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Reading Assessment: Selections from Cradle to Cradle

EAPP 8330: Critical Reading and Debate


Name: Lin Yu
Directions: Skim the Introduction of the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make
Things (McDonough & Braungart, 2002) in order to answer the questions below.
A. Determining the Authors Purpose (1 point each)
1. What problem are the authors identifying?
The problem the authors identified in the introduction is that current industry is not
sufficiently environment-friendly and approaches in this regard are not effective.
2. What are the complexities of this issue?
While some industries do not care about ecosystem, some industries do have the sense of
using environment friendly approaches. However, typical approaches are not working
and sometimes may have negative influence.
3. For whom is this topic important and why?
This topic is important to both designers and manufacturers. They need to be more
creative when choosing and using materials. They have to take end uses and potential
consumers into mind.
B. Interpreting the Evidence (2 points each)
Please answer each of the following questions in 2 3 complete sentences. For each question,
you must include specific evidence from the reading to support your answer.
1. Read paragraphs 1 2 to answer the following questions. Do the authors support the
cradle-to-grave model? Why or why not?
The authors do not support the cradle-to-grave style. From their perspective, a great
number of materials are wasted in this style and products sometimes do not last very
long. Even worse, some products are designed to last shorter so that consumers have to
buy new models.
2. Read paragraphs 3 5 to answer the following questions. According to the authors, is
the International Style a positive or negative product design? What reasons do they
give to support their claim?
According to the authors, the International Style is a more of a negative product design.

While the authors acknowledge the social and aesthetic goal of the International Style,
they point out that this style ignores the particular aspects from local culture, nature,
energy, and material flows (p. 29). Universal design solution wont work the same
anywhere and solution prepared for a worst-case scenario sometimes can exert negative
influence. For example, strong detergent can pollute spring water and poison aquatic life.
C. Outlining the Argument Structure (6 points total)
Complete the argument outline for the sections From Cradle to Grave and One Size Fits All.
The main claim/thesis is listed below. Please add specific warrants/reasons and evidence from
the text that support the main claim. A completed outline will include two reasons and 2 3
pieces of evidence for each reason. The second reason has been done for you.

Main Claim / Thesis: Cradle-to-grave designs and one-size-fits-all solutions are problematic

Reason 1: The cradle-to-grave design is problematic because it wastes a lot of materials.

Evidence: In a cradle-to-grave design, products, such as furniture, carpets, clothing,


televisions, and computers, are made from valuable materials, which would require a
great deal of human and financial resources to make. However, these products usually
end up in a landfill for disposal. Resources extracted are wasted.

Evidence: In a cradle-to-grave design, it is sometimes easier for consumers to buy a new


replacement than to have the products repaired. And some products are built to be used
for only a short of time.

Evidence: Final products averagely contain only 5% of raw materials. Materials are
wasted during manufacturing and delivering phases.

Reason 2: One-size-fits-all solutions wont work because one size fits all solutions assume
that needs are the same everywhere.

Evidence: The one-size-fits-all design itself is not consumers friendly. For example, the
universalized office building styles (sealed windows, lack of daylight and fresh air,
constantly humming air conditioners, etc.) can be uninspiring and inhuman.

Evidence: The universal design to accommodate a worst-case scenario can exert negative
influence, such as the issue of detergent. Detergent working effectively for hard water
wont work for soft water. Contents of detergent can affect water quality, which can
affect the health of human and aquatic life. For example, it can cause mutations and
infertility for fish.

Directions: Read the section A Strategy of Tragedy, or a Strategy of Change (pp. 42 44) to
answer the questions below. For each question, circle (or highlight) the best answer to the
question.
D. Making Inferences (1 point each)
1. The authors attitude toward industrialists, engineers, designers, and developers
(p. 43) can best be described as:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

resentful
empathetic
optimistic
critical
cheerful

2. The passage (pp. 42 44) is most likely intended to


a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

describe the main problems of industrial infrastructure.


provide a definition of intergenerational remote tyranny.
place blame on designers for the problems we face today.
motivate people to change unintelligent design problems.
explain a strategy that can be used to implement change.

3. The final paragraph on page 44 is most likely intended to


a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

ask the readers a question.


introduce new terminology.
present the subsequent topics.
define important movements.
describe a possible solution.

E. Analyzing the Argument (4 points total)


Please answer the following question in a well-structured paragraph. You must include specific
evidence from the reading to support your answer.
1. Is the reasoning and evidence convincing? Why or why not? (Consider: How do the
authors acknowledge the complexities of the issue? Do the authors include a
counterargument (concession + refutation)? What is the tone of the
counterargument? Do the authors rely on logos, pathos, or ethos to persuade their
readers? Have the authors chosen the correct approach(es) for the intended

audience? Is the evidence credible and sufficient given the audience and the context
of the argument?)
The authors argue that designers and manufacturers need to be creative to find new
environment friendly solutions, which is convincing for me. First, the authors
background and stories added pathos and ethos to their argument. The authors both
devoted a great deal of efforts to find new solutions in their respective realm of
architecture and chemistry. And their stories let the readers to know the inspirations and
experience they had in this regard. For example, William McDonoughs experience in
Japan drew a vivid picture of energy-efficient designs (p. 7). Second, their arguments
include a fair counterargument. They do not deny all of the taken so far by manufacturing
industry; instead, they acknowledge that some environment friendly methods. However,
they point out that the so-called environment friendly methods are not sufficient enough.
Then they provided surprising numbers and cases to support their idea. According to
McDonough and Braungart (2002), more than 90 percent of materials extracted to make
durable goods in the United States become waste almost immediately. (p.27) Such an
astonishing number gives the readers an impression of the seriousness of environmental
issues. Third, the paper of this book itself is a proof of the authors ideas. The paper on
which the book is printed does not use wood pulp or cotton fiber at all, but uses plastic
resins and inorganic fillers. I borrowed the book from school library. Feeling the texture
of the paper by myself convinces me of the authors belief in creativity for environmental
protection. Therefore, I find the authors argument extremely convincing.