The two things that come to my mind about English 131 is writing and reading books. Reading has never been strong in my life and I never found myself wanting to pick up a book. English 131 has helped me understand more why we are supposed to read books and even given me a passion to want to pick up a book on my own. The poems and short articles helped me tremendously put me in the right steps. Something that is short and interesting will definitely grab my attention and make me want to read more. Writing papers has never been something that I enjoyed or was ever good at either. Doing our writing workshops really helped me get a better view on how other people think when they read someone else’s work or even mine. The feedback that I received has helped me broaden my thinking and makes me want to do more to have a better paper. By hearing other people talk I was able to actually understand what they were meaning instead of them just writing something on my paper and me finding myself confused on what they meant.
The biggest problem that I face when reading is finding myself to actually become interested in the book. English 131 helped me better understand the books that we read whenever we would go over certain parts of the book together as a class. Discussing what was going on in the chapters we were supposed to read didn’t just help me understand the book, but it made me more interested in it since I knew what was going on. One of the most eye-opening class discussions that we had for Serafina and the Black Cloakhelped me realize the connection that Serafina had to some kind of cat/lion. If we had never discussed that I would had never realized it until the end of the book but knowing that made me want to read more of the book. I would have never thought that a book could be so intense even though it is just words on paper. When reading Serafina and the Black CloakI could feel my heart drop when Serafina and the mountain lion met, but that’s when “[s]he could see in the animal’s expression that the lioness was thinking the same thing she was: their eyes were the same” (243). This moment was the moment that I had been waiting for ever since the class discussion on how Serafina was in fact a cat of some sort.
Writing a paper and just getting a grade for it seemed to be the normal thing that I was used to. It never seemed to make sense to me about how were my writing skills getting any better if I am not getting pointers on how I was to improve and get a better grade, even if my grade was good how could I improve. English 131 helped me finally get a way that I could find new ways to make my papers better. Not only was my paper and everyone else in the class getting evaluated by the professor, but it was also getting evaluated by everyone in the class. Being able to hear more than one person’s opinion on how I can improve my paper was a huge help. If multiple people were able to point something out that I made a mistake on would also help me understand that I need to pay attention to it.
The in-class activities such as our reflective writing and critical analysis were also a big help to my writing. Having to read a poem or article and then write about it during class challenged me in multiple ways. Improving my critical thinking would be my biggest outcome of these activities. I love to procrastinate and give my ideas and thoughts some time before I put them on paper, but these activities did not allow me to do that. It was challenging for me to go straight from reading something to putting my thoughts on paper. It made me really think outside the box and make me think in ways that I had not yet before. Easing into these assignments by starting off the semester with writing summaries made it a lot easier to give me the right idea of how to comprehend something and then put it on paper faster than normal. Whenever reading Snow Day by Billy Collings I found myself intrigued when he said “[b]ut for now I am a willing prisoner in this house, a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow” (stanza 4). I was able to put the imagery that I had read in the poem into my commentary. If I did not have to actually think about the poem and read it over again I would had never noticed the imagery that was in it. Not only did my writing improve from reading and writing about these poems and articles, but sense of digging deeper into writings improved.
I came into English 131 thinking it would be just another English class that I had to get through. Finally, I have finally gotten more out of it then I thought, I was able to improve my reading and writing skills. I still have room to improve but I feel that I have gotten a good start to it. Taking this class has not only helped my reading and writing skills, it has helped me look at reading and writing as not a chore that I have to do but something I have no problem doing.
Beatty, Robert. Serafina and the Black Cloak. Disney/Hyperion, 2015.
Foundation, Poetry. “Snow Day by Billy Collins.” Poetry Foundation, 28 Apr. 2018, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46707/snow-day.
Beatty, Robert. Serafina and the Black Cloak. Disney/Hyperion, 2015.
In Robert Beatty’s book Serafina and the Black Cloak, a young girl named Serafina lives in the basement of the Biltmore Estates with her father. Serafina knows she is very different from the people than the people that live in Biltmore, but she wants to have a normal life outside of the basement. She witnesses a man in a black cloak absorb a girl one day, it was only right that she did something about it. Soon she met a boy named Braeden, who would be her first real friend and help her solve the mystery. Serafina ends up in the woods, where she was told never to go, but ends up saving. the day and freeing all of the people from the cloak.
Kichener, Caroline. “Why So Many Adults Love Young-Adult Literature.” The Atlantic, https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/12/why-so-many-adults-are-love-young-adult-literature/547334
In Caroline Kichener’s article Why So Many Adults Love Young-Adult Literature, she discusses her five main reasons for why adults are so attracted to young-adult literature. Adults are knowing to be coming of age and theses books are mainly focused about coming of age. The thrilling intensity in these books from the first time can be related to first times of many important things in life, such as a first kiss. YA is just another way to see how it is to be young, but the books are good people are taking notice. Finally, Caroline ties it all back to when Harry Potter came out and sparked this YA upbringing.
Lane, Anthony. “Reality Hunger,” Review of Ready Player One,directed by Steven Spielberg and Lean on Pete, directed by Andrew Haigh. The New Yorker,9 Apr. 2018, pp. 80-81.
In Anthony Lane’s Reality Hunger, we learn about the film Ready Player One. Lane starts off by discussing the director of the movie, Steven Spielberg, who cannot seem to stop putting out new material. His latest film, Ready Player One, is as futuristic as they come and is based off of a virtual reality game. In this virtual world you are able to go anywhere and do anything, it makes Lane wonder about what the future holds.
Lewis, Michael. The Blind Side:Evolution of a Game,Chapter One Excerpt. Norton, 2006. pp. 15-16.
In the excerpt from chapter one of The Blind Side, we dive right into a football play in Michael Lewis’s novel. It is the play where Joe Theismann gets injured by Lawrence Taylor, and the 3.5 second play is broken down into a whole paragraph of what is going on. Lewis brings up the thought that NFL players are assumed to not have the fear of getting hit hard or hurt. Bill Parcells, the giants head coach, believes that fear does play a role in football and he even has his players agree with him.
Makant, Jordan. “Thought Twice; It’s Not Alright.” Impossible Angles.Main Street Rage, 2017. 18.
The poem “Thought Twice; It’s Not Alright” by Jordan Makant is about Bob Dylan’s song Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.Makant believes that Bob Dylan is lying, but what he is doing in the long run is true love. He figures that letting the girl go would be better for her in the long run and would be unselfish.
Smith, Zadie. Swing Time. Penguin Books, 2017.
In Zadie Smith’s novel Swing Time,we start right in the narrator’s life when she is just an innocent child. Smith focuses on the narrator’s friendship with Tracey, the come from different type of families but both have a love for music. Tracey has the actual talent to become a real dancer unlike the narrator. Once they grow up the two friends lose their bond, but they end up finding each other again but in unlikely circumstances.