Across Cultures: A Reader for Writers

Sheena Gillespie / Robert Becker  
Total pages
February 2010
Related Titles


Designed to offer an appealing anthology where there is an increased interest in connections between and among cultures, Across Cultures, strives to promote understanding of diverse cultures among students.


The book advocates acceptance of a diversity of voices, while suggesting ways to probe the correspondences, interrelationships, and mutual benefits of that diversity. The selections cover a great variety of cultural facets both in the readings and selected visuals that appear at the end of each chapter. Throughout the text, students are encouraged to draw connections between and among readings through “Correspondence” questions that accompany each selection, thus developing their critical thinking skills.


  • Each unit contains selections on American culture by American writers, selections by writers from diverse ethnic groups within the United States, and selections by writers writing from or about cultures elsewhere, thus placing American culture and its diversity into a context of world culture.
  • Student texts are included in most chapters, providing accessible models and helping students to see how their cultural experiences reinforce the themes of the anthology.
  • Three categories of questions follow each reading—“Interpretations” provoke discussion topics and call attention to rhetorical features; “Correspondences” encourage students to explore cultural similarities and differences; “Applications” provide writing assignments and opportunities for collaborative work.
  • Opening selections in each chapter are myths or folktales that place cultural issues in an historical context.
  • Head notes provide biographical and cultural information about the author and subject for each selection.
  • A Rhetorical Table of Contents helps students consider different types of writing offered in the anthology and provides flexibility for instructors in approaching the selections; a Rhetorical Glossary defines essential terms.

New to this Edition

  • With eighteen new readings- and more student essays- the eighth edition offers a fresh and updated perspective on the inter-cultural issues at the heart of the text.
  • Because today’s students live in an increasingly visual world and multimedia has become the primary vehicle for learning, the text features fourteen brand new visuals. A new essay by Giovanni J. Gelardi also demonstrates how a visual artist perceives his work and provides guidance for students approaching images in the text. 
  • Additional “Perspectives” questions that include “Web topics” have been added to help students use the Internet as a resource for thinking about the essays they have read. The new feature encourages students to consider topics that better reflect other kinds of literacies they are engaged in, including the visual, spatial, musical, and mathematical. The “Web topics” invite students to consider synthesizing information in written forms that push “literacy in bold new directions.”
  • Chapter Eight, “Popular Culture,” has been recast to emphasize the impact of new technologies students frequently employ, such as the Internet and text messaging.
  • Two new sets of essays are presented as a unit within the “Family and Community,” “Traditions,” and “Popular Culture” chapters to facilitate discussion and increase interactivity among the texts.

Table of Contents


Rhetorical Contents

Preface for the Teacher

Preface for the Student


Chapter 1: Writing, the “Writing Process,” and You

Literacy Narratives

Composing Your Own Literacy Narrative


Chapter 2: Family and Community

How the Wicked Sons Were Duped, Indian Folklore

People Like Us, David Brooks

Changing My Name after Sixty Years, Tom Rosenberg

Where the Land is Stepped on, the Sky…, Trikartikaningsih Byas

We Kissed the Tomato and Then the Sky, Dana Wehle

Focusing on Friends,  Steve Tesich

Treasures, Mahwash Shoaib

Two Lives, Shirley Geok-lin Lim

For My Indian Daughter, Lewis (Johnson) Sawaquat 

The Night I was Nobody,  John Edgar Wideman 

The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me, Sherman Alexie

One Voice, Susan G. Madera

Solidarity, Charles Neuman


Chapter 3: Gender Issues

The Wise Daughter, Swahili Folktale

Apollo and Daphne, Greek Legend

Shrouded in Contradiction, Gelareh Asayesh 

To Be a Man, Gary Soto

Man-Made Misery, Thomas M. Colicino

Why Are Gay Men So Feared? Dennis Altman

Gay, Anna Quindlen

Why Do We Hate Our Bodies? Gillianne N. Duncan

The Gravity of Mark Beuhrle, Jason Barone

He and I, Natalia Ginzburg

The Storm, Kate Chopin


Chapter 4: Education

The Bar of Gold

A View from the Bridge Cherokee Paul McDonald

Mute in an English-Only World, Chang-Rae Lee 

A Letter to a Child Like Me, José Torres

Always Living in Spanish, Marjorie Agosin

The Mistress of Make Believe, Doris Viloria

Dropout to Graduate, Laura Kuehn

The Fender-Bender, Ramón “Tianguis” Pérez

When the Simulated Patient Is For Real, Taneisha Grant

Multiple Dimensions of Love: From the Artist’s Eyes, Giovanni J. Gelardi

from Poets in the Kitchen, Paule Marshall

My Pen Writes in Blue and White, Vincent Cremona


Chapter 5: Work

My Young Men Shall Never Work, Chief Smohalla (as told by Herbert J. Spinden)

Life Stories, Michael Dorris

Why We Work, Andrew Curry

Essential Work by John Patterson

Black Hair, Gary Soto

Work Hard–Quit Right!  Thomas M. Colicino

Working Like a Dog, Charles Neuman

Forty-Five a Month, R.K. Narayan

Free and Equal, Lalita Gandbhir