* Use e-mail questions to prompt discussion. Have students identify
the claims, reasons & evidence for each reading
1) Did you love or hate this profile? Why
2) Who is our subject?
3) When do we know, for sure, who and what this subject is?
4) How does the author position herself in the profile?
a) When does she first appear? (2nd word)
b) What is her relationship to the subject? (499)
5) What makes this profile funny or ridiculous? (499; interviews;
treats an animal subject as if it were a human subject; personification)
6) What are the similarities and differences between the treatment
of Biff and the treatment of Baryshnikov? (mock v. serious)
7) What claim(s) does Orlean make about Biff? (500, 503 "just
8) What kinds of sources/ evidence about Biff does Orlean use?
a) Compare with sources for Baryshnikov.
b) Interviews, personal interaction, dog magazines, competitions,
3) Who is our author? What is her relationship to the subject?
Does she play an active role in the action of the profile?
Identify claims, reasons & evidence
* Use student e-mails to organize discussion.
1) Did you love or hate this profile? Why?
2) Who is our subject?
4) What is the form of this profile?
a) Why use 41 "false starts" or introductions to form a "whole" profile?
b) What is a false start?
c) Is this a "whole" profile? A "true" picture?
d) Why 41? (his age, no. 34)
5) Lets look at the individual false starts:
a) What are the differences between these starts?
b) What are the claims? How do they differ? Are they stated or
c) What kinds of evidence does Janet Malcolm employ to support
d) What information gets repeated? What information is new, from
false start to false start?
e) Why are there differences in length? (1 is one of the longest,
26 the shortest.)
f) Is there, finally, an over-arching organizing claim here? If
so, where? Related Question: Do we get a unified picture of David
g) How do these starts start? What hook is used?
6) Take a few minutes to review the false starts. Which is your
favorite? Why? Which gives the fullest picture of Salle? Why?
7) What is the effect of this form on reliability (of author,
subject, and/or evidence)? Ultimately, is the profile focused on
facts or on impressions? Why might this be?