The Proper Reaction

In my second paper of the course, attached below, I examine the scholarly conversation about Philip Gourevitch’s We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda. While the paper is non-argumentative and based entirely on the ideas of other academics, their examination of the “correct” way to react to genocide touches on the idea of extremity in thoughts and words that I have examined in the rest of my portfolio.

James Long’s argument in particular contributes to the idea of how specific terms in our language can cause polarized thought. When we use a single word such as genocide to encompass such a wide range of human suffering, the details and flexibility of the narrative get washed out. Absolute terms produce narrow, misinformed perspectives in those that depend on them. Furthermore, the concept of a “proper reaction” is limiting to begin with. We have never responded to evil in a way that prevented it from happening again, so who are we to say what is correct?


Below, I have included a picture of the whiteboard that I covered in my 1am planning and organization of this paper, both for laughs and as an example of how my writing process has expanded from the restricted techniques my teachers enforced in high school: