A Semester Over; A Writer Changed By Jacqueline Black

The purpose for writing has a different meaning to everyone, yet it cannot be denied that it has an incredibly powerful purpose, even if we cannot decide on a universal definition. However, I believe writing is a way to convey the ideas that can be difficult to express verbally. Once you get started, words that you wouldn’t have thought to express in conversation pour out on the page, form details, and therefore appeal to whoever gets the privilege of reading the hopefully well-put together work. To me, writing is much more than all the inquiries and assignments in class. Writing is something that I consistently lean on when my mind is reeling due to various circumstances. It is something that I have always loved and that generally comes easy to me. I have a way of making sense of the thoughts in my head that I cannot seem to put into verbal words through writing and it has helped me in times of stress, sadness, and even joy. My main goal is to provoke a feeling in the reader. If someone reads a passage, no matter the length, and feels no emotion toward it, that the meaning is lost and the piece is rendered ineffective. Writers write just to write; even if nothing comes to mind at first. Personally, I consider myself a writer but more importantly, I consider myself a thinker.

With that said, through the assignments in this course, I have discovered that something that I want to develop more as a writer is to focus in on a few points, and not let all my extraneous thoughts get in the way of the point of the paper. Sometimes I say things that I think may reinforce my point, but it only makes it harder to find within those extra details.  I want to be clear and concise, which is a factor that I seem to lack. Specifically in this class, I have learned the different rhetorical techniques and how to analyze how they are used in all types of media. The first indication that I was straying from the point was in my analysis of The Picture of Dorian Gray.I spent a great amount of time with the text and focused on picking out the details and commenting on them, yet in doing so I lost what I was supposed to be achieving in the assignment. However, I did subtly focus on the rhetorical values, but one would not notice if he or she did not know to look for them. For example, in this passage from my paper, “The Words Behind The Picture of Dorian Gray” the focus is on the sense of emotions versus logic, or pathos versus ethos. My descriptions of the emotions of the characters matched with the denial of Dorian make for a good example of rhetoric, yet lacks explanation.

The most level-headed of the three, Basil, points out the apparent facts of her being so beneath him in social class that it may jeopardize his standing in the hierarchy. He supports his argument by surpassing the factor of emotion and tries to make Dorian realize what commitment he is about to make. He wants him to see deeply into his impulsive tendencies and think about what effects this decision will have in the long run. However, Dorian simply cannot accept this logical perspective.

In brief, I try to explain what I am feeling about the particular topic and make the audience see it that way as well. In most cases, I try to focus on diction to write more interesting sentences to inspire the audience to think in a different way than they normally would about the topic at hand. While doing so, I get caught up on the different feelings I have toward the subject and lose structure and focus of the paper. With my example of the passage from the third inquiry, the things I said sounded eloquent but I never related them back to the purpose of my paper; to analyze the rhetoric used in the passage I chose. This is something that I am becoming much more conscious of and that is the first step in making a change.

In becoming aware of my style as a writer, not only did I start to see the improvements that needed to be made, but also I saw certain points of style that I liked, and ones that I could recognize throughout all of my work. One passage in particular struck me because it starts with a general statement, makes an interesting and personal comment on that statement, and then jumps back into the narrative and then ends with a strong quote and a description that is open to interpretation and leaves the audience in thought. The first inquiry, shows this method strategically.

The common phrase “easier said than done” is a way to escape what we think we aren’t capable of. I tell her honestly that I have faith that she will get a little stronger each day until the day she will return to the fun-loving girl that I know so well. At this moment we mutually look at our phones and realize it’s much later than we had hoped to be up when we both have an 8:00 am class. As I hug her tightly, I leave her with one last piece of advice. Unfortunately, I can’t claim this genius phrase as my own, but it is from Henry Ford who stated, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Simply put, yet powerfully thought provoking.

I have noticed a similarity in my writing and while I do not think it is entirely a bad thing, as all writers should have their own style, I do think that there is always room for improvement and change.

At the beginning of the semester when the first writing assignment was given and the word rhetoric was the topic of class discussion, I was familiar with the term but I did not know what the exact meaning of it was, much less how to use it within writing. Because it was the common thread throughout each inquiry, it set the stage for progress and proved to be beneficial. Although I didn’t analyze it enough in my first inquiry, missed the mark a bit on my second, I felt myself being able to look for it in other pieces of writing and more successfully analyze it as the semester continued. For inquiry III, the issue that I chose to discuss was the psychological effects of Facebook. While I tried to supply the paper with facts and looked at all aspects of the website, the end of the paper focuses on the read effects of it on society and hopefully leaves the reader in thought.

Humans are sensitive beings, equipped with the ability to read facial features and even mimic the feelings of others. Imaging a time in the future where these qualities cease to hold their importance is to take away the key source that has held civilization together since the beginning. It is the simplest form of interaction and because of social networks like Facebook; it has become more complicated than it needs to be. It is a painful thought to think that we may lose these gifts of our society if it progresses along its current path.

Personally, I believe that the end of an argument is the most crucial point; it is what the reader remembers most vividly. A poor ending can completely delude the work as a whole, no matter how strong it began. I chose to end my paper on a note that everyone who is familiar with the social networking site can relate to. All of these thoughts are not usually in the minds of users and because of that, I wanted to instill their importance to a technology savvy audience in hopes that they can take the purpose behind what is becoming habitual behavior into consideration and interpret it individually.

Aside from better understanding why rhetoric is essential in writing and the different appeals that can be used to captivate the audience, it has caused me to think differently. Whenever I read an article or see an advertisement, it is clear what approach is being used. Not only has the theme of the course been useful, but the workshops and feedback after each assignment has helped me tremendously. Usually I am not fond of structure and like to convey my points in the fashion I see fit. By reading others’ comments on drafts I have been able to look at my writing from a more objective point of view and make changes to methods. My growth as a writer not only includes knowledge of the rhetoric device, but my focus on specific details to reach the audience more effectively.