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8 Gripe Letter example: Refund Request Brock Dethier Anytown, USA January 1, 2010 Mr. Cedrick Smee Fantasyland, USA Dear Mr. Smee: I am enclosing two tickets1 to Fantasyland, USA, for which I paid a total of $135.63 on December 9, 2009.2 I deserve a refund for the full amount paid3 because of my bad experiences at your park on that day. Two of your employees dressed as clowns went out of their way to give my son frightful experiences from which he may never recover. Both times, I saw the clown coming and steered away from him as much as I could. But they were relentless in their drive to cause terror. During the second attack, 56    Genres my son soiled himself, something he hasn’t done for over two years. Of course we weren’t going to stay after that, so we retreated to our car, my son with his hoodie pulled tight over his face. Sincerely, About this example (numbers below correspond to those in the letter): 1. Use your evidence . . . but keep copies of everything. 2. If you don’t provide specifics, they’ll stall by asking for them. 3. Be specific about what you’re asking for. 4. Can you locate uses of ethos, pathos, and logos in this letter? example: Complaint 1377 South 1200 East Batham ID 83241 December 4, 2004 Claudia Sorensen Montrose-Pierce Library 109 North 5th East Batham ID 83241 Dear Ms. Sorensen: This past Wednesday I attended the pre-school story hour for the first time at the Montrose-Pierce Public Library with my infant son. Three books were read. The third book, a book on the history of candy canes, was ultimately a book about Jesus. It suggested that the red in the candy cane represented the blood of Christ’s sacrifice. I left before finding out what the white symbolized. I am not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am not Christian. And it is against state and federal laws to use a public service like the library to promote or endorse any particular religion. I am angry that such a book was selected. It is both inappropriate and illegal. Choosing a Christian book for story hour is symptomatic of a much larger and systemic problem plaguing the Jefferson County Library. While the library’s collection is fairly small, it is dominated by LDS books and books published by LDS authors and presses. To the point, in the online catalog I can find only five books by Nobel prize-winning author Toni Morrison, one book by Alice Walker, and zero books by Sandra Cisneros, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or Louise Erdrich. These are important contemporary writers whose work is changing how we think about the world and the way we want Gripe Letter     57 to live our lives. At the same time, there are forty-two books available by LDS author Jack Weyland. How is that possibly justifiable? The library is a public service, meant to serve the needs of a diversity of people and interests. At a time when newspapers and media outlets are all owned by a few giant conglomerates and the independent bookstore has fallen to mega bookstores who control what gets bought and sold, libraries are the last spaces supporting a broad range of ideas and thoughts. They must remain committed to free speech and democracy. Censorship does not just mean banning a book. Censorship occurs through omission and absence. Children, adolescents, and adults depend on the public library to offer books and services that explore the world of ideas. The Montrose-Pierce library is failing the public it serves. It is engaging in censorship and blurring the lines between church and state. I see two problems. The first is relatively easy to address. In the future, unless you are going to read stories that represent all religions and points of view, you should not allow any stories that promote one religious viewpoint. The second is much harder but, in the end, more important. You need to rethink the books that you purchase for the library. You are a state institution and your collection should represent the diversity of the country. I ask that you respond to my concerns. If I do not hear from you, I will write the county, the state, and the local chapter of the ACLU. As an English teacher, I take access to books and the potential for empowerment found in literature...


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