Throughout my years of learning the English language, I have learned a variety of things even though I continue to struggle with things such as punctuation. Nevertheless, I have learned how to read and persist through difficult texts while also having some grasp on the meaning. In this English class, I have learned how to do things such as read research articles of my own choosing and not give up on them no matter how difficult. This happened later in the semester though so I won’t dive into that yet instead I will begin with the literacy narrative. In the literacy narrative, I had to learn how to gear my story for an audience because nobody has lived my life except me, obviously.
Therefore, I had to find ways to show people how things unfolded rather than tell, and I did so by adding relatable things; these consisted of fear of public speaking, being anxiety-ridden, and the morbid melodrama that goes through a teenagers mind. So, by reintroducing adults to the teenage mind it helps them understand my writing more, and teenagers may relate to the subject which I am speaking about. Also, the tone in the story is dramatic but it takes some boring turns when I get into the specifics. The peer review for this story was really eye-opening, and one of the peers in my group said they probably saw my horrendous performance which made me relive it a bit more. The Literacy Narrative was the only creative assignment in the class, but I am grateful that I had the opportunity to partake in it since it reminded me of how dramatic I was being at the time.
Next came to exploratory essay where I spoke about “Uncle Wolf” by Italo Calvino, and how his story was chock-full of religious themes such as glutton (one of the seven deadly sins), and sloth (another of the seven). This new assignment excited me because I love religion. Finding the research articles for this particular story was easy, and it helped me figure out how to use the databases more. For example, some databases are just for history, feminism, and one is dedicated to just JSTOR which was one of my favorites to use. I am not an argumentative person, so this assignment felt like a blessing since I could just talk about whatever and I wouldn’t be proving a point, but rather introducing new ideas to an audience. Also, I kinda learned how to use MLA in high school so it wasn’t difficult to learn new habits since the old ones didn’t really stick. What I did learn about MLA though is that you should always check how your sources are spelled, and if you are copying and pasting you need to see if there is random capitalization and if the order is correct. In this essay, I had to read sample essays of previous students to learn and expose myself to different kinds of writings from previous students. After reading sample essays from previous students I learned what was needed from me, and this helped immensely since I was in a rut. But once I learned the schematics of the essay it kind of flowed out of me and I finished the first draft rather quickly.
In both the Exploratory and the Literacy Narrative essays I asked Professor Hoehne for help, and it was extremely beneficial since he brought to my attention things I had spelled wrong. Which brings me to say that I don’t really know how to use proper punctuation, and a reader may even notice some comma splices in this exact essay, but I am working on it. In the exploratory essay when I sent it to Hoehne he said it was a good essay, but some of the things I messed up on were things such as quotes, and citations which I have learned to triple check before even thinking about sending it. It’s become such a habit that if I don’t check it will keep me up for hours, and I will be unable to sleep unless I check it once again since I don’t want to be caught for accidentally plagiarizing.
This brings me to the last essay in the course which was the Research Critical Analysis, this one was a huge struggle for me because of the argumentative aspect of the essay. I had to figure out how to pick out a theme that was geared towards an argument, but doing this was a hard thing to do since I find all themes are fairly correct if there’s enough evidence and it isn’t too far of a reach. For example, if someone said ‘the theme of “Bluebeard” by Charles Perrault is women were supposed to be docile, and follow their husband’s orders (in Perrault’s time) or else consequences would come’ that could be debatable. But if they said ‘Charles Perrault’s “Bluebeard” is about how men are violent’ then that would be a shoddy argument since there’s only evidence of one man being violent in the tale. Ergo, not only did I have to make an argument, but I also had to talk about the other side of that argument. I admit I gave up midway while writing it since I couldn’t find a good counter position, and I got a grade which I didn’t really enjoy but at least it left me with a 94 in the class. While writing this I also had to pick up a tone that didn’t make me sound too much of a feminist, but also not too bored with the subject. This essay wasn’t too hard since I had already formed my MLA citations through Ms. Voisard’s class, so I didn’t have to search through the databases (the main one I used for the RCA and the Exploratory was the Academic Search Complete). While using the ASC (Academic Search Complete) I found it easier to find sources than the other databases since everything was right there, I also enjoyed using JSTOR since they have people such as Jack Zipes who is a famous writer.
In conclusion, this is the first English course where I really felt part of the writing community, and I learned about new writers who have been reading fairy tales for longer than I’ve been alive. This course also helped me to decide my major, at first I was an Anthropology major, but after taking this course I switched over to English and History. So, in the end, I learned a lot about citing, and what I enjoy reading in research materials.