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What is a Life Worth? -- Amanda Ripley

Final Value of Life section (4) -- 12th

Caitlin Skinner

on 10 October 2013

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Transcript of What is a Life Worth? -- Amanda Ripley

"What is a Life Worth?"
By Amanda Ripley
Value of Life, Part 3
Published in Time Magazine
February 12th, 2002
Activity 27: Gathering Prior Knowledge
What do you already know about 9/11?
What were the two towers used for before the bombing?
Why were they targeted?
How many people were killed?
Who bombed us and why?

The following clip contains some very graphic (and very real) footage. If you do not think you can handle it, you may step outside for the duration of the clip.
Activity 28: Surveying the Text
What do you know about Time Magazine?

How often is it published?

Who typically reads it?

What kind of articles are commonly included in it?
Activity 29: Making Predictions
This article includes the following subtitle:
"To compensate families of the victims of Sept. 11, the government has invented a way to measure blood and loss in cash. A look a the wrenching calculus."
1. What predictions can you make about the article's content from this subtitle?
2. What connections do you think you might see between this article and the previous three texts you have read?
3. The first three texts took first-person perspectives on the subject. Do you anticipate that this article will continue this pattern, or will it be different? Why/why not?
Three basic categories:
1. Financial and Legal Terms
2. Emotion-laden words (Emotionally Charged)
3. Descriptive words

Use the handout to find words in the text you are unfamiliar with. Do not write on the handout.
Activity 31: FIRST READING
As we read paragraphs 1 - 12,
mark in the margins any sections you are confused about with a "?"
mark any sections you respond to strongly with a "!"
underline key points
Afterward, complete the following sentence starters in your notes under the heading Activity 31: First Reading (paragraphs 1-12)
1. I understand that...
2. I am confused that...
3. A question I have is...
4. My opinion on this topic is...
Paragraphs 7 & 8
"Cold Calculus"
+previous income at age-rate
+250,000 pain and suffering
+50,000 per spouse and child
other funds from which you will get money that aren't charities (e.g., life insurance, pensions, SS and Disability, worker's compensation)
Once again, mark areas that confuse you with a "?," and parts that strike you with a "!" Underline key phrases.
Paragraphs 13-30
Once finished, answer the following sentence starters again in your text for Activity 31: First Reading (paragraphs 13 - 30)
1. I understand that...
2. I am confused that...
3. A question I have is...
4. My opinion on this topic is...
Statistics after the article was written:
97% of eligible claimants "opted in" for the fund, signing away their right to sue any of the companies or government entities involved.
85 families did not "join," and are involved in lawsuits.
Average payout was roughly $1.8 million--totaling $7 billion from America's "petty cash" fund. No taxes were taken out of the awards.
There were 1,600 families who demanded more $, most of them wealthy professionals who believed they would have been awarded much more in a court. Feinberg work pro bono the entire time, and resided over 900 of these families' informal appeal hearings himself.
Activity 32: 2nd Response
Dialectical Discussion
Do you think the 9/11 Victim's Compensation Fund was a good idea? Do you think it was fair? Think about victims of other unforeseeable disasters such as the Oklahoma City bombing or Hurricane Katrina. Should the government have set up funds for the families of those victims as well?

With these questions in mind, follow the directions for a dialectical journal.
Activity 32: 2nd Response
Discussion #2:
How is life defined in this text? For example, does life refer to a human body, a soul, human experience, or quality of life? Does this definition include a person's personal life and professional life?
Activity 33: Summarizing
Now, write a rhetorical precis for this article, using your template.

It may help to do a SOAPSTone first (but will only be required if you write a bad rhetorical precis).
1. Most news articles like this one try to take an objective, unbiased approach. Would you agree that this text is unbiased, or do you think it favors one perspective? Explain your answer.

2. Does the article use logic (logos), emotion (pathos), or both to make an impact on the reader? If so, describe how. Compare that use to the way logic and emotion are used by Shakespeare, Jobs, the Spiegelman piece, or all three.
How might Hamlet, Jobs, or Vladek Spiegelman react to the way "What is a Life Worth" describes the value of life?
Article's main idea
Identify the writer's perspective or claim
Examples from the text: You can use your summary here, perhaps
Explain your response to the text's claim
Examples from your own reading or philosophy or experiences
Similarities and/or differences with other texts:

You need to fill this in for the other texts as well, if you have not already done so.
Final Thought
You may write definitions either directly on your text near where the word appears, or in your notebooks.
--Would they agree with any of the ideas? If so, who
with which ones?
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