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Nikolas Parker

Professor Stubee

College Composition II

20 April 2019

Reflective Statement

Writing is a practice that involves a multi-stage, recursive, and social process.

In order for a piece of writing to be successful, Core Value I stresses that it is imperative

that the work goes through several revisions in order to verify its quality. Interactions with other

writers can also have a great impact on the success of the work due to the unique influence that

others can provide. Writing can only be improved by receiving peer review which promotes the

idea that it is a social process. Throughout the semester, our class had two class periods

dedicated to peer review where we received from other students about our two major essay

assignments. The students helped allowed me to develop very strong additions to my papers and

provided me feedback that a teacher simply could not. Students are more familiar with the

assignments and, therefore, can provide personal feedback that could have a great impact on your

own work. During the first session of peer review, I really needed to make sure that my Research

Proposal followed the guidelines and made sense in the context of this course. My primary

concern was that my goal for the paper was unclear and didn’t relate well to my topic of capital

punishment. The major criticism I received was that I should of defined exactly what capital

punishment is in the introductory paragraph as opposed to later in the essay. This would allow

the reader to understand the topic right away as they began to read my essay. Also, it was
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suggested that I reorder my paragraphs so that my essay flows corehently and doesn’t feel so

sporadic. Due to this feedback, I swapped the position of my second paragraph and third

paragraph.

I felt as though the sentence “When attempting to dissect the true definition of murder, it is

important to think about the mental effects that the ideology of ending someone’s live carries”

(Parker, 2019, p. 1) made more sense in the beginning of my essay rather than the middle

because it defines the issue. I also revised the sentence, “ Society acknowledges murder as the

unjust killing of another human being or group of human beings” (Parker, 2019, p.1) to “In

addition, society believes that murder is simply the killing of another human as an act of poor

and rash decision making” (Parker, 2019, p.3) because I felt as though the previous sentence did

not explicate what the term “mental effects” is specifically referring to. The final major revision

to the paper that I have added was an extension of my conclusion. My conclusion was regarded

as weak because it did not wrap up the ideas I have laid out throughout my essay. Therefore I

added the sentence, “ Murder is a crime that has had several deterrents set in place in order to

prevent it’s continuation” (Parker, 2019, p.4). I felt as though the addition of this sentence

allowed my paper to come to an actual conclusion. Overall, writing needs to undergo several

revisions and come in contact with others in order to make it as successful as possible. Other

people can feed you ideas that can force you to add aspects of their creativity to your work.

Close and critical reading/analysis is necessary for listening to and questioning texts, arriving at

a thoughtful understanding of those texts, and joining the academic and/or public conversations

represented by those texts.


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Core Value II states that the close reading and critical analysis of resources is imperative

for one to fully understand the intent of a text. Only once you have analyzed the text are you

allowed to make any sort of assumptions about it’s meaning. Simply skimming a text will not

provide you with enough information to create a formal argument regarding the material within

the text. Before using sources in my paper, I have made sure to read over the source several

times to ensure that I understood what the author’s message was. Some of the articles that I have

used were difficult to understand and hard to come up with the goal of the article itself. For

example, in the article “Costs of the Death Penalty” by The Death Penalty Information Center, it

was difficult to understand the purpose of outlining what each state pays for an execution.

However, after looking into what The Death Penalty Information Center represent, it was easy to

tell that they are making the argument that the death penalty is too expensive overall. They

support the idea that the death penalty should be abolished by stating how it is a financial

obstacle for each state. Another source that gave me trouble was the case study of ​Cory Jermine

Maye v. State of Mississippi​. The case outlines controversy that exists within the criminal justice

system. These resources have provided me with the information to form arguments surrounding

the death penalty that are scholarly and well supported.

Writing is shaped by audience, purpose, and context.

Core Value III stresses the idea that pieces of writing can be altered by their intended

audience. The author attempts to capture a specific audience for their work so that the author can

explicate their argument successfully. The intended audience can affect how the author makes

their argument and the details they include within their work. My proposal essay and
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argumentative essay have been entirely shaped by their intended audience. The audience that I

have tried to portray are people who feel as though the death penalty is a practice that should still

be in effect. This is why I have offered an alternate solution to the death penalty throughout my

Proposal Essay. ​ “Alternate forms of punishment would allow for further investigation into a

person’s innocence. Using a method of punishment that does not cause the immediate vanquish

of the individual can give the court system more time to verify the guilt of the victim” (Parker,

2019, p.3). This point would not be as strong if my intended audience was for people who

already agreed with my standpoint. I am simply trying to convince people that the death penalty

is not viable and that there are other methods of punishment that can equally deter criminals.

While I never clearly state my audience, it is heavily implied that I am against the death penalty.

This point can indicate to the reader that my writing will be bias towards that point of view. The

context in which I speak throughout my essay should explain my purpose if written correctly.

This is how the audience, purpose, and context of a work can influence how and why it is

written.

Information literacy is essential to the practice of writing.

Credible sources are essential to support an argument that you want to be taken seriously.

Performing strong research can allow your argument to become stronger and more appealing to

the reader. The sources used throughout a paper can have a great influence on the validity of the

argument that is trying to be made. I used other sources in my papers not only to strengthen my

argument, but also to open the doors to new ideas that I could not present in my own words. An

example of this is when I used a source detailing different sentences in Madagascar in order to
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express the idea that alternate forms of punishment are possible. “​During its visit of Antanimora

prison October 2010, it found 185 prisoners sentenced to hard labor for life in that prison alone”

(Parker, 2019, p.3). The introduction of this study to my essay allowed me to create a new

standpoint on my idea to abolish the death penalty. It allowed me to come up with the idea for an

alternate form of punishment that does not involve the death of the individual. Using the source

in this way expanded upon my ideas and added a fresh idea to the repetitive claim that capital

punishment should be abolished.

Writing has power and comes with ethical responsibilities.

Writing is a tool that needs to be used respectfully as it can be used to construct

disagreements with large groups of people. As a writer, it is important to recognize the

responsibilities that you have so that you can conduct a well respected argument. An audience

will not deem your opinion as credible unless they feel as though they are being treated

respectfully. Writers must understand it is important to keep their target audience in kind so that

they do not disrespect readers. In my Argumentative Essay, I represented both audiences for the

death penalty for people who practice abortion by stating, “​Several people argue that abortion is

a form of murder and should be punished as any other murder. However, others argue that the

context of the abortion is imperative to decide whether or not this mindset on the issue is correct”

(Parker, 2019, p.2). I made sure not to misrepresent either standpoint so that neither of the

audiences are offended by my argument. I wanted to present my argument while also

acknowledging that there are too different points of views regarding the subject matter. Overall,
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it is imperative that writers understand their power and that they acknowledge that they have

ethical responsibilities.