Literature Analysis of Anna Quindlen's Article Life of the Closed Mind

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A person’s values assumptions are why a person chooses one side over the other in a context. Value assumptions can be changed based on different topics that are discussed and the reasoning and conclusion can also vary by the person responding to the statement based on what they assume and value. In the article Life of the Closed Mind by Anna Quindlen, she states, “Four years have passed, and it occurs to me, surveying the Columbia undergraduates, their blue gowns mimicking the blue sky, that the terrorists did win.

The essence of the way zealots think about the world is polar: good and evil, holy and profane, them and us.” She believes that we have become more closed minded between ourselves as a country and to those outside of America since the attacks that happened on September 11, 2001. Anna says in her article “some students chose to leave afterward, to migrate to the quiet college towns so many of their high-school classmates had chosen in the first place.” This suggests that because of the events that happened on September 11, more people decided to stay close to home and not go off to college due to the fear that they had.

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Value priorities are a way of knowing what is important and less important. When we experience new situations, we can use our value principles to help us respond to those certain experiences according to our value principles. Value principle can be used for evaluating people, experiences or actions, and used to help make choices. In “Life of the Closed Mind” Anna referred to the study that was done by Carol Trosset about why students go to college.

According to Trosset, eighty-four percent of the first-year class believed that one of the paramount values of college was to be able to make sure all of its members felt comfortable. “Exploring new ideas, encountering people with different values, learning a new discipline’s way of thinking and having someone point out a flaw in one’s argument can be uncomfortable experiences.”

Anna wants people to be more open. Since the attacks, people are scared to go out and do things with fear of it happening again. College students are more closed minded because of that fear as well. She states, “America had been hijacked by those who cannot tell the difference between opponents and enemies, between disagreement and heresy, between discussion and destruction.”

Descriptive assumptions are unstated beliefs about how the world is, will become or was. This means only assuming the way things are now or will be, not necessarily how they should be and can often be wrong. In the beginning of the article, Quindlen describes how the world was before September 11, 2001. “The sky a blue tent cut with wisps of clouds over the Columbia University campus. Clear weather, low-flying jets: it’s what some New Yorkers still can’t help thinking of as a 9/11 day.” Since that day, people are still reminded of it and are scared and according to Anna, it meant the terrorists had won.

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