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Response to Instructor Comments about My Argument Paper

Dear Doctor Karen Gocsik,

Thank you very much for your sounding comments on my 3M. Through the rubric, I see that I am improving on some aspects: I have better grasp of the course readings than before, and despite understanding the basic ideas of these materials, I can also effectively synthesize them into my argument points. Besides, I can raise interesting motivating question. Using this intriguing question to guide my essay, I am confident to offer an interesting claim, thereby engaging my readers in the following body paragraphs.

Of course, my 3M demonstrates some weaknesses that I should work hard on. For instance, the third paragraph’s argument point is so aggressive that it falls short of being convincing. Besides, my use of evidence in that part does not integrate to a wholesome point. The most persistent problem in my writing is, still, the grammar and style. I understand that correcting my English expression requires practices, so I will keep struggling with that. At least, compared to the course readings, my 3M does seem childish.

To revise the essay later, I will fix the grammar and style problem. I will especially focus on emphasis and concision. After the language expression is refined to the greatest extent, I will look at the logic of my argument, and eliminate logical fallacies. I also want to make sure my evidences are really supporting my argument points, as the third paragraph is a weak spot. To ensure good use of evidence, I will go back to the course readings and further comprehend their contributing ideas.

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Self-assessment of my two portfolio essays

In last quarter, I have completed two candidates for my portfolio: Summary & Synthesis essay and Analysis essay. While the Summary & Synthesis talks about in what way humor fight against stereotypes, my Analysis essay evaluates how Aziz Ansari’s comedy criticizes racism and encourage minorities to fight for their rights. The Summary & Synthesis essay demonstrates good grasp about the cited materials, but the Analysis essay fails to do so. Although Analysis paper shows fewer grammar and style mistakes, it should be made stronger if the comedy is better understood, and some evidence is further unpacked. Summary & Synthesis essay, on the other hand, can be polished if I achieve higher understanding of the materials.

Indeed, the Summary and Synthesis essay presents a vivid conversation of different writers based on the controlling idea about how humor upends stereotypes. It has a clear introduction, which helps readers grasping the “talks” among these authors. The evidence used are clearly geared toward the main question, and they respond to each other in an appropriate way. However, the conversation I created does not fully encompass the claims that I should, and the essay lacks some greater context to make the readers feel curious. So, I need to explore more things that give insights into my Summary & Synthesis essay, and even incorporate these things to make the essay more exclusive. Nevertheless, the essay in whole is well organized, and I comply with academic integrity by giving credits to those who contribute to my essay.

Analysis paper keeps demonstrating good organization and ethic citations, and the grammar and style is a bit improved in this essay. Unfortunately, several major misunderstandings about the comedy puts down the quality. Though I illustrate decent conception about humor theories in my Summary & Synthesis essay, this conception is waned during my writing of Analysis paper. Also, the introduction has zigzag arguments that leave readers puzzled, partly because I barely have background knowledge about the materials. To avoid these pitfalls, I need to come back to the reading materials and get a better sense of their main ideas. Watching some real-life comedy shows is also helpful for understanding how comedians make their arguments.

In this winter break, I have revised the two essays to some degree. While for Summary & Synthesis paper, I focused on fixing language mistakes, I deepened my understanding of the sources cited in my Analysis essay: I came to know that Chris Brown has both good and bad sides, and some people ignore his flows and still enjoy his music. Ansari does not praise George Bush. Instead, he criticizes that president is incompetent in changing the society… These examples warn me that I should first understand the sources before citing them. Besides, in this term, I look forward to learning more backgrounds and arguments about humor. Should I feel confident about these, I can work hard on polishing my portfolio essays to make them exceptional in terms of language and organization.

Guest List for my Summary & Synthesis Essay

To speak soundly in the conversation about humor, I should firstly collect enough information from other people so that I can know what the conversation is about. Then, noticing an inspiring topic, I will rearrange the claims from these people and come up with my own idea. From the course conversation so far, I discovered an interesting question: How does humor fight against stereotypes? To formulate my answer to this question, here I invited several guests who have spoken out some arguments.

The first guest that should start is Mary O’Hara. She discusses about humor’s functions presents a lot of comics who believe comedy has social significance, for example, “It’s vital to understand the job comedy can do in actively providing a counterbalance to bigotry and prejudice” (O’Hara 105). Such this sentence sets up the basis for further discussion about humor fighting stereotypes.

The second guest included is Simon Critchley. He addresses humor’s social function in a more theoretical level. He uses the concept “incongruity” to describe comedy as funny because it diverges the story from the audience’s expectation, especially in joking about the powerful groups. He points out “By laughing at power, we expose its contingency, we realize that what appeared to be fixed and oppressive … should be mocked and ridiculed” (Critchley 126). This idea is insightful for comedians to refute stereotypes by implementing humor.

Then comes Zach St. George. He addresses the issue about dominant groups’ stereotypes toward others. He uses women as example to demonstrate why they are considered less funny and how women tell gender jokes by using “charged humor”. “This humor carries a message, meant to change perceptions by knowingly pushing the boundaries of one or more dominant groups” (St. George 139). Though groups such as women have to task risks with humor when they try to lessen stereotypes, the humor itself is still effective to change the situation.

Russell Peters has something to say with small stereotypes: accents. The discrimination in accents is evident in Canadians toward Indians, who speak very “funny”. He disputes this stereotype by simply speaking in an Canadian accent about silly matters. And as the audience break into laughter, he succeeds in eliminating the stereotypical views against Indian accents.

Finally, I want to invite Negin Farsad for she is a comedian experienced about fighting common stereotypes of Muslims. She insists comedy is useful because it sets up recognition between the audience and herself. By breaking the boundaries through laughter, the audience are compelled to listen to her ideas. “Comedy opens people up, and what makes comedy so effective is that if you’re making them laugh along the way, they’re going to listen to the deeper cut stuff” (Farsad 13). She uses humor to empathize with people and convey her friendly messages to them. As a result, the stereotype about Muslims is gone.

 

Works Cited

“‘Accents.’” YouTube, uploaded by Russell Peters, 1 Nov. 2016,www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4KhEj0ai5E.

Critchley, Simon. “Did You Hear the One About the Philosopher Writing a Book on Humour?”Think, vol. 1, no. 2, Autumn 2002, pp. 103-112, doi.org/10.1017/S147717560000035X.Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 122-131.

Farsad, Negin. “Can Humor Fight Prejudice?” TED Radio Hour from NPR, 24 Mar. 2017,www.npr.org/2017/03/24/520942852/negin-farsad-can-humor-fight-prejudice.

O’Hara, Mary. “A Serious Business: What Can Comedy Do?” Mosaic, 23 Aug. 2016,www.mosaicscience.com/story/comedy-humour-jokes-political-satire-taboo. Rpt. in TheEssential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore,2017, pp. 104-111.St. George, Zach. “Identity is an Inside Joke.” Nautilus, 26 Nov. 2015,www.nautil.us/issue/30/identity/identity-is-an-inside-joke. Rpt. in The Essential Guide toAnalytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 136-141.


Acknowledgement

I am grateful for my instructor Dr. Gocsik for facilitating me to understand reading materials and come up with better ideas with guest lists. I appreciate my mentor Sarah for giving suggestions for grammar and style. I also thank my groupmates Flory and Shuli for discussing ideas during presentation.

3 Random Facts About My Country

(Request from my friend to translate his passage.)

Fact 1 – the Summer Palace (culture): The Summer Palace is in Haidian District, the northeast part of Beijing, 15 kilometers from the center of the city. It is the largest and most well preserved royal garden of China. The Summer Palace contains famous natural and cultural landscapes, so it is commonly known as “the museum of royal gardens”. First established in 1750, the Summer Palace provided noble families with rest and recreation. In the end of Qing Dynasty, it became the major dwelling place for the royal. The palace is placed in the World Heritage Sites, and is also one of the first set of 5A traveling sites in China.

Fact 2 – Chinese Dream (politics): The concept “Chinese Dream” was first proposed by Chairman Xi in 2012. Its creation increased ethnic pride and confidence. “Chinese Dream” virtually means to make rejuvenation of the Chinese nation come true, which is the most grandiose dream. Specifically, “Chinese Dream” aims to let people receive better education, higher income, more refined health care, and cleaner environment. Thus, the young generation should be courageous to chase and achieve their dream.

Fact 3 – Agriculture (economics): China is a big agricultural country, and is also one of the origins of worldwide cultivation. Crops such as rice and wheat are all stemmed from China. After the founding of new China, the government was very focused on agricultural production, gradually increasing its investment, thus accelerating its modernization. As a result, Chinese agriculture earned great achievement. The crop yields for various products are increasing rapidly. The productions of grains, cottons, and peanuts in China are in the first place of the world. By using less than ten percent of cultivated land on Earth, China nourishes more than one fifth of the world’s population.

Aside

Response to one of my annotations

In the second page of Mary O’Hara’s A Serious Business: What Can Comedy Do?, I annotated on the sixth paragraph which starts with “One of the most enduring theories…”. I am curious about how she will support her view using this counterargument, and I asked, “Why does she put this paragraph in this place?” After reading through the text, I would like to address this question: Simply put, the author places this paragraph of weaker counterargument to foil the massive stronger arguments. To make the readers more intrigued after raising two questions about humor, she gives the background of research into humor and then directly points out the unconvincing idea from the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who thinks humor is malicious. By contrast, in the later discussion about the purpose of humor, the author refers to a lot of contemporary ideas that claim there are positive effects from humor. Those points are much more reassuring than the contrary so that the author can persuade the readers of how she views about humor. For example, the author cites Scott Weems’ book saying, “essentially, that humor is a form of psychological processing, a coping mechanism that helps people to deal with complex and contradictory messages”. This part makes connection to what Higgins said previously, “Laughter is a lubricant and is expected, and it’s really hard not to do it.”

 

Work Cited

O’Hara, Mary. “A serious business: what can comedy do?” Mosaic, 23 Aug. 2016, mosaicscience.com/story/comedy-humour-jokes-political-satire-taboo.

Thank You, My Interview

This winter break, I am not relaxed. Earlier than that, I had declined my classmates’ several invitations of a trip to Japan. From the start of the break (January 12), I was just preparing for the upcoming InitialView interview in six days, and struggled for a while to think about my own words: What I could say about myself? Is it really good to say this? Will the admission office of my dream school value my speech? Sometimes I even thought whether my TOEFL Speaking score – the unchangeable label – would put stereotype threat to my interview performance.

Obviously, I took a lot of time to draft my interview according to my past events. I picked my most dedicated extracurricular activity – mangrove forest protection – as the main topic around the interview. “Whatever the interviewer’s trick is, I am going to swerve his or her interest to this activity.” Additionally, NOVA Monthly magazine club, my violin playing, as well as my campus life, are all encompassed in the big bundle of my mind. Gradually, I also got many insights beyond these activities, making me surprised about the power of introspection.

The preparation was intense, but it worth. Everyday I stared at the mirror and warned myself to be expressive. I sat in front of my father, who was, not definitely great at English, acted as my interviewer. As he questioned me about various aspects of my life, I really had to take time to process what he intended to say despite answering his “curiosities”. Nevertheless, I found myself really fluent in speaking, and whatever question my dear papa asked about, I would provide satisfactory response that was already packed in my mind full of the materials. Of course, my seniors also cordially offer their experiences last year during the InitialView and encourage me to catch this chance and make a hit; my foreign teachers in my school, though not available for preparation, also provide tips for me to get rid of this interview.

Still, the day will come. I got into the CBD of Shenzhen and was elevated to the fourteenth floor of the Time Finance Centre. There I saw teacher who instructed me to take a writing. “How to love a person?” Well, this topic was easy, and I harnessed what I learned from psychology course. After the writing, I was sent to have an interview.

At first, the interview asked me about my plan, and I told her the truth, that I would play violin on stage. (Actually, I just finished my performance yesterday!) However, as the interview progressed, I thought the topic about violin was talked about too much, and I took a strategic turn to swerve her attention to mangrove forest protection. Fortunately, I finished the entire interview process.

Today, I received my report, and I was quite satisfied with my results. My parents took a look at my chubby face and my seniors, as well, appreciated how great my interview was. I am confident to send my interview video to my dream school’s admission office. Now, as I send my InitialView video to the admission office of my dream school, I also send a seed of hope to it.

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Review of my 2016

A new refreshing year is awaiting. With just thousands of seconds to count down, here I would like to casually reflect back my life in 2016.

First, I want to share my personal developments. Through this year, I achieved a lot of skills, like winning a national prize, being able to play electric piano, etc.. These new things I learned were memorable, because they came from my commitment. Moreover, I also made plenty of new friends that had distinct backgrounds. Together, we could share ideas and talk about things we were interested in. I also got to know more deeply about Chinese culture. I visited a lot of great natural sceneries and their corresponding civilization. Those things make me more prepared for introducing my culture to people from other countries.

Second, I would like to discuss about school life. During this year, I gained a lot of declarative knowledge that is practical. And I got to pursue my career interests with more opportunities to broaden my vision. I did a lot of researches about chemistry and biology, which really enhanced scientific skills. What’s more, my environmental protection organization goes well, and successfully survived “the Great War of hundreds of clubs”. I honorably became a peer tutor this November, when I was already stepped into college application period. Certainly, the senior 2 (grade 11) life was so busy that I experienced great GPA downfall this year. No wonder flaws of grading and evaluation rumored around my class, I was more optimistic because I really learned a lot of things. The final exam for this semester is coming, and I am sure to fight back the downfall and save my GPA and make my dream more approachable in this senior 3 (grade 12) moment.

Third, testing. At the beginning of this year, my standardized test score was so low that I even considered quitting the international curriculum, but after months of endeavors, I am very glad to achieve such great scores in TOEFL and ACT. Moreover, I accomplished a great miracle: No mean to brag, I was the first person in Shenzhen Middle School who got a full mark in SAT Biology test. Many special occasions did happen, though. During the AP exam period, one of my dearest relatives passed away, while my parents held this as secret until I completed the last test; all the June ACT tests in Hong Kong were cancelled, compelling me to take another one in October.

Is 2016 a perfect year for me? Seriously not. Chaotic situations frequented around the society, shuffling my view of the world many times. Sadness, joy, leaving and reuniting… too many things to be listed. However, I mentally grew up much more than I expected. Instead of escaping from aversive occasions, I would like to take relatively wise actions to dispel those troubles. Looking back, I saw many twists about certain aspects, but those things generally came out to be good in the end. Of course, I will not easily give up in 2017, because I am going to boost up and catch the goals of getting into my dream university, to get involved into the competitive but enlightening education system. Still, the future is full of uncertainty, but I would live my best in the present.

Oh, there is only about half an hour left. So, with the last sincere wish for everyone, I would like to conclude with the most commonly used sentence: “Happy New Year!”

An ugly photo

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My Little-Mindedness

If person is said to be “little-minded”, they have a very narrow perception of things and are often not willing to be steered into looking at something from a different perspective. It is the same as saying they are narrow-minded. They are not interested in, or capable of, looking at the “big picture”. The same meaning applies to me in a way that implies my temporary inability to wholly understand what my ultimate task is, and what I should do in order to optimize specific situations. Rather, all these aspects could be attributed to my ideological system which is not one-hundred-percent-explored during high school time. There are surely a lot of courses that could be pragmatic in the rest of my life, but cultivation of the understanding to macroscopic scale is more important, which a college, containing thousands of students from different nations, is able to provide me with.

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Analysis of My Schedule

ScheduleMany students seek to balance their affairs into a satisfying extent, but realities always violate their ideals. To analyze then prioritize time arrangement, it is rational to use some tools to facilitate the process. For instance, the Friedman Model, a demonstration about the distribution in work, home, community and self, is considered effective.

This is the primary pattern of my time arrangement:

Work Home Community Self
45% 20% 25% 10%

Why I would come up with this graph? There are a lot of reasons that lead to my time schedule. First of all, work, which is considered as the most important aspect of my time arrangement, looks too enormous that its size shocks me. But in fact, I really regard work as essential for myself, since I have to prepare for so many exams that I cannot pay much attention to other aspects. Rather, since organizational skills are heavily emphasized in my campus, coorperating these aspects is well illustrated. Although work occupies most of my time, its circle overlaps all other three aspects, which could lead to the harmony between work and one of the three aspects. For instance, while I’m working for my research program to reach my academic goals, I’m also doing something helpful for the development of the entire society.

Home, sadly, is not well placed in my schedule. Since there are hardly bad situations that come out of my family, I seldom put emphasis on its issues. Rather, my parents are supportive of many of my decisions, and I could say that home acts as the place which I could develop the relationships with others and also do works. Therefore, home is well compatible to two other elements.

Community is also well-regarded as one of my time arrangement, because everytime I communicate with people may accounts for my life experience that basically develop such relationships that are helpful for my accomplishment of my works. Also, it does help deal with some of my family issues that cannot be resolved merely by myself. It also acts as one of the media of the sharing of my secrets that are not shared with my family.

Then we come to self. Though only occupies small portion of my schedule, it is truly important in my self-interest. I watch some American TV series and cartoons that develop my English skills, and they implicitly help me better involved in my community.

A Letter to My English Teacher

(Envisioning weakness of studying and practicing English, I genuinely wrote a letter to my teacher who taught me Honors English. This letter, though seemingly naïve to my present respect, really gave Elliot a deep impression.)

Dear Elliot,

I am very grateful for you that your lessons make my English better and better, and the courses are pretty interesting. I like them very much. However, I am a bit depressed because my English is not so good. Although most of students in our class got A+ in Senior-High School Entrance Examination including me, I seldom speak English with others. And the language I usually communicate with my parents is Chinese. Also, I graduated from an experimental school and I even had no opportunity to talk in English. But a large number of my classmates are all graduated from foreign language School, and they can nearly speak English every time.

At the beginning of the Honor English, I felt extremely anxious that I sometimes burst out some Chinese words unconsciously when I was speaking English. And when I heard that my classmates spoke fluently, I even wanted to punish myself because of my poor English, and I had a willing to recoil. The mark I got in TOEFL Junior is less than 800, and I understood that my English is in bottom of all the students in International System. But one of my classmates, is taught by Colin at present, has gained 117 in TOEFL. “What a intelligent genius!” I sighed after I knew that. While I am preparing for TOEFL, others are preparing for SAT. So I tried my best to improve my English, and I already have a plan to operate my time between these two exams.

What’s more, I dream to learn in one of the American universities in order to improve my academic abilities, and I can open my eyes to concern about global problems. During the courses, I found that the dream is nearer and nearer to me, and it is more likely to come true. I have been more confident after one month’s study. And I can also communicate with my classmates in English normally. I felt so happy that I made progress, and the progress is too extraordinary to imagine.

In Shenzhen Middle School, I have taken part in some organizations such as SUPER NOVA, We-Club, Model United Nations. Because these clubs are not only interesting, but also can help with my English.

And now it is 7-day-long-holiday. And I requested that I should talk with my parents in English for at least three hours per day. They agreed with me because it is a really nice idea, and my parents are well educated in English. I believe that it will be a big step of my English study, and I am looking forward to increase my abilities, too.

All in all, I really appreciate for you during this month. You are very helpful, and not strict with us. Thanks very much.

Best regards

Fan