“So Much Has Changed in a Year,” Sarah Marie Noonan (2011) — Inquiry 5

Reflecting on something is not always the easiest thing to do. It is hard to remember what all happened over the course of a semester or a year and therefore your reflection may be a little off. However, reflecting on written works allows for a very thorough and complete reflection since all of the information is right in front of you. This fact has allowed me to be able to look back over all of my works this past year and see how I have grown not only as a writer but also as an intellectual thinker.

Coming into college I thought I was a fairly good writer, I mainly accelerated in creative writing, but looking back at work from last semester I have seen how much I have grown as a writer. The writing that caught my attention the most from last semester was our first inquiry. This was a personal inquiry and at the time I wrote it I thought it was very well done, however, looking back I can now see that it is choppy and not structured very well. For example, “When we were told to return to the boat I was relieved. The rest of the tour took place from the safety of the boat (Noonen “Where’s the Boat?!).”  This transition is a little rough and I could have made it flow a lot better. I also discovered in my previous writing, that when it was necessary to analyze something, I spent most of the time summarizing whatever the subject matter was. This led to very mundane and not very informative writing.

Looking back at my previous writing has made me realize how much my writing has improved over the course of this semester. I have learned how to write a deductive paragraph by starting with a claim and then supporting it. This skill has really allowed my writing to blossom and sound much more academic. An example of my deductive skills is from my paper on Alice in Wonderland and the gender roles the two different versions demonstrated:

Tim Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland breaks the stereotypical gender roles that were enforced by the animated film. In this newer version of the film Alice is older than she was in the animated film and throughout the entire movie she is depicted as a person who breaks the mold… She is then shown daydreaming and speaking her thoughts which in this time period was not something that a woman was supposed to do. She then shows her resistance to society again by not immediately saying “yes” to a marriage proposal by a Lord… (Noonen, “Down The Rabbit Hole of Female Gender Evolution”).

This type of writing allows the reader to know exactly what I am going to be talking about in the paragraph and also helps me to organize my thoughts. When things become more organized it becomes much easier to write a clear and concise analysis. I attribute the majority of my success this semester to learning this extremely valuable skill.

Since my writing developed and as I learned new writing skills, my ability to be a more critical thinker also developed. In order to write a deductive paragraph I had to think about what claims I was going to make and how I would connect them all back to the main point of my paper. Having to think in this way made my approach to my paper much different than it was in the past. I also noticed that the things I was saying in my paper were much more in depth and analytical as opposed to just a lot of summary.

However, I am not going to say that my writing first semester was a barren wasteland and I have nothing to show for myself with those writings. I did have some very creative flourishes which did make my awful structure seem not as bad. For example, in the same paper, inquiry 1, that was choppy I did use the voice of the paper in an interesting way by showing conversations that I was having with myself in my head. In this example the bold italics is my confident mind and the plain italics is my weary and paranoid mind:

What if this these are shark infested waters? Come on Sarah, they wouldn’t bring tourists to shark infested waters. But what if there is a random attack? It can happen! You are more likely to get struck by lightning. I know… but there is still a chance… What if I start to bleed? You’re not just going to spontaneously bleed. I could cut my leg! On what… water molecules? Stop making me sound so dumb (Noonen, “Where’s the Boat?!”).

I definitely tried to carry my creative edge with me throughout the rest of my papers this year, but all-in-all my writing this semester has really developed into something I can be proud of. Another factor that really helped my writing excel was the topic of the class, gender. Gender is something that is really interesting to me, but not something that I have been able to really explore in any of my previous courses. Since I was interested in the topic, it became easier for me to think more intently about what claims I was going to make and how I was going to make the whole paper fit together.

It is clear that my style of writing has greatly improved from this semester to last and this is mainly due to the fact that I learned how to write a deductive paragraph. My writing went from a babbling mess of summary to very detailed close readings of different texts. My way of thinking and approaching my paper also changed. I have become a very intellectual thinker that will even analyze a commercial on T.V. and say how it is constructing gender in one way or another. This semester was extremely beneficial to my writing as well as my writing process.