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Bing Lu

Professor McClure

Writing 39B


Final Reflection

The Writing 39B course I take in this quarter is based on the horror genre literature.

Before I take this course, I had a very vague comprehension about horror genre. I used to think

that only the scary movies and books with ghost and supernatural elements are considered horror

genre. After this quarter, I learn a lot more about identifying and writing horror related texts.

More importantly, I improved my ability of rhetorically analyzing different kinds of literature. In

the following content, I will be discussing some of the course objectives and my learning process

through this quarter.

After this quarter, the most thing I learn about and I want to talk about most is my ability

of rhetorically analyzing and critical reading. Prior to class, I was very weak at reading and

analyzing texts, and I have never learnt a specific genre of literature earlier in my English

learning. The assignment that I devoted most time in this class is the rhetorical analysis. I have

written three drafts in total and each of them is modified with big differences. When I wrote my

first draft of the rhetorical analysis, I stood a very general point on analyzing the rhetoric

elements in I Am Legend. I was still adapting my writing from analyzing the character’s mind to

the writer’s purpose of creating the characters. To give us a better understanding of rhetorical

analysis, Professor McClure assigned paragraphs to each group and discussed with us about how

to analyze a short passage elaborately. The professor told us to capture words and sentences that

reflects the genre and the conflicts in the story. After the discussion, I revised my first draft by
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analyzing how the fiction sticks to horror genre. However, I still found it hard to narrow down

my analysis into how a specific scene or a setting is categorized as horror genre. When I talked

to the professor during the office hour, professor McClure pointed out that I Am Legend fits the

horror genre not because the story is scary. Instead, the protagonist, Robert Neville is a very

representative character of the monster in the horror literature and Ruth is the typical hero in this

type of stories. Before this course, what I know about rhetoric was limited to the figures of

speech, such as metaphor or irony. When I wrote first two drafts, I found it unreasonable to break

down the fiction into such short pieces and analyze them sentence to sentence, so I was stuck at

the rhetorical analysis essay for a long time. However, once I understood that analyzing

rhetorical elements can be discussing the representative features in a specific genre or in

particular situations, I could connect most contents in Noel Carroll’s The Nature of Horror to the

text that I was analyzing. With a fuller comprehension of the protagonist’s impurity and

extraordinariness and Ruth’s compassion and lack of conflicts, I finally understood what should

be included in a rhetorical analysis and I think this is the most important thing I learned in this

course and is my biggest improvement on my English writing.

Another big improvement on my level of writing was achieved by the variety types of

assignments I did in this quarter. The workload of this course was relatively larger than the other

courses I took, but the assignments consist many different types of writing, so it was a very

efficient way to improve the writing skill in different areas simultaneously of international

students’ like mine. At the beginning of this quarter, to be introductive to this quarter’s horror

genre theme, the professor gave us some readings on horror stories and short videos and there

were several assignments on imitation or creation of our own horror stories. These writings

helped me a lot on exploring my creativity and put the things I learned about story writing from
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my former English learning into use. Moreover, there were some short writings about responses

to some short videos like music videos and short horror films. In my opinion, the analysis to

videos is very similar to the process of critical reading. Learning to find the evidences of what

the producers want to tell the audience helped me a lot when I tried to find the evidences to

support my claims in more formal writings. Also, what I learned mostly in Writing 39A in the

previous quarter was about the narratives and the weekly responses and the reflections

strengthened my narrative skills and it was pleasant to see that I kept a continuous process in my

English writing learning. At the end of this quarter, we tried a completely unacquainted style of

writing: writing the scripts for the short horror film we made for the RIP project. In conclusion,

the variety of styles of writings we did in this quarter efficiently improved my overall writing

skills in different aspects.

Other than writing, I think this course also improved my skills on creating works by

different kinds of media. After several presentations we made in class, it became clearer to me on

what should be put on the PowerPoint to show the audience and what should be remember by us

giving the speech to make the presentations more understandable to the audience. Another big

challenge for me in this course was the editing of the short film we made for the RIP project. I

was totally unfamiliar with the editing software before this project and a lot of time was devoted

into the learning of the editing. Although this skill is not related to writing, I think it is a very

useful skill that I would use again in my further learning and career. In another hand, this

progress helped me to build up my confidence in learning different things and improved my

engagement to the challenges that I encountered. These group works like presentations and RIP

projects also promoted our group members’ collaboration and our sense of responsibility when

collaborating with others.

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In terms of writing scholarly, the most thing I learned in this course was the evidence

writing and it could be applied to all kinds of writing. I used to only make my claims and explore

my opinions with no patterns or legitimacy. After a quarter’s learning, I know that in formal

writings, my every opinion discussed in the text should be supported by existing evidences but

not only with inference. For example, in my rhetorical analysis, I should either prove my point of

view by the solid evidence in the book that I was analyzing or by the outside sources that are

scholarly approved to convince my audience in an efficient way. I also learned that I should try

to avoid discussing things that the audience may not know without any explanation. The seven

steps of evidence writing that the professor taught us were very useful when creating the

structure of my essays and I think this technique will benefit my future writing works so I will be

using this structure more in my later university career.

Last but not the least, the writing and revising process in this course is very worth

discussing. The two big works I did this quarter were the rhetorical analysis essay and the RIP

essay, and both essays were revised for several times before the final draft. I realized that it was

less possible to write a good essay with only one draft and the improvement was made through

multiple revisions. During the revision process, I think the most effective way is the peer

reviewing especially when I was reviewing others’ essays. My classmates and I would all make

some mistakes that were similar in some ways and by finding their mistakes according to the

rubrics, I often realized my own mistakes and it would be very helpful when I revised my own

drafts after this. Combining my peer’s advices and the professor’s advices, the writing process

went smoother for me.

In conclusion, I think Writing 39B is a course that not only develops students’ writing

skills, but also improves me in reading, forms my interests in literature, increases my skills in
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different media techniques, and most importantly develops my persistence in working. Professor

McClure influences me in many good ways and his course design that benefits me surely

exceeds what I have expected for this course and I am happy that I make a lot progress.