Response Essay

1 January 2017

Author Greg Graffin presents a clear thesis and supports it well with logical examples and sound reasoning. However, I also found parts of the essay confusing which makes me wonder about the intended audience of the piece. “ Anarchy in the Tenth Grade” examines how people can relate to being alienated from certain groups, and how the author found his sense of self. Graffin supports this idea, pointing out that he feels a kinship with everyone who shares any alienated trait.

He believes that even though people have never heard of nor met each other, alienation links them in their challenge to institutions and to dogmatic thinking. Graffin found his sense of self through music, but not through the same bands as his peers. While everyone else was listening to Led Zepplin, Rush, and Kiss, he was listening to “ Rodney on the Roq” who played local bands’ music that shared their alienation and confusion. Generally, I found Graffin’s argument convincing. First, he offers several examples to support his thesis by reflecting back on his own life.

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For example, he explains in the reading how he grew up “punk”, and the he did not quite fit in. He tells us that there were only three punkers in his school, “And all of us got our asses kicked because of our musical prefence. ” This scared him, but at the same time it made him feel powerful. He goes on saying that growing up this way affected him. He had to unlearn these bad traits just to have a normal, loving relationship. Graffin’s sense of not being the same as others penetrated deeper than what he observed in the world around him.

Even, his hair, was wrong, too fluffy to conform to standard rock hairdo. His opposition to his adolescent environment was forced , and even included the clothing of his peers. Unlike the wealthier students , he had to wear Payless Shoes and velour shirts from Kmart. Note how important brand names are in defining identity in Graffins reading. What one wore and what one could afford, or what one’ parents could afford, was equated with an individual’s sense of self. What else was interesting was that Graffin showed us that by having his “ punk” trait made him the man he is today.

He explained that interacting with music, he learns that his involvement counts. Though he may be unsure of his future , or his place, right now he finds solace in punk. Fitting in and rebelling, both must be parts of growing up and parts of human interaction. Finding our place has much to do with a sense of self and view of what makes up our authentic self. This showed me that whatever traits you have makes you the person you are right now. That whether this is genetic or learned is unkown. I found this reading also confusing.

Even though Graffin did explain his thesis, he did not do so until the end of the reading. This made the reading somewhat boring. Garffin talked about his life the entire time and it did not make a point until the very last paragraph. I felt that he did not plainly state who this readings’ audience was. I f he would of, somehow, stated his thesis in the beginning than started to talk about his life experiences it would have made the reading more interesting.

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