Throughout my life, I have been exposed to different writing styles, from simple conventional ones found in picture books, to more complex like Shakespeare plays. Coming to college I knew the intensity of writing was going to change compared to high school. Even though I took college preparation classes, like AP and IB, nothing could have prepared me to what I have faced these past five weeks. Overall, I feel I have done a decent job this quarter to summit all my assignments on time and getting good grades on them.
Coming into class on the first week, I believed that I was in an okay position because even though I took writing throughout high school, I had not practice my writing skills formally for six months. I believed that with some review and practice, I would have my writing skills back.
The first week of writing was stressful. From writing maybe two hundred words for my biology course to writing two essays due on the same day. My finished products reflected the lack of practiced I had through the months. On my critical reading assignment #1 shown below:
I was asked to write an analysis of a short story called “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler. The assignment asked to analyze how the afterword was reflected on the story. I thought that it was asking me to just analyze the afterword. It was a mistake that I made, which my instructor pointed out.
"Your analysis was supposed to be of the story, not of the "afterward"
At this moment, I realized that I needed to read more closely in what the assignments were asking me to do. She gave me a warning but I knew that if I made this mistake again, she would not give me credit for the assignment because I did not answer the prompt.
Through these past weeks, I have seen how I have strengthen certain writing characteristics. I saw that I can support my arguments with evidence from the text seen below in bold letters. That is a key feature because without evidence, your arguments is not supported and you cannot convince the reader to support your argument. Incorporating argument is not just getting a sentence from the text you are reading and putting it into the essay. You have to read closely and get the quote that strengthens your argument. If you incorporate a quote that does not support your argument, your essay losses focus and the audience may become confuse and not understand your claim. An example is my critical assignment #2 because I needed to convince that an article convinced the tropes of fantasy as shown below:
Critical Reading #2
Fantasy or reality? This is just one of the many questions a writer should take into consideration before putting pen on paper. In the text “Wanted: Respect for Wizards, Orcs” by Lev Grossman describes how fantasy is viewed in society and the convections which a fantasy novel should have. The short story “Movable Beast” by Maria Dahvana Headley exemplifies coming of age in which a fantasy story should be based on Grossmam ideals in order to provide a unique experience to the reader and spur their imagination.
Headley conforms in certain ways her significance of coming of age on her short story. Headley introduces a young girl named Angela who is depicting her small town, Bastardville, as being mysteriously altered by a beast who lives in the forest. Coming of age can be described as a genre of literature in which the protagonist evolves from a child to an adult and is “the moment when a powerless, mundane person realizes that he or she is anything but.” (Grossman pg 2) Even though the short story is prolonged in a couple of days, Angela realizes that she does not “want to get married at all” (Dahvana 190) and live an average lifestyle like the rest of the women in Bastardville. Angela is struggling in defining her destiny. Coming of ages is demonstrated when Angela duty is to help feed the beast because “Virgins were never sacrifices…Virgins are collaborators.” (Dahvana pg 197). Coming of age is an important aspect in a novel because it allows the protagonist to have a sense of enlightenment in order to change the course of the novel and using it as a surprise factor for the reader. Without the usage of coming of age, the novel will not be able to develop a sense of realization and suspense.
Coming of age is an import factor in the development of a fantasy because it allows the protagonist to have a moment of realization and provides the story with drama as demonstrated in “Movable Beast”.
Another strength that I have is that I always try to incorporate sophisticated word choice. In some cases, it is good because it provides credibility by demonstrating the audience that I am an educated person but it may sometimes be a burden, because I choose words that do not make sense in the context I am writing about. I need to be careful that my vocabulary makes sense regarding the paper I am writing about. A characteristic that I have is that I always proofread my work. Because English is my second language, I sometimes mix up the verb tense of the sentence or the structure of the sentence does not make sense. This has allowed me to double check my writing in order for my message to be clear and presentable.
As a human being we are not perfect, especially in writing. Some improvements that I can make on my writing is being more specific regarding my thesis. If the thesis is not correctly assembled, the essay is not coherent and confusing because the audience does not know what you are arguing or trying to convey. Another improvement I can do in my writing is to start my topic sentence relating to the thesis. I have made the mistake in just going right into the evidence as demonstrated in my Rhetorical analysis rough draft. This makes the essay harder to read and may get the audience confused because they may not be clear on what you are arguing. It may also lead for the audience to wonder if the paragraph presented actually supports your thesis or not. It is better to emphasize how the paragraph supports your claim.
The process in making the rhetorical analysis was not an easy one. Beginning with the first rough draft, it was challenging in a way because I found I had an idea in talking about the psychology of the characters but I was struggling in making a clear thesis. I wrote a thesis statement that barely touch what i wanted to explain shown below.
Since I was struggling coming up with a clear and efficient thesis it was difficult to reach the minimum of four pages without my essay losing focus and not supporting the thesis. I decided that should go to office hours in order to get clarification and polishing a new thesis. I would change how I wrote my rough draft by going to office hours before writing the essay, just to go over my thesis in order to have a more focused idea on what I was writing about to be more productive while writing my essay during the weekend and not stress out.
The second rhetorical analysis draft we were assigned to write out the whole essay aiming to complete the word count. This time it was easier to develop my essay because I had a more focused essay. Now the problem was incorporating my outside sources to support my claim. I had credible sources but the problem was that I was not conveying how they supported my thesis. It seemed like if I just put the outside source. I went again to office hours to talk to my instructor about the incorporation of my outside sources. She help me think how to I should incorporate my sources in order to support my essay demonstrated below.
If I could change something from my second draft it will be to explain my outside sources in a way in which supported my argument in order to create ethos within my audience. I would change it by demonstrating the connection between my thesis and article.
During my final draft of my rhetorical analysis I made some corrections regarding my thesis as shown below.
I went once again to office hours and discussed that I was reflecting the psychology of the characters. In order to be able to explain a convince a person about the psychology of a human being, I would have need previous knowledge of psychology in order to intergrade psychological terms in my essay, which was not the case. We talk on different ways to change my thesis without needing to alter a great amount of my essay. After office hours, I went back to my essay and took everything out that regarded or mentioned the psychology of the character. Overall it was a long and tiring procedure because I was constantly reflecting in how I could have made my essay better.
An aspect in which I can improve on is to not get distracted while writing my essay. There are certain moments that I begin writing my essay but I stop because I got a text message. When I finish my text, I forget the idea that I was planning to incorporate. This leads for my though process to last longer and eventually leads to stress and boredom because I cannot finish the essay.
Over the past five weeks I have learned a variety of things. I learned about the rhetoric triangle. I was never introduced to rhetoric triangle before the class. It is a great aspect because it makes you consider who is the speaker/writer, audience and subject. It is a good way in keeping your ideas focused. I have also learned to compose a rhetorical analysis essay. I had a difficult time composing my rhetorical analysis because constantly I was going back and writing a literary analysis instead of a rhetorical analysis. I went multiple times to my instructor’s office hours to clarify the idea of rhetorical analysis. It was not an easy process. It took me a great amount of time to compose a rhetorical analysis essay but finally I did it.
I have learned that peer review and editing is a great component in succeeding on writing. Peer review allow me to get the ideas and suggestions from other people shown below.
It helped me elaborate on my essay and create a stronger paper. By reading my peer’s papers, it allowed me to get exposed to different writing styles and ideas which I could use on my writing. It was a great component in composing my rhetorical essay because they gave me advice in ways to improve my essay. Office hours was also a great way to proofread my essay because my instructor was encouraging to dig deeper in my understanding of the text and help me to clarify certain ideas of the text to incorporate on my essay. Without office hours, I do not believe that my essay would be as elaborate and focus.
These past couple of weeks I have learn a variety of things from peer reviewing to developing a convincing argument. What I am looking forward in learning for the rest of the course is to analyze a text better because I might get confused in what a prompt may be asking or the claim in which a story may try to convey. Another aspect that I hope to learn in writing 39B is to express my ideas clearer and make my writing flow better. By improving on this aspect, it will allow me to become a stronger writer and be ready for my upper division classes that require a great amount of writing as well as interacting with professors.