Television Shapes the Soul

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Sophie Labarge-08
Enc1101
09/27/12
“Television Shapes the Soul”
Television is a teacher of expectations. In his essay “Television Shapes the Soul” author Michael Novak stresses the many different effects television has on its viewers. Novak states that T.V. can guide the way people perceive things. He says that from watching T.V. our minds have become molded into a fast moving pace. In every different program, the viewer must figure out the connections between people, between chains of action, and between scenes, which often change in a matter of seconds. Viewers learn to detect clues and look deeply into a scene to figure out what is going on without actually being told. Novak implies this to students’ writing, since they are used to a fast pace change of scene and subject, they tend to write their papers the same way. One may swiftly change the subject, shift the scene, and drop an argument in order to pick it up later, without losing organization.

He also examines the format of television and its’ importance because it influences the periodization of attention. With that being said, the director or writer of these shows and movies must neatly divide the segments in order to develop a climax, subclimax, or build suspense while holding the viewers’ attention. In the same way, a professor learns over time how much can be accomplished in a timed lecture. This encourages producers to “pack” as much action, intensity, or entertainment into each show as possible.

Novak explains how many adolescences spend very little time having serious conversations with adults, the only real human exchanges they have are with other peers. The images children have of adults and how they should act, often only come from the media. That meaning that media constitutes as a major source for behavior which could lead to serious consequences for the American psyche.

Throughout this essay, Novak shows how television mixes all the cultures into one. People will not understand...
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