Experiencing the concert – kallisti: Queen of the Ether

People are sometimes interested in words that do not have single meaning: Kallisti is a Greek word that has its rich mythical origin imprinted in “the apple of discord”. Ether, for most individuals, represents the endless sky and universe; for organic chemist, it is a group of substance that was named for its anesthetic properties, creating alternative states of consciousness. Out of curiosity, I went to hear the concert, kallisti: Queen of the Ether, to explore how the performers synthesize mystery into their performance. I found out this concert was indeed filled with riddles. Its exclusive use of female singers reshaped my perception of them in the field of singing. Its experimental style also gave me insight into appreciating distinct music forms.

CPMC Concert

This concert took place in Conrad Prebys Concert Hall. The room was filled with irregular firm wood walls, creating unique effect to resonate the sounds. The platform was big enough to contain an orchestra of one hundred people. Near the front row, the platform also spans out to expand our vision, making the concert like a cinema. It is also noteworthy to mention that the comfortable seats were made of dark red color, hardly interfering with my focus on the performance.

One of the most interesting aspect of this concert is its lack of instrumental accompaniment. Except for the percussion that only appeared in third song, other things were merely the female voices. This setting makes the concert like a pure A Capella show. Though a bit disappointed at first, because I myself was fond of songs that have beautiful melodies played by instruments, I was progressively intrigued by the great virtuosity. I realized that the singers’ musical skills were the spotlight of the concert, and instrumentation would only hinder me to appreciate their skills.

Indeed, each performance had its characteristic virtuosity. The first song, Vive faville, seemed to toy with quietness. It featured four sopranos that has their own low-volume weird voices such as wind-blowing, chit-chatting, and pure singing. They often sung by themselves, with occasional unifying harmony and complete silence. The second piece, Sequenza III, was sung by an omnipotent solo singer. Besides her display of unstable emotions, from mummering and sighing to laughing and yelling, she also synchronized actions into her singing, thereby depicting a vivid person who was easily influenced by different events. The third performance, Puksanger/Lockrop, seemed like two country women, standing in both sides of a mountain, having a worldly conversation. There, the male percussionist helps to set up the grand scene. The fourth song, Vishentens lov, sounded like a group of scholars trying to answer philosophical questions. The fifth, Six Songs for Sirens, was set in a more celebratory tone. Afterwards, the encore Do Not Fear the Darkness lightened up the atmosphere, comforting me with the softening lyric, which is its title.

kallisti brochure

The program provided a pamphlet that was helpful for understanding the music. Even if it does not translate all the lyrics into English, I could confidently anticipate how the songs go down. The director of this concert, Susan Narucki, also aided my perception by telling stories. She also acted as the conductor when she was singing, which I thought helped her better direct the group.

From above experience, I learned that female voice, when played along, could go beyond the stereotype, and show many skills that I did not know before. Besides its commonly believed smooth nature, the voice could mimic an object perfectly, change its volume variably, shout out words recklessly, and do something usually done by men. The concert, by showcasing music pieces that can be described as different art forms, also broadened my vision of music. Not all beautiful music requires instrumental accompaniment or at least acoustics. In fact, as can be traced back to Hildegard’s work, only using female voices could be strong enough to vibrate people’s feelings.


How Does Humor Fight Against Stereotypes?


© Kate Copeland

Humor is able to make people laugh. But when used strategically, it can also eliminate stereotypes. Journalist Mary O’Hara, supported by experts from different fields, notices humor’s immense power to actively counterbalance bigotry (O’Hara 106). She postulates that humor can bring new ideas to society and correct mistaken stereotypes. However, psychologist Gil Greengross disagrees with O’Hara, proposing that whether comedy can eliminate stereotypes depends largely on the context of audiences (Greengross 144). While philosopher Simon Critchley admits that shared context is important, he concurs with O’Hara by applying incongruity theory, which states that humor changes people’s view through surprising them. He uses this theory to explain how humor reverses the audiences’ perception of stereotypes. Finally, while comedian Negin Farsad employs Critchley’s positions to shift people’s views about Muslims, she adds a more interesting interpretation of her pursuit. “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). Denying Greengross, she confirms O’Hara that humor can earn people’s trust, and eventually defeat stereotypes.

As social affairs journalist Mary O’Hara observes, humor can counter malicious stereotypes by conveying new ideas (O’Hara 105). To certify this observation, she offers a collection of comedians and scholars. For example, social activist and comedian Josie Long believes “Satire is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted” (O’Hara 106). This belief signifies that through satire, humor can balance the feelings of all the individuals, including those who are labeled with stereotypes. O’Hara investigates further by visiting experienced comedian Stephen K Amos, who claims, “One of the singular properties of certain comedy ‘when done well’ is the freedom to explore ideas in an unconventional or counterintuitive way, to subvert society’s norms” (O’Hara 107). Based on Amos’ discourse, O’Hara asserts that comedy can provide new insights into social ailments – stereotypes – and cures them. She uses Amo’s action to validate John Fugelsang’s claim, “Humor can be a social corrective” (O’Hara 108). This sentence further proves O’Hara’s note that humor can bring different perspectives that help correct the mistaken stereotypes.

Though psychologist Gil Greengross agrees with O’Hara that comedy can bring unique information, he claims that humor does not change all the audiences’ biased views if they perceive these jokes differently. “The same joke can be funny or not, but can also be racist or not racist depending on who tells it and to whom” (Greengross 144). He implies that when people lack shared ideals with the comedians, the subsequent humor may fail to counter stereotypes. Drawing from experimental results, Greengross also concludes that comedy may not provoke audiences to hold against racists, who impose stereotypes on minority groups. “When we consider groups that most people discriminate against, and feel they are justified in doing so, disparaging humor towards that group does not foster discriminatory acts against them” (Greengross 143). He clarifies that humor can only show stereotypes rather than resisting them.

Philosopher Simon Critchley concurs with Greengross that shared context is essential for a joke to effect change. “There has to be a congruence between joke structure and social structure” (Critchley 123). However, he disagrees with the point that jokes do not effectively attack stereotypes. Based on the premise that a common identity is established, Critchley uses incongruity theory to explain how humor alter people’s perception about stereotypes. This theory states that the discrepancy between reality and the audience’s expectation generates laughter. Through making audiences laugh, Critchley asserts, “The incongruities of humor both speak out of a massive congruence between joke structure and social structure, and speak against those structures by showing that they have no necessity” (Critchley 126). He suggests that when a comedian jokes about stereotypes, the audience is informed and expects a joke that mirrors their stereotypical view. He then declares that as the comedian unveils the joke in an unconventional style, people’s expectation is popped, and they will break into laughter. “By laughing at power, we expose its contingency, we realize that what appeared to be fixed and oppressive is in fact the emperor’s new clothes” (Critchley 126). Critchley implies this moment as a shift in people’s view about stereotypes. When comedians lead audiences to this moment, these stereotypes, set up by the powerful, will seem to be ridiculous.

Comedian Negin Farsad’s jokes fit well with Critchley’s incongruity theory. She also refutes Greengross’ conception, demonstrating that joke tellers can accommodate people, dissolve the social barrier, and finally change people’s views toward stereotypes through surprising them. Viewing comedy as “a platform for advancing social justice” (O’Hara 106), Farsad bravely sets off on a grand mission to alleviate a stereotype regarding her own identity: Muslims do not denounce terrorism. To fight against this stereotype, Farsad, in her movie, The Muslims are Coming!, holds a comedy performance in Birmingham. At the beginning, she brings the audiences delicious foods. As people are attracted to the delicacies, Farsad identifies with these audiences, mockingly appreciating their tastes for foods (Farsad 17). When she brings people closer to her, she shifts the topic toward correcting the Muslim stereotype through the “name that religion” game. As she mentions a quotation that involves violence, people will expect it to come from the Quran. However, Farsad reveals that it comes from the Bible (Farsad 18). The audience, out of surprise, breaks into laughter. They come to realize that not all terrible things come from Islam. In this way, Farsad succeeds in reducing audiences’ stereotypes about Muslims.


While Critchley and Farsad agree that humor can fight against stereotypes, Farsad has a more specific interpretation. “Comedy … makes you laugh. And when you’re laughing, you enter into a state of openness. And in that moment of openness … comedian can stick in a whole bunch of information” (Farsad 14). This explanation well serves as the philosophy for Farsad’s pursuit of justice: As she breaks audiences into laughter, they are more open to listen to the positive messages that Muslims are as good as anyone. Her method for eliminating stereotypes also verifies O’Hara’s quote from Sophie Quirk: “If you’re getting people together and talking about views that in the broader social context are quite marginal, and we’re all laughing together at those, then you’re kind of affirming them” (O’Hara 107). Therefore, Farsad ensures that when she identify with audiences, she can eventually disintegrate stereotypes.

To sum up, a meaningful humor is not just about making people laugh; it should have profound social effect. The conversation about humor’s ability to fight against stereotypes goes favorably. O’Hara, with her stakeholders’ support, concludes that humor can correct mistaken stereotypes by delivering ingenious thoughts. Greengross flips the conversation, noticing that common social identity is necessary for a joke teller to change people’s mind. Critchley mediates the controversy between O’Hara and Greengross, proposing incongruity theory to explain how humor alters people’s views about stereotypes based on shared context. While Farsad tells a joke that supports Critchley’s theory and counters Greengross’ points, she also confirms O’Hara’s belief in comedy’s social functions. Still, though we have understood that humor can fight against stereotypes, we should consider if humor can effect real political change in the same manner.



Works Cited

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.

Greengross, Gil. “Does Racist Humor Promote Racism?” Psychology Today, 18 July 2011, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/humor-sapiens/201107/does-racist-humor-promote-racism. Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 142-144.

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 The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore,2017, pp. 104-111.



I greatly acknowledge the AWP program director and my instructor Dr. Karen Gocsik. She gave me comprehensive feedback in revising my first draft and second draft throughout the course, especially facilitating clear representation of the course readings. I am grateful for the curriculum coordinator Sarah Baker, who viewed my third draft, corrected citation errors and advised better synthetic strategy during the community office hour. I appreciate my mentor Sarah Ardell for raising suggestions about grammar and style in meeting sessions. I also thank my groupmates Flory and Shuli for enriching me through common reader response and group conference. The response helps me a lot when polishing the final paper.

Grand humor articles coming ahead

Dear readers,

Humor is everywhere in our life. While it makes us laugh, it also neutralizes our sadness, fear, or anger. But have you ever imagined that a seemingly inconspicuous joke can have a big impact in our community? In the article, A Serious Business: What Can Comedy do?, social affairs journalist Mary O’Hara answers with a simple sentence: “Comedy can change how we think, and even what we act” (O’Hara 104). So, how can humor even change our perception of something? Here in my portfolio, I hope to bring you on a journey where you can envision humor’s immense power by reading the following two papers.

My Summary & Synthesis paper, How Does Humor Fight Against Stereotypes?, will introduce you to a conversation that discusses how humor acts toward the commonly criticized stereotypes. Several writers are engaging in this topic. You have seen Mary O’Hara’s claim, and she will start the talk by pointing out humor’s power to fight against stereotypes. Then, psychologist Gil Greengross will raise objections, saying that humor may fail to counter stereotypes without shared context among comedians and audiences. When the controversy between O’Hara and Greengross grows intense, philosopher Simon Critchley will quench the controversy. While he supports the importance of common identity, he explains O’Hara’s view with his incongruity theory, which states that a joke is funny when it surprises audiences’ expectations, thereby flipping their stereotypical views. As you have heard the three writers talking about comedy’s power to reverse stereotypes, real comedian Negin Farsad will come in and respond to these writers, stating how she erases her Muslim stereotypes through telling jokes.

After demonstrating humor’s ability to upend stereotypes, I will take a stand in the Argument essay, Political Humor and Its Reverberations, exploring how humor, when used in politics, benefits the American public in general. Likely, you have often heard comedians poking fun at politicians. But you may also have noticed that such comedy has a serious logical fallacy – straw man, which oversimplifies and attacks the opponents’ argument points. When the straw man is done inappropriately, it may worsen American politics by damaging the public’s trust toward government. How do comedians avoid the problem? My answer is: by not always deriding politicians. A good political comedy does not simply attack its usual targets; it also targets some citizens. By comedians sometimes inserting such jokes that aim at the public, who should be criticized, the audiences will be aware of themselves, and try not to be the target, either. In doing so, political comedy can bring about profound reflection to the public.

Humor is more fascinating than we think, it can change our ways of thinking and doing things. When done aptly, it can even punch up our spirit. If you seldom touch comedy, you may be urged to watch some comedy shows right after reading my papers. Even so, I hope this journey will bring you some new insights into comedy’s power, and may the empowering humor be with you.


Work Cited

O’Hara, Mary. “A Serious Business: What Can Comedy Do?” Mosaic, 23 Aug. 2016,

http://www.mosaicscience.com/story/comedy-humour-jokes-political-satire-taboo. Rpt. in The

Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore,

2017, pp. 104-111.



I am thankful for AWP program director and my instructor Dr. Karen Gocsik for fixing grammatical errors as well as the representation of my two portfolio essays. I appreciate curriculum coordinator Sarah Baker for looking over the overview and advising me to address more about “so what” challenge. I also acknowledge mentor Sarah Ardell, and groupmates Oscar and Shuli for facilitating me to write the overview and give me common reader feedbacks.


Assessment of Group Work

To what degree does switching groupmates at the beginning of AWP 2B benefit the class in general? At this time, I can confidently answer this question. In this term, I participated in a freshly new group consisting of Oscar, Shuli, and me. While I, along with Shuli, was heartbroken for Flory’s departure, I found out that working in the new group still facilitated my growth as a writer, offering me more diverse perspectives about writing and the humor conversation.

Our group worked well in this quarter. As the last quarter’s tradition, we regularly met in Geisel Library to brainstorm our ideas. Because everyone strove for excellence in writing, no one was relaxed during the group meetings; we all shared our thoughts and disclosed each other’s mistakes. We also did our groupwork in a timely manner, providing feedback through discussion board before deadlines. Because we developed good relationships, we groupmates were also willing to help each other. As a result, the revised essays we produced were more outstanding than other groups.

However, some pitfalls were present in our group. Because of our lack of comprehension of English writing convention, we seldom discuss about grammar and style problem, which could have been resolved if we regularly consult reliable sources so that everyone in our group was able to give constructive feedback regarding grammar and style. Also, during group meeting, we were sometimes distracted by things outside of our class. If we focused only on AWP instead of extracurriculars, then our group meeting could be more efficient.

Besides these pitfalls, I contributed to this group a lot. In terms of writing, I took a particularly good stand about critical reading, use of evidence, and ethical citation. Based on my relatively accurate capture of different writers’ ideas, I could correct my groupmates’ pitfalls in demonstrating the reading materials. In addition, I helped them with using these articles as evidence for their arguments. By accurately presenting and using these articles, their essays seemed to be more sounding, too. Although Oscar and Shuli did not have serious citation problems throughout, I still reminded them of ethical citation when reading their papers, suggesting some places where they could cite better, like italicizing TV show and adding parentheses to an episode. Despite writing, I also provided technical supports such as reserving study rooms and drawing the conversation map.


Other groupmates’ contributions are also unneglectable, and they helped me a lot in writing. Shuli is self-aware, often looking for help when she is unsure about her writing. She did not have perfect first strike, but her revision and reflection were thoughtful. She was also observant, being able to raise interesting questions and advance clear and claims. I learned from her that patiently working in weak spots could really pay off, and being vigilant with the conversation could season my papers, further engaging the readers. Oscar might not be very good at writing, but he tried hard to revise his works. Though sometimes having difficulty with the course, he dared to speaks out his voice, bravely asking for our help. Besides his direct request to look at his formal control, I also regularly spotted grammatical issues in his papers. By scrutinizing these grammar and style problems, I could reflect myself to ensure I did not have these mistakes, either.

Additionally, thanks to former groupmate Flory, I further developed my mindset of thinking during this quarter. Indeed, besides working with the current group, I also communicated with her to exchange our ideas. From her paper I saw that she can transfer her complicated thought system into a concise essay that engages me. Other classmates who worked with me or not were also appreciated. They demonstrated their diverse thinking in the subject matter.


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.

Response to Critchley’s and McGraw’s articles

In the essay Did You Hear the One about the Philosopher Writing a Book on Humor?, Simon Critchley draws evidence from experts in humor to claim that laughter arises when joke tellers surprise the audiences by giving a twist to the jokes. But besides the laughter, the jokes can change the way people think through a different viewpoint about the things inside a joke. This leads to incongruity theory, which states humor can shift people’s perception from unexpected incidences. In the first time I read this essay, I mixed relief theory with incongruity theory because they both determine that humor can make people laugh by popping tensions. Now I know that incongruity theory addresses that humor is not merely about relieving tension; it can suddenly change the way people think through this surprise. Also, I come to understand for incongruity to function effectively, a common background is required, though common background theory mainly stresses that the extent to which people have shared identities with the joke tellers can affect people’s reactions to the jokes. I reannotated this sentence, “The incongruities of humor both speak out of a massive congruence between joke structure and social structure, and speak against those structures by showing that they have no necessity” (Critchley126). Before the annotation, I think this is the gist for incongruity theory, but it actually shows a specific ideal situation in which incongruity theory well explains humor’s function in changing the society. Peter McGraw also contributes his answer to this issue, but in a different perspective.

Peter McGraw, on his article The Humor Code, Entry 1: What Exactly Makes Something Funny?, asserts that things are funny when joke tellers bring up something that’s threatening at a first glance, and then get the audiences laugh by making it appear safe. This assertion furnishes benign violation theory. McGraw draws from various experimental data to support benign violation theory, and he also uses counterargument to show why other theories fail to generalize humor’s ability to make people laugh. In the reannotated sentence, “Why do we laugh and derive amusement from so many different things, from puns to pratfalls? Why are some things funny to some people and not to others? How is that while a successful joke can cause pleasure, a gag gone awry can cause serious harm?” (McGraw132), I realized that these motivating questions, in addition to leading to benign violation theory, are really worth thinking about throughout the AWP class.

From the questions above, I see that the major debate between Critchley and McGraw is about which theory better explains what makes things funny. In short words, Critchley thinks that humor makes the silly serious, while McGraw views the opposite way. But going deeper into the simple sentence, I should be careful about the way jokes are told. A joke may address something that seems fixed and unnecessary to talk about, but when it makes the audience rethink about the ostensibly “silly” issue, incongruity theory comes into play. On the other hand, a joke may mention something that is seriously malicious, but as it flips the dark side, making this thing acceptable, benign violation theory seems perfect for explaining this joke. Nevertheless, both Critchley and McGraw agree that people with different backgrounds will react differently to certain jokes. This agreement makes me contemplate the role common ground theory plays in humor.


Works Cited

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.

McGraw, Peter and Joel Warner. “Entry 1: What, Exactly, Makes Something Funny?” Slate, 23Mar. 2014, http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/features/2014/the_humor_code/what_makes_something_funny_a_bold_new_attempt_at_a_unified_theory_of_comedy.html. Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 132-135.

I strive for excellence

2017 has so much memory for me that I even cannot recount clearly. This year, I got progressed from high school to university. I made a lot of new friends, and happened to boost my thoughts a little bit to a higher level. Nonetheless, this year means a lot for me, and I would thank this year for setting a milestone of my success in the future.

Speaking of success, I should mention my major academic interest. Undoubtedly, I should have done many things to pursue it. For example, I studied organic chemistry for the first quarter. This course is different from my high school in which it puts much emphasis on mechanisms. At first glance, these stuffs seem to need rote memorization. But as I grasped the real nature inside those mechanisms, I even do not have to look at my cheet sheet to come up with a reaction sequence. Of course, I cannot let my academic interest disappoint me, and I feel joyful to overcome the challenge of the so-called “difficult” course.

Starting from my campus life in UCSD, I also continued my love for music. I brought my violin here and got to experiment on more types of music. I also knew how to make beautiful songs from Garageband. These awesome experiences reduce my stress, and I am happy to go on my music journey.

What’s more? I got a satisfying GPA from the first quarter (I am not posting my actual GPA in case you hate me). This means a good start for my college life. I knew that many students are adjusting to the college mode, and even some straight A students are doomed. This is understandable because achieving a high GPA in college is really more difficult than in high school. I got intimidating experience with one of my courses, but thankfully I saved myself in the final. Now, I feel lucky because the result demonstrates that I adjusted to the learning habit really fast.

I am expecting to do more big things in the next year. This year is more amazaing than the last one, but I should keep going on. I got to have first lab course in my life, and probably an research internship for the first time. But I will strive for excellence to maintain my good academic standing, and make my pursuit keep surprising me. So many of my wonderful friends are succeeding, so am I.

2018, here I come.


Reflection of group work

In this term, my group members Flory and Shuli collaborate well to accomplish tasks. They also help me to become a better writer because they can, as readers of my essays, discover the mistakes that I often neglect. I am still impressed by the many times we met in the group study room in Geisel Library to brainstorm ideas and craft our group works. Among the group works, drawing the conversation map is the first and the memorable one. In that meeting, we discussed our understanding of the course readings, and established a conversation among these articles. Shuli summarized the main arguments of each passage, and Flory and I made connections of different writers. After looking at Flory’s arranged notes of what we said, I put the contents into a conversation map.

Besides this first attempt to finish a group work, we do group project in a similar fashion. We would read the materials and discuss how to present them. Then, we make sure our presentation is sounding by practicing it. We will point out some mistakes if we notice a groupmate’s speech is not convincing. In this way, our group works well because everyone is engaged in the group project and has gripped his or her stances.

For essay revision, we normally give advice to each other through group discussion board. After looking at someone’s paper, we can point out its strengths and weaknesses and give suggestions to revise the essay. We reply to each other’s comment to ensure everyone has provided understandable and helpful feedback. If a groupmate does not give feedback timely, we will notice him or her through WeChat, an app that can display instant messages. This work mode is efficient since we all believe we are responsible for each other’s wellness in writing.

Of course, in the field of writing, I particularly contribute to the group about essays’ citation and organization. I am confident about these two aspects: I always cite ethically, and I regularly scrutinize my essay organization to ensure the transition is well-done. As a result, I can readily give advice to my groupmates’ mistakes about citation and organization. I also provide some technical supports: reserving group study rooms in library, making PowerPoint and video clips for the group presentations.

Still, I am concerned about misreading. Because of lack of common ground, we cannot necessarily comprehend some materials covered in the readings. When this comes to revision work, we may give incorrect suggestions for each other’s papers. For me, this will, indeed, be confusing because sometimes I think my groupmates’ advice on my analysis may be misleading. On the other hand, my groupmates will not trust me if my suggestions are not helpful. To resolve this issue, we may go back to the readings and discuss the part’s meanings, google the misunderstood part, or ask our instructor Dr. Gocsik for clarification.

Overall, I am honorable to be grouped with Flory and Shuli. They are thoughtful and see things in different perspectives. I am looking forward to complete more difficult tasks with them in the next term.


Reflection of Summary and Synthesis Essay

The present society has many stereotypes that bother people a lot. These stereotypes impose negative attributes to certain individuals when, in fact, not all of them possess the negative attributes. Among the course readings, several authors address the widespread social issue and discuss about humor upending these stereotypes. Having been critical of the social ailments, I am interested in writing how humor fight against stereotypes. This question is debatable, and I want to synthesize it into a hodgepodge of ideas that speak to each other.

I visualize the Summary and Synthesis paper as a dinner party conversation. In this conversation, the invited guests will answer my motivating question. O’Hara, an observant writer in humor’s social functions, has met a lot of stakeholders. She has a standing to discuss about the way humor effect stereotypes in a social perspective. Critchley brings an insightful idea in how humor execute its function. He raises incongruity theory to address how humor make people laugh. And beyond the laughter, he also posits that humor can change the situation, including stereotypes. St. George sees the topic in a different facet, proposing a potential limitation for humor to function effectively. However, Peters and Farsad, two real-life examples about using humor to fight stereotypes, refute the limitation broached by St. George. These five guests comprise an intriguing conversation. But when put the conversation into words, I should know what each guest is talking about in his or her own article.

Indeed, writing the summary and synthesis essay requires comprehensive understanding of the course readings (Gocsik 50). They are the sources of the conversation and occupy most of the paper. Besides, the essay should connect those materials in a sensible way. By connecting the sources together, the readers can see how the conversation is going. Grammar and style also play indispensable roles in structuring the essay. Following certain stylistic rules can make me better demonstrate my understanding of the articles, and make the essay more readable.

Because I illustrate the conversation aptly and correct mistakes during the revision, the essay turns out to be successful. The first draft makes a good start. By inviting five guests with different arguments, I host a sounding conversation about the captivating question: How does humor fight against stereotypes. I organize the course materials sensibly so that each paragraph has its own main idea with connection to other guests’ sayings. The sentences are mostly cohesive through old-to-new principle, ensuring the readers can keep track of the progress. The paragraphs are also coherent by transitions; the readers can clearly see the connections among guests.

However, my introduction does not provide an accurate roadmap to my readers. I learn that I should work on introduction harder, because it guides me to write, too. O’Hara has several thoughtful stakeholders, and their quotes should be further unpacked to let the readers process their ideas effectively. A lot of unnecessary words and nominalizations are present. These words hinder me to demonstrate the conversation efficiently. I should, therefore, follow the actor/action and concision principles to correct the mistakes.

During revision of the first draft, I work hard in my weaknesses. At the same time, as I reread O’Hara’s article, I deepen my understanding to this material and change her role in the conversation: Instead of simply claiming humor can fight stereotypes, O’Hara provides an answer to my controlling question. And her argument is more persuasive when her stakeholders’ perspectives are analyzed.

So, from this revision, I also learn that I should come back to course readings to see if I get higher level of thinking about these passages. This is a part of the course objective “develop critical reading strategies for analyzing and responding to academic texts” (Gocsik 101). Another objective I should consider working on is “find and use evidence from multiple sources” (101). Though I can bring up a clear claim and answer a level-three question, as shown by the summary and synthesis paper, I ought to unpack how the claim is made effectively.

To meet these objectives, I plan to engage in discussion of my paper with my instructor and peers. They can give me advice to refine the essay and prompt me to internalize those suggestions. I also want to improve my writing through regular exercises. By practicing writing, I can explore my weaknesses that I should care, and the strengths I should keep. In addition to working on assignments, I will keep updating my weblog, where I can apply the principles I learned in class to write in broader context.


Work Cited

Gocsik, Karen Marie. “Chapter Nine: Writing the Summary & Synthesis Essay.” The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing, UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, p. 26.



I am grateful for my instructor Dr. Gocsik for facilitating me to write reflection effectively. The reflection helps me a lot in keeping track of what I learned in AWP class.

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.


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.