Sunday, April 30, 2006

Style Lesson 9

There are a few techniques that one should know and use these to achieve elegance with their writing. They include balance and symmetry, climactic emphasis, and extravagant elegance. For a sentence to be elegant you need balance and symmetry among its different parts. The parts should echo each other in sound, rhythm, structure and meaning. This takes a lot of work to become skilled with. Climactic emphasis refers to ending the sentence with rhythm and elegance. There are three devices that are suggested to help end a sentence with special emphasis: of + nominalization, echoing salience, and chiasmus. All of these deal with word choice and order in a sentence. You want your readers to pick up on what you are trying to emphasis.

“An elegant sentence should end on strength. You can create that strength in four ways: 1) end with a strong word, typically a nominalization, or better, a pair of them.

2) End with a prepositional phrase introduced by or.

3) End with an echoing salience

4) End with a chiasmus.” (161)

The use of extravagant elegance takes the factors suggested above and includes them all. Not necessarily in the same sentence but in the same passage or paragraph.

This section also discusses the use of short and long sentences. Be careful when writing to not have all short or all long sentences. These two types convey certain feelings so be aware of the point you are trying to get across. The section leaves us with three important things to remember: “the simplicity of characters as subjects and actions as verbs; the complexity of balance syntax, meaning, sound, and rhythm; the emphasis of artfully stressed endings.” (172) These are all very important things to keep in mind when writing.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

There is a counterpart to Eve’s negative side. Actually there are several characters

that fit the description. However, one in particular is Viola from Shakespeare’s Twelfth

Night. She appears to be one of the few sane ones in the play. The reason readers

understand her to be one of the good girls in literature is partially because of the pure

love she has for Orsino. Her actions all speak to her love. This aspect makes her one of

the more positive characters in literature.(Need Supporting Quotes here)

*I want to speak about her actions and how they are in the interest of love. She is whole hearted. And I need to find more positive aspects to support my argument. The information about her brother setting her free of her male roles in the end could come in somewhere. Like the idea that she had to be set free by a male in a male society. ETC. It shows that she was conforming to it.*

Continued outline of the paper-

Finish talking about the positive and negative aspects of the two characters

Answer the question: How does the opposition between them reveal culture’s need for a certain type of woman in order to support and uphold the ideal community?

-seems like a good woman or positive one would be needed for the ideal community. The negative one is just going to rebel against the society. (Build off of that)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Literature is surrounded with good and bad girls. They are divided into these

stereotypes. The good girls are the ones that are loyal to their husbands and conform to

their society. On the other side the bad girls protest against the norms that have been set

by the male figures in charge. Many writers have incorporated these two stereotypes of

women into their writings. It adds a sense of identity to the women. They are taking on

shapes different from all other women characters in the past. (more)

After reading Paradise Lost by John Milton the character of Eve takes on a

different meaning. She is not a sweet and innocent character. Her actions make her one of

the bad girls. She rebels against the society she has been put in. Therefore she makes her

character appear negative. Eve was given to Adam. He was supposed to care for her.

They were given to the Earth to reproduce and create life. Adam also asked for Eve. He

wanted companionship, just like the other animals in the Garden. God gave the two of

them a chance to be the mother and father of the world. Eve however, rebelled against

most of this. She wanted to be independent. She begged Adam to let her go off and be by

herself. In doing this Eve was rebelling against the given society. She was going against

the life that was her and Adam. She was rejecting the community. She was supposed to

serve Adam, she belonged to him. (Need Supporting Details-quotes)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

April 27, 2006

Dear Jason,

Your article really gets into the key points. I feel like you are sitting in front of me talking. It is a good feeling to read something like this. There were parts of your essay that were funny, that is always good. For the most part I feel that nothing confused me. Just be careful that if you add any extra “gaming” information that your define the more technical parts.

Your writing seems to take more of a narrative aspect to it. However, there are persuasive aspects to it. They are hidden, but I can walk away from this thinking wow, I don’t want my children to end up like the middle-aged men you described. A reader learns the television and video games are not healthy at excessive amounts. This is a concept you seemed to grasp and understand.

I do not see an identified audience (magazine etc) but I would assume either a video game or parent magazine. I enjoyed the amount of narrative that you have in here, but I do feel that you need some more information. The flow of the passage works well. I do not feel like you were jumping around. Your argument could be clearer. And it is very stylistically engaging!

You are credible because this is your story. You have experienced something that millions of other people do. You have a first hand in the gaming world. So I am going to believe you because at the moment you know more than I do. I know this from your tone, and the sense of understanding about the situation that you portray. You also have given me no reason not to trust you. Your information does not contradict itself or anything in that nature. And you seem to want to make some sort of change in society. I feel this is written towards parents and you want them to see what their children are going through by playing lots of video games.

It is in the first paragraph that we know this is about you wanting to have video games and your parents not letting you. You do this through your narrative. It is further into the paper that we see some of the darker aspects of games and begin to think they are not healthy for our children.

I understand that if I give my children everything they want that in the long run I could be affecting their developing skills. Your argument would again be that children are going to be effected by watching and playing excessive amounts of video games. You go into some of these effects on a personal level (the classroom part). Like I stated before, you could have more background/ informative information. And at the moment I like that the persuasiveness is very natural. You don’t try and shove the issue down our throats. I think that overall your essay has turned out well. Good luck!

Emily Hawkins

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

“When parents of young children need a break, we sometimes turn to the babysitter we’ve known the longest: television.”- Natasha Petroff

Many parents will speak on the fact that they have used the electronic babysitter to entertain their children during the day. Whether they do it while they are making dinner or just need some extra time to tend to the house it still happens. Petroff stated, “As a writer who sometimes works from home, I occasionally hook my own daughter up to a video so I can meet a deadline. At other times, I do it for my sanity.” (Parent Map) As this shows many parents are guilty of using the television to provide uninterrupted work time for themselves. But are they considering the effects this has on their children? Especially when so many television programs appear to be geared toward younger children. However many physicians disagree. In 1999 the AAP issued a statement that reads,

Although certain television programs may be promoted to this age group

(under the age of 2), research on early brain development shows that

babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with parents

and other significant caregivers for healthy brain growth and the

development of appropriate social, emotional and cognitive skills. (Parent


Physicians continue to encourage parents to keep television viewing at minimum amounts for their young children. Children are going to suffer from their television viewing habits later in life. This could be in school, work or social situations.

I went to the house of Christina and David Neiswander one Sunday afternoon. I spent time with Christina, a mother and teacher, and her daughter, Grace, who is about four years old. Christina has been teaching for over 10 years in Colonial Heights Public Schools. She enjoys working with kindergarteners. However more and more in the last several years she has been faced with the problem of competing with television programs in her lessons.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

There is a story told about the loss of the land. Many of the children gathered

around to hear Ngotho’s story.

There was a big drought sent to the land by evil ones who must have been

jealous of the prosperity of the children of the Great One. But maybe also

the children of Mumbi forgot to burn a sacrifice to Murungu. So he did not

shed His blessed tears that make crops grow. The sun burnt freely. Plague

came to the land. Cattle died and people shrank in size. Then came the

white man as had long been prophesied by Mugo wa Kibiro, that Gikuyu

seer of old. (Ngugi 25)

It is during this story that Njoroge finds out that the white man had taken his ancestors

land from the family. He never knew that the land his father was working on actually

belonged to the family. Njoroge seemed very surprised to find out all this information.

“…it was a surprising revelation, this knowledge that the land occupied by Mr. Howlands

originally belonged to them” (Ngugi 26). His father is the same he still speaks like he has

a hard time understanding what has been done to his people. As Ngotho finishes his story

he comments, “I grew up here, but working…(here Ngotho looked all around the silent

faces and then continued)… working on the land that belonged to our ancestors…”

(Ngugi 26). The wound is still fresh. One of the other brothers yelled, “How can you

continue working for a man who has taken your land? How can you go on serving him?”

(Ngugi 27). He does not understand that the father is just happy to be able to see and tend

to the land that was once their own. Either way every member of the family is deeply

upset over the situation that they have come to live in. For them loosing their ancestors

land would be like many of us loosing a family heirloom. They will never forget what

happened. They will always know who to blame it on. The white man will always be the


The following chapter shows Ngotho actually at work. He is walking the land

with Mr. Howlands, inspecting the plants. Ngotho was able to help Mr. Howlands at one

point. It appears that the crops and land were not doing well and Ngotho was able to

improve Mr. Howlands fortune. The picture that Ngugi paints in this scene is an

interesting one. You see this white man, who is the owner of the land, and a black man,

who the land once belonged to, walking along admiring the flowers, pulling weeds and

making notes of things that need to be done. It almost appears to be a friendship. But

deep down Ngotho is angry that his family’s land has been taken by the Europeans. He

should be the one tending to it and reaping its benefits. There is a moment of excitement

for Ngotho when he wonders if his children will one day have the opportunity to gain the

land back. Mr. Howlands comments that he does not know who will control the land after

he is gone. This gives Ngotho a hit of faith that one day his ancestors land will be back in

the family.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Christina has watched the times change. Keeping her students interested in a
day’s lesson has become much harder. “It used to be that during rest time the children
would sit and listen to classical music or a book on tape. Not anymore. Most days rest
time turns into a fiasco. The children can not remain seated; they try to talk to one
another. Books on tape are almost out of the question now. They will listen to things like
Aladdin because they are movies they have seen, so they have a visual of what is going
on in their minds.” Like many Christina is worried about these young children. Children
come to school and they are lacking in skills but they can tell you about every episode of
Power Rangers. Something is wrong with this picture. Christina informed me that when
her kindergartens come to her they should already know how to hold a pencil, properly.
“Many of them don’t, so already we are behind”. This is the parent’s fault. They use
their time at home with their children doing other things. There children lack social skills
because they are not learning from their parents they are getting bits and pieces from the
television programs. “These are skills that should be covered at home,” says Christina.
“But they are not. Most of the time the television is used as a babysitter of the children
instead of an educational resource.” Christina wants to see the television used
appropriately. Five year olds have a hard time understanding some of the things they
watch. They need guidance from their parents, and they are not getting it.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Christina Neiswander is a mother and a teacher. She has been teaching for over 10 years in Colonial Heights Public Schools. She enjoys working with kindergarteners. However she has run into some problems in the last several years. She gets through her days knowing that she gets to come home and be with her husband and daughter. “David (her husband) and I set examples at home that we want Grace (her four year old daughter) to follow. I only spend six to eight hours with the kids at school; they don’t look to me like they do their parents.” Christina tries to spend her free time reading or entertaining herself without using the television. “Our family is not centered around TV. I talk with the children at school and know that their home life is.” Christina believes that parents are not involved in their children’s lives like they should be. The television becomes a babysitter in most of these children’s houses. It is an easy way to keep the kids occupied while they tend to other household chores.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Many women are given one important job in their life time. They make the

decision to conceive and bear children, giving themselves that job as a life long

mother. This is a life changing decision and one that is taken seriously by most.

After having children a mother’s life will never be the same. She no longer has

just herself to care for; she has an innocent child who must be put first in

everything she does. Moms come in all shapes and sizes. No mother is exactly

the same. When thinking about mothers you can put most into one of two

categories- a working mother or a stay at home mom. This does not mean that

mothers who stay home do not work; their job is just as hard. Mothers who work

and mothers who stay at home are going to have different experiences in life and

in raising their children. For this paper seven women were interviewed, four

homemakers and three working mothers, and they each answered the same set

of questions.

Working mothers choose to take on a hard job in life. They spend their

days away from their children, working, and, their free time being with their kids.

Technically they have no free time; they play the role of mother and career

woman. Most of the time spent at home is time spent cleaning, spending time

with kids, and catching up on any work that is brought home from the office. In

many cases the husband and father lack in this area of family. Working mothers

are left with all or most of the housework to complete, while their husbands are

doing less constructive chores.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I had a meeting today that completely brought my level of stress down. It is so great. I was beginning to feel like I had gotten really far behind in my college career. The meeting with my advisor proved me way wrong. I have space for about 18 more classes before I should be graduating and only need 8 more for my major. That was a big relief. I was thinking about taking 4 English classes next semester, but really I do not have to. I spent some more time talking with my advisor and we decided that I have space to get a Woman Studies minor. I thought that was very exciting. I had thought about it before but gave it up when I felt that I was behind. It was very reassuring to hear all of this information. This still leaves me with one problem.

I want to teach. That is all I have ever wanted to do. My mind has changed a million times about what I wanted to teach, but I have always wanted to be a teacher. I just know that that is where I belong, in a classroom. And well an English major and Women Studies minor does not technically give me the right to teach. I need my teaching certificate. You must be thinking: so minor in Education. Good idea, except that I definitely know that I do not have the time for that. So this part of my college career is a little painful. I cannot afford to stay at Macon an extra year. There is just no way. And I sort of feel like someone is telling me that I can’t teach because all of this did not work out the way it should have. I’m thinking that there is always graduate school. If I go to VCU and get my masters in Education I should definitely be able to teach after that. So just a year or two after I graduate I should be good to go. Then there is that Associates I want to get in Small Business Entrepreneurship…

I started thinking about all this stuff this last week or so, and it will really stress you out. There is an exciting aspect to it. I got something in the mail about ordering my college ring. They are so pretty! I cannot wait to prance around showing my school spirit in the form of a pretty ring. That will only set me back about 500 dollars. Yikes!! But still it is all part of being in college and making memories. I need to concentrate more on that and let the technical stuff just fall into place.

Now I am off to the store and then back home to clean my room (blah) and do some work. What a wonderful way to spend a Friday night!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

As I am sitting here trying to multi task and finish up all my work, I begin to think about this weekend. I know I have a ton of work to do. A paper to write for this class, another one I should be starting for my Brit Lit class, and finishing reading a book. I am sure there is more; I just choose not to think about it at the moment. Tomorrow afternoon I am taking a friend to the doctor. We will probably be there for a couple of hours. Then we are supposed to go “hang out”. I am not sure what that entails. It is supposed to rain in the afternoon so that pretty much limits our activities to inside. On Saturday I will be going to Waynesboro with my mom and some other ladies from church. P. Buckley Moss has what she calls a barn up there. There is a small gallery and then a shop where you can purchase her paintings. This weekend P. Buckley Moss is actually going to be there, so you can take the pictures you buy for her to sign them. I do not have any money so no new pictures for me. That’s ok though, my mom has been collecting for me and I just started in the last couple of years. I think I have 7 or 8 of my own pictures, which is pretty neat because some of the other women we are going with don’t even have that many. I should be taking pictures up of RMC. She told me she would do a picture if I brought her some pictures of the campus to go by. Maybe I can grab some postcards from the bookstore. So Saturday night I will be coming back to school to be with my friends and hopefully get a little work done. My room mate wanted to do some shopping Sunday so hopefully there will be a little time for that. But I have gone far away from what I really wanted to talk about. Since I will be home tomorrow night I was thinking about renting a movie. The last couple of weekends I have been to several Blockbusters looking for Brokeback Mountain. They have been sold out. I guess I will give it another shot this weekend. I just do not get it. People complained so much when that movie came out. It was too graphic; there should not be gay cowboys, and so on. Now for some reason everyone in the city of Richmond wants to see it. I wish someone could explain this to me. No one wanted a gay cowboy movie but now that it is out on DVD EVERYONE is watching it. My African History teacher was telling up that the concept of gay cowboys is not a new thing. It is just a new idea that people are marketing off of. Because cowboys would leave their wives and families so spend several months “out on the range” you would think they would get lonely. So many would engage in sex and not really have a relationship. Then go home and make love to their wives too. At least this is what my teacher was telling us. He seems to think that in the next several years we will see plenty of gay cowboys on the big screen. I just think that is interesting. And I would really like to be able to watch Brokeback Mountain soon. It’s not even about the actors. I am not dying to see Heath Ledger naked or anything. It was nominated for some Academy Awards so it can’t be but so bad. So part of me wants to see it just to find out what the big fuss was about. And the other half wants to see if the film making was really as good as some say it was. Hopefully when I go this evening the movie will be there and I can sit down and watch it my sisters tonight.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Would you touch me if I asked?
Just a soft touch,
Like taking my hand in yours.

Would you kiss me if I asked?
A slow vibrant kiss,
That would take me out of this world.

Would you stay with me if I asked?
Stay for the night,
Holding me tight by your side.

Would you love me if I asked?
A powerful love,
Taking me in your whole heart.

Would you do these things if I did not ask?
Just do them because you knew,
That’s what I needed from you.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

1st Letter

Ms. Kapsidelis,

I was reading the Family- friendly Forest Hill article this morning that is shown in Saturday's Home and Garden. It was exciting to see Wendy Umanoff and Rand Fisher's house in the paper, being that they are friends of the family. I love that the family's chalkboard is featured in the article. It is an interesting way to keep track of friends. However, when I turned the page to find that the chalkboard was actually pictured in the newspaper and was easy to read, this greatly disturbed me. My sister goes to school with Wendy and Rand's oldest son. Her cell phone number is displayed in the newspaper for everyone to see. Many of the other phone numbers that are EASY to read are those of minors. I feel that this was not a very smart way to picture the chalkboard. This could have been done without making the names and numbers easy to read. I would appreciate matters like this being handled a better way in the future.

Thank you,

Emily Hawkins

2nd Letter

Dear Ms. Kapsidelis,

I am an avid reader of the Richmond Times Dispatch. I was reading an article this Saturday in the Home and Garden section. It struck me because I realized that Wendy and Rand, being friends of the family, were being featured on the cover page. Having been to their house several times I can see why you chose their house as one to feature in the article. I was glad to see that there was a mention of the family’s chalkboard in the article. It is definitely one of the creative and interesting parts of the house. I was however very surprised to turn the page and see that the chalkboard and all of its information were on display. Being that my sister is a friend of the Fisher’s son her cell phone number was posted there in the middle of the newspaper. This greatly disturbs me. Most of the information on the chalkboard was very easy to read. Considering that several of those phone numbers were those of minors I would not consider this to be safe. I hope that you would agree with me. Please try to handle matters like this a different way in future times.

Thank you,

Emily Hawkins

Monday, April 17, 2006

Does Tuning- In Lead to Tuning Out?

By: Beth Turner

Many parents leave their children in front of the television to find time to tend to household activities. New studies are finding that children under the age of three who are watching television on a regular basis are more likely to have problems such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They believe that this is caused from the lack of the brain being completely developed. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that children under the age of two stay away from the television.

Violent Viewing

By: Beth Turner

Children have a hard time differentiating real life violence and television violence. They do not understand that the violence they are watching on television; if it were to happen in real life has very sever consequences. There are many other consequences to these children viewing violence on television. They include a child having fear, anxiety, depression, nightmares and sleep disturbances. Many parents monitor their children’s viewing habits on a regular basis. There is however the situation of what your child is watching in other households. It is suggested that discussing your family’s habits with other parents will help prevent your child from watching violent acts that you deem inappropriate when they are away from home.

When TV is Good for Kids

By: Laura Flynn McCarthy

A recent study has suggested that children between the ages of 3 and 5 who spend time watching educational programming are likely to do better on short- term memory and prereading tests. However for children under the age of three television is more of a hindrance to them. Many children under the age of three are receiving too much television time, on average 2.2 hours a day. This has a negative effect on their learning. As many recommend children under the age of three should keep television viewing to a minimum. When they turn three their shows should be educational and parents should help reinforce key points of the shows.

Style Lesson 8

This section is all about shaping your writing. It starts off by telling us that complex and long sentences are not against the rules. There are special techniques that a writer can use to make these longer sentences more enjoyable to their readers. One of the first things is changing long openings. Readers grow impatient when they have to wait for the main subject and verb of a sentence, so getting to the good stuff first is more reader friendly.

Another key point is when writing one should try to avoid adding subordinate clause after subordinate clause to the main clause. Adding on these subordinate clauses just make the sentences seem more thrown together.

One can change clauses to modifying phrases. There are three different modifiers used to mold writing. They include resumptive, summative and free modifiers. The point being that using these carefully can give your writing more shape. Your sentences will sound more intelligent and not shuffled together. Another technique is to work on making short sentences longer. This may leave some sentences more fulfilled. It could also cut out on choppy or abrupt endings.

A couple of things to watch out for are unclear connections made between sentences and misplaced modifiers. Sentences may appear to be long and well put together but rereading to make sure they make sense is always a good idea.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I absolutely love this time of year! This weekend has reminded me of everything amazing. Friday night we had a dark service at church. It was amazing. We read scripture leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and each time a passage was read the lights got dimmer and dimmer until we were left in complete darkness. It was so beautiful. This was something new to our church, but I greatly enjoyed it. Something about it being Good Friday and being there in the dark just brought everything into perspective. I proceeded to come home and spend time with my mother. Then I thought it would be a good idea to stay up till 2 a.m. and talk on the internet, so I did that! This morning the festivities continued. My sister and I got up early and went to church to help with the children’s Easter party. We had about 30 children come to the church. I greeted people as they came in. We had lots of people from the community come in. That is always a good thing! So the children listened to stories about Easter and had an egg hunt. They also had games and crafts waiting for them. It was lots of fun. I enjoy seeing the little children have a good time. They are so energetic and enthusiastic. I love it. After that I came home and did the things my mom asked me to, including running errands and shopping. Now I am at the point of preparing for tomorrow. For the last umpteen years my dad and I have gotten up and gone to the sunrise service at church. I am not exactly sure how it got started. I think my dad had gotten up one year to go and it woke me up, and I wanted to go with him, so I was dressed and taken to the sunrise service. I have been going with him ever since. I remember going and sitting inside because it was too cold to stand outside with everyone. It is something that my daddy and I have always done. After the sunrise service we have a breakfast at church which we normally stay for. Then my dad and I come home. Sometimes I take a nap; mom generally gets pictures of my sisters and I looking pretty. Then we all get together and go to Sunday School and church. It is a great time to be with my family and friends. We are reminded of why we are all there. The wonderful gifts that God has given us are enormous. After church we will be heading to my grandparents house for lunch. My grandmother still hides Easter baskets for us in her house. It is a fun time. She puts one basket in 3 different rooms. She then tells each of us what room to look in. Tomorrow will just be a wonderful day to be with the people I really care about. I am looking forward to it. Now its off to bed. I have to be up at 5:30 a.m. YAY!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Being so close in age to my younger sisters is wonderful. They are like my best

friends. I do not have to dumb anything down for them. They are equal to me. Of course

there are times when I don’t like to admit to how old they really are, because to me they

will always be my baby sisters. Like this year they are conquering their senior year of

high school. We were talking several days ago about them applying to colleges. I’ve

started to get teary eyed every time we have that conversation. There is part of me that is

so excited that they get to enter another phase in their lives, but the rest is like I can’t

believe they have really grown up. I’m sure there will be lots of crying throughout this


I titled this project “Living with Twins” because that is my life. I have seen these

two girls start out the exact same. After all they are identical, so they should look the

same. However, they have developed into two completely different and beautiful young

girls. Living with twins in the family has been an interesting experience. When my sisters

were younger and wearing the same shoe size and same shoes, my mom would write their

initials on the soles of the shoes. So we always knew whose shoes were whose. I was

always the best at identifying my sisters. Even now, I can look at the back of one, or hear

them talk on the phone and know who it is. My mom is not very good at that. Part of

living with twins is understanding them. My sisters have become very adamant about not

being called “the twins”. They are 17 now and are not the same people. They like to be

referred to as individuals, because they are. Jessica is very studious and takes her time in

doing things. Rebecca has become more socially active and outgoing. They have similar

tastes in a lot of things, but they might like them slightly different. So they each bring a

different piece to the puzzle. I like to bring this all up because so many people hear the

word twin and they automatically think the same. Maybe at one point this was true. When

they were babies there were little differences between the two, but like any people when

they grow up they develop into their own selves.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I always told people I was going to have two sisters. Apparently that is what I
wanted, and eventually that is what I got. So my mom was pregnant when I was two, and
I continued to tell people I was going to have two little sisters. It was my mom’s fifth
month that she went in for a check up. She went back to work and into my dad’s office,
she was crying and my poor dad thought something was wrong. It was then that she told
him that the doctor had heard two different heartbeats during the ultrasound. My mom
was flipping out, she was worried that the house was too small, so was the car, she only
had one crib, one highchair, and so on. Things settled down. I’m sure I was happy. I don’t
remember my sisters birth, but I do remember being at the hospital. My dad dropped the
camcorder that was new while chasing me down one of the halls.

Ever since my sisters have been around they have meant the world to me. I was
looking though some old videos recently and I was all about taking care of my sisters.
There was one time when my dad was recording in the morning I was going with my
mom to fix breakfast, and I asked my dad, “Will you be ok with the babies, while mom
and I make breakfast?” Needless to say I wanted the best for them. I also noticed in
watching the videos that for the longest times I called them “the babies”. Some of the
movies caught me moving things out of the way that I thought they should not be playing
with. It’s funny the things we do when we are young. I was two and a half when my
sisters were born. They have been a major part of my life for a long time.

Up until my 8th grade year my sisters and I went to the same schools. When they
were in elementary school I watched them like a hawk. I will never forget the time that
one of them did not get on the bus in the afternoon to come home. I saw one get on and
assumed the other was with her. We were about 3 blocks from school when I realized that
both of my sisters had not made it on the bus. I was right up with the bus driver begging
that we turn around and explaining that my sister had not made it on the bus. Of course
we turned around and got back to school and my sister got on the bus. Everything was
okay after that. There was just a sense of urgency, when you are in elementary school you
don’t understand the big picture. You think that if your sister misses the bus that it’s the
end of everything. Luckily it was not. I continue to act in a similar manner when it comes
to my sisters even though they are older now.. If we are out at the mall or something I
have to know where they are at all times. I am very protective. When we were younger
someone once told me I was like a mother hen making sure that my sisters where nearby
and not in any danger.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Journal – April 12, 2006

The arguments in these two different stories seem to be the hard work of the regular American man and the struggles he has to go through.

In the first chapter Schlosser takes his narrative of Carl and keeps introducing it. Everything comes back to Carl. All of his key points relate to Carl’s story. They also provide information to us, the readers. So Schlosser ties Carl’s story in with the informative pieces of the chapter. He is adding his points and argument without us really noticing it. This tactic seems pretty successful. The reader would be learning and understanding an argument without really realizing it. Therefore they feel comfortable with the information because it is all relating back to this person that we “know” and trust. It seems that a writer could do all of this in stages, especially someone as inexperienced as me. An outline would probably be very beneficial also.

Schlosser uses his narrative to handle most of the persuasion. He describes someone that we, American citizens learn to like. We learn about Carl’s family, his background and are taken through his success and struggles. We trust Carl. He appears to be a typical American boy just trying to make it in this big world. So Schlosser gives us someone to trust and then puts his input and argument into that story. The audience is being persuaded without him coming right out and saying “you should believe this because I say so.”

I am not really sure where to go with my paper. I would like to be able to use some of Schlosser’s technique because I think it is effective. Starting with the narrative seems like a good way to go. I am just worried that I am going to do a terrible job with connecting everything. Starting with some major prewriting seems to be essential. I assume I will need to play around with different aspects till I find one that works.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

In this story a mother and daughter face a situation that no one wants to deal with. A young daughter is pregnant out of wedlock. What is a mother to do? This mother
remains strong and focuses on a plan. Zeinat makes the decision that she feels is best for
the family. She will let Ni’ma have the baby and then take it as her own to raise. This
way Ghobashi will not disown his daughter and she will have a chance at a real marriage.
With Zeinat being the main character she has to be intelligent. She shows a knowledge
and power that many women may be lacking. She has been given a responsibility outside
of her normal duties and she has embraced this new role. She will run the family and save
her daughter. Readers can walk away from this story knowing that this mother is doing
her job. She is doing what any mother would do; she is acting with the best intentions of
her children. This story, An Incident in the Ghobashi Household portrays many important
issues to a family. Religion is very important; it is the first thing mentioned in the story.
The family structure is also a key element to this story. As readers we see that the mother
is the true backbone that holds every part of the family together. Zeinat is the strong,
leading woman that makes the story what it is. She will continue to be the strong one
while she is protecting her family from all of life’s mishaps.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The story An Incident in the Ghobashi Household was intriguing. It deals with

several different themes. As readers we see religion, the interaction between a mother and

daughter and the outcome of a not so typical family situation. This mother has been left

to tend to the family and land while her husband has gone to Libya to work. She is the

first character introduced to the readers. Zeinat, the mother is portrayed as a very strong

and sensible woman. This passage shares the strength that many do not see because the

men tend to be the dominate force of the family.

“The call of the red cockerel released answering calls from the neighbouring

rooftops. Then they were silenced by the voice of the muezzin from the lofty minaret

among the mulberry trees calling: ‘Prayer is better than sleep’” (Rifaat 23). The entire

story starts with religion. This lets the readers see how important religion is to the

family’s lifestyle. Zeinat is awaken into her daily rituals by the cry of the muezzin for

prayer. Religion continues to be prominent in the story. When Ghobashi is introduced it

talks about the prayers he has for his daughter. He wants to return with a wedding dress

for her. Zeinat also prays to the Lord that her husband will return safely. This story

carries religion thought its entirety. It may not always be defined. When looking at some

of the decisions that are made they appear to be human wants rather than what God

would have wanted. But nonetheless this story starts with religion and the mother remains

faithful to her beliefs the whole time.

Journal- write a journal in which you begin to think about which strategies might work best to convince readers to adopt your viewpoint on your controversy.

I believe that in working with my topic looking at situations that appear to ones emotions, values and statistical data are going to be most helpful in my persuasive essay. However at this very moment I am still on the fence about which side of my topic I agree with most. In the end I will probably settle with the side that television is not healthy for children to watch. The information and data that I have support this so it would be easier to use this to persuade someone with this back up information.

In my paper I think that using examples that parents can relate to are going to be the most effective. I have lots of statistics that can be used to help support this information. My topic seems pretty straight forward. I assume that many parents would agree on where I stand. So some background information may be used but not entirely necessary. Using the claim, reason, warrant system seems as though it would be effective. I do not want to just tell parents television is bad for their children. I want them to understand that there are several shows that can be used for educational purposes. If I stick with the claim, reason and warrant I should be able to work that into the paper in a respectable manner.

I am not even sure that my topic is at the point where there is an argument. Do I really need one? Or is my argument that some television is bad for children so they should stay away? And then I guess I would go from there in persuading parents that this is true. Then bringing in issues about educational television and some of the benefits would seem to flow nicely.

I feel as though there are many useful techniques out there for forming an argument into a good persuasive paper. Finding them and learning how to use them correctly will be a good starting point for writing this paper and any others. I want the best way to get to my readers. Different techniques might have to be used to achieve this. It will be a work in progress to figure out which ways are the best.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Style Lesson 7

This section teaches you how to be a good concise writer. There are steps in trying to cut out what is not important and leave what is. The five principles of concision that are given are:

Delete words that mean little or nothing

Delete words that repeat the meaning of other words

Delete words implied by other words

Replace a phrase with a word

Change negatives to affirmatives. (p 110)

In learning about these five principles it appears that to be a concise writer takes a lot of work and can be tedious. Like the sentence I just wrote there are several phrases that do not need to be there. But that is the way I write, so to be more concise I will need to do a lot of editing. And I noticed as the techniques were being discussed that I do a lot of the things that are not necessary.

There is also the idea of metadiscourse. The idea is to use some but not too much. If your writing has too much metadiscourse your ideas will not be clear. A writer needs to pick out the parts that deal directly with the subject and use them. Then add the metadiscourse when needed. Without it a writer might sound too confident, so in many situations it is ok to have the extra padding. However this type of writing also makes the readers question the writer’s authority. If a writer sounds unsure of themselves then the reader might be less inclined to continue reading or trust them. So editing the use of metadiscourse is a good idea. A writer should know how to properly use it.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Even when we give then group work there is a lack of social elements. They start

calling each other names from the cartoons. Things like butt- head, egg- head are very

common. Every now and then I also hear jack ass and ass wipe. These are five year olds I

am working with! But the terms are sometimes used in the television programs they watch

so they pick up on them. It makes me wonder if their parents are really paying attention

to what their children watch. Furthermore these programs should not have the word ass

in them, not if my five year olds are going to pick up on it and use it. Because they have

watch so much television their group skills are terrible. They can’t interact with each

other. I have to stop them and tell them to remember to treat others how they want to be

treated. Even then they still continue to lack the ability to work with each other

appropriately. These are skills they should be learning at home with their parents.

However it appears that many parents use the television as a babysitter so instead of

children coming to kindergarten with social skills we see them come in with sarcastic

tones and other things they can learned from the television.

As the day continues the boys reenact things more than the girls do. They want to

be active. Most of them at five years old have a plan for leaving the room. Whether we

are going to music or the library they know that so and so is going to step on someone’s

shoes and then the other one is going to swoop in with their web blaster like Spiderman

to capture them. The girls tend to be more verbal. Again you hear the tones used in shows

like Bratz. Most of my children are still watching cartoons, but they are quickly loosing

interest and want more. It’s only a matter of time before these tones get worse.

During class time I get television influences when we have discussions and during

some art projects. There is a program, I think its called Little Tut, about a mummy and it

can be pretty graphic. These themes show up in the children’s artwork. So at five years

old they are drawing very graphic things in their pictures. When we were working with

the letter “B” I asked the children to name things that begin with B. I rarely get words

like basketball and blueberries. They look to the television for these words, so Batman

comes to their mind first. I also try to use songs to help the children learn things. This

gets harder and harder each year. They quickly become uninterested with Twinkle,

Twinkle Little Star. Even different words to familiar tunes are simple to them. I have one

student tell me, “Mrs. Neiswander that’s just not cool.” The songs they sing are theme

songs from television. The children want the more mature beats and fun words that go

along with them.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Towards the end of “serious” talk with Christina, Grace crawled up into the chair-

and-a- half with me and asked if I wanted to stay and eat dinner. I graciously accepted the

offer. She then took time to show me some of her Barbies while Christina wrapped up

what she was saying. I spent the evening watching Grace carefully. She is so well

behaved. She helped her dad fix dinner while Christina and I talked. Every couple of

minutes she would come in with choices for us, what we wanted to drink, etc. Christina

continued to talk to me about parts of my topic. She told me that she blames the parents.

She also understands that no one is perfect. But using television as a babysitter is not high

on her list of priorities. She also recognized the fact that Grace was an only child and

while it was generally easy for her to stop things and attend to her; she is trying to teach

Grace patience and how to wait for someone to finish what they are doing before

expecting a response. Christina takes time to be a parent and interact with her daughter.

She is setting values in her house that she wants Grace to follow. Many parents lack this

opportunity when they place their child in front of the television.

I left the house that night with a better understanding of this family. The way

Grace acts at church focuses on the values she is taught at home. Christina just proved to

be even more the teacher and mother than I thought she was.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

In the morning the teachers line the halls waiting for the students. They come in running down to their classrooms adorned with their backpacks. Their backpacks are even television influenced, there is Spiderman, Power Rangers and so much more. There are no book bags based on children’s novels. Television is coming down the hall. There is running and hitting each other. The children know better, if their parents have not taught them then their Nanny’s have.

When they get closer and into the classrooms you actually get to hear the things they are saying. You can hear Chuckie and Angelica from Rugrats. They are snide, cutting comments. It is all the tone of voice. You do not hear things verbatim from the cartoons but you hear the tones. They continue to use these tones all day. We have to force the children to leave all the television behind once they unpack. But even when we give then group work there is a lack of social elements. They start calling each other names from the cartoons. They can’t work together. I have to stop them and tell them to remember to treat others how they want to be treated.

I can see the names…actions

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I pulled into the driveway of a house I had been to only once or twice before. I walked up the stairs onto the front porch and was presented with a cracked door and a little girl peeking through the crack. Her mother called and said, “Grace you can open the door for Emily.” So the door was pulled open. I was told by this four year old that her parents were in the “secret room”. It was a cozy room off to the side with a computer, toys, a chair and a half and books. I was welcomed into the home of the Neiswander’s. They have been members of my church for a while. Their daughter, Grace, I have watched her grow up over the last few years. She is always happy, pleasant and eager to share any bits of knowledge she has learned.

I spent time with Grace and her mother, Christina. Christina is a 38 year old mother and teacher in the Colonial Heights Public Schools. She teaches kindergarten and you can see in her carriage that she works well with these children. She is patient. This can be see in the ways that she interacts with her daughter. We started our talk by discussing her typical day at school.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

So right now I feel pretty bad. It has been my first day of doing stuff; actually it’s only been a half day. I am dreading tomorrow. It is going to wear me out. Besides the fact that I am still not over my sickness I have been worrying about school. I have papers and midterms to prepare for. I just don’t see when they are all going to get done. Choir has a performance Friday night so we are adding practices this week to make sure everything works. I would like to know how I am supposed to get better if I do not even have time to breathe. I wonder if professors realize this. If a student is sick that it is so hard to catch up and recuperate at the same time. But students can not afford to miss too much school because they fall so far behind. This also leaves them with lingering colds because their immune systems have not fully been restored. I know most of the teachers here are understanding and are willing to work with students. I sometimes feel bad for asking for extensions. I realize that this may be the only way but it seems like it puts you even further behind sometimes. You are too busy trying to complete overdue work that you fall behind on the current work. Illnesses on campus are no good. They should be banned. That way everyone can be healthy and get their work done on time. Sitting here now I can feel my stress level going up. Two midterms, a paper, concert Friday, church choir practice Saturday and church performance Sunday. And how am I supposed to sing at all these events if I am not well? Timing is everything isn’t it?

I am beginning to get a little worried about my paper. The first one was not right. It sounded more like a presentation of facts than anything else. So almost all of that will need to be redone. I feel like the information I got from the interview is going to be very helpful. I know what direction I want to take with my paper, I just hope it works. I just need to do it. With the time from the interview and the time that I got sick I was not able to get anything rewritten. I just need time to sit down and write it. I probably should have been doing it right now, but I did not have the energy to be that productive. So tomorrow is a new day with hopefully plenty of time to work on my paper!