Essay: The Osage Orange Tree Essay

Essay: The Osage Orange Tree Essay.

The Osage Orange Tree by William Stafford is about the relationship between a boy and a girl named Evangeline. In this story, the two main elements such as plot and theme dominate this story. This story had an interesting plot and ended in an unexpected but fascinating way. William Stafford described the scenery in such a way that we felt like we are in the story. The two met during the boy’s paper route and had a conversation. The boy was in need of another customer so Evangeline took a paper home to ask her parents to buy it – or at least the boy thought she did.

As the story moves on, everything that happened seemed to fall in place. Since the story was told from the boy’s point of view, we can read his feelings and understand his life in a better way. The Osage Orange Tree is a very well organized story where the details fall into place and create an interesting ending.

It all started from the first day of school when the boy stood alone by the flagpole and watched the other people talk amongst themselves happily. Then he spotted a girl, alone, wearing a faded blue dress and holding a sack lunch. During his paper route, he and Evangeline ran across one another and talked amongst each other. In need of another customer, the boy gave Evangeline one to take home and ask her parents to buy it. The next day of school Evangeline told the boy that his parents said yes. From then on, the paper was delivered under an Osage orange tree in front of Evangeline’s house. This went on until graduation, when Evangeline did not show up for the graduation ceremony.

The boy asked Evangeline’s brother, the school janitor, where Evangeline was. Evangeline’s brother told the boy that Evangeline had stolen from her own bank account. He went to visit Evangeline’s house after his paper route when a woman stepped out and told him to get away. As he walked across a bridge, he threw a paper under the bridge and as he looked for where the paper landed, he saw a box of newspapers. He now understood what had happened – Evangeline had taken money out of her bank account to buy papers from the boy, without her parents even knowing about it. The author organized this story in a way that every clue comes together in the end to come out with an interesting ending.

There are really only two main characters, the boy and Evangeline. Both live in poverty, especially Evangeline. Evangeline lived in a sagging barn and wore the same clothes everyday. She was often teased in school because of her poorness in clothes and other things. Her brother is a middle-aged man who worked as the school janitor. The boy was a little better off. He tries to blend into the crowds of boys but is not talkative and is very shy. He lives in a town or community that lives off of wheat and burns wheat for fuel.

There are several settings in this story; the school, the Osage orange tree, Evangeline’s barn, the graduation ceremony, and the bridge. Each setting had a specific thing that happens in them. In the school, the characters are announced. Under the Osage orange tree the two meet and the boy gives Evangeline the newspaper. Outside of Evangeline’s barn, the woman chases the boy away. The graduation ceremony is where the graduation is held place and the boy cannot find Evangeline. And the bridge is where the climatic part is held place, when the boy finds the stack of newspapers.

In this story, the Osage orange tree symbolizes the friendship between the boy and Evangeline. Under the Osage orange tree is where the two teenagers met daily and brought them closer. In a way, the Osage orange tree symbolizes the separation between the two because the pile of boxed newspaper was also found near the tree.

The theme of the story is poverty destroys ones spirits. The newspaper that Evangeline buys is probably a money burden to her family. They already live in a sagging barn that looks like it might just fall over. She still buys that newspaper as if she were trying to be in his social class. She thought that maybe buying the newspaper would make him think that she’s worth being his friend. Poverty destroys ones spirit because it makes the reader feel that one might not feel very confident about herself and also toward others.

The author includes good detail into the scenery that makes us feel like we are in the story. The author also includes details on the people, too. Here is an example; “She was of medium height, and slim. Her face was pale, her forehead high, her eyes blue. Her tranquil face… (pg. 107)” After reading this, one can picture Evangeline’s face and have a good idea of how she looks.

The Osage Orange Tree by William Stafford is a well-organized story with parts of the story accumulating into an interesting ending. Since the point of view is from the boy’s side, we can understand how he feels and feel the way he would really feel. The author put details and symbolisms in the scenery and people to give the readers a better picture in their heads. The theme of this story tells the reader that one’s poverty can ruin confidence within the person. This story was a joy to read because of its organization imagery, and how everything came together and created a great ending.

Essay: The Osage Orange Tree Essay

New York Times v. Sullivan Essay

New York Times v. Sullivan Essay.

  1. Introduction

Communication refers to the exchange of ideas or information between two or more people. Information composes of voice (e.g. telephone, handy talky etc), data (short message services/SMS, facsimile etc), and video (video streaming, video conference etc). Although the types of information are still the same, their importance always gets stronger eventually.

Information is the root of actions and becomes more important in this information age. This is because its importance has even doubled, tripled, or even infinite as people in this age understand the necessities to learn about incidences in other part of the world and become more knowledgeable to use appropriate information for their advantages.

As the sense of knowing give reasons and confidence to act towards issues, information, if delivered truthfully, can be the instruments of great deeds. In contrast if the information is manipulated it will lead people to disastrous wrongful acts.

Televisions, newspapers, magazines, radios and the internet are now becoming main sources of public information where we can find out what happened in the world.

The media, therefore, have been noteworthy sources of information although it faces great challenges since readers now seriously question about the truth of information presented in the media. Readers think that most of media tend to create public opinion that the sources want, driven by their political concerns.

This is true since politic, in its nature, is capable to influence and control everyone’s life and lifestyles, and has always in the spotlight. As society gets wiser, attention on politics has never been this scrutiny. With very powerful people or party played their hands in it, politics has been one of the strongest reasons why the role of media as a trustworthy messenger is questioned. In line with the idea, Lynden Johnson says”reporters are puppet, they simply respond to the pull of the most powerful strings.”

In this paper, we will discuss the role of media in setting the political agenda. We take into account the 1964’s case “New York Times vs. Sullivan” in describing the topic. Prior to the discussion, we will develop the idea of media power, and the framing, priming, and agenda setting.

  1. New York Times vs. Sullivan
    • Fact

Back to the 1964 where the feud between New York Times and Sullivan existed, we witnessed that the case has gradually changed the maneuver of U.S. newspapers. Nowadays, we witness that U.S. media are paying a great attention on Paris Hilton than on Capitol Hill. The reason is that today’s media are less concerned to expose the misdeeds and motivations of powerful people or public officials.

According to Goldman (2004), the case of New York Times v. Sullivan begun when New York Times published a full-page ad that suspected the arrest of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. for perjury in Alabama was part of a concerted effort to tear down King’s efforts to integrate public facilities and encourage blacks to vote.

The ad soon arouses the ire of a public official named L. B. Sullivan, the Montgomery city commissioner. The commissioner then filed a libel action against the Times and brought four black ministers who supported the ad into the court for claiming that the allegations against the Montgomery police defamed him personally (Goldman).

Under the auspices of the Alabama law, Sullivan finally won the case and received $500,000. This was happened since under the state’s law Sullivan did not even have to prove that he had been harmed. In contrast, Times’ defense saying the ad was invalid since the ad contained factual errors (Goldman).

2.2       Learning from the case of New York Times v. Sullivan

The decision of the Court that favored Sullivan was based on the First Amendment, which “protects the publication of all statements, even false ones, about the conduct of public officials except when statements are made with actual malice with knowledge that they are false or in reckless disregard of their truth or falsity” (Goldman).

Furthermore, Goldman explains the new ruling, in effect to this day, says “it is not enough for a plaintiff to show that a printed or televised account is false and defamatory. Under such circumstances, the plaintiff needs to show that the media has reported erroneous and recklessly ignoring facts.

The actual malice rule at a minimum encourages newspapers to take risks defaming people they otherwise would not take. The new ruling makes media to have the best defense when dealing with sue by a public figure. He adds that such defense would make it very difficult to sue newspapers and television stations even if they got an entire story wrong. Unfortunately, the case of Times vs. Sullivan have driven the press a little more arrogant than it needs to be when covering politicians or public figures.

III.      How Powerful Is Media?

Mc Combs and Shaw in their book the Emergence of American Political Issue, state that today’s media have the powerful function to organize how the world looks for us. They might not successfully control our minds, but they are undeniably capable to “direct” our everyday thoughts.

In similar tone, Shanto Iyengar and Donald Kinder in his book News That Matters, says that by paying attention to one issue and neglecting others, television is able to decide what American believed to be the most important issue to think about.

For instance, Israel – Palestinian lifetime conflict has been America’s most important concerns in 2003, and judging from the nature of the issue (e.g. atrocities, suicide bombing, etc), it is newsworthy, but as the media turn their focus to the Iraq war, Schwarzenegger’s governor election and the California Wildfires, the Israel-Palestinian issue is somehow diminished, although the debacle is not even approaching a win-win solution (“Anti Propaganda Watch”).

  1. Framing, Priming and Agenda Setting

Framing is the process of making a “meaning” out of incidents or stories. In the effort of building a line of comprehension between journalists and the readers, the frames are often drawn from. It is said to often chosen unintentionally. As an example, when a journalist is making a story about the high rising rate of poverty in a state, he or she will have to do what is called thematic framing, which means that eventually, a connection will have to be made between the increasing rate of poverty and the state government’s policies. While in periodic framing, the routine nature of the story derive journalists to put the blame on individual  actors, preventing audience from making a generalization of the stories (London).

Priming is done when a journalist gives an extra weight onto an issue or an opinion, allowing people’s mind to have a change in their opinion. This is usually done by giving extra amount of coverage, making an issue salient while others not.

Agenda Setting is even more conspicuous than the two terms we have mentioned before. It is a process of giving a certain theme over incidents that happens in a coverage area. By using materials that are sensitive to society, journalist can properly “put in ideas on people’s head”. For example, research shows that a single exposure on a violent crime-related news can heightened people’s fear of being victimized, which then gave the idea that violent crime is a very important issue (“Media Effects”).

One of the most attractive issue on priming and agenda setting is the LA Times anti-Israel Propaganda. In the join the boycott website, there are enough reasons to make visitors of the site hate the LA Times. According to the website, the boycott is due the intolerable bias on news coverage relating Israel-Palestinian ‘endless’ debacle. Furthermore, it shows that LA times has done all of the three forbidden acts of journalism we have addressed before. This situation also applies to the case of New York Times v. Sullivan in which the Times has set up a political agenda about Black community to vote.

  1. Conclusion

The role of media in our society is unbelievably important. Truthful coverage is always a worthy achievement. Politics does not come in the form of campaigns, elections, and the affairs of big government, but also the press as mind setters of the society.

Furthermore, the new ruling, in effect since the case of New York Times v. Sullivan to this day, favors media to expose the misdeeds conducted by politicians or public figures in which the new ruling enables media to cover politicians aggressively without fear of lawsuits.

However, the audiences still have absolute control to choose what they want or do not want to value what journalists distinguish as important. Nevertheless, the psychological implications of framing, priming and agenda setting are less significant. The existence of a picture and the atmosphere of the language can be a gentle but powerful way to alter opinions to the preferred direction.


Goldman, Jerry. “New York Times v. Sullivan.” OYEZ. 2004. Retrieved April 2, 2005 <>

 “How Public Is the NPR?” Retrieved March 19, 2005 from <>

Iyengar, Shanto. “Media Effects.” 1998. Retrieved April 2, 2005 from

“LA Times Israel anti-propaganda Watch.” 2004. Retrieved April 2, 2005 from <>

London, Scott. “How Media Frames Political Issues.” 1993. Retrieved April 2, 2005 from <>

Pulle, Matt. “Don’t Kill the Messenger.” Nashville Scene. 2005. Retrieved April 2, 2005 from <>

U.S. Supreme Court. “New York Times v. Sullivan.” Retrieved April 2, 2005 from <>

New York Times v. Sullivan Essay