English teachers often challenge students to invest time and thought into their essays. We make handouts, write notes in the margin of essays, give pep talks, and repeatedly suggest to students the need to reflect on one’s thesis. One of the marvels of Sebastian Junger’s Tribe stems from the fact that he has been ruminating his entire career about the complex ideas in this book regarding tribes and the alienating effects of modernity. While coming to terms with the effects of trauma after being a war correspondent himself, Junger’s firsthand experience of being embedded in Afghanistan informs a reflection over his long career as a war correspondent as well as a chronicler of dangerous jobs in American (see his book Perfect Storm). Interestingly, he was a tree climber and trimmer, which historically ranks high on the list of dangerous jobs. In addition, when Junger was testing himself as a young man by hitchhiking across the country, a compelling encounter he had with a homeless man enters his thinking and never leaves. And perhaps another, more profound theme resonates from an insight shared by his long time Native American mentor who reminds Junger that Native Americans rarely fled from their “tribes” to colonial outposts. Historically, the flight trend occurred among colonists who had fled from rescue attempts once experienced tribal life. So what is it about having a feeling of belonging in a small group of people? Interestingly, Junger taps into his anthropology background (his college major, which is a great liberal arts major to build critical thinking skills) for more understanding to explain our human tendencies to bend towards community bonds. That said, how does the convenience of modern life sometime deprive us of opportunities to work together, appreciate the vital things of life, and share resources? Or, what aspects of community and community spirit that is linked to our cultural DNA, do you find enduring, blooming? What’s your take-away? Feel free to enter the text wherever you want and create your personal response.
Directions: Please reflect on Junger’s Tribe and write about one useful takeaway that you had after reading this text. Then supply one sentence or phrase from the text that supports your takeaway (your idea, insight, or claim), and compose a 5-7 sentences in Standard English explaining how your quotation explains and supports your takeaway. Please follow MLA guidelines for citing your page number so that we can look up your passage easily. I suggest that you compose your comment in a Word document first, and then read it out loud to see how you can improve the flow of your ideas. Here’s a great model for help: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/02/ Also recall to italicize titles.
Personally, I found this text compelling to read and ruminate upon throughout the summer. One aspect of Sebastian Junger’s profound thesis that I noticed reappearing on the news coverage lately had to do with the recent events in Texas and now Florida. So many people are taking responsibility for others and sharing resources! In fact, I also learned about Team Rubicon when I heard a great podcast that Junger did with Joel Klein, and these ideas together seem to be playing out even more. (https://www.ket.org/arts/great-conversations-sebastian-junger-and-joe-klein/) Team Rubicon helps channel veterans who have an innate sense of community and want to help out fellow humans recover from disasters. The organization is doing great work right now because it allows veterans to re-experience a sense of selflessness as well as that feeling of making a difference for others in need. This organization fills a need and deploys specialist who want to feel an authentic community spirit. https://teamrubiconusa.org