Tutor profile: Faisal A.
In writing, what is the "known-new contract," and why is it important?
The "known-new contract" is the structure of presentation where a sentence, argument or idea begins with a concept that is familiar to, or approachable by, the audience and uses this as a base to build into new or complex elements. This structure creates cohesion in your construction, and ensures that arguments, scenes and ideas are properly couched in appropriate context. The clear progression offered by the known-new contract allows writers to easily direct the focus of the audience and keeps the pattern of logic comprehensible.
In Dennis Johnson's short story "Car Crash while Hitchhiking," how is the concept of agency manipulated and utilized.
This short story from the collection "Jesus' Son" centrally deals with issues of control and agency. Particularity, the story delves into a total abandonment of these qualities through its central character. This theme is expressed through the narrative as well as through elements of the writing itself. First, the central character's lack of agency is explored through the way the narrative defines this character - as a hitchhiker. Perpetually traveling, the hitchhiker is never in control of where he is going. The hitchhiker relinquishes control of his autonomy of movement to whoever stops to pick him up, another element the hitchhiker has no control over. Throughout the entire story this dynamic does not change, the hitchhiker is moving but with no control over his destination -- whether he is in the passenger seat of someone else's vehicle, the back of a police car or detained in a detox center. This motif is heightened by the hitchhiker's propensity for traveling while unconscious or in a drug-induced haze. The theme is even more powerfully conveyed through conventions of the writing. The story carries the main character across several locations, and contains a few points of explosive action. However, the writing never describes the hitchhiker moving between locations or taking part in any of the actions. In each instance of a change in location or action the hitchhiker is just said to have arrived in the end destination, or the action is stated to have occurred. All points of narration are framed as coming from a point in time just after something has happened, or just before something will happen, will little to no description of events themselves happening in the story. The short story also makes extensive use of the passive voice and the past progressive (imperfect) tense.
Subject: US History
What are the broad characteristics of the political, diplomatic structure known as "detente," and who were its proponents?
"Detente" was the systematic easing of tensions with communist nations, particularly the USSR, that emerged in the United States in the late 1960s. Detente acted as a departure from the Kennan Doctrine ("not one inch") and an acknowledgement that the Soviet Experiment was not one with a foreseeable end. Detente was an attempt for America to find stability in the Cold War and establish reliable economic relationships. The primary tenets of detente were the more deliberate deployment of the United States' economic power in regards to communist nations, and a persistent effort to form arms agreements with those same powers. Advocates of detente believed these two plans of action would allow America to greatly influence the behavior of communist nations through monetary "carrots and sticks," while lowering the potency of antagonistic military forces. This political structure lead to developments such as the opening of China and the SALT treaties. The largest American proponent of detente was President Richard Nixon. It was under his term as president that detente was the most influential. His secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, was also fundamental in the development and implementation of detente; however, although Kissinger maintained his role (and potentially gained influence) through the Ford administration, by that time both Kissinger and Ford (Nixon's vice president) had completely abandoned the ideology (at least in name.)
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