While reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge is first introduced as “[h]ard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster” (stave 1). Scrooge is entirely unhappy and despises the presence of other people. After visits from four ghosts, he has a change of heart towards others. A Christmas Carol was published on December 19, 1843 which was during the time of the cholera pandemic. In the following diary entries, Scrooge is writing his thoughts in the course of the pandemic.
June 14th, 1848
Today marks the six month period since the beginning of this pandemic. It has not been as dreadful as everyone is bringing it out to be. The townsfolk always say I’m a pluviophile, but I needn’t not mind what they say. It’s all mullock to me anyway. The outbreak has started to get more unfavorable every passing day. Countless people are perishing every day, but this does not affect me. However, I have been thinking “what if I am next to go?” Drinking water is supposedly the reason for all this nonsense. Cholera is ruining my business, but I am certainly not giving my money to these wretches, especially the Cratchits. Bob Cratchit is consistently requesting for more and more money. Alright, enough about this mullock. Let me tell you about this dream I had the other day, well I believe it was a dream. It felt very realistic to me. It seemed to involve this ghost who somehow brought the past to life. I saw myself as a young boy and it was extremely peculiar. Jacob Marley was there as well and it was like he was trying to haunt me. Not only was he there, but my old schoolmates were there too. It seemed like the ghost was trying to show me that I missed the company of others. Which is somewhat true to life, but I would never declare that to another soul. The dream was trying to show me that I shouldn’t like being alone, but rather relish the presence of other individuals. I feel as though this spirit was trying to get me to recognize that things need to change. That’s all I have to say for this moment in time. Hopefully when I write next I will arrive with greater news.
December 23rd, 1848
I am beginning to realize why everyone blithers on about happiness without money. Money is all I have. I am living in solitude during this horrendous pandemic while everyone else around me is fading with no fortune to carry their name. Everyone else has their kin and confidants while I have me, myself, and money. At the same time, I still believe that life without money is mullock. If I get ill and die, at least I shall have my fortune to carry my name. Who would wish to be poor like those Cratchits? Undoubtedly not I. Although, I slightly wish I had someone, anyone, to share it with. No one wants to be in my presence. I am certain of this because I hear whispers from the windows of the townsfolk. They say that I am a snollygoster. It is like a spirit haunted me and opened my eyes to what the townsfolk think about me. I want to keep my fortune, but is the solitude and scuttlebutt worth it?
June 5th, 1849
It has now been an entire year since this cursed pandemic began. If someone was to ask me to describe myself in this isolated state, I would say that I am a librocubularist. I have begun re-reading the books on my shelf for the fourth time. I have also begun to wonder if I should write my own tale. This notion made me realize that I could make myself even more money, but since all of the bookstores are closed, no one would be able to purchase such a book. What a misfortune, really. However, at this point I am beginning to grow quite tired of my money’s company. What I would give to have someone here with me. This next statement may make me sound like a blithering idiot, but I would be ecstatic to be in the presence of Jacob Marley’s ghost. Speaking of spirits, I have seemed to encounter yet another. I have begun having those wretched dreams once more. However, this time I have begun dreaming about a hooded figure with arms and fingers like twisted tree roots. In these dreams, he has shown me Tiny Tim’s death and the town’s feelings towards me. They say I am cruel and selfish, and I have begun to think that they are right. Perhaps if I give money to the Cratchits I can aid Tiny Tim before he meets his grim end. It is now reaching eventide, so I shall try to put these dark thoughts to rest along with myself.
December 25th, 1849
The end of this wretched pandemic has finally arrived. I have come to realize that my scurrilous behavior needs to change. Throughout isolation I began to long for company. I realize now that being so greedy only pushes others away, and I do not aim for that anymore. I do not wish to drown in my fortune and greed only to die a lonely man. Now that isolation is over, I am going to have a pannychis with Bob Cratchit. I am willing to sophronise myself to create a relationship with him and his family. From this day forward, I am going to be a new, better man.
Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. 1843. Project Gutenberg,
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge may seem like two very different stories, but their characters have more in common than one might think. For instance, Victor Frankenstein and the Ancient Mariner are very similar. Both men are seeking to be remembered for something and their task turns sour.
Both Victor Frankenstein and the Ancient Mariner make decisions that will change their lives forever. For worse, that is. Victor Frankenstein decides to create his monster and is frightened by his own creation. Once his monster realizes that he is not wanted, he escapes Victor’s room and ventures into the real world. A little later on, William, Victor’s brother, is murdered while he is outside playing. Victor is certain that his monster has killed the little boy. Victor resents his creation and says “Nothing in human shape could have destroyed that fair child. He was the murderer! I could not doubt it” (68-69). This is very similar to whenever the Ancient Mariner kills the Albatross. The Albatross is seen as a good omen and is respected by all men on the ship. Well, except for the Ancient Mariner. Once the bird is dead, the Mariner’s shipmates attack and ridicule him for committing such a heinous act. The Mariner realizes what he has done and says “And I had done a hellish thing, / And it would work ‘em woe: / For all averred, I had killed the bird / That made the breeze to blow” (90-95). Both men have regretted their actions after seeing the dire consequences.
When it comes to dealing with their actions, both Victor Frankenstein and the Ancient Mariner must carry the guilt on their shoulders for the rest of their lives. After Victor resents his monster for the death of William, he feels an extraordinary amount of sorrow and pain. He says “No one can conceive the anguish I suffered during the remainder of the night, which I spent, cold and wet, in the open air. But I did not feel the inconvenience of the weather; my imagination was busy in scenes of evil and despair” (69). At this point in time, Victor cannot live a normal life ever again. He must always fear that his monster will strike again and murder another in cold blood. For the Ancient Mariner, the guilt is all the same. After he kills the Albatross, the ship begins to experience the conditions of horrible weather and the sea casts out its monsters to wreak havoc. The Mariner’s shipmates want him to remember his guilt, so they force him to wear the dead bird around his neck as they continue their voyage. The Mariner says “Ah! well-a-day what evil looks / Had I from old and young! / Instead of the cross, the Albatross / About my neck was hung” (139-142). These results would haunt them for the remainder of their days.
Lastly, both men are forced to tell their tales until they die. The story of Victor Frankenstein would not be known if it wasn’t being recorded by Captain Walton, who is the captain of the ship that Victor is brought onto. Walton recounts his visitor, Victor, saying “when I reflect that you are pursuing the same course, exposing yourself to the same dangers which have rendered me what I am, I imagine that you may deduce an apt moral from my tale; one that may direct you if you succeed in your undertaking, and console you in your case of failure” (25). Victor is willing to tell Walton his story, but he wishes that it will teach him a lesson. He does not want Walton to follow in his footsteps and make the same decisions that he did. Similarly, the Ancient Mariner must tell all who he encounters about his “ghastly tale” (584). He says “I pass, like night, from land to land; / I have strange power of speech; / That moment that his face I see, / I know the man that must hear me: / To him my tale I teach” (586-590). Since he is the only survivor from the voyage, it is his duty to inform others about his story and to keep them from making the same mistakes. Without a doubt, these stories took a toll on both Victor and the Ancient Mariner.
In conclusion, Victor Frankenstein and the Ancient Mariner may be two different men, but they are one and the same. They both made decisions that affected them for the rest of their lives, they had to carry the weight on their shoulders, and they were forced to tell other people their stories. The connections between these two stories is extremely evident and provides an insight into how decisions shape the lives of everyone.
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” The Norton Anthology of BritishLiterature: The Romantic Period. 10th ed. Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor. W. W. Norton, 2017. pp. 448-64.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Introduction and Notes by Karen Karbiener. Barnes and Noble, 2003.
To the left, my copy of The Norton Anthology of British Literature: The Romantic Period and my copy of Frankenstein are pictured.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, William Blake (1790-93)
William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, showcases “lighthearted activities” and “ominous surroundings” (C3) and allows insight into the subtle, yet definite, relationship between Heaven and Hell. Blake focuses on a natural point of view and depicts images of humans dancing, flying, and embracing around bare trees. Below this scene, a large fire is raging and ascending towards the people resting at the top. Two people lay intertwined beside the fire. They appear to have no gender, but it symbolizes the marriage of a devil and an angel.
This portrait connects to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by showcasing how Victor Frankenstein attempted to bring this perfect creation to life, only to discover that it is “devilish” (pg.8-9) Blake writes in lines 3-5 of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, “Once meek, and in a perilous path, / The just man kept his course along / The vale of death.” (pg. 159) This shows how Victor became so intertwined with death that he kept walking along its path in order to make his monster. It also happens to connect through the marriage of a devil and an angel. It represents what a father/son relationship could have been for Victor and his monster. However, Victor rejects his creation and tries to hide it away from the world. Nevertheless, they are connected eternally, much like Heaven and Hell.
Blake, William. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. The Norton Anthology of British Literature: The Romantic Period. 10th ed. Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor. W. W. Norton, 2018. C3.
Blake, William. Excerpt from “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.” The Norton Anthology of British Literature: The Romantic Period. 10th ed. Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor. W. W. Norton, 2018. p. 159.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 1818, 1831. Introduction by Karen Karbiener. Barnes and Noble, 2003.
*The following research project was produced by myself, Allison Lasher, and Jenna Ramsey
As our time in English 112 began, we were informed of a book we would be reading and studying throughout the semester: Educated by Tara Westover. As we dove into the book, we met Shawn Westover, one of Tara’s brothers. In our progression in the book, we read of accidents Shawn faced and the aftermath(s) he experienced psychologically. As we read of these incidents and the way in which they affected Shawn, we became curious. We began to wonder how these psychological issues may have affected Shawn’s relationships with his loved ones, particularly with his sister Tara, and how these issues may have affected the mental state of Shawn’s loved ones.
The trauma and abuse in which Tara experienced is sadly something in which many people face in their lifetime. In the bibliography to follow, we studied how such trauma and abuse may affect a person, their life, and the lives of their friends or loved ones. We found a variety of sources such as research articles and blog posts to help us to study and learn about how abuse and trauma can affect relationships.
The first research article we found discussed psychological and physical aggression and the effects it has on people. The first blog that we found on Tara’s memoir broke down the individual situations that led to Shawn’s psychological issues and the situations of abuse/controlment that Shawn inflicted on his loved ones. The second blog post was written by a psychologist who wrote wrote about Educated with her opinion on the book, the mental illnesses/psychological issues that were introduced in the story, and on how everything Tara mentioned in her book affected her and her family as a whole. In the second research article that we found, the author discusses Stockholm Syndrome and the way in which this syndrome controls/affects the people who have this syndrome. Lastly, we used a chapter from Westover’s memoir to show first hand the abuse Shawn inflicted on his sister and how she had learned that she must hide how the abuse truly made her feel so as to not let Shawn know.
Lawrence, E., Yoon, J., Langer, A., & Ro, E. (2009). Is psychological aggression as
Throughout the source written about psychological and physical aggression, the authors conduct a study to try to figure out how the levels of anxiety and depression in a person can lead to a type of aggression in a relationship. Within the beginning of the study, the authors found that many of the relationships in the study had a past of having aggression.The study proved that the woman in the relationship had an aggression within the first two months, but the aggression levels dropped within the third month. The mens aggressive levels were low in the beginning of the relationship, but steadily grew throughout the next three months. This research shows that ultimately that both men and women can show the same behaviors just at different times.
Going through this study of psychological and physical aggression, one can see how many of these traits relate to how Shawn treated Tara within certain chapters of Educated. Although the source was primarily about marriage and couples, the same things can apply to Shawn. His use of physical aggression leads him to have many factors of psychological disorders. On page 24 of the PDF, the authors talk about the use of psychological victimization. Many of these factors can be seen within Shawn and his relationship with Tara.
Penn, A., & Penn, A. (2019, October 11). Shawn Westover: Tara Westover’s Brother and
In the article “Shawn Westover: Tara Westover’s Brother and Sadistic Abuser,” Amanda Penn provides an insight into the psychological problems of Shawn Westover and how these issues affected his relationship he held with his sister, Tara. In some situations, Shawn would be kind and seemingly normal towards Tara but then, at the slightest trigger or ‘wrong’ movement, he would turn violent and aggressive towards her until she did as he wished. These acts of violence were not a one time deal, but something that occurred time after time, whenever something occurred in which Shawn didn’t approve. In Penn’s article, she goes through different scenarios of aggression and violence that Tara and other family members experienced at the hands of Shawn.
These acts of violence/aggression that Penn discusses show a sense of insight to what Tarra discussed in some chapters in her memoir. The psychological issues that Shawn experiences come from accidents and injuries brought on by his time working in the junkyard and not seeking the proper medical attention necessary to correctly heal the injuries. The injuries he faced caused him to become aggressive and cruel when he experienced a trigger and this caused his relationship with Tara to become strained, toxic, and unhealthy. Shawn abused Tara whenever he was upset and this caused her to blame herself for things when she wrote in her journal and caused her to worry about what others thought of her and her family.
Bocci, G. S. (2018, April 2). A Psychologist’s Take on Tara Westover’s Memoir, Educated.
By writing “A Psychologist’s Take on Tara Westover’s Memoir, Educated” Goal Saedi Bocci Ph.D allows the public to see into a professional’s point of view when it comes to Westover’s writing. Throughout the article, Bocci writes about how shocked she was by the abuse and torment that Tara went through when it came to her brother Shawn. Bocci repeatedly mentions that Shawn should have been contacted by Child Protective Services. While reading aloud to her husband, he asks her, “does she have Stockholm Syndrome?”.
The thought of Tara having Stockholm Syndrome is not an irrational thought or an absurd idea. Throughout Educated, there are multiple examples of Shawn terrorizing Tara both at home and in public. However, Tara continues to tell herself that the abuse isn’t Shawn’s fault. Instead, she blames herself for allowing it to escalate and continue. One specific example would be in chapter 22 “What We Whispered and What We Screamed”. While eating dinner with Charles and her family, Shawn stabs Tara in her stomach, causing her to break a plate. Tara is pinned to the floor before she realizes what is going on. Seconds later, she is dragged into the bathroom by her hair and Shawn pulls her into the bathtub when she tries to fight him off. While all this is going on, Tara is howling with laughter and tries to make light of the situation, which implies that she may have Stockholm Syndrome.
Wallace, Pat, BSc,R.G.N., R.H.V. (2007). How can she still love him? domestic violence and
In “How can she still love him? domestic violence and the Stockholm Syndrome”, Pat Wallace provides an in-depth explanation of Stockholm Syndrome and how it affects both the perpetrator and the victim. Wallace mentions how victims may feel like they need to protect their abuser and how they grow an emotional attachment to them as well. Most victims feel dependent on the abuser, they are hopeless when it comes to ending the violence, they try to deny the violence, they develop low self-esteem, and they worry that people won’t believe them when they do come forward. The victim tries to develop a bond with the perpetrator in order to drown out the sense of anxiety and hopelessness. Ultimately, this acts as a way for the victim to see the situation from the point of view of the abuser and allows them to develop a sense of survival.
After reading this article, it is evident that Tara may have had a case of Stockholm Syndrome, but was unaware of her own mental status. She had mentioned previously in Educated that she was trying to cover up for Shawn, even though she knew that he was the perpetrator in this situation. Tara’s older sister, Audrey, was also a victim of Shawn’s abusive ways. She had never spoken up about Shawn either, because she was scared that her parents wouldn’t believe her. In chapter 31 “Tragedy Then Farce”, Tara and Audrey both decide to confront their parents about Shawn’s abuse. Tara’s mother realizes that she should have protected her children from the growing force of negativity and anger growing in their household. In the end, Tara’s obscure family inches closer to becoming your run-of-the-mill family.
Westover, T. (2018). Educated. Random.
Throughout Chapter 22 of Educated, Tara shares her memory of her and Shawn going to the store where Charles was. Tara was going into town to get something to help with her job scraping. She did not have the best appearance that she could have, so she didn’t want Charles seeing her. Shawn pulled her out of the truck and started to hit her vigorously. Throughout that happening, Tara just laughed it off and acted like he was just kidding with her. Also, Shawn told Tara that if he was ever hurting her at one point, that she should let him know and he would stop “playing around” with her. So it made her think that it wasn’t his fault that she was getting hurt.
Reading through the chapter, it is obvious that both Shawn and Tara have a mental disorder. This relates to the other sources because it ties in how Shawn treated Tara and how it lead to the diagnosis of Tara. When Tara tells this story, it proves the point of Bocci and how she should be diagnosed with Stockholm Syndrome. It gives concrete evidence that they both have something wrong with them. It shows that Shawn knows he is being abusive, but plays it off as a joke. Tara knows he is being abusive, but plays it off like he is just doing it to be funny.
Bocci, G. S. (2018, April 2). A Psychologist’s Take on Tara Westover’s Memoir, Educated.
Tara Westover’s Educated provides a detailed look into her home life and her journey to earn, you guessed it, an education.Throughout her memoir, Tara recounts both her struggles and her successes. Once Tara enrolls in college, she discovers that she can make her own choices and experience life beyond the mysterious mountains that she calls her home.
Throughout her memoir, Tara explains that her family isn’t like most apple pie families. While most parents are sending their children to the local school or taking them to practice for the sport they play, Tara’s parents make her work in a junkyard, stock shelves in preparation for the end of the world, and teach her about herbs and midwifing. She also has never really left her home, except to go to her grandparents’ homes and to get a job in town. In chapter 9 “Perfect in His Generations”, Tara writes about auditioning for the lead role in Annie. She begins by saying “I’d never learned how to talk to people who weren’t like us — people who went to school and visited the doctor. Who weren’t preparing, every day, for the End of the World.” (85-86) This ultimately shows that this experience was Tara’s first time interacting with people in a communal setting. She has had conversations with a few people outside of her family, but this is one of her first experiences in the real world.
Once Tara enrolls herself in college, she has more experiences outside of her home that both frighten her and allow her to learn more than what her parents ever taught her. She has been so secluded her whole life, that she does not know what typical subjects and materials are. In chapter 17 “Keep it Holy”, Tara stumbles across an unfamiliar word. When she asks for clarification, she is seen as rude and insensitive. She writes “I stayed in my seat until everyone had gone, pretending the zipper on my coat was stuck so I could avoid looking anyone in the eye. Then I went straight to the computer lab to look up the word “Holocaust” (157). The reader is able to feel Tara’s embarrassment and confusion through the page. This shows that Tara’s knowledge is expanding and she is spreading her wings.
After Tara realizes that college is harder to grasp than she realized, she also realizes that she might not be able to pay for another semester of schooling. She does research on how she can earn scholarships, but to her dismay, she must have an almost perfect GPA. She struggles in some of her classes, but some se performs rather decent in. One class that she struggled in was English. In chapter 18 “Blood and Feathers”, Westover writes “My teacher said I had a knack for writing but that my language was oddly formal and stilted. I didn’t tell her that I’d learned to read and write by reading only the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and speeches by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.” Again, this shows that Tara wasn’t raised like other children. Most children read picture books when they are learning how to read, but Tara read very high level pieces of writing. This could be seen as beneficial, but her language would be affected, like her teacher mentioned.
To conclude, Tara’s upbringing ultimately makes it difficult for her to make friends and to fit in. People don’t see her as normal and some people even see her as disgusting. However, the experiences described shows how Tara’s character develops over the course of her memoir. She started out as an isolated girl with no real sense into the outside world, but now she is opening up and becoming the woman she is really supposed to be.
Throughout my education, I have conducted research for many assignments and projects. Whether it be an essay for English or a PowerPoint for history, I have created multiple projects that featured the information that I have collected.
In the past, I have conducted research in all subjects. For math, I created posters that featured a variety of math problems and how to solve them. I used big sheets of poster board that nearly dragged the floor when I carried it. I would sit down and use my bright colored markers to add a pop of color, hoping to make my work as neat as I possibly could. For science, I created PowerPoints and posters that were about famous scientists. I remember sitting in my light teal bedroom and researching Jacques Cousteau, who was the inventor of the Aqua-Lung and other diving equipment. The sun shone through my white curtains and filled the room with sunlight. It almost made me feel like I was in the ocean myself, savoring every breath I took as if it was created by the Aqua-Lung. For English, I have written many essays using books and/or some online source. I have also written research papers. One of the first research papers that I wrote was about online and social media advertising. I remember watching a documentary about how marketing and advertisements can be misleading and can even persuade you to buy something that you don’t need. For this paper, I conducted the most research than I ever had before. I strived to make that paper perfect with its amazing sentence structure and correct grammatical features. After submitting my paper, my teacher spoke to me and said that it was well written and was a very good paper overall. I was ecstatic. I had stayed up many nights and worked diligently during my study hall period as well. For history, I have created PowerPoints on a wide variety of topics. I created a presentation on the fall of Rome with a group of peers during freshman year. We studied how the interest in public affairs decreased, their empire had low confidence, and how there was disloyalty and lack of patriotism in their empire.
I have also composed a TVography that listed my five favorite shows currently streaming on Netflix. When I was creating this list, I conducted a bit of informal research. This would include things like determining who created the shows, the date they began, where they were filmed, etc. Since I watch the shows, I knew roughly enough about them to compile a list and talk about them.
Out of all of the research that I have collected, I have found the most interest in researching biology. I believe that I find it the most interesting because it deals with factual evidence rather than creating or imagining something new. I like to learn as I read. While reading our textbook, I learned that “support in the sciences most often consists of repeatable empirical evidence; in mathematics, careful reasoning and the posing and solving of problems; in both, careful attention to the work of previous researchers.” (Bullock, et al. 310). After reading these sentences, I realized that I enjoy looking at past research conducted by other scientists. I enjoy looking at their work and the techniques that they used to create such work. Over the course of my education, I have always been interested in reading passages/essays about nature and life. In the future, I am interested in pursuing this career. I think that studying pieces of writing and collections of research will definitely benefit me in the long run.
Bullock, Richard et al. Chapter 26: “Writing in Academic Fields of Study.” The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings and Handbook. 5th ed. Norton, 2019. Pp. 305-20.
My name is Kenna Sipe. I am currently a junior at Alexander Early College. I maintained this blog last semester for my English 111 class, and I am back again for my English 112 class.
Growing up, I always enjoyed watching television whenever I could. However, now that I am older, I have little time to sit down and enjoy television. But, when I do get the time, some of my favorite TV shows to watch are Friends, Supernatural, Stranger Things, Riverdale, and The Office. All of these shows are currently streaming on Netflix, but both Friends and The Office will be removed in the next two years, unfortunately.
I have been a fan of these shows for various amounts of time. When it comes to Friends and The Office, I have been a fan since I began watching them in middle school. I have been a fan of Supernatural for almost a month now, and I have been binging it like crazy. When it comes to Stranger Things, I have been watching it since it first came out back in 2016. Lastly, I have been a fan of Riverdale since July.
By reading this list, it is somewhat easy to notice that I am interested in specific types of TV shows. For instance, I like Supernatural, Stranger Things, and Riverdale, which are all somewhat syfy shows/mysterious shows. When it comes to Friends and The Office, they are more comedic and they revolve around the relationships of the characters. I feel like these are the top things that I look for when I watch TV shows.
I feel like these shows describe my personality very well. I hope to one day finish all of these shows before they leave Netflix. As my friends know, I am notorious to start a show and never finish it.
Crane, David and Marta Kauffman, creators. Friends. Warner Bros. Studios, 1994.
Daniels, Greg, Ricky Gervais, and Stephen Merchant, creators. The Office. Chandler Valley Center Studios, 2005.
Duffer, Matt and Ross Duffer, creators. Stranger Things. EUE Screen Gems Studios, 2016.
Unskilled: That is how I would describe myself as a writer before taking English 111. I have always felt like my writing is very repetitive and unorganized. But, this class has changed my perspective on my writing and allowed me to open up the depths of my mind in order to write well. Throughout the course of this semester, I have studied pieces of writing that have definitely impacted my own papers in some way, shape, or form.
One feature that has impacted me as a writer is the practice of writing drafts away from the screen. I believe this has impacted me so greatly because it allows me to peel back the layers of my own thoughts without being tempted to Google inspiration. It allows me to create my own ideas and not base them on someone else’s. I believe that this technique will be something that I continue to do as I keep writing. Even though it gets fairly difficult sometimes, I think it has allowed me to grow in my writing abilities.
Another feature that has helped me throughout this class would be studying different pieces of literature. One piece of writing in particular stood out to me. “The Fashion Industry: Free to Be an Individual” by Hannah Berry allowed me to use vivid detail in my writing pieces and also helped me think outside of the box. In the textbook, Berry’s analysis of two magazine advertisements is laird out so the reader can easily see her thought process and transitions. While reading her essay, I was able to grasp what Berry was trying to say and her use of great detail made it even easier to do so. One example of her use of detail would be when she is describing the first advertisement. She writes “The downturn of her nose points to the short gray-black dress that stops several inches above her knees but covers her chest and shoulders modestly, with a collar situated at the base of her neck and sleeves that reach for her elbows.” (95) After reading this small portion of Berry’s essay, I was able to picture what the advertisement looked like without seeing it. This ultimately allowed me to begin writing with a similar style to hers and allowed me to develop my writing further.
Finally, the last feature that drastically helped my writing was mailing letters to people. Throughout this semester, I have written multiple letters to close friends who are near and dear to me. After mailing these letters, they reached out to me and told me how much it meant to them. I was glad that I could make someone’s day by simply writing a letter. Since it is somewhat old fashioned, I think that it was even more special. I believe that I will continue writing letters to those who are special to me, just so I can show them how greatly they impact my life.
To conclude, this course has drastically impacted my writing and allowed me to grow as a writer. I have also been able to increase my vocabulary through these measures. Before entering this course, I had never done anything like these two specific measures in order to improve my writing. I feel like without these new steps and readings, I definitely would not have the same writing skills that I do now. I hope that my writing skills continue to improve, since I will without a doubt continue to use these amazing features.
Berry, Hannah. “The Fashion Industry: Free to Be an Individual.” The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings and Handbook. 4th ed., by Richard Bullock, Maureen Daly Goggin, and Francine Weinberg, 2016, pp. 94-99.
Lenoir-Rhyne University is known for many things. Whether it be the iconic bear statue on campus, or the competitiveness of their athletic department, North Carolinians across the state are aware of their popularity. However, one particular advertisement that appeared in Our State Magazine could change how people view Lenoir-Rhyne University.
In the advertisement, the readers can see that there are multiple students conversating on the LRU campus. There are two groups of students who can be observed while reading the advertisement. One group consists of two male students and one female, who are talking beside of a small brick wall. One member of the group, a young male with glasses, is perched on the edge of the small brick wall with an outstretched hand reaching towards his peers. The second young man in the group is slightly leaning against the brick wall, with his legs crossed and his hands in the pockets of his sky blue shorts. This male, in fact, happens to be a male of color, so Lenoir-Rhyne may be trying to convey diversity. However, their message isn’t necessarily received, since he is the only person of color in the ad. Behind them, the reader is able to notice a bear statue underneath a small clan of trees. The bear is shiny and clean, and it is placed high upon a stone block for all to see.
Just right of the bear statue, stands a group of girls who are either looking off into the distance, or are admiring the group of students before them. The girls are wearing the same shade of blue that the students in front of her are wearing, which gives the advertisement a sense of superiority. The human brain automatically associates the color blue with relaxation and comfort. Ultimately, this is trying to allow the reader to feel more comfortable and welcome on the LRU campus. One of the girls is standing with her hand on her hip, looking off into the distance. The other, seems to be looking directly at the bear statue. If the reader were to spot where she was looking, their attention would immediately be drawn towards the bear statue. This could ultimately portray the fact that Lenoir-Rhyne is trying to persuade people to come to their school, by drawing attention to their mascot.
What is unusual about the advertisement is that the students do not seem like normal college students. All of the students featured in this advertisement are very relaxed, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but college is a very stressful time for most students. In addition to this, each student is dressed very formally, which is almost unheard of on a college campus. Most students in college usually wear things like jeans and sweatshirts while attending classes or walking along campus, but these students are forced to stand out to make their school look professional and proper for the advertisement. The neatness and sophistication of the students emphasizes a feeling of superiority throughout the ad. Ultimately, this may cause the viewer to feel intimidated and unsure about the college.
To conclude, the advertisement seems to portray an unrealistic scene on a college campus. Certainly students will conversate around campus, but they will most likely wear simpler clothing and there will be more than one student of color present. Perhaps if the magazine would’ve used actual photos of students on campus instead of creating this ad, the message would have been more positive. In the end, this advertisement creates a negative tone and makes it seem like certain students may not fit in with the status quo.
Lenoir-Rhyne U. Advertisement. Our State, Aug. 2015, p. 1.
While growing up, I never really tried to write. Of course, every student wrote in school, but I never tried in my spare time. However, my eighth-grade year of middle school made me wish I would’ve. I knew that I wanted to apply to Alexander Early College, the only thing standing in my way was an essay.
I remember hearing the booming voice of the school principal over the intercom, beckoning those who wished to apply. We were instructed to file into the cafeteria so we could listen to directions. My three best friends and I picked a table to the far left with four large windows behind it. I figured the natural lighting would somehow give me great inspiration and allow me to write an amazing essay. I can tell you now, it did not. As I sat down at the creaky wooden table, I could feel my heart racing. All of the students who were applying had feared this essay from the very beginning. Our fears worsened when we were informed that we only had one hour to complete it, and that only fifty students would be accepted. I prepared myself for the worst.
Shortly thereafter, we began to write. Our prompt was “Why I want to be an AEC student”. Being the organized person I am, I had already constructed my essay in my mind. However, I continued to sit still. I knew my nervousness was getting the best of me. I hadn’t written many essays, maybe two or three. It was very hard to focus, especially since I knew so much was riding on this one essay. I began to feel negative emotions and think negative thoughts as well. The fact that I might not make it in and my friends would horrified me.
Somehow, I forced myself to start writing. I did my best to sound as confident and intelligent as an eighth-grader could be. I began to console myself and think about the fact that everything happens for a reason. If I didn’t get accepted, it wasn’t the end of the world. Regardless, I was going to be happy in the end.
I began to finish up my work, but I was taking my time. While I was writing, we were told that we only had five minutes remaining. I scrambled to finish my essay, while also trying to maintain my sentence structure. I finished right before the time ran out, which gave me a small feeling of gratitude.
In the end, I was accepted to Alexander Early College. I remember how excited I was. It actually brought tears to my eyes when I read my acceptance letter. I began to look around for my best friends, but I noticed that only two of them were there. I immediately felt a pang in my heart. From that moment on, I knew our friendship wouldn’t be the same. But like I said, everything happens for a reason.