of Authors and Titles
Sixth Edition| 2020
Sixth Edition| 2020
You need to sign in to unlock your resources.
Instructor's Manual for 50 Essays (Online Only)
Click the E-mail Download Link button and we'll send you an e-mail at with links to download your instructor resources. Please note there may be a delay in delivering your e-mail depending on the size of the files.
Your download request has been received and your download link will be sent to .
Please note you could wait up to 30 to 60 minutes to receive your download e-mail depending on the number and size of the files. We appreciate your patience while we process your request.
Check your inbox, trash, and spam folders for an e-mail from InstructorResources@macmillan.com.
If you do not receive your e-mail, please visit macmillanlearning.com/support.
Sixth Edition| 2020