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Nascidos Em Borders Critical Thinking

Critical Writing

Applying your critical thinking to academic writing 

You will find that your task as a writer at the higher levels of critical thinking is to argue. 

You will express your argument in 6 ways: 

One. You will define a situation that calls for some response in writing by asking critical questions. For example, is the Confederate flag a symbol of honor and respect for the heritage of white people in the South? Or is the flag a symbol of racial hatred, slavery, and Jim Crow? 

Two. You will demonstrate the timeliness of your argument. In other words, why is your argument relevant? 

Why is it relevant for example to address the decision of many parents to NOT vaccinate their children?

Three. Establish your personal investment in the topic. Why do you care about the topic you’re writing about? 

You may be alarmed to see exponential increases in college costs and this is personal because you have children who will presumably go to college someday. 

Four. Appeal to your readers by anticipating their thoughts, beliefs, and values, especially as they pertain to the topic you are writing about. You may be arguing a vegetarian diet to people who are predisposed to believing that vegetarian eating is a hideous exercise in self-denial and amounts to torture. 

You may have to allay their doubts by making them delicious vegetarian foods or by convincing them that they can make such meals. 

You may be arguing against the NFL to those who defend it on the basis of the relatively high salaries NFL players make. Do you have an answer to that? 

Five. Support your argument with solid reasons and compelling evidence. If you're going to make the claim that the NFL is morally repugnant, can you support that? How?

Six. Anticipate your readers’ reasons for disagreeing with your position and try to change their mind so they “see things your way.” We call this “making the readers drink your Kool-Aid.”  

Being a Critical Reader Means Being an Active Reader

To be an active reader we must ask the following when we read a text: 

One. What is the author’s thesis or purpose? 

Two. What arguments is the author responding to? 

Three. Is the issue relevant or significant? If not, why? 

Four. How do I know that what the author says is true or credible? If not, why? 

Five. Is the author’s evidence legitimate? Sufficient? Why or why not? 

Six. Do I have legitimate opposition to the author’s argument? 

Seven. What are some counterarguments to the author’s position? 

Eight. Has the author addressed the most compelling counterarguments? 

Nine. Is the author searching for truth or is the author beholden to an agenda, political, business, lobby, or something else? 

Ten. Is the author’s position compromised by the use of logical fallacies such as either/or, Straw Man, ad hominem, non sequitur, confusing causality with correlation, etc.? 

Eleven. Has the author used effective rhetorical strategies to be persuasive? Rhetorical strategies in the most general sense include ethos (credibility), logos (clear logic), and pathos (appealing to emotion). Another rhetorical strategy is the use of biting satire when one wants to mercilessly attack a target.

Twelve. You should write in the margins of your text (annotate) to address the above questions. Using annotations increases your memory and reading comprehension far beyond passive reading. And research shows annotating while reading is far superior to using a highlighter, which is mostly a useless exercise. 

An annotation can be very brief. Here are some I use: 




Proof 1 


Good point






Full of himself



Two. How do we generate ideas for an essay?

We begin by not worrying about being critical. We brainstorm a huge list of ideas and then when the list is complete, we undergo the process of evaluation. 

Sample Topic for an Essay: Parents Who Don’t Immunize Their Children

  1. Most parents who don’t immunize their children are educated and upper class.
  2. They read on the Internet that immunizations lead to autism or other health problems.
  3. They follow some “natural guru” who warns that vaccines aren’t organic and pose health risks.
  4. They panic over anecdotal evidence that shows vaccines are dangerous.
  5. They confuse correlation with causality.
  6. Why are these parents always rich?
  7. Are they narcissists?
  8. Are they looking for simple answers for complex problems?
  9. Would they not stand in line for the Ebola vaccine, if it existed?
  10. These parents are endangering others by not getting the vaccine.

Thesis that is a claim of cause and effect: 

Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children tend to be narcissistic people of privilege who believe their sources of information are superior to “the mainstream media”; who are looking for simple explanations that might protect their children from autism; who are confusing correlation with causality; and who are benefiting from the very vaccinations they refuse to give their children.

Thesis that is a claim of argumentation:

Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children should be prosecuted by the law because they are endangering the public and they are relying on pseudo-intellectual science to base their decisions.

To test a thesis, we must always ask: “What might be objections to my claim?”

Prosecuting parents will only give those parents more reason to be paranoid that the government is conspiring against them.

There are less severe ways to get parents to comply with the need to vaccinate their children.

Generating Ideas for Our Essays

How do we prepare our minds so we have “Eureka” (I found it) moments and apply these moments to our writing?

The word eureka comes from the Greek heuristic, a method or process for discovering ideas. The principle posits that one thought triggers another.

Diverse and conflicting opinions in a classroom are a heuristic tool for generating thoughts.

Here’s an example:

One student says, “Fat people should pay a fat tax because they incur more medical costs than non-fat people.”

Another student says, “Wrong. Fat people die at a far younger age. It’s people who live past seventy, non-fat people, who put a bigger drain on medical costs. In fact, smokers and fat people, by dying young, save us money.”

Another heuristic method is breaking down the subject into classical topics:

Definition: What is it? Jealousy is a form of insanity in which a morally bankrupt person assumes his partner is as morally bankrupt as he is.

Comparison: What is it like or unlike? Compared to the risk of us dying from global warming, death from a terrorist attack is relatively miniscule.

Relationship: What caused it, and what will it cause? The chief cause of our shrinking brain and its concomitant reduced attention span is gadget screen time.

Testimony: What is said about it by experts? Social scientists explain that the United States’ mass incarceration of poor people actually increases the crime rate.

Another heuristic method is finding a controversial topic and writing a list of pros and cons.

Consider the topic, “Should I become a vegan?”

Here are some pros:

  1. I’ll focus on eating healthier foods.
  2. I won’t be eating as many foods potentially contaminated by E.coli  and Salmonella.
  3. I won’t be contributing as much to the suffering of sentient creatures.
  4. I won’t be contributing as much to greenhouse gasses.
  5. I’ll be eating less cholesterol and saturated fats.


  1. It’s debatable that a vegan diet is healthier than a Paleo (heavy meat eating) diet.
  2. Relying on soy is bad for the body.
  3. My body craves animal protein.
  4. Being a vegan will ostracize me from my family and friends.

One. Checklist for Critical Thinking 

My attitude toward critical thinking: 

Does my thinking show imaginative open-mindedness and intellectual curiosity? Or do I exist in a circular, self-feeding, insular brain loop resulting in solipsism? The latter is also called living in the echo chamber. 

Am I willing to honestly examine my assumptions? 

Am I willing to entertain new ideas—both those that I encounter while reading and those that come to mind while writing? 

Am I willing to approach a debatable topic by using dialectical argument, going back and forth between opposing views? 

Am I willing to exert myself—for instance, to do research—to acquire information and to evaluate evidence? 

My skills to develop critical thinking 

Can I summarize an argument accurately? 

Can I evaluate assumptions, evidence, and inferences? 

Can I present my ideas effectively—for instance, by organizing and by writing in a manner appropriate to my imagined audience?

Example of an essay that acknowledges opposing views: Harlan Coben’s “The Undercover Parent” (24) 

NOT long ago, friends of mine confessed over dinner that they had put spyware on their 15-year-old son’s computer so they could monitor all he did online. At first I was repelled at this invasion of privacy. Now, after doing a fair amount of research, I get it.

Make no mistake: If you put spyware on your computer, you have the ability to log every keystroke your child makes and thus a good portion of his or her private world. That’s what spyware is — at least the parental monitoring kind. You don’t have to be an expert to put it on your computer. You just download the software from a vendor and you will receive reports — weekly, daily, whatever — showing you everything your child is doing on the machine.

Scary. But a good idea. Most parents won’t even consider it.

Maybe it’s the word: spyware. It brings up associations of Dick Cheney sitting in a dark room, rubbing his hands together and reading your most private thoughts. But this isn’t the government we are talking about — this is your family. It’s a mistake to confuse the two. Loving parents are doing the surveillance here, not faceless bureaucrats. And most parents already monitor their children, watching over their home environment, their school.

Today’s overprotective parents fight their kids’ battles on the playground, berate coaches about playing time and fill out college applications — yet when it comes to chatting with pedophiles or watching beheadings or gambling away their entire life savings, then...thentheir children deserve independence?

Some will say that you should simply trust your child, that if he is old enough to go on the Internet he is old enough to know the dangers. Trust is one thing, but surrendering parental responsibility to a machine that allows the entire world access to your home borders on negligence.

Some will say that it’s better just to use parental blocks that deny access to risky sites. I have found that they don’t work. Children know how to get around them. But more than that — and this is where it gets tough — I want to know what’s being said in e-mail and instant messages and in chat rooms.

There are two reasons for this. First, we’ve all read about the young boy unknowingly conversing with a pedophile or the girl who was cyberbullied to the point where she committed suicide. Would a watchful eye have helped? We rely in the real world on teachers and parents to guard against bullies — do we just dismiss bullying on the Internet and all it entails because we are entering difficult ethical ground?

Second, everything your child types can already be seen by the world — teachers, potential employers, friends, neighbors, future dates. Shouldn’t he learn now that the Internet is not a haven of privacy?

One of the most popular arguments against spyware is the claim that you are reading your teenager’s every thought, that in today’s world, a computer is the little key-locked diary of the past. But posting thoughts on the Internet isn’t the same thing as hiding them under your mattress. Maybe you should buy your children one of those little key-locked diaries so that they too can understand the difference.

Am I suggesting eavesdropping on every conversation? No. With new technology comes new responsibility. That works both ways. There is a fine line between being responsibly protective and irresponsibly nosy. You shouldn’t monitor to find out if your daughter’s friend has a crush on Kevin next door or that Mrs. Peterson gives too much homework or what schoolmate snubbed your son. You are there to start conversations and to be a safety net. To borrow from the national intelligence lexicon — and yes, that’s uncomfortable — you’re listening for dangerous chatter.

Will your teenagers find other ways of communicating to their friends when they realize you may be watching? Yes. But text messages and cellphones don’t offer the anonymity and danger of the Internet. They are usually one-on-one with someone you know. It is far easier for a predator to troll chat rooms and MySpace and Facebook.

There will be tough calls. If your 16-year-old son, for example, is visiting hardcore pornography sites, what do you do? When I was 16, we looked at Playboy centerfolds and read Penthouse Forum. You may argue that’s not the same thing, that Internet pornography makes that stuff seem about as harmful as “SpongeBob.”

And you’re probably right. But in my day, that’s all you could get. If something more graphic had been out there, we probably would have gone for it. Interest in those, um, topics is natural. So start a dialogue based on that knowledge. You should have that talk anyway, but now you can have it with some kind of context.

Parenting has never been for the faint of heart. One friend of mine, using spyware to monitor his college-bound, straight-A daughter, found out that not only was she using drugs but she was sleeping with her dealer. He wisely took a deep breath before confronting her. Then he decided to come clean, to let her know how he had found out, to speak with her about the dangers inherent in her behavior. He’d had these conversations before, of course, but this time he had context. She listened. There was no anger. Things seem better now.

Our knee-jerk reaction as freedom-loving Americans is to be suspicious of anything that hints at invasion of privacy. That’s a good and noble thing. But it’s not an absolute, particularly in the face of the new and evolving challenges presented by the Internet. And particularly when it comes to our children.

Do you tell your children that the spyware is on the computer? I side with yes, but it might be enough to show them this article, have a discussion about your concerns and let them know the possibility is there.

Harlan Coben is the author of the forthcoming novel “Hold Tight.”

Harlan Coben Acknowledges Opposing Views  

In paragraph 1, his gut reaction was to reject his friend’s use of spyware on his children’s computers.  

In paragraphs 2 and 3, Coben concedes that it is scary to contemplate the ability to invade your child’s privacy with spyware, but he says it’s worth it.  

In paragraph 4, he concedes that this is scary totalitarian tactic that “reeks of Dick Cheney” but he counters by writing we’re not government; we’re parents.  

In paragraph 5, he makes a comparison argument: “parents fight their kids’ battles on the playground, berate coaches about playing time and fill out college applications—yet when it comes to chatting with pedophiles or watching beheadings . . . then their children deserve independence?”  

In paragraph 6, he addresses the rebuttal that we should “just trust” our children, but he rejects this notion because we’re not talking about trust; we’re talking about neglect: “surrendering parental responsibility to a machine that allows the entire world access to your home borders on negligence.” 

In paragraph 7, he counters the claim that parental blocks, not spyware, should be used by saying that he tried parental blocks, and they do not work. For example, they do not work with cyber-bullying or cyber-pedophiles. 

In paragraph 9, he makes the rebuttal that the Internet already violates privacy; children should learn that the Internet is “not a haven of privacy.” 


In paragraph 10, Coben rejects the comparison of private thoughts kept in a diary with Internet activities.  

In paragraph 11, Coben distinguishes the notion of “being responsibly protective and irresponsibly nosy.”  

In paragraph 12, Coben shows that texting on a phone is less dangerous than the Internet because the latter is more porous, allowing thousands of predators into the child’s world.  

Coben concedes in paragraph 13, that there will be tough choices. At what point does a child’s curiosity for porn cross the line? 

Coben concludes by saying freedom and privacy are not absolutes; they are relative terms that have to be addressed in a radically different way in our Internet age.   

Letter of Rebuttal 

In “The Undercover Parent” (Op-Ed, March 16), the novelist Harlan Coben writes that putting spyware on a child’s computer is a “good idea.” 

As a mother and advice columnist for girls, I disagree. For most families, spyware is not only unnecessary, but it also sends the unfortunate message, “I don’t trust you.” 

Mr. Coben said a friend of his “using spyware to monitor his college-bound, straight-A daughter, found out that not only was she using drugs but she was sleeping with her dealer.” He confronted her about her behavior. “She listened. There was no anger. Things seem better now.” 

Huh?! No anger? No tears or shouting or slammed doors? C’mon. If only raising teenagers were that simple. 

Parenting is both a job and a joy. It does not require spyware, but it does require love, respect, time, trust, money and being as available as possible 24/7. Luck helps, too. 

Carol Weston
New York, March 16, 2008


Checklist for Evaluation Letters of Response (or any rebuttal for that matter) 

What assumptions does the letter-writer make? Do you share those assumptions? 

What is the writer’s claim? 

In what ways does the writer consider the audience? 

What evidence, if any, does the writer offer to support the claim? 

Is there anything about the style of the letter—the distinctive use of language, the tone—that makes the letter especially engaging or especially annoying? 

A Checklist for Examining Assumptions 

What assumptions does the writer's argument presuppose? 

Are these assumptions explicit or implicit? 

Are these assumptions important to the author's argument or only incidental? 

Does the author give any evidence of being aware of the hidden assumptions in her argument? 

Would a critic be likely to share these assumptions, or are they exactly what a critic would challenge? 

What sort of evidence would be relevant to supporting or rejecting these assumptions? 

Am I willing to grant the author's assumptions? Would most readers gran them? If not, why not? 

Assumptions in Carol Weston's letter: 

One. She assumes that proclaiming herself to be a mother and an advice columnist for girls gives her credibility and superior moral standing. Some might say, her opening phrase sounds cliched and pompous. 

Two. She assumes that spyware means "I don't trust you." That assumption could be in error. The parent could be saying, "I don't trust predators." 

Three. She assumes that because the parent used spyware to catch his daughter using drugs and sleeping with the drug dealer that the discovery is somehow compromised because it hurt the daughter's feelings. This assumption is erroneous. The girl's welfare, not her feelings about getting caught or invasion of privacy, are the priority. 

Four. When she lectures Coben by writing, "Parenting is both a job and a joy," she is implicitly saying that Coben is ignorant of the hard work and joys of parenting. In fact, she has proven neither. Again, she comes across as a pompous, ignorant scold. 

Five. When she lectures Coben by saying parening requires "love, respect, time, trust," she again implies that Coben is abnegating his parental responsibilities by using spyware. To the contrary, Coben has made the case that Internet predators make spyware another took parents must use their toolbox to protect their children. Carol Weston's letter is not only wrong; it's insufferable. 


Study the Templates of Argumentation  

While the author’s arguments for meaning are convincing, she fails to consider . . .


While the authors' supports make convincing arguments, they must also consider . . .


These arguments, rather than being convincing, instead prove . . .


While these authors agree with Writer A on point X, in my opinion . . .


Although it is often true that . . .


While I concede that my opponents make a compelling case for point X, their main argument collapses underneath a barrage of . . .


While I see many good points in my opponent’s essay, I am underwhelmed by his . . .


While my opponent makes some cogent points regarding A, B, and C, his overall argument fails to convince when we consider X, Y, and Z.


My opponent makes many provocative and intriguing points. However, his arguments must be dismissed as fallacious when we take into account W, X, Y, and Z.


While the author’s points first appear glib and fatuous, a closer look at his polemic reveals a convincing argument that . . .



In-Class Exercise

Write an argumentative thesis that addresses Coben's essay and be sure your thesis has 3 mapping components. 

 Ways to Improve Your Critical Reading  

  1. Do a background check of the author to see if he or she has a hidden agenda or any other kind of background information that speaks to the author’s credibility.
  2. Check the place of publication to see what kind of agenda, if any, the publishing house has. Know how esteemed the publishing house is among peers of the subject you’re reading about.
  3. Learn how to find the thesis. In other words, know what the author’s purpose, explicit or implicit, is.
  4. Annotate more than underline. Your memory will be better served, according to research, by annotating than underlining. You can scribble your own code in the margins as long as you can understand your writing when you come back to it later. Annotating is a way of starting a dialogue about the reading and writing process. It is a form of pre-writing. Forms of annotation that I use are “yes,” (great point) “no,” (wrong, illogical, BS) and “?” (confusing). When I find the thesis, I’ll also write that in the margins. Or I’ll write down an essay or book title that the passage reminds me of. Or maybe even an idea for a story or a novel.
  5. When faced with a difficult text, you will have to slow down and use the principles of summarizing and paraphrasing. With summary, you concisely identify the main points in one or two sentences. With paraphrase, you re-word the text in your own words.
  6. When reading an argument, see if the writer addresses possible objections to his or her argument. Ask yourself, of all the objections, did the writer choose the most compelling ones? The more compelling the objections addressed, the more rigorous and credible the author’s writing.


Topic for an Argumentative Essay:

"Is College Worth It?"

"College Is Still Worth It, Despite the Cost"

"Can Language Influence Our Perception of Reality?"


To read critically, we have to do the following:

One. Comprehend the author's purpose and meaning, which is expressed in the claim or thesis

Two. Examine the evidence, if any, that is used

Three. Find emotional appeals, if any, that are used

Four. Identify analogies and comparisons and analyze their legitimacy

Five. Look at the topic sentences to see how the author is building his or her claim

Six. Look for the appeals the author uses be they logic (logos), emotions (pathos), or authority (ethos).

Seven. Is the author's argument diminished by logical fallacies?

Eight. Do you recognize any bias in the essay that diminishes the author's argument?

Nine. Do we bring any prejudice that may compromise our ability to evaluate the argument fairly?





John Buchan, 1º Barão TweedsmuirGCMGGCVOCHPC (26 de agosto de 1875 – 11 de fevereiro de 1940), foi um romancistaescocês, mais conhecido pela seu romance The Thirty-Nine Steps, e um políticounionista que serviu como Governador-geral do Canadá.

Infância e juventude[editar | editar código-fonte]

Buchan foi o primogênito de uma família de quatro filhos e uma filha sobrevivente (a novelista Anna Buchan) nascido de um pastor da Igreja Livre da Escócia, John Buchan (1847–1911), e sua esposa Helen Jane (1857–1937). Nasce em Perth[1] e cresce em Fife, passa numerosas férias de verão com seus avós em Borders, desenvolvendo o amor pelo excursionismo e a paisagem dos Borders e sua fauna e flora que é sua musa retratada em suas novelas. Um exemplo é Sir Edward Leithen, o herói de alguns dos livros de Buchan, que deve seu nome a Leithen Water, um afluente do rio Tweed.

Depois de estudar na escola de gramática Hutchesons, Buchan ganhou uma beca para a Universidade de Glasgow onde estudou Filologia Clássica, escreveu poesia e foi publicado pela primeira vez. Estuda então Literae Humaniores (nome que se dá à Filologia Clássica em algumas universidades, tais como a de Oxford) no Brasenose College, Oxford,[2] ganhando o prêmio Newdigate de poesia. Tinha um dom para fazer amizades que conservaria durante toda sua vida. Seus amigos em Oxford incluiam a Hilaire Belloc, Raymond Asquith e Aubrey Herbert.[2]

Vida como autor e político[editar | editar código-fonte]

Buchan num primeiro momento entrou na carreira de advogado em 1901, mas quase imediatamente foi para a política, convertendo-se no secretário privado do administrador das colônias britânicasAlfred Milner, que foi alto comissionado para África do Sul, governador da Colônia do Cabo e administrador da colônia de Transvaal e o Estado Livre de Orange—Buchan adquiriu experiência com as zonas que haveria de ser de maneira proeminente uma das características de seus escritos. Quando volta à Londres torna-se sócio de uma editora enquanto continua escrevendo livros. Buchan se casa com Susan Charlotte Grosvenor (1882-1977), prima do Duque de Westminster, em 15 de julho de 1907.[3] O casal tem quatro filhos, dois dos quais passaram a maior parte de suas vidas no Canadá.

Em 1910, escreve "O Preste João", sua primeira novela de aventuras, ambientada na África do Sul. Em 1911, sofre pela primeira vez de úlcera péptica, uma enfermidade que ele dará a um de seus personagens em livros posteriores. Buchan entra também na política como candidato dos conservadores do Partido Unionista da Escócia para o distrito dos Borders. Durante esse tempo, apóia o livre comércio, o sufrágio feminino, a seguridade social e diminuir o poder da Câmara dos Lordes[4] . Entretanto, opôs-se às reformas liberais dentre 1905 e 1915 e o que ele considerou o "ódio à classe" adotada por liberais demagógicos como David Lloyd George.[5]

Durante a Primeira Guerra Mundial, escreveu para o War Propaganda Bureau (departamento de propaganda de guerra) e foi correspondente para o The Times na França. Em 1915, publica seu livro mais famoso, "Os trinta e nove escalões" (The Thirty-Nine Steps), um thriller de espiões ambientado justamente antes do começo da Primeira Guerra Mundial, na que aparece seu herói Richard Hannay, o qual está baseado em um amigo de sua época na África do Sul, Edmund Ironside. No ano seguinte, publica uma continuação, "Greenmantle". Em 1916 se une aos Corpos de Informação do Exército Britânico) de onde como sub-tenente, escreveu discursos e comunicados para Sir Douglas Haig.

Em 1917, volta à Grã-Bretanha, onde se converte em Diretor de informação logo abaixo de Lord Beaverbrook.[6] Depois da guerra, começa a escrever sobre temas históricos assim como continua escrevendo thrillers e novelas históricas. As cem obras de Buchan incluem cerca de 30 novelas e sete coleções de relatos. Também escreve as biografias de Sir Walter Scott, César Augusto, Oliver Cromwell, e foi galardoado com o prêmio James Tait Black Memorial por sua biografia de James Graham, primeiro marquês de Montrose, mas seus livros mais conhecidos são os thrillers de espionagem e provavelmente é por estes que é agora mais recordado.

O "último Buchan" (como Graham Greene titulou sua favorável crítica) é Sick Heart River (com título nos Estados Unidos: Mountain Meadow), ambientada em 1941, na qual um moribundo protagonista enfrenta às perguntas sobre o sentido da vida nas terras selvagens canadenses.

O filme The 39 Steps foi rodado (com muitas mudanças em relação à novela) por Alfred Hitchcock em 1935; também rodaram outras versões em 1959 e 1978.

Em meados da década de 1920, Buchan vivia próximo de Oxford - Robert Graves, que vivia em Boar's Hill também ajudava à Universidade de Oxford, faz menção do Coronel Buchan recomendando-lhe para um posto de professor na recém fundada Universidade do Cairo, no Egito. Buchan torna-se o presidente da Sociedade escocesa de história. Foi duas vezes Alto Lord comissário à Assembleia geral da Igreja Presbiteriana escocesa, e em 1927 foi eleito por eleição parcial deputado unionista escocês para as universidades escocesas. Politicamente foi da tradição Unionista-Nacionalista que acreditava do desenvolvimento da Escócia como nação dentro do império, comentando uma vez "acredito que cada escocês deveria ser um nacionalista escocês. Se se pudesse comprovar que um parlamento escocês fosse desejável… os escoceses deveriam apoiá-lo".[7]

Os efeitos da depressão na Escócia e a subsequente alta emigração o levaram a dizer também que "não queremos ser como os gregos, com poder e prosperidade ali aonde nos estabelecemos, mas com uma Grécia moribunda depois de nós" (Hansard, 24 de novembro de 1932). Durante os primeiros meses da Segunda Guerra Mundial, Buchan lê "A vida de Gladstone", de John Morley, que causa uma profunda impressão. Buchan acreditou que Gladstone tinha ensinado ao povo a combater o materialismo, a autocomplacência e o autoritarismo; escreve a H. A. L. Fisher, Stair Gillon e Gilbert Murray que esta se "convertendo em um liberal Gladstoniano". A brilhante frase "It's a great life, if you don't weaken" (a vida é genial se não te dás por vencido) é atribuída a ele. Outra frase memorável é "No great cause is ever lost or won, The battle must always be renewed, And the creed must always be restated" ("nenhuma grande causa é ganha ou perdida, a batalha deve sempre ser recomeçada, e as crenças devem sempre ser renovadas").

O ramo de Buchan da Igreja livre da Escócia se uniu à Igreja presbiteriana escocesa em 1929. Foi um ativo Mayor (um oficial permanente, eleito por uma congregação presbiteriana, e ordenado para servir nos ofícios e ajudar ao pastor na comunhão) da igreja de Londres de Saint Columba e da paróquia presbiteriana de Oxford. Em 1933 e 1934 foi lord alto comissário da assembleia geral da igreja.[8]

Vida no Canadá[editar | editar código-fonte]

Em 1935 se torna governador-geral do Canadá e é nomeado Barão Tweedsmuir de Elsfield no condado de Oxford. O primeiro-ministro de Canadá William Lyon Mackenzie King queria que fosse ao Canadá como plebeu, mas o rei Jorge V insistiu em ser representado por um par.

Buchan continuou escrevendo inclusive depois de sua nomeação como governador-geral. Seus livros posteriores incluem novelas, histórias e suas opiniões do Canadá. Além disso, escreve uma autobiografia, "Memory Hold-the-Door", ainda como governador-geral. Sua esposa foi escritora, escrevendo muitos livros e obras de teatro como Susan Buchan. Enquanto exercia sua própria carreira de escritor, promoveu o desenvolvimento de uma cultura canadense diferenciada. Em 1936, animado por Lady Tweedsmuir, fundou os Galardões do governador-geral, que continuam sendo um dos principais prêmios literários do Canadá.

Lady Tweedsmuir promoveu de forma ativa a literatura no Canadá. Fez uso da Rideau Hall como centro de distribuição para 40 mil livros, os quais foram enviados a leitores de áreas remotas do oeste. Seu programa ficou conhecido como "the Lady Tweedsmuir Prairie Library Scheme" (O projeto da biblioteca das pradarias de Lady Tweedsmuir). Juntos, Lord e Lady Tweedsmuir estabeleceram a primeira biblioteca propriamente dita em Rideau Hall.

Tweedsmuir tomou suas obrigações no Canadá seriamente e tentou fazer que o cargo de governador-geral fosse pertinente para a vida de um canadense comum. Com suas próprias palavras: "um Governador Geral está numa posição única porque é sua obrigação conhecer todo o Canadá e todos as diversas características de sua gente".

Tweedsmuir viajou por todo Canadá, incluindo as regiões árticas. Aproveitou cada ocasião para falar aos canadenses e animá-los a desenvolver sua própria identidade. Queria construir a unidade nacional com base em diminuir as barreiras religiosas e linguísticas que dividiam o país[9]. Tweedsmuir se deu conta da situação que era sofrida por muitos canadenses devido à Grande Depressão e logo escreveu mostrando compaixão por conta de suas dificuldades.

Tweedsmuir foi reconhecido pelas universidades de Glasgow, St. Andrews, McGill, Toronto e Montreal, sendo outorgado por todas elas o título de Doutor em leis, e de Membro Honorário e Doutor Honorário em Lei Civil por Oxford.

Quando o rei Jorge V morre em 1936, a fachada do Rideau Hall foi coberta por um tecido preto e Lord Tweedsmuir cancelou todos os festejos durante o período de luto. O novo herdeiro ao trono, o rei Eduardo VIII, logo abdica para casar-se com Wallis Simpson – dando lugar a uma crise no que concernia à monarquia. Não obstante, quando o novo rei, Jorge VI e a rainha Elizabeth viajaram por todo o Canadá em 1939; a visita real – a primeira visita ao Canadá por um soberano reinante – foi extremamente popular[10].

Como muitas pessoas de seu tempo, a experiência que resultou na Segunda Guerra Mundial o convenceram dos horrores do conflito armado e trabalhou com o Presidente Roosevelt do Estados Unidos e com o primeiro-ministro canadense Mackenzie King, em uma tentativa de evitar o perigo sempre presente de uma nova guerra mundial.

Enquanto barbeava-se em 6 de fevereiro de 1940, sofreu um AVC, ferindo-se gravemente na queda de cabeça. Recebendo o melhor cuidado possível,sob os cuidados do famoso neurologista Dr. Wilder Penfield, do Instituto Neurológico e Hospital de Montreal, que o operou duas vezes, mas o ferimento foi fatal. Em 11 de fevereiro, apenas 10 meses antes de seu mandato expirar, Tweedsmuir morreu. O primeiro-ministro Mackenzie King refletiu a perda de todos os canadenses sentiram ao ler as seguintes palavras no rádio.[11]

Com o falecimento de Sua Excelência, o povo do Canadá perdeu um dos maiores e mais reverenciados governadores-gerais, e um amigo que desde o dia da sua chegada a este país, dedicou sua vida a servir.

Essa foi a primeira vez que um governador-geral morreu durante seu mandato desde a fundação da Confederação. Depois do velório no Senado, teve lugar um funeral de estado ao Barão Tweedsmuir na Igreja Presbiteriana de Saint Andrew em Ottawa. Suas cinzas foram devolvidos à Inglaterra no cruzador HMS Orion para o enterro em Elsfield.

Reputação[editar | editar código-fonte]

Recentemente, como outros de seus contemporâneos, sua reputação foi manchada por sua falta de correção política, em fatos como o anti-semitismo, expresso em alguns trechos de seus romances, como no capítulo inicial de "The Thirty-Nine Steps". (Note, entretanto, que foi parte ativa dos judeus durante a década de 30, e por isso o seu nome aparece na "lista negra" de Adolf Hitler). Um narrador extremamente atraente, o tempo tratou bem o seu trabalho e sua popularidade está experimentando um ressurgimento hoje.

Buchan tinha uma reputação de pessoa discreta. Ele estava envolvido no corpo de informações como propagandista durante a I Guerra Mundial e, mais tarde poderia estar relacionado com a inteligência britânica. Ele é citado como estando relacionado de alguma forma durante os anos próximos da Segunda Guerra Mundial com o chefe da agência de espionagem, o canadense de origem britânica William Stephenson.

Na década de 30 Buchan financiou moral e monetariamente ao jovem acadêmico Roberto Weiss, já que Buchan estava fascinado pelo período da Antiguidade clássica que Weiss estudava, e que Buchan desejava apoiar.

Dizia-se de sua autobiografia "Memory Hold-the-Door" (publicada nos Estados Unidos com o título "Pilgrim's Way") que era o livro favorito de John F. Kennedy[carece de fontes], ainda que uma lista dada pela revista Life em 1961 citasse a "Montrose" como primeiro na lista.

John Buchan é comemorado em Makars' Court, além do Museu de Escritores em Lawnmarket, Edimburgo.

As eleições para o Makars' Court são feitas pelo Museu de Escritores, a Saltire Society e a Biblioteca de Poesia da Escócia.

Bibliografia[editar | editar código-fonte]

  • (em inglês) Andrew Lownie: John Buchan: The Presbyterian Cavalier (David R. Godine Publisher, 2003) ISBN 1-56792-236-8
  • (em inglês) Daniell, David, The Interpreter's House: A Critical Assessment of John Buchan (Nelson, 1975) ISBN 0-17-146051-0
  • (em inglês) Macdonald, Kate, John Buchan: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction (McFarland & Company, 2009) ISBN 978-0-7864-3489-3
  • (em inglês) Macdonald, Kate (ed.), Reassessing John Buchan: Beyond 'The Thirty-Nine Steps' (Pickering & Chatto, 2009) ISBN 978-1-85196-998-2
  • (em inglês) Smith, Janet Adam, John Buchan: A Biography (1965) (Oxford University Press, reissue 1985) ISBN 0-19-281866-X
  • (em inglês) Waddell, Nathan, Modern John Buchan: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) ISBN 978-1-4438-1370-9
  • (em inglês) Brinckman, John, Down North: John Buchan and Margaret-Bourke on the MackenzieISBN 978-0-9879163-3-4


  1. «Scottish politician, diplomat, author and publisher». National Archives. Consultado em 1 de março de 2010 
  2. ab«Queen's University Archives > Exhibits > John Buchan > Oxford, 1895–1899: Scholar Gypsy». Queen's University. Consultado em 30 de março de 2009 
  3. Office of the Governor General of Canada. «Governor General > Former Governors General > Lord Tweedsmuir of Elsfield». Queen's Printer for Canada. Consultado em 14 dr abril de 2010 
  4. Parry, J. P. (2002), «From the Thirty-Nine Articles to the Thirty-Nine Steps: reflections on the thought of John Buchan», in: Bentley, Michael, Public and Private Doctrine: Essays in British History presented to Maurice Cowling, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 226 
  5. ↑Parry 2002, p. 227
  6. «Queen's University Archives > Exhibits > John Buchan > World War 1: The Department of Information». Queen's University. Consultado em 30 de março de 2009 
  7. «Parliamentary Debates (Hansard)». 24 de novembro de 1932 
  8. Christopher Hitchens (março de 2004). «Between Kipling and Fleming stands John Buchan, the father of the modern spy thriller». The Atlanic. Consultado em 13 de agosto de 2014 
  9. Saunders, Doug (27 de junho de 2009), «Canada's mistaken identity», The Globe and Mail, consultado em 28 de junho de 2009 
  10. Galbraith, William (1989). «Fiftieth Anniversary of the 1939 Royal Visit». Ottawa: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Canadian Parliamentary Review. 12 (3). Consultado em 29 de março de 2009 
  11. Hillmer, Norman. «Biography > Governors General of Canada > Buchan, John, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir». In: Marsh, James H. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Toronto: Historica Foundation of Canada. Consultado em 31 de março de 2009 

Ligações externas[editar | editar código-fonte]

Instalação do Barão Tweedsmuir como Governador-geral do Canadá, pelo primeiro-ministro Mackenzie King.
Foto de Lord Tweedsmuir vestindo trajes indígenas. Foto de Yousuf Karsh.