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During high school, my writing was always something of a rough topic. Math, science, and engineering were all subjects in which I excelled in. I found them enjoyable, exciting, and most importantly, easy. On the contrary, I did not feel the same passion for English and writing. High school never explained the “formula” which relate English to math and science. As a result, I did not like English because it was difficult for me. Though, it was not always this way.
I still recall my first piece of writing, from the first grade. The teacher gave us a partitioned sheet of paper, the top half blank except for two scribbles. Our task was to use our imagination and turn the two scribbles and blank page into a masterpiece.
Then use the lower half of the page to describe what we had artfully created. I managed to create what would be (in the eyes of a first grader) the best airplane that would ever take flight.
The aircraft was in the shape of a cigar and had square wheels. One could argue it was a Boeing engineer’s dream to design something so magnificent. Besides my artistic ability, or the lack thereof, my excitement stemmed from the fact my father was a pilot. This allowed for an emotional connection to my writing, which made it personal and significantly easier to write. While the airplane assignment was a fond memory of writing, the majority of my other past compositions were not as pleasant.
To succeed academically there came a point in my journey in which I realized I needed to break free of my past inhibitions. After high school, it became clear I needed to view my work objectively.
As a writer, it is of the utmost importance to learn from past mistakes. Individuals must use the wisdom received from evaluating the past to improve present abilities. I have to make use of these improved skills to project personal capability moving forward into the future. Self- evaluation is a trait in which separate an average writer from a great author. For this portfolio, I have selected the audience, advertisement, and literary analysis essays. I will compare my work to the Latin phrase respice, adspice, prospice. (Learn from the past, examine the present, and look towards the future.) Considering my work in this manner allows for an objective view of my work and showcases my growth during English 12.
The audience essay was my first real attempt to objectify my writing style this year. This project allowed me to identify a baseline for the NAPS English 12 class and set goals for my writing. The prompt of this piece made it easy to combine my personal and my professional styles of writing. Additionally, with the inclusion of analysis, I was able to step back and view my writing objectively. This paper was almost three in one. The topic required the students to choose an audience and write to them about our NAPS experience. The challenge being, the author had to determine the audience and tailor the paper to meet the expectations of their audience.
In my two examples, I chose to address the Military staff and my friend Taylor. While the overall message was of my experience of NAPS indoc, the methods used to present the message was different. For example, I made broad assumptions about both of my audience. I expect the Milstaff to know what PT stands for, but I do not expect Taylor to understand. Conversely, I expect Taylor to accept a less professional tone in my writing. Rhetoric is the idea of making assumptions about an audience in order to develop the best letter possible. This assignment was great exposure to the concept of rhetoric. To make my point clear, I determined that the two letters needed slight adjustments upon review of the paper. I wanted without a doubt for the reader to identify how the use of language and tone must change when writing for different audiences. Upon revision, I have made it very clear what my goal is for the reader, rhetoric is of great importance when developing writing. Academically speaking, this was a great project to submerge me back into the world of writing.
The Advertisement analysis was the next choice due to its ability to challenge me as a writer. I chose this assignment because of how difficult it was to complete. For an experienced writer, I am certain it is easy to pull a thousand words out of a picture, however, I did not find it quite as simple. In fact, upon reviewing this essay I found that it was incoherent. The topic sentences did not align with the thesis, and the paragraphs did not align with the topic sentence. This essay was far from organized. In order to enhance the quality of this essay, I started with the thesis. Before the revision, it was unclear what the argument was.
After correcting the thesis to make a better argument, I had to revise each topic sentence to support the new thesis. Additionally, the content in the paragraphs needed revision. Specifically, I added supplementary sentences in which support my new claims. With the introduction of new supporting material, it transformed the flow of the essay. The last key change performed on the advertisement analysis was the MLA formatting. I am uncertain how I missed this upon the first submission, but there were significant issues with the structuring of the quotes. After reconsidering this difficult essay, I realized just how confusing it was to read. With the corrections made, this essay is the perfect example of how I have grown as a writer this year in English 12.
The literary analysis is the cornerstone of my progress, this paper exemplifies just how far I have grown as a writer. This piece is perhaps my best work in English 12, however, it still needed some sprucing up before including it in a final product. After revising the essay, I found that I had made multiple assumptions near the end of the essay. For example, I made the assumption that Captain Queeg and Maryk exhibited exhaustion during the typhoon. When in reality there was little or no textual information supporting this claim included in my essay. The length requirement made the paper difficult, near the end, I felt that I had run out of useful information to support my thesis.
As a result, I began to make assumptions to support my claim. I found supporting quotes after reviewing specific locations within The Caine Mutiny. Additionally, I discovered many of my quotes had little opening context. As is was described to me, these are called “orphaned sentences.” While this did not necessarily harm the paper, there was an interruption to the flow. Upon revision, I added context to better integrate the quotes into the essay and created a smoother read. This includes using phrases such as, “he said” or “explained within.” In comparison to the other pieces, this paper had a stronger foundation. The book selection was interesting and it was relevant to my career. This made the composition of the paper enjoyable and aided in jumpstarting my interest in writing.
Creating a compilation of my writing work was enjoyable, each successive paper revealed my progress. One of the most exciting aspects of academia is recognizing personal development. While writing previously never came as easily compared to other topics, English 12 taught me to enjoy the art of writing again. The motto, “respice, adspice, prospice” embodies the overall change I have made in order to view my work objectively. In the past, I thoroughly enjoyed the art of writing beginning with my airplane project. High school taught me to resent the writing process. As a result, I spent many years with strong discontent within the art. Presently, English 12 presented the idea that I could actually enjoy writing. It became an outlet for my emotions, a way to get my voice out into the world. Most importantly, considering the future, I can only speculate how I may grow as a writer. It is amazing to consider how one English class allowed a person such as myself to rediscover a pastime.
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