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Burns 1 Danny Burns ENGL 1101 Ms.

Hinnant October 4, 2013 Midterm Reflection Over the course of the semester there have been several literacy assignments that stick out in my mind that have impacted my writing. This English course, so far, has been unlike any English class I have ever taken. Every English class I have been through has consisted of readings and writings either from the curriculum or the teachers personal interest. The assignments we work through in class give me tools that I can use on the current assignment, and to help me grow as a writer. The readings and writings I have learned the most from this semester have been ones that I can relate to on some level, that I have never seen in an English course before. I learn best from example and from my peers, and a lot of the in class assignments have involved class discussion. Out of all the assignments I have done in this class, the ones that have affected my literacy the most are the literacy narrative examples, the rhetorical analysis discussions, and Shitty First Drafts reading by Anne Lamott. When the literacy narrative assignment was first assigned, I had a hard time trying to think of a social force that impacted the way I read, write, and speak today. I spent hours trying to find an obvious factor in my life that could have impacted my literacy, and what I didnt realize was most people might not have such an obvious impact on their literacy. The literacy narrative examples such as A homemade education by Malcolm X and Molly Daniels personal narrative helped me come to that realization. These readings helped me find my topic because they showed me two completely different literacy narratives by two very different people. It

Burns 2 showed me that some people, like Malcolm X, may have an extreme, obvious social force that impacted their literacy, like going to prison; whereas some people, like Molly Daniels, may have a less obvious social force, like where they grew up. This helped me find my social force because it helped me stop focusing on major parts of my life, and led me to the smaller aspects, like my job. The literacy narrative examples not only helped me with the literacy narrative assignment by leading me to my topic, but they will help me with my writing from now on by showing me how to think more critically about myself. In writing it is important to be able to think critically about yourself, which is what the literacy narrative helped me learn, but it is more important to be able to think critically about everything else around you, which is what the rhetorical analysis discussions taught me to do. Before we discussed rhetorical analysis in this class, I had already been lectured and written a paper on rhetorical analysis. Yet I had no idea how to rhetorically analyze anything, or what a rhetorical analysis really was. After the class discussions and activities on rhetorical analysis I discovered that a rhetorical analysis is the detailed analysis of a text, and that a text is anything that conveys meaning, which can be just about anything. The discussions didnt only teach me what can be analyzed but how to analyze them. When we analyzed the magazine adds as a class, I really got a grasp on how to rhetorically analyze a text. From the examples of my peers and professor, I became comfortable with analyzing a text on my own. Being able to critically think about the world around me will help me on my rhetorical analysis assignment and in the future as a writer because it allows me to view everything from a different perspective. Shitty First Drafts by Anne Lamott was a piece that stuck out to me when reflecting on this semester so far. This reading was so influential to me because it showed the real side of professional writing, and it was written in a very informal way that I could relate to. I never

Burns 3 thought about it until after I read Shitty First Drafts, but even professional writers have to have bad first drafts and have to go through the revision process. Reading Shitty First Drafts improved my writing because it not only showed me that not even the best writers are perfect, but it also showed me the importance of having a shitty first draft. Before this semester, I have only had one method of writing papers; I would sit down, write my entire paper in one sitting, and only revise the grammar and punctuation. This semester I have tried to focus on growing as writer by following recommended steps and procedures to reach a final draft. After reading shitty first drafts, I tried to sit down and just write a first draft without stressing over it being my final copy and I could work with it from there. I was much more confident with the outcome, and it actually saved me time and stress. This course has already made an impact on my writing by teaching me to think critically about myself, and everything around me. It also has improved my writing process by showing the importance of the revision process, and that your first draft should focus on content and not grammar or punctuation. My writing has already made a noticeable difference to me, and I look forward to the second half of the semester, and how it is going to affect me as a writer.