To say that I have had my share of times dealing with procrastination would be an understatement. Since an early age I have made it almost a point, to put all my priorities off until the last minute. I really do not think I am all that conscience of this at this point because I think if I were I would have tried to stop it. When I first got to college I was procrastinating a lot with my school work and not carefully managing my time. I was given an assignment for class, the class was American Government. This was not a class that I necessarily struggled with, however, I did not have a firm grasp on my time management at this time so my performance was inconsistent at times. The assignment was an essay on Abraham Lincoln and I forgot to actual question of the essay, but I do remember we were given at least 6 weeks notice. The essay was a research essay and I waited till the day before to start it. It was a disaster and I hope I have not been as stressed as I was in that moment because I was damn stressed out. It ended up taking me over 8 hours to finish the paper as I had to write about fifteen pages. This assignment was a royal pain in the you know what, but as I was doing I remember reflecting that I was the one who got myself into this quarrel, so I had to be more organized in the future.
When I think of academic writing, I think of writing for assignments in school specifically. I think that specifically when it comes to academic writing it relates more to the research context. This is a form of writing that I do not feel as comfortable with academic writing than with creative forms. In high school I did not like school, I felt like a rebellious teen, I was 16 and then my class read The Catcher in the Rye, that had a strong impression on me. At the time, I couldn’t really tell why I felt similar to Holden Caufield as a person, but I did. I felt as if I did not relate to a lot of the people around me, I felt as if a lot of the people around me were “phony” and I thought the novel taught a valuable lesson on humanity. Part of being a person is individualism, if you comply with ideals you are told to comply with then your extinguishing the concept. This was my sophomore year and I was a good reader but I had never really gotten that far deep into writing outside of the classroom setting. Throughout middle school, I would go home after school and glue myself to the couch and play video games till it was dinner time. Then after dinner, more video games and the cycle ensued. My sophomore year of high school things began to change for me. I started to take school less seriously, I thought that I would be able to “scheme” my way through high school by unethical means and began to hang out with older kids than myself. However, at the age of 16 years old I started keeping a diary. I really wanted to discover who I was and I thought that by writing a little bit every day that eventually I would begin to figure out who I was. At 16 I had little direction and did not know what I wanted to do in college, all I knew was that I sucked at Math and Science, but when I tried in the liberal arts classes I thrived. I think that this writing is vastly different than academic writing which is mostly based off research models, but that writing even requires some analysis with it.
Holden Caufield, this was a name that really had a lot of impact on me. For me, he really was a hero figure because even though he did not confront any of the people that he had issues with he understood society. He understood that he wasn’t well liked by a lot of people and because of this, he sees how a lot of people simply prop their lives up so they look like they’re having the time of their lives to the outside world. I fit in pretty well in my school, however, I had felt like an outsider because there were a lot of kids who were pretentious. Pretentious in the sense that they felt they were more important than the most important problems going on in the world, and as long as their lives were in order they did not care about the outside. I wanted to write a book about how my perspective of growing up in a town that hid me from the reality of the real world. I wanted to call the book the bubble. I agreed with George Orwell a lot, he stated that one of the motives behind why people write is to push people in a political sense. In a way, this is what I wanted to do, I wanted for people to understand how ignorant the pursuit of money made them. I never went through with writing the book, but I did take a creative writing course my junior and senior year of high school. It really expanded my outlook on the world. I would write stories about many things. The class really made me think about being a writer, I wanted to become and I think this is how academic writing ties into that idea.
Academic writing is thought by many people to be writing that is done purely for school, however I believe that academic writing is when you are writing and learning also. You do not have to be in a school setting, I feel like it’s a very arbitrary thing. In college, I stopped pursuing writing to focus on school, but my school is what kept the learning going. By being a political science major, my most important assignments in my major courses are nine times out of ten essays. These essays require arguments about very specific topics, topics that I was not familiar with prior to encompassing it. I see myself as an active academic writer because I know there is essentially no limit to what I can learn about writing. Also there is a lot of stuff in the political science world that can fool the average researcher as being credible. In reality a source may not be as credible as it is, by going through the process of academic writing and creating an annotated bibliography you learn that things may not be as credible as thought. Also as the writer of an academic piece since it is likely pertaining to researching a hypothesis it helps the credibility of the paper when the things being researched are fact checked and peer reviewed. I would encourage others to think of writing more about exercise to the imagination. If you have a wild imagination as a child, like I did, you will almost certainly enjoy creative writing. The beauty of writing is that if you really do come to love it, you do not have to do it for the “sheer egoism” that Orwell suggests many are in it for. You can do it because you have a passion for having others hear your perspective. Even if that perspective is through characters you create as a writer, the perspective comes from the author.
I think that creative writing is the steppingstone to academic writing, academic writing entails more attention from the research sector and gathering evidence in support of an arbitrary hypothesis. Academic writing is different because of tone and direction, what I have shown is that I developed as a writer in general through creative writing. By expressing my perspective through story telling I have figured out a method to my writing that helps me better further my points in academic writing which is more argumentative than narrative based. This was how he was able to see what was on their mind. I think writing is similar in that depending on what your writing, your tone is what represents what is truly on your mind, academic writing is more of arguing to prove a hypothesis right or wrong. The truth is that creative writing is a powerful vice in developing the commentary skills needed to be an effective arguer in an academic piece of writing.
- Citation: Irvin, L. Lennie. “What is “Academic” Writing? .” Writing Spaces: Reading on Writing , 2010.
Summary: In this essay, the author Irvin discusses how people who are new to academic writing are more likely to dread it because of “myths” they are led to believe. Irvin discusses several myths, these are things she believes people are led on to believe and have an adverse effect on how they perceive academic writing these are Myths #2 and #5. #2 states that it’s a myth that writers have everything they want to write figured out before they actually start writing. #5 states it is a myth that good grammar is good writing. Irvin goes further on to say that academic writing is more about understanding the context in which you are presenting. This can mean several things first, who is the audience and on what platform is the writing being presented. In short, this essay is a directive to students who are quick to fear the process of learning academic writing.
Evaluation: I think that this can be useful to my topic because I used to have a fear of academic writing. In high school, I was not that motivated to learn about the specific ways to write academically, I did not care to fix mistakes that I had made and did not stay consistent to tones and points of view. The myths that I described in the summary are ways that represent the reasons that I felt as if writing were a wall I could not climb over. Now that I am a political science major, my most important marks as a student require an application of certain writing skills. I appreciated what the author wrote about maintaining perspective throughout a work of literature and always understanding the audience.
- Rothman, Joshua. “Why Is Academic Writing So Academic?” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 18 June 2017, newyorker.com/books/page-turner/why-is-academic-writing-so-academic. Accessed 25 Sept. 2017.
Summary: This article is written by a former graduate student who wrote in response to a critique he received on a previous work of his. He said that his critic suggested that the work be published in an opinion related platform like a magazine and not an academic journal. He then begins to attempt to distinguish the purpose to academic writing which for him is education. However, he says that because of the generations behind us like the baby boomer generation, more and more students began enrolling in colleges. Therefore, the requirement to become a professor was lowered. If this is going to happen, Rothman is claiming that the expectations for academic writing should be lowered because then more people will be able to part take in it.
Evaluation: I think that this work of writing is valuable to the future of writing because it represents a true idea, the idea that because the level of writing is lower now so are the writing levels of most of the audience. So why does academic writing need to be so strict when the people coming into it are not able to keep up. I think the way that I can apply this to my own works is that I feel as if when I focus too much on “damage control” as in mitigating mistakes I end up making more mistakes and my level of writing goes down. With that idea said, I can support what he is saying.
- Citation: Orwell, George . George Orwell: Why I Write, 1947, www.resort.com/~prime8/Orwell/whywrite.html. Accessed 25 Sept. 2017.
Summary: This piece is about a man’s effort to search for the answer of why he writes. Orwell starts with an anecdote about how he could not really find himself as a person and transformed his feelings of being lonely into a career as a writer. He talks about the reasons people become writers and he feels as if writing is something that is mainly for self-fulfillment and so that people are remembered and glorified long after they die. He also believes that people want to push the world in a certain direction and do that through writing about politics.
Evaluation: I would evaluate that I could use this piece to show why I might write more in my life. In talking about academic writing, I think that many people write for glory and to push the world in a certain direction. I think that I would be able to find out more about myself through my audience’s reactions to see how ambitious I am to express my opinions. Although I do not know if this is a good conscience reason to start writing because if it’s purely for self-satisfaction what precedent is it setting for future writers.
I decided to analyze a piece I wrote last year in an English class I took at Hunter College. The assignment was to analyze how my writing improved as the semester progressed. The way I worked through this task was by examining my works from the beginning of the semester with my final paper. A lot more attention was applied to my final paper, and that was really what separated it from my other assignments in that class. From an Ethos perspective, I wrote the paper from the perspective of a student analyzing the progression of my skill. I did not aim to denote myself to a higher respect, however I did firmly state the ways I progressed my writing whether it be mechanics or fluidity. I cannot really see how Pathos would fit into my assignment, at no time did the tone become dramatic enough to evoke an emotional response from my audience. Logos would fit into my assignment because I reasoned with myself on how I improved as a writer, specifically in noticing what changed about my writing as the semester progressed. In using the Toulmin method, I claimed that my writing improved throughout the semester. The warranting reason for this was that I had seen improvement in my work from the beginning to the end of the semester. The grounds for the warrant were that I improved my writing in specific aspects such as improving my mechanics and fluidity. My backing of the warrant was that I got better grades as I noticed these flaws in my writing and sought to improve them by paying more attention to them as they occurred. What qualifies me to make this claim is that I spent time on improving my writing skills in specific areas and my grades improved. My rebuttal to this statement would be that while I was paying more attention to not making mistakes as a writer, ultimately it may have taken away from the quality of my commentary as I was focused less on the commentary and more on writing a “clean” paper.
The three ancient Greece means of persuasion as discussed by Aristotle are Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Ethos, the persuasive element of a person’s character that establishes their oratory credibility. This means that there past experience in their work is what qualifies them to instruct an audience on a topic. For example, a doctor has years of educational training and medical expertise and that’s what qualifies them to diagnose illness and prescribe treatments. This satisfies the Ethos element because the individual qualified themselves to instruct his/her patients in a medical fashion. Pathos, an appeal to emotion and a way to convince an audience of an argument by creating an emotional response. An example of this would be if my friend was about to be the last person to register for classes, and I told him if he was the last person he would look irresponsible to everyone to get him to register. This example works because by telling my friend he will look irresponsible it will likely trigger an emotional response from him and get him to sign up. Logos, an appeal to logic, convincing an audience of an argument by way of reason. An example would be, “History has shown that the more power a politician has the more likely they are to be corrupt”. This works because its a statement based off a real-life trend not based off speculation. Context is extremely relevant when it comes to choosing a persuasive appeal, as a person I feel as if the choosing is more based off the perspective of the audience you are trying to persuade. If I wanted to persuade someone to trust me, I would choose the Ethos model. If I wanted someone react emotionally to my persuasion I would choose the Pathos model. Finally if I wanted to persuade someone of something that they believe is untrue I would use the Logos model to persuade them through reason and not just my own opinion.
Toulmin argues that arguing be done in a very formal sense when it comes to practice. He thinks that the person arguing on behalf of an idea should explain what it is they are arguing about in full. Meaning no part of the argument should be unexplained. For example, if I said “there are many hurricanes in Florida during the fall months”, the Toulmin model would call that I explain why Hurricanes come about at this time. Further, I would have to explain why they might not pose as much of a danger as previously believed. I think that this relates to “content and form” for a very specific reason. I think this because of how Aristotle explained the difference between the two. I think that since Toulmins model draws a difference between the content of speech and the form of it. Content is the meaning of the words spoken and form is the tense in which these words are expressed. The method made this easier to understand because the method extracts the meaning from the fact or assumption being analyzed and breaks down the different ways that can be expressed or interpreted. My favorite method is this one because I like how it breaks down the simplicity of going from an assumption to the reasons what is assumed is assumed.
I found that the poem showed in class last session had a very powerful message. The narrator had a goal and that was to prove why she was irate about being judged by others for speaking broken forms of english. These forms of english are thought to be “hood” by some and are looked down upon as a slang version of the language. She was defending her side by saying that she is not less smart for speaking broken english by demonstrating her amazing poetry skills. She explains the reason she and so many speak this way is because the english language was forced upon them when her ancestors were forced into the slave trade centuries prior. I agree with her and find her message to be inspirational that no one should allow another persons judgment influence how they live their life.
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