Aside

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.

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Aside

Reflection of writing in this term

In this term, I have achieved multiple skills in reading, writing, and critical thinking. These skills really give me new insights into the realm of college writing. For instance, instead of simply highlighting, I have learned to annotate in an article when I found somewhere interesting. I also gained the ability to raise an intriguing question. Of course, when answering the question, I have known to draw evidence from multiple sources. With the supporting evidence in hand, I can make my passage sensible. I have, too, understood how to ethically cite sources through studying academic integrity. With the rules in mind, I reached a higher level of thinking, that is, summarizing a passage. I have learned that writing a summary requires me to arrange the materials in a brief yet informational fashion. And after making sense of the summary, I started to synthesize the ideas from different writers and put them into a captivating conversation. I also learned to address counterargument to make my idea stronger, and demonstrate this aspect in my presentation. I internalized grammar and style principles, which are important tools in writing and revising my essays. Then, I understood how to strategically analyze how an argument is made. With reflecting skills, I can be aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and work harder in my shortcomings.

This term has its special topic: humor. Reviewing my summary and synthesis paper, I learned how to demonstrate the conversation of different authors about humor’s functions in society. I am pleased to raise an interesting question and invite such many authors to speak for it. This skill is cultivated by studying raising a question and drawing evidence from course readings. The analysis paper also allows me to break down an article and illustrate how each part contributes to the argument. Specifically, when analyzing a comedy, I could apply humor theories, based on my understanding, to address how the comedian makes his or her points. That makes me excited because I can, out of my expectation, tackle the realm of humor with ease. Though most of the assignments are related to humor, the rules that apply to writing are basically the same when I address another discipline. So, I am confident that I can write college-level essays sensibly using the things I learned from the class.

Still, I am concerned about writing in an English convention. I am sure that I do not completely obey that convention when writing, and that makes my essay less understandable. I am also worried about articulating the context or larger conversation. Lacking common background in some fields, I certainly cannot resonate with the readers effectively. Nevertheless, I feel ready for AWP 2B. This class can keep helping me resolving the things I concerned, and proceeds by raising me to a higher level of thinking – argument. This thinking allows me to speak on my own and participate in the larger academic conversation. I feel this step-by-step development of my writing can be really a huge progress in my success in college.

Aside

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.

 

Acknowledgement

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.

Is Don Quixote Really Insane?

(Just a homework-level response.)

Don Quixote, thought by most of the characters in Don Quixote, is really insane, because he has all the characteristics of a mad person, such as a crazy set of ideas that make him expose both himself and others to danger. However, his behaviors are actually out of consciousness, for he is involved into the chivalric fantasy illustrated in the books he read and tries to restore it by taking the actions that are, though, unacceptable for others.

Throughout most of the story, Don Quixote tries to deal with certain issues with his basic standard of loyalty, humility, and honor, besides the violence part. Definitely, he does great endeavor to protect “Dulcinea” from being debunked by other people about her beauty, showing that by taking righteous actions, he possesses faith to his love. Don Quixote also has humble and honest temperament, as he is sharing the story with the group of people he met in the mountain: “The canon stood amazed at Don Quixote’s methodical and orderly madness, in describing the adventure of the Knight of the Lake.” (1.4.23.2) The phrase “methodical and orderly” illustrates that Don Quixote has a conscious and sincere explication about the adventure he describes. In fact, because he has read so many adventure books and knows the rules so well, he has, basically, created an entire belief system that is open to rational argument. Moreover, his chivalric deeds do win some people’s admiration, though most of them just think of them as entertaining. Nevertheless, in protecting his honor, as in the moment when he is defeated by Knight of the White Moon, he does follow the conditions and decide to return back home.

Actually, Don Quixote is never too stubborn about his optimism about being a knight-errant. At part I of the fiction he shows great enthusiasm for preparing to save the world, leaving others with the impression that he is insane. However, when the story progresses, we can obviously see that his behaviors are controlled, as he thinks about the rationale behind his chivalric deeds. Near the end of the story, he returns to his true self, “I perceive nonsense and impertinence of my knight adventure books.” (2.1.74.5) What might account for the gradual change of his behaviors is the changes in others’ perspectives about Don Quixote. From the start of the novel, he is already sane, though not recognized by the characters around him. But as he grows reputation, people tend to regard him as a celebrity, therefore finding out more details about his personalities. These people put some impact on Don Quixote’s life experiences that help him regulating his actions in a more rational way.

“He is mad past recovery, but yet he has lucid intervals.” (2.1.18.4) Ostensibly, we see Don Quixote as insane because of his abnormal actions. However, looking deeper inside his motives, we should know that he is a propagator of chivalric spirits, transforming the core value of knights into real-life use.

 

Works Cited

“Don Quixote.” The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Trans. Samuel Putnam. Third ed. Vol.C. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 2012, 386-516. Print.