Mixed Person

In the following pieces, writers use mixed person. Perhaps one author starts with a first-person example but then moves to objective third-person reporting. Or perhaps another author uses second person, addressing you, the reader, but also interjects personal experience as evidence.

All writers in this collection speak for themselves—and themselves alone.


After Ferguson: St. Louis’ Decaying Black Suburbs Are About to Be Forgotten. Again.

Sarah Kendzior and Umar Lee, writing for Politico Magazine, describe life in Ferguson, Missouri.

DescriptionTimes & Places • Mixed Person • Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Kendzior | with Lee


America's Real Criminal Element: Lead

Kevin Drum, writing for Mother Jones magazine, explains the effects that lead has had on crime rates.

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Brainology: Transforming Students’ Motivation to Learn

Carol S. Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University, classifies mindsets as "growth" or "fixed" and explains how the differences either help or hinder student learning. (Watch Prof. Dweck's TED Talk on this subject.)

Classification & DivisionSchool Life • Mixed Person • Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts


Catfish Culture: How MTV’s Reality Show Is Leaching into Pop Culture (and Reality)

Writer Libby Hill examines television, namely period dramas like The Americans and Masters of Sex, and concludes that the identities people assume in life are both true and false.

DefinitionIdentity • Mixed Person • Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author


The Creepy Language Tricks Taco Bell Uses to Fool People Into Eating There

Kiera Butler, a senior editor at Mother Jones, asks author and food linguist Dan Jurafsky to analyze the menu at Taco Bell.

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Enslaved Abroad, Oppressed at Home

Author Lipika Pelham argues that low-income workers in Bangladesh deserve better conditions.

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The Fast-Food Factories: McJobs Are Bad for Kids

Amitai Etzioni, writing for the Washington Post, examines the hidden dangers of high school students having jobs.

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Five Steps for Fixing the Civil Justice System

Former Colorado Supreme Court justice Rebecca Love Kourlis lists five steps for changing civil court so that it is more simple, affordable, and effective.

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Gross Domestic Nonsense

Therapist and minister Wayne Muller seeks to define on a personal level what the economic concept of GDP is.

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How Facebook Makes Us Unhappy

Psychology expert and New Yorker contributor Maria Konnikova reports how Facebook may be affecting users' emotional states.

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How Not to Help Grads with Student Loans

By the time most students finish college, they are tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Robert Shireman, Executive Director of California Competes, helps decipher "helpful" payment-plan web guides.

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How to Tell When Someone Is Lying

Maria Konnikova, a New Yorker blogger who focuses on psychology and science, investigates people's conscious and unconscious abilities to detect lies.

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How to Write a Personal Letter

In this humorous essay, Garrison Keillor examines the long forgotten art of writing letters. Published in 1987, this essay predates e-communication and creates a longing for a simpler time.

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How World of Warcraft Might Help Head off the Next Pandemic

Writing for Nautilus, Rose Eveleth details how a computer bug in an online role-playing game might provide answers on the behavior of real-world diseases.

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If You Shouldn't Call It the Third World, What Should You Call It?

Marc Silver, blogger of National Public Radio's intriguingly titled "Goats and Soda: Stories of Life in a Changing World," considers how best to classify the countries of the world.

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Love and Money

The two most common reasons for a relationship to fail are money issues and communication problems. Washington Post personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary posits the problem is usually a fusion of the two—a lack of communication about financial matters—and offers suggestions to avoid a potential relationship disaster.

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Love Thy PlayStation, Love Thyself

Writers Reihan Salam and Will Wilkinson use humor as they compare a spouse to a PS3, looking at the economic ramifications of both.

AnalogyLove & Relationships • Mixed Person • Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Salam | with Wilkinson


The Modern Kennel Conundrum

Jon Mooallem, a writer for the New York Times, investigates the "designer" dog fad which has created Labradoodles and puggles.

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Must Great Leaders Be Gregarious?

We often associate charisma with an open, gregarious personality and great leadership. But does that mean introverts cannot lead? Author Susan Cain looks at the two personality styles.

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New York vs. London: Two Cities to Rule Them All

After a study named New York "the greatest city in the world of the future," the editors at the Atlantic detail the similarities between New York and London.

Comparison & ContrastTimes & Places • Mixed Person • Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts


Not Prestige, Not Trash: The Rise of “Mid-Reputable” TV

Pop culture expert Noel Murray describes some of the series currently considered "the best" on television as being "mid-reputable," a status between "prestige" and "trash."

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Old Dog Needs $6,000 Surgery. What Do You Do?

Writer Roz Warren recounts the family's decision to have expensive gall bladder surgery on a beloved 13-year-old dog.

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An Open Letter to Stay-at-Home Parents

Writer and father Joe DeProspero explains the differences between full-time professionals and full-time parents.

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Paper Boys: Inside the Dark, Labyrinthine, and Extremely Lucrative World of Consumer Debt Collection

Jake Halpern, reporting for the New York Times, explores the ways debt collectors operate and provides useful tips for beating them at their own game.

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Pets Allowed: Why Are So Many Animals Now in Places Where They Shouldn’t Be?

Writing for the New Yorker, Patricia Marx explains how someone can take a pet anywhere because most people don't understand the difference between an "emotional support animal," which is a pet, and a bona-fide service animal, which is a highly-trained professional with a distinct skill set.

Process AnalysisHumans & Their Animals • Mixed Person • Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts


Rise and Shine: What Kids Around the World Eat for Breakfast

See what the rest of the world feeds its children. Hint: it's not Pop-Tarts.

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A San Francisco Restaurant Has Stepped up to the Plate to Wage War on Yelp

Writer Stacey Ritzen explains how one person took back power from online bullies.

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The Solace of Oblivion

In a world where anyone can search Google for information on anyone else, do people have the right to be forgotten? Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker staff writer and CNN legal analyst, considers this question in light of a 2014 decision from the European Court of Justice.

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The Source of Bad Writing

Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, explores how people think and how that thinking process is often unclear to the audience.

This essay is now behind the Wall Street Journal paywall. You must access it through Global Newsstream. Sign in to Atlas and click Search the Library (top left) to access this database.

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Suicide, a Crime of Loneliness

Andrew Solomon, who writes about psychology and popular culture in the New Yorker, considers the complexity of Robin Williams's suicide.

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Teenage Brains

Why do young people make the choices they do? The answer lies in their biology, not just their rebelliousness.

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Ten Things Every College Professor Hates

Students often do not know what it means to be professional with their professors. This essay gives examples of improper classroom behaviors and then explains why they are inappropriate.

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The Three Manager Dog Breeds

Writer Elain Wherry compares the styles of bosses with the behaviors of common canines.

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To Philosophize Is to Learn to Die

Essayist Michel de Montaigne argues that contemplating death has several benefits.

Argument & PersuasionIdentity • Mixed Person • Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts


Want More Energy? Mind Your Peas, Zzzs, and Queues

Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter offers ideas for gaining energy and lowering stress.

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Why Extroverts Fail, Introverts Flounder and You Probably Succeed

Most people—including hiring managers—generally think extroverts make the best sales staff and managers. Recent research, though, indicates that this belief might be incorrect.

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Why Time Travel Stories Should Be Messy

Blogger Charlie Jane Anders classifies the different types of time travel stories.

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Writing Your Way to Happiness

This article suggests that focused, expressive writing can lead to greater insight and personal satisfaction, which means that everyone with a journal will one day see the light of their own lives.

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You Can Now Go to College in Germany for Free, No Matter Where You’re From

Rebecca Schuman, education columnist for Slate, describes the differences between the German and American college experience.

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