It’s hard to believe that my amazing journey in English 104 is coming to an end. The journey has been so much more enjoyable than I initially expected. I have tried to avoid taking English 104 numerous times because reading and writing have not been my strong points. Each time I attempted to take this course, I dropped it due to a particular instructor style, or a boring set of literary materials. This time around was different, as I set my goal to obtain my bachelor degree in Business Administration by the end of this summer. Therefore, I was determined to force my way through this class no matter what challenges I had to endure.
To my pleasant surprise, this class was much better than the others. I felt the information and learning come much easier. I enjoyed the class materials and the professor did a very good job responding in earnest to my submissions. Because of the much better experience, I truly believe I have become a better writer and a better critical thinker. Through the discussion board and the professor‘s guidance of our writing assignments, I have improved my analytical skills as well as developed a greater organizational skills.
The discussion board was an important tool in developing my understanding of different aspects of the literature reviewed in this course. This new discussion format allowed me to read other students contributions on the same topic, as well as Professor Duclos-Yourdon’s direct and prompts for a deeper analysis. For example, in week five discussion three, we discussed Sister James‘ character, as I said “Father Flynn offers reasonable explanation about the situation and his involvement with Donald and Sister James’ doubt is appeased. This shows that Sister James is easily persuaded and has no eager to actively seek the truth on her own”(Vickery DB)
Following my thread, Kimberly raised a very interesting question by adding, “who is the real criminal in this play Is it Father Flynn with what reported or is it Sister Aloysius as she manipulates Sister James for her own benefit?”(Voss DB) Through engaging discussion with students on a regular basis, I was able to develop a more detailed understanding of literature work. Additionally, alternative views helped me to incorporate logic and critical thought into my arguments. As a result, I am better equipped to gather necessary information to begin writing my assignments.
Professor Duclos-Yourdon’s guidance was crucial in helping me develop my critical thinking skills. Our first literary analysis essay was the most difficult one for me in this course as I had not written an academic paper in nearly ten years. I decided to write my first paper on “The Yellow Wallpaper” and wanted to submit my rough draft for initial feedback. For fear of not achieving the minimum 1000 word requirement, I began to construct random ideas in my paper, as the professor commented, “Your argument should stay focused on the story. These larger implications can be raised in the conclusion if they come naturally from your argument.”(Dulcos Essay1)
Later, she suggested, “To develop this argument, you could first write a paragraph establishing the wallpaper as a symbol for entrapment (as you have done). Move from there to the narrator’s loss of individuality, and finally explore the narrator’s transformation into this shadow woman.”(Duclos Essay1) These comments resonated with me and gave me great ideas on the direction I wanted to take the paper. I began to interpret the evidence in a deeper way and rethought my thesis statement to be more focused. Moreover, I deleted the unnecessary paragraphs, reorganized my ideas and supported with factual evidence. As a result, the comments I received from Professor Duclos-Yourdon were so insightful it helped not only develop confidence, but also resulted in a perfect grade.
With the additional practice of literary analysis in this course, I conclude that writing is a lot like mathematic. Like mathematics, where there is a specific formula to follow to get a result, so there is also a formula in literary analysis to construct an organized essay. I learn in my previous English class that an essay consists of some very basic elements, for example, an introduction, three body paragraphs, and conclusion. It all sounds really easy, but without following some formula, the result wanders and is difficult to follow.
What helped me in this course was learning to break paragraph down into more detail. For example, the topic sentence should clearly tell the reader what the paragraph will explore. Then, simple lead in sentences should be followed by evidence from the literature work. Finally, I complete the prograph with my own interpretation of the evidence. It’s a pretty straight forward method and I can relate to it more as I love formulas. So every time I got baffled, I think of my paper as this giant math equation to solve. Taking these baby steps has helped me in completing all my assignments without feeling defeated.
Finally, I realize the importance of taking English classes during the first two years of one’s college career because it prepares a person to communicate well in written words as well as spoken. Although I waited till the final year of college to take this course, the analytical, writing, and organizational skills I learned will benefit me for many years to come. I am looking forward to utilizing these newfound skills in my next career opportunity as well as graduate school.
Duclos-Yourdon, Melissa. Vickery_ Essay# 1. May 13, 2012
Vickery, Susie. Discussion# 3 Sister James. May. 29, 2012
Voss, Kimberly. Discussion# 3 Sister James. May 31, 2012