English 11

That’s Not My Job!

Measuring the extent to which individuals are responsible for solving the world’s problems.

Part 1:
Read the following scenarios aloud with your group and think about the extent to which the person in the situation is responsible for solving the problem presented. Answer the questions that follow each scenario and be sure to provide a rationale for your answers.

1. Sarah and Jenny are juniors at the same high school. Although they have not known each other long, they have become very good friends. The girls eat breakfast together every morning at school because they have joined the same study group. While Sarah brings her breakfast from home, Jenny receives hers from the free meal program at school. Sarah has observed that for the past month, Jenny has eaten a donut and a small carton of orange juice every morning. This troubles Sarah because Jenny is overweight and has mentioned several times that she is trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle, and clearly this meal does not seem healthy. One morning Jenny reveals that in order to get a glass of juice from the free meal program, the school says she must take the provided meal as well. Sarah is shocked by this news; although the school is trying to help Jenny, it seems that in this case, they might be adding to her problems. Does Sarah have any responsibility to help solve this problem? Why or why not?

2. It’s a busy day at Starbucks and Sally is in a hurry. She has finished her coffee and decides to visit the bathroom before she heads off to the library. As she is getting ready to leave, she realizes that she has used the last of the toilet paper. As she walks out of the ladies’ room, she sees two more people standing in line. Does Sally have any responsibility to solve this problem? Why or why not?

3. John’s mom sent him to Dominick’s to pick up some items for dinner. While he is in the produce section, he sees a mother pushing her child in a shopping cart. The child reaches out to touch an apple, and the mother slaps his hand and yells that the kid should keep his damn hands to himself. She continues yelling at the child and then slaps his face. John notices the child crying. Does John have any responsibility to help solve this problem? Why or why not?

4. Samantha and Dan have been dating for two years. She is eighteen and a senior in high school, and Dan, who is nineteen, graduated last year. Dan worked construction for a year after high school and has just recently been laid off. He collects unemployment, but also waiters a few nights a week at a local restaurant. Because he does not declare his tips to the government, he is still eligible to receive his unemployment check every month. This bothers Samantha for several reasons. First, she believes that Dan’s behavior is unethical. Secondly, her uncle Rich, who is fifty and has been unable to find any work since he was let go from a large advertising agency last year, has been collecting unemployment for about six months in order to support his family. After comparing Dan’s and Rich’s situations, Samantha feels sorry for families who do not get the help they need because of people like Dan who manipulate the system. Is Samantha responsible for helping to solve this problem? Why or why not?

5. Tosha is on her way to her math class and passes a boyfriend and girlfriend fighting in the hallway. The boy is visibly angry and is yelling at the girl whose eyes are red with tears. She tries to walk away, but he grabs the arm of her sweatshirt and continues yelling. Tosha does not know either student, nor does she know why they are fighting; however, she feels nervous about the situation. Does Tosha have any responsibility to help solve this problem? Why or why not?

6. Ryan, the captain of the varsity basketball team, spent Saturday night with his teammates. Because of Ryan’s position on the team, he is very serious about his obligation to the student-athlete contract and, therefore, does his best to stay clear of any trouble. During the party, however, Ryan observed two of his younger teammates drinking secretly away from the group, who would also disagree with the two boys’ behavior. Because he felt uncomfortable, Ryan decided to leave the party. When he arrived at school on Monday, he heard that two of the boys at the party who were not drinking were being accused of doing so by the dean. Although Ryan knows the truth, he is nervous about breaking the student-athlete code which states that any athlete found at a party with alcohol will be punished. Is Ryan responsible for helping to solve this problem? Why or why not?

Part 2:
Compile a list of “rules” that seem to warrant when a person is responsible for helping solve others’ problems.
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Part 3:
Look over your list of rules that outline the necessity of individual responsibility and determine if McMurphy has made a good choice in helping the other patients in the ward. Should he be responsible for helping them solve their problems? Provide a rationale for your answer.