Making of a Divorce Culture

1. Whitehead claims in the opening sentence that “[d]ivorce is now part of everyday American life.”  What evidence can you point to–from popular culture, American society, or your own experience–to support or refute that claim?

2. Arguing that the increasing divorce rate is due, in part, to a shift in the way marriage is viewed, Whitehead says Americans have moved from an ethic of obligation to the family to an ethic of personal self-fulfillment.  Again, what evidence can you point to from popular culture, American society, or your own experience to support or refute that claim?  When/how do you think a family member act according to an ethic of obligation, and when according to an ethic of self-fulfillment?

3. Whitehead disputes the popular argument that children are better off when divorce “makes[s] one or both parents happier” (paragraph 11), suggesting that many contemporary problems can be traced to broken families.  Do you agree with Whitehead or with the popular conception that children can be better off after the ending of an unhappy marriage?  Explain your thoughts and reasoning, exploring the consequences of divorce for children.  For support/examples, draw upon your personal experience, the media, and, perhaps, information gathered from others whom you talk with/ask questions of.

4. You have a coyote, an adorable, completely defenseless angora bunny that just melts your heart simply to look at, and a bag full of Crunchy Flamin’ Hot Cheetos . You must cross a river with only one of them at a time. If you leave the coyote with the adorable, completely defenseless angora bunny, the coyote will eat the adorable, completely defenseless bunny; if you leave the adorable, completely defenseless bunny with the Crunchy Flamin’ Hot Cheetos he will eat them (and get that red powder all over his adorable defenseless fur). How can you get all three across safely?

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