Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Extra Credit Blog

Growth in Writing in One Semester

I chose this as my 6 word story because it exemplifies my writing shown in the portfolio. Each paper improves with each draft. The improvements exemplify what I have learned throughout the semester. Some of the big improvements I have made in my writing are integrating examples and quotes within my text, having a strong purpose, and making a clear argument. These are all things that I have gotten stronger at doing throughout the semester. My first draft for each paper is shaky in all of these categories. After going through the work shops, conferencing, revising, and reviewing concepts from the boot camp at the beginning of the year my drafts have slowly improved.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

English Portfolio

My research essay is the paper that needs the most work right now. I need to find sources that address the overall topic rather than just the television show. This essay also needs a lot of revision in the organization of the paragraphs. Right now my essay is very choppy so organization and transition will help the ideas flow together better. I also need to work on addressing my argument throughout the whole essay rather than at the beginning and end. This will focus my paper more rather than just providing a lot of examples with no explanation. The final thing I need to work on with this essay is being more specific about what I am talking about. It was pointed out to me that I use the word culture a lot but don't explain specifically what culture and why that is important. This will be a large part in the editing of my essay.

The essay that needs the least editing is my close reading paper. This essay has a good start to it so far, I just need to work on being specific and focusing my ideas. Currently my paper is somewhat broad so with more explanations I will be able to make a more clear point. I also need to emphasize the purpose of my essay because right now the focus is the argument that Krakauer is making rather than my point of view. These simple improvements will make my paper a lot strong and more clear to the reader.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

If McCandless Survived

If Chris McCandless had not died on his journey and did make it out of the wild alive I'm not quite sure what he would do. Near the end of his journey McCandless started to refer to himself by his given name again, instead of his chosen name of Alexander Supertramp. This was shown in the letter he left before he died when he went to go find berries. The use of his given name makes me think that McCandless was done with his adventures and trying to find himself. If he made it out alive I don't think that he would continue his journey. Also, conquering Alaska was his ultimate goal so I do not think he would continue to travel to new places he had not been because his life goal would be satisfied.
I do think that after making it out of the wild Chris would visit or at least contact the people that helped him along his journey. There were several people that Chris stayed in contact with until he got to the Stampede Trail. The fact that he kept contact throughout his journey makes me believe that he would want to maintain contact after his journey, especially to tell the tale of his accomplishment. I believe he would also find his sister and tell her about his journey because he had been very close to his sister. She was the person he always talked to and confided in. This is shown in Chapter Thirteen when McCandless' sister Carine talks about their relationship and the stories she had about them. Chris also told Carine that she was " the only person in the world who could possibly understand what [he] was saying" (129).
I do not think Chris would contact his parents. He journey was not only an escape from society but also an escape from his parents. After finally finding peace within himself I don't think McCandless would want to go back to what caused him to leave in the first place. I also do not think Chris would go back to school. He did complete college but I think his ambitions stopped there. If he wanted to continue his education I think he would have used that as his escape instead of traveling. Continuing his education would be what his parents wanted not him. I do think Chris would find a short term job though. Chris seems to get restless after being in one place for too long. This is shown by him being constantly on the move throughout his journey and not settling down for a very long period of time. I think that this is part of Chris' adventerous nature, so he would have a part time job and live in a simple apartment similar to that when he was in college. After a year or so I think Chris would move somewhere new and find a new job and home, and continue to repeat this.

Friday, April 2, 2010

McCandless reckless?

At the beginning of Into the Wild I viewed Chris as somebody trying to follow his dreams no matter what it took. I still hold this opinion after finishing the book. Krakauer brings up the point that McCandless did not have a map on him, which Alaskans would consider stupid. He then brings up the point that McCandless probably wanted to be able to brave nature on his own with no help. I believe the second statement. Throughout the story Chris is described as somebody wanting to get away from the conformity of society. Bringing a map with him would have gone along with this conformity. Not bringing a map allowed Chris to explore on his own. I don't see this as ignorant because he did other things to prepare for his journey, such as study up on food to eat and bring books that would guide him in wilderness survival.
Another point brought up at the end of the book proving Chris was not ignorant was the theories on how he died. Many people thought that Chris died out of a lack of knowledge of plants and simply ate a poisonous plant. Through Krakauer's investigated he came up with a theory of Chris making the mistake of eating seeds that had toxic mold, but was from a perfectly edible plant. This seems more likely based on the journal writings by Chris and the plant book that he brought with him disucussing edible plants. This further shows that Chris was not ignorant, just unlucky. He did plan out his survival and have the techniques to survive, he just happened to eat something poisonous that was known to be edible.
This strategy of Krakauer's of bringing up Chris's mistakes and then explaining how they were not ignorance worked for me. Krakauer convinced me to take his side in deeming Chris a brave man. By acknowledging the naysayer and then refuting them, Krakauer is proving that Chris did not do anything wrong. Krakauer also provides ample evidence of Chris' intelligence and stories from people who knew Chris which establishes credibility. Overall, Krakauer's style convinced me. Chris was a brave man following his dreams, not an ignorant tree hugger.

Friday, March 26, 2010

the cosby show

My topic for the research essay is The Cosby Show. It has influenced America in several ways, and has also been aired in other countries as well. One way it has influenced America is through providing an example of a happy family going through everyday family issues. Each episode deals with a different conflict that many American families can relate to and use as an example of how to deal with issues in a positive way. By the end of each episode the problem is resolved and people generally stay happy throughout the whole conflict. Although this seems unrealistic it still helps show that you can combat issues in a positive way. This is the central issue that I am focusing my paper on. The impact of being a model of an ideal family can be used currently and in the future because family is continually an important part of society.
Another way the Cosby Show has impacted America is through being an African American based sitcom. Before the Cosby Show there were not many shows featuring African American's. Several episode had African American themes, but the topic of race was rarely brought up. This show led up to more African American based shows, including the Fresh Prince of Belair.
The Cosby Show is unique not only for being African American based, but for also being centered around a comedian. This was one of the first shows centered around a comedian making it original. It also uses clean humor, making it different from several popular comedy shows such as the Simpsons.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"The Dark Art of Description"

In Patricia Hampl's The Dark Art of Description, she writes about how to use description in writing to create your own style. Hampl's purpose in writing this essay is to show the importance of word choice and how description can make all the difference in any piece of writing. Specifically, Hampl states that description allows you to "glimpse the individual consciensness, the creator of the scene" (47). The creator of the scene being the author. Their consciensness is expressed through description allowing the reader to imagine the picture that the author is imagining. Hampl argues that description is the author's voice, drawing in the reader, and can make any story interesting. This is the point of the last paragraphs about one of her students. The student comes to her saying that he has nothing to write about because he came from a small town where nothing interesting happens. She replies by saying, "The field's wide open. Nobody has told what it's like to grow up in Fridley yet" (51). Hampl is trying to prove that you can write about anything and make it interesting. The student thought that his life was boring, but simply using description he could explain new concepts and make the topic interesting to the reader. Hampl uses this to prove that description is vital, and can be used in any circumstance to add voice to a piece of writing and draw in the reader.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Walt and Krakauer

The stories told about Walt is crucial to the story because that gives reason behind Chris leaving to go on his adventure, which is the point of Into the Wild. Chris' background shows readers why he left and what pushed him to want to be on his own. The part about Walt and how much it outraged Chris further shows how Chris just needed to get away. Without this piece readers would question Chris' intentions even more than they already do. Walt's story provides some insight into Chris' head.
Krakauer's story isn't necessarily crucial, but is very important. The addition of his personal experience further provides some explanation to Chris' thoughts. By having a similar background and a similar story, Krakauer's feelings can be paralleled with Chris', helping to fill in some of the blanks that people didn't know.
From the start I thought Chris was a courageous person just for the fact he pursued his dreams at all costs. These stories didn't change my opinion of him, but further justified him leaving. The feelings Krakauer had show what Chris could have been thinking which helps prove that Chris didn't just make a spontaneous stupid mistake. Walt's story futher pushed my positive opinion of Chris in that he was able to take what happened and the anger and use it to pursue his own life and be happy. Instead of wallowing in self pitty or taking out his anger on his family he chose to use it to find himself and become independent. Overall, both pieces helped justify Chris leaving and further prove Krakauer's view of Chris.