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During the 10-week writing course, I really see my growth as a writer. Being a math major student at UC Irvine, I only deal with numbers and formulas for the most of time, and I always choose to avoid taking classes that require us to do a lot of readings and to write a vast amount of essays. As such, I felt reluctant to take the required writing courses despite knowing the importance of academic writings and critical thinking skills.
Looking back on my 39B course, to be honest, I could notice my ability to write proper English has declined tremendously at the start of this quarter, and my writing pieces have many language problems that hinder others’ ability to understand what I want to say.
I felt insufficient and even inferior to others, but it also makes me feel motivated to pay more efforts in this course and improve my writing and analytical skills. Among all the writing course I have taken, writing 39B is the most rewarding class and it helps me grow in writing in correct language, critical reading skills and modeling a genre.
Before taking writing 39B, I merely read essays without being aware of the authors’ background and the historical context of the story. As such, I struggled to understand the real message of the story that the authors want to convey, sometimes even misunderstanding their messages. For example, without reading the secondary sources of ‘Unparalleled Invasion’, I suspected the story to be racist because the western nations in the story kill all the Chinese.
While after reading Métraux and Bervoke’s analytical essays, I could understand how London uses exaggerations to create an ironic story given London’s background. For instance, Metraux provides additional information on London to be a trustworthy historian and respect for Chinese culture. Thus, I would always check the background information of the novella and the authors for the rest of our reading assignments. In addition, our weekly discussion questions helped me gain a deeper understanding of those readings. After knowing the gender and race of Butler, I am inspired to consider the problems related to feminism and racism behind the story, and I am also aware that ‘Bloodchild’ is definitely not a conventional science fiction that depicts the story between human and alien, but a reflection of real world issues. As I could understand those materials by myself, I am able to bring my thoughts to class during group discussions and in-class participation. For example, week 3 Tuesday discussion questions provide me with Butler’s background information, suggesting that ‘Bloodchild’ does not simply portray a love story with family love, but there are reflections of racism and sexism behind the family love. As I am moving forward, I find that Professor Chieng pays close attention to our language and grammatical mistakes. Before this course, I overlooked the importance of effective language, only paying attention to making arguments and expressing my ideas.
However, I have learned that awkward sentence structures and inappropriate diction will make it less effective when conveying my points. Therefore, from my RA essay to my RIP project, I started to improve my language by taking note of the correct sentence structures from readings and other students’ responses, taking out long and run-on sentences. I also constantly revise my word choice if I feel it is somewhat awkward. As I refer back to the past assignments, I could identify bad sentence structures immediately and try to rewrite them again. This is evident in my progress works, Language section. Compared to the first few assignments, I am now more confident that my language is more fluent and I also make fewer grammatical mistakes, which is evident between my essays. I still need to continue working on improving my grammar and sentence structures by proofreading good writings and imitating their structures just like how we imitate different genres in this class. Deciding a proper topic is the first challenge I encounter for my Rhetoric-In-Practice project. There are nearly no restrictions on the content that we can write about for the RIP project.
Consequently, I was overwhelmed with so many choices and could not decide on any topics. And I am reluctant to write something I am not interested because I would definitely have a hard time struggling to reach the word limit. Therefore I decided to shadow something that happened to people around me recently, which draws my attention. Also, religion and race have bred the most controversial issues in human history. I hope to take this chance to express my point of view of Islamophobia and its related issues. Professor Chieng’s weekly discussion questions also helped me to think a suitable topic to write. This is evident in my RIP project brainstorming part. After deciding the topic, I started to think about how to choose a suitable genre for my RIP project. Week 7 Tuesday discussion questions definitely helped me out.
As I refer back to AGWR, I know what I need to consider first are my purpose and my audience. My intention was to raise more awareness on the issues related to Islamophobia and appeal to the public to save humanity. I also revised several times to create a clear message for my RIP essay. This is evident in my RIP essay message section. I was also inspired by the sample RIP project where the author uses satire to mock the high tuition fee and possibly draw more attention from the other students. As such, I was motivated to write an interesting satirical news article. As stated in my RIP essay, I need a group of mature audience that could differentiate satire from fake news, that’s why the Onion articles immediately come to my mind. This is evident in my RIP essay audience section. While traditional news has to remain objective and its function is just to provide information for citizens to make their own decisions, the Onion news articles are satirical articles that convey the narrator’s message rather than just simply reporting a fact. Also, a satire involves the use of irony and hyperbole where I can apply what I have learned from class, such as ‘The Screwfly Solution’ where Tiptree exaggerates men as abusers of women and normalizes men’s abnormal reaction to women. In addition, I have read many the onion articles and searched many tips on how to write a satirical onion article in order to gain a clearer picture of a standard satirical news article. The first thing I noticed is that the onion articles have a formal news format like the New York Times.
Therefore I went on to do more research on Journalism writing and learned that the crucial features of news writing as well as factors that can determine the newsworthiness of a story. Also, I realized the onion news mostly has one short paragraph but sounds really ridiculous such that it is easier for readers to identify the irony without detailed explanations. However, my project failed to meet the length requirement even though I tried to extend it longer than a normal onion article. Therefore I include another onion article in my RIP project section for my portfolio. Throughout my Writing 39B journey, I have improved my reading skills and analytical skills by reading the four major novellas and doing all the discussion questions carefully. I learned how to write a clear thesis statement and maintain smooth transitions between paragraphs from my RA essay. Moreover, I see a big improvement in my language and grammar from my RIP essay.
Also, I learned how to write unfamiliar genres that I would never try. I was not very interested in reading Science fiction but this course changed my mind. Now I know science fiction can have insightful implications and it is always interesting for me to read ironic articles. My professor also makes me pay more attention to areas that I ignored before, and he also makes me more confident to do well in writing and participate in class. With Professor Chieng and my peers’ help, I finally find my passion for writing and I wish to continue my passion for writing in the future.
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