Reading and Writing to be Continued


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.





Work Cited

Beatty, Robert. Serafina and the Black Cloak. Disney/Hyperion, 2015.

Foundation, Poetry. “Snow Day by Billy Collins.” Poetry Foundation, 28 Apr. 2018,


Annotated Bibliography

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,

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.

Tracey’s Dream is Only Just a Dream

Swing time is a novel where Zadie Smith describes the life of two African American women, the narrator and Tracey. It story starts off with the characters in their childhood as young best friends who both have a strong love for dance, but Tracey is the only one with the talent for it. As they get older their friendship seems to disappear as they head their separate ways, the narrator always seems to find herself thinking back to Tracey. Tracey’s future looked so bright when she was young, but her life turned out to be just like her mom.

Tracey was an innocent little girl with a love for modern dancing and it was very obvious that she was very good at it. Her mother made it known that she was a very proud parent and her daughter was her prized possession by being at all of her dance classes. What about her father? Well her father wasn’t much of a father, her mother was the only person there for her and who she could count on growing up. It seemed that this did not even faze her, she found a way to be joyful by doing the things that she wanted to.

When she is around her friends we find her to be very assertive and take the role of the leader of her friends. She carried the same attitude with everything that she did, especially her dancing, a lot of people saw her as being snotty and stuck up because of this. The narrators father seemed to disagree about her attitude associated with her dancing, he “found her single-minded dedication to her dancing sweet” (51).

Asserting her dominance is seen multiple times during the novel, the more she ages to more she wants to fit in to that role. We weren’t able to see her school life until she was able to transfer to the narrator’s school. The teachers were quick to find out that Tracey liked to do things her own way. The narrator saw Tracey have her first encounter with a teacher because she didn’t like to sit down, so the teacher “battled her for a week but Tracey’s will, like my mothers, was made of iron, and in the end, she was allowed to stand as she pleased” (54). It is pretty obvious at such a young age Tracey was able to be controlling to adult and her friends.

Tracey seems to disappear for a while in the story as the two best friends have gone their separate way to adult life. When we see her again she is a single parent with kids who is extremely stressed and not happy. She is pretty upset with the narrator’s mother for not keeping the neighborhood kept up. Her attitude is a lot different than it was as a child, she acts like she is the victim and is not some kind of leader. She was now a full-time single mom who struggled, she also wasn’t in the dancing career anymore. Tracey was very rude to the narrator, also the kids seemed to act normal about the language being used, like it was normal for them to hear.

It is pretty clear that Tracey’s development over the time of her life went downhill. When you think about a person’s development you usually will think about it positively. Development is not always positive, Tracey was a prime example of becoming something worse than she started out as or what she could have been. She started out as a high self-esteemed little girl with a bright dancing future, that turned in to a single mother just like her own mother.


Work Cited

Smith, Zadie. Swing Time. 2016. Penguin, 2017.

Football is Just the Beginning


My name is Michael Russell and I am from Willow Spring, North Carolina. The only reason I heard about and decided to enroll at Lenoir-Rhyne University is because of football.  Ever since I can remember I have been playing football. I knew I loved football at a very early age, I couldn’t wait to hit the practice field everyday after school.


It’s crazy how much a sport can affect and change your life in so many ways. I have met so many life long friends, and have learned so many life lessons. There is no better place I could have learned about hard work and commitment than on the football field and weight room. Football has also motivated me to be strong in the classroom, I never want to be that kid who is not allowed to play because of their grades. I have put a lot into football and it has paid off tremendously by getting my college paid for.


This is just the beginning of life, after football I can take everything I have learned into the workforce and hope to be even more successful.