Over the course of the semester there has been one project that has evolved the most, and that would hands down be the blog. In the beginning of the semester when we were told that we had to create a blog and post our thoughts about the many passages and stories we read in class my initial thought was negative. I never had been a big blogger; I hadn’t really understood the concept of it and I didn’t like the idea that anyone could read my posts. I found it difficult to pick themes, organize my posts and use the dashboard to view my comments. That had bugged me too because I’ve always been good at navigating through websites and figuring them out but this one was very confusing.
As the semester progressed and we had to post more blogs, I still wasn’t fond of posting my thoughts. I had figured out how to get to comments and use the dashboard but still I didn’t get the point of posting thoughts, that was until the first essay. Posting the first essay and then reviewing it in class with my group that could access it beforehand and come with feedback began to change my thought about the blog. I liked being able to go to peer reviews having read my group members essays along with them reading mine, being able to share ideas and critiques to make our papers better. This had started to make the blog turn into a tool for me, turning it from negative to positive.
I started to enjoy using the blog, changing it up and adding pictures, giving it that personal touch. I didn’t mind that people could view my posts because it could only help them or me getting feedback or giving others another perspective that they may have not thought of before. This really helped me for the third essay especially. After posting my rough draft I knew I would get the help I needed for the essay because I had no idea which direction I was supposed to go in. The next day going in to the peer review I was ready to get feedback and ideas to help me form my essay, and after I was able to proceed to write my essay. I loved being able to use the blog as part of our peer reviews because it really helped.
The final blog project was by far my favorite assignment this semester. When we were told about the project I thought, “wow there are so many things I could focus my blog on.” Before I had begun writing and turning my blog into what it is today it had undergone many changes throughout the semester. First starting out with a blank white page with the first post being about myself, it had turned into a page with a stylish theme, calendar and many more posts dealing with assignment we had over the course of the semester. It had evolved so much since the starting day and I realized, with my blog changing so did my writing. I believe I have progressed as a writer and thinker since the first day of class, and its visible in the posts on the blog.
Now the final project, this was the turning point for my blog. At first I really had no idea what to write about because I like many things but I couldn’t think of one that I truly could enjoy writing a bunch of information about. Then I thought about snowboarding. Just like I say in my blog, snowboarding has been a huge impact on my life and I like to think of myself as very knowledgeable on the subject. And no better way to explain it all then to organize my blog into one big hotspot for snowboarding and skiing, but not just only snowboarding and skiing but weather, trail maps, my personal reviews of mountains. My blog had completely evolved from a mandatory English class assignment into a tool to help me on my essays and finally into my own personal way to get information out about something I love. And I’m still not done! I can add so much more information to the blog such as equipment reviews, live video camera views of the mountain, where and where not to go, and even add a page for people to share their own ideas and information. The possibilities for this blog are endless. To think that it had just started as that blank one page with short posts to a compilation of snowboard/skiing information is amazing.
The blog as a whole was a huge project in itself, and it was one that I know had evolved into what it is today. As I said when we first started the blog I wasn’t a huge fan of it at all. Then it started to grow on me when I had begun to use it as a helpful tool in the production of my papers and assignments for class, and then finally into my own brainchild for snowboarding/skiing blogspot information. The span of 4 months made the blog undergo many changes but I am pleased with where it is now and the only way it can keep going is in the same direction. Overall I had really enjoyed this blog, and reflecting on it now makes me realize how much of a great assignment it was for our class.
Ugly: a main theme of the book The Bluest Eye reoccurs throughout the story involving every character. Morrison wrote this story to portray the lives of African Americans living a low-mid class life during the 1940s, and how others treated them, and how they felt about themselves. The characters in the book all had a standard thought of what was beautiful, and to them it would be unobtainable. This especially occurred more frequently with the female characters such as Mrs. Breedlove, Claudia, and Pecola.
The Bluest Eye depicts a standard thought that the only thing in that time period that was beautiful was being white. The younger girls Claudia and Pecola picked this up at a young age because the way they were treated by society and their parents. Pecola’s mother, Mrs. Breedlove, grew up and learned to hate the black skin on her body which she would later take out on her own child. This affected Pecola in a way that she wanted to be a completely different human being. She wanted a new persona, one that would not be judged by lighter skin people or be called ugly. And, she wanted one thing that was impossible, blue eyes.
Claudia did not necessarily think that she was ugly or want to become a different person as Pecola did. Instead, she felt inferior because of the underlying message she picked up that white people were in fact superior. This comes about early on in the book when she is given the white baby doll. She is confused where the beauty is with being white or light skinned, and tears the doll apart to find nothing but a “mere metal roundness.” After that she explains that she doesn’t have a hatred of dolls but anger towards white girls.
Early on in the book Pecola is staying at Claudia’s house with her family because her house had burned down. While she is there she is drinking milk from a cup with Shirley Temple and says she likes the girl. Claudia disgusts Shirley Temple and says she has always hated her because of her blonde hair and blue eyes while Pecola likes her because she looks pretty. Later that night Pecola is talking to Frieda and asks how babies are made and Frieda responds by saying she has to get someone to love you. From there on Pecola correlates being loved with being pretty and begins to think if she had blue eyes like Shirley Temple, then someone would love her and she wouldn’t think she was ugly.
This is all I have right now. I know I need to fix paragraph order and structure, as well as more examples of the theme Ugly.
In the Bluest Eye, Cholly and Pauline’s concerns of acceptance and beauty were shaped by events when they grew up. When Cholly was young, he was caught in the woods having sex with a girl by two white hunters. The white hunters forced him to continue and finish while they watched and when it was over they left. Cholly targeted his anger towards the girl instead of the two hunters and that fueled his rage towards women while growing up. Pauline stepped on a nail when she was younger, which left her with a limp. No one made fun of her, instead they left her alone. Being left alone she kept to herself and always cleaned and organized the house. She grew a passion for this activity and later became a housekeeper for other families. She and Cholly met and immediately fell in love. They wed and moved to Ohio to start their family. After awhile though, Cholly started reverting back to his old ways and heavily drinking. This affected the family negatively, and no one accepted them for beauty or innocence. Even their children were seen as ugly and unacceptable from where they came.
Discussion vs. Debate
Discussion and debate, two words that have similar meanings, yet when brought to life have two different outcomes. In the readings written by Graff and Tannen, both with similar and different ideas of the topic, they write about an “argument culture” that has developed in our society and how it has helped or hindered. Tannen focuses on discussion, and how debate has negatively affected students in the classroom. Graff writes in favor of debate and how he encourages his students to take side and defend it. Both authors find common ground on the topic, yet they stand to back up their own opinions as well.
Tannen opens up her piece with a story about her meeting with her reading group. Members of the group had said they enjoyed it except for one who immediately began to criticize the book, for personal reasons instead of how the book was written. After that, the meeting turned into a “game of critique” (qtd. Tannen pg.1) instead of what it really should have been, discussion of the book. This reminded her of her book The Argument Culture which she writes about agonisms and how they affect journalism, laws, the academic world and politics. She feels as if people, especially students in classrooms, are being taught to argue and be one-sided, instead of discuss from opposing positions and learn from each other.
Tannen feels that its wrong to train students this argumentative tactic. I quote “We assign scholarly work for them to read, then invite them to tear it apart.” (qtd. Tannen pg. 2) Doing so engages heated battle in the classroom which few students get into, but pushes other students away for the fear of losing this so called “battle.” In retrospect this affects students ability to learn and be able to work together. Tannen believes that if the class engages in discussions instead students will be “exploring ideas, uncovering nuances, comparing and contrasting different interpretations of a work — more students take part, and more of them gain a deeper, and more accurate, understanding of the material.” (qtd. Tannen pg.2 para. 4) Even though that seems to be the more civil way of talking about a topic, reward usually goes to those who tear down others work.
Graff writes in favor of the Argument Culture. Although he agrees with Tannen on there being an ugly side of debate, and he does not condone that behavior, he takes issue with her negative judgement. To Graff, debate is apart of our culture and is an unavoidable part of the life of democratic educational institutions and societies. He states “conflict, debate and disagreement are unavoidable aspects of human experience.” (qtd. Graff pg. 86 para. 1) Graff writes that because of the combative world we live in that is full of debates that head in the directions of destroying the opposing sides opinion, students gain this social mentality that they believe is right and, when debate, show their true feelings and passion to the matter. Debate brings out how the people involved deeply feel so they are more resistant to losing the battle and will not give up.
The conclusion I can draw to both Tannen and Graff is that both are on different sides of the fence of Argument Culture. Tannen is for discussion, believing it is more healthy and civil in the classroom for students to be open and share opinion to further themselves. Graff is for the side of debate, feeling that it breeds stronger students that aren’t afraid to show their passion when debating topics, and refuse to lose the imaginative battle.
In Graff’s, “Two Cheers for the Argument Culture”, he feels that the argumentative world that students enter in throughout their academic years, starts in middle school. He describes “Argument Culture” as a reaction to one of the known critics of debate. Tannen writes that current argument culture, pushes us to approach people in the world with a one set mind. Graff feels and states that the world we live in now is full of debates and arguments that are aimed to prove the other person wrong.
Graff does agree though, that there are “bad” versions of the argument culture, which usually control the debating scene. This only causes one thing, a need for an improved culture.
Tannen criticizes our society and culture for not being more open-minded. She believes that students are taught to critize when dealing with a debate in a classroom.
Reading and writing hasn’t played a large role in my life, at least reading hasn’t much. All throughout middle school and high school there were very few books I took interest in. We would be told to read books and prepare for tests and papers and being forced to read books made me not interested in reading at all. Writing on the other hand has had a larger role. Growing up my parents always emphasized reading and writing because without reading and writing, communicating with people becomes extremely difficult. When it comes to e-mailing a teacher, family, or boss at work, communication with proper English is key.
I never was a big fan of reading, for the reason that I thought it took up time that could put towards other important things. Very few books have caught my attention that I liked to read on my own, but the ones I have encountered and liked all have one thing in common, they were written by John Grisham. I have read many books by Grisham and they all seem to attract me even if they have different plots and scenarios. For example, the book The Firm and the book Ford County, both have two different plots and written differently but the way they were written attracted me to the text. But when it comes to text that is required by classes I feel as if it’s a chore to do it instead of an interesting read. Then I don’t become engaged with the reading and I put little effort into analyzing the text.
Writing comes to me a little differently. Even though my parents and teachers have stressed that reading and writing go hand in hand, which they do, I believe that writing is more important. Writing is what is used to communicate, which is one of the most important aspects of having a job in the business world. With writing there is vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and all different rules that need to be followed to be grammatically correct, and therefore sound professional. That to me is more important than reading. Being able to write a message without flaws and use word enhancers and be grammatically correct is a very difficult thing to learn and master.
Has reading and writing had a huge role in my life? Not as much as it should have, but between the two, writing has definitely played a larger role. Only do I feel that way because I will need to rely on it more in the future for possible jobs dealing business and communication, but where there is writing, there is reading and one cannot exist without the other.
I would compare Wolff’s book This Boy’s Life to Hook’s Writing Autobiography. In the book This Boy’s Life the main character Jack has a rough childhood growing up. Growing up all he wanted to do was make his mother happy but instead he wasn’t happy. Jack wants to change his personality and become a completely new Jack. In Hooks Writing Autobiography, Hook’s wrote about a woman who had a rough childhood growing up, and was always in trouble and having problems. In the end she just wanted to change and become a new person. Jack had problems with his parents and she had issues with family and herself.
Last semester I took a creative writing class as an elective thinking it would be easy and something I could just fly through quickly. Instead, I learned a lot more about myself in the class having to do with my own writing which I never knew before. When I would write papers I would put little time and effort into them and would lack flare throughout the piece. After handing in my first batch of writing, I quickly learned that I could no longer pull that off in college. I took advantage of setting up meetings with my professor so I could go farther with my writing and use more exquisite vocabulary and writing methods to make my writing more interesting to the reader. After practicing my writing and getting critiqued on what I should and should not include in my papers I feel as if my writing skills had progressed and were much different than they were before I started at Washington College. The creative writing class taught me to use my imagination and not let how others think gets in the way of how I want my paper to be. Now, I know I can take my writing in any direction.
Hi I’m Daniel,
A few goals I have for myself this semester are to get better grades, try new things and get to the gym more often.
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