The author makes use of the poem by Theodore Roethke and of the conflict in opinion which caused different opinions in a class between students and the Professor. The Professor viewed the poem as being that of a hardworking middle class father who also found time to spend with his kids and the time was so precious that the small boy equates it to hanging on like death. The students felt the poem reflects a father with an alcoholic abuse problem. Culture here changes how people perceive things. The time, in which the poem was written is also far removed as in current times, children see parenting in a more positive style with middle class values reflecting more sensitive fathers. In acculturation, the students would have internalized values to such an extent that they see everything rigidly. In practical life this makes it more difficult for them to work out problems. The rigidity of thinking does not support thinking from different perspectives. The world of dichotomies does not make sense to the individual because their ingrained assumptions and herein critical thinkers are challenged. The only way to come out of these challenges is to question culture and the dominated thinking that how culture imparts to one. Cultural myths have to be questioned and have to be made open to analysis and on the other hand, contradictory myths must also not be rejected but must at least to be considered.
Two important elements are required for critical thinking. Understanding active reading and the power of dialogues are these two elements. The power of dialogues helps the reader to enter into a critical thinking style based on dialogues and debates. This helps the thinker to enter into active discussions with one another on the subject that they read. Intellectual stimulation is better here with participation. The second element is about active reading. An active reader skims the text, finds core points in the text and writes down his questions and thought processes before reading the text in depth. In writing down some questions or ideas in the form of prewriting, the active reader connects themselves in a much more critical context with the text. The second time when they read the text in depth, the active reader will not only seek connections with the ideas they developed, but will also seek answers for the questions that arose in their mind when they first read the text. The active reader should also make notes in the text in order to ensure that they understand the text in their perceptions and not just how the writer intends it. In addition to this the reader would also connect across passages and shuttle from one to another.
The critical thinker is created out of a college or University education. According to this chapter of the book, the person actively gets involved into becoming a critical thinker. The book Rereading America is structured such that it would help the person read the book to become a critical thinker. The chapters help the person overcome controversial thoughts and acquire radical perspectives. The book is neither about affirmative action nor is about public issues. It comprises a wide selection from different sources specifically designed to help the reader in developing their critical thinking skills. The readings enable the reader to join in the conversation and come up with questions for understanding them better.