Writing About Literature

Throughout our Writing about Literature course, there is a lot I have learned. One of the most prominent ideas I have taken away from this course is that there is not one “right” answer when reading and writing about literature. Although this is something I already knew, Writing about Literature is one of the first courses where I could really put this into practice through blogging about my ideas of a text.

Literary criticisms and theories are something new I learned in this course. In middle school and high school, we usually used the same techniques for analyzing literary works, so learning how to analyze a text using a specific lens was something new to me. I realized how reading and writing about literature through a particular lens can help you identify new ideas and ways of thinking about a text. For example, I wondered how Marxist Criticism could be used to write about literature, but I realized that you could use this criticism to write about the imbalanced class structure in 1984.

My definition of literature has also expanded throughout this course, specifically when looking at interactive fiction. Although we experimented with text parser games in my Media and Culture course, I tended to focus on the medium rather than the content. Although they aren’t what we traditionally consider as literature, these games tell a story and have complex ideas that can be analyzed through writing.

Source: Writing About Literature

News, Arts, and Sports Writing Portfolio 3

With the completion of my third portfolio for News, Arts, and Sports Writing, I am very content with my progress since my last portfolio. I greatly improved the discussion and timeliness sections of my portfolio, and I also continued to display depth, riskiness, and intertextuality in my posts. Although I plan to continue making improvements in the individual sections, the overall quality of this portfolio is a significant improvement as compared to my previous two portfolios.


One post that exemplifies depth is NM: The Future (4 of 4). This post could also fit under riskiness, as I was discussing the possibilities for the future of journalism, which is always an unknown. I wrote in-depth about the possibilities of the future of journalism, incorporating multiple quotes from the text in multiple paragraphs.

Another post that fits well under the depth category is my Post-Election Story response. I found multiple articles from a variety of news sources following the midterm elections and analyzed the objectivity of those articles in comparison to where their organizations fall on the media bias spectrum. Specifically, I spent time searching for articles about similar topics from Fox News and CNN in order to compare them and any potential bias.

Although any of my posts about Principles of American Journalism could easily fit under depth, the one I am picking out for this category is my response to Principles of American Journalism Ch3. This post was likely my longest one about one of the chapters from the text. I chose a few quotes to discuss in detail, and I wrote about the importance of journalism in the digital age.


One example of riskiness for this portfolio was my Pre-Election Story post. Although I have blogged about potential media bias before, this is the first time I had to search for articles about the midterm elections and write about them. I always consider writing about political topics a risk, as there is a lot of knowledge necessary to understand them, but I think I was successful at choosing a few articles to analyze.

My response to Principles of American Journalism Ch4 was another example of riskiness. This chapter of the text focused on the business side of journalism, which is something I am not as familiar with. However, I applied what I know about advertising with the Setonian to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of journalism as a business.

Going along with the text, my Principles of American Journalism Ch5 post also falls under riskiness. I considered placing this under intertextuality, as I discussed topics from one of my communication courses. I acknowledged in my post that I do not know the most beneficial way for journalists to connect with their audience through digital media, which is risky. However, I applied what I have learned from my communication course to discuss how these lessons can be applicable and beneficial to journalism.


My first example of intertextuality is my first post for this portfolio, NM: The Future (3 of 4). Similar to my final example in the riskiness section, in this post, I discussed what I have been learning in one of my communication courses and even cited a specific statistic from a paper I wrote that I thought was applicable.

In my first post for our second text, Principles of American Journalism Ch1, I wrote about my experience as a student journalist. I related my experiences working on my high school and college’s newspapers to specific examples from the text.

Finally, Principles of American Journalism Ch2 was another strong example of intertextuality. I wrote about how my journalism class in high school talked about the Rolling Stone article discussed in the text. Additionally, I discussed how as a double major in communication and journalism, I understand both ways to perceive the public that the authors talked about.


For my first two portfolios of the semester, discussion was basically nonexistent. However, I significantly stepped it up for this portfolio so I could share my thoughts with my peers.

For the first chapter of Principles of American Journalism, I commented on Annie and Steve’s blog posts. In Chapter 2 of the text, Caitlin and Chelsi both wrote about interesting quotes, so I left a comment on each of their posts about that chapter. Finally, I commented on Rebecca’s third post about the future section of The News Media.

I am definitely content that I improved my discussion section for this portfolio. Moving forward, I plan to continue commenting on my peers’ blog posts to participate in more discussions with them.


Throughout the semester, my timeliness section has been another one of the categories that has needed significant improvement. For this portfolio, I definitely think I’ve taken a step in the right direction. My first few posts for this portfolio were early, and although I started to fall behind toward the end, I wasn’t scrambling to finish every single post at the last possible minute. I have definitely improved my timeliness significantly since my last portfolio, and I plan to improve this section even more for our final portfolio.


In addition to completing all of the posts required for this portfolio, I was able to categorize my posts under at least one of the above categories.


My third portfolio was definitely an improvement from my previous two, and I plan to continue making improvements for my final portfolio of the semester. Writing my responses for this portfolio also helped me continue to achieve the course goals. By reading the Principles of American Journalism text and examining articles from a variety of news outlets, this has helped me “develop an appreciation for how journalism educates the public.” I also hoped to “examine the role of the journalist in a democratic society,” and reading Principles of American Journalism and the future section of The News Media has given me a better understanding of the present and future role of a journalist in society. With the end of the semester in sight, I will continue to work toward achieving these goals as I finish our second text and any other blogging assignments.

Source: Portfolio 3

Principles of American Journalism Ch5

In the fifth chapter of Principles of American Journalism, I was drawn to the following passage:

“The fundamental difference in terms of the goal of online journalism – from audience attraction to audience engagement – is more than just economic, however. It promises to reinvigorate the relationship between journalists and audience, a relationship that grew far too distant in the era of mass audience” (Craft & Davis 123).

In my Professional Development Seminar course for my communication major, we have been researching different contemporary issues, with digital media being a predominant topic. Recently, we discussed how digital media has changed the process of communicating with an audience. Rather than a one-way form of communication, where you send a message to your audience and that’s essentially the end of the process, digital media enables two-way communication, where you send a message and your audience is immediately able to respond back to you.

People want to know that they are valued by the companies and organizations they enjoy, and digital media allows these companies to respond to their audiences and let them know their feedback is valued. This can help build brand loyalty, and I think it can be applied to journalism as well. Journalists can individually create profiles on social media that allows them to connect with their audiences, and news organizations can use social media in a similar way. When audiences form a connection with journalists and their news organizations, then they’re more likely to continue reading the content from those organizations, and might also become more likely to pay for their content. I’m not sure what the best way is for journalists to use digital and social media to connect with their audiences, but it’s necessary to start somewhere.

Source: Principles of American Journalism Ch5

Principles of American Journalism Ch4

Chapter 4 of Principles of American Journalism focused on the business side of journalism, and this passage stuck out to me:

“But the amount of money people pay in subscriptions or at the newsstand doesn’t even come close to covering all those production costs. Advertisers pay the lion’s share. And they do it because they need to get their message out to customers. They need your attention” (Craft & Davis 107).

I think journalism is one of the most unique professions in existence because of its obligation to inform citizens about the truth. Most companies and organizations focus on persuading consumers to purchase their product, and while news organizations compete against each other, they aren’t trying to persuade the public to believe or not believe certain ideas.

However, at the same time, news is also a business. Professional journalists need to be paid for their work, and news organizations need to make money in order to distribute their content. Referencing the quote I selected, advertising is the predominant way news organizations make money. I know the importance of this from working on the Setonian. As a college news publication, we put our magazines on stands for free around campus, so advertising is our main way to receive revenue. Without ads, we wouldn’t be able to continue publishing the print version of the Setonian. Additionally, ads help us afford higher quality publications, like being able to publish in color rather than just black and white.

I think the way that news organizations make money will always be up for debate in terms of ethics, especially if the way they make money starts to interfere with the quality of their content. It’s difficult to balance, but I think the public has to understand that high-quality news articles don’t come for free. They have to pay for this themselves through subscriptions, or be open to the idea that advertising is a part of journalism in American society. Those who work in news organizations also must constantly try to balance making money with creating quality content true to the principles of journalism.

Source: Principles of American Journalism Ch4

Principles of American Journalism Ch3

In the third chapter of Principles of American Journalism, the following passage stuck out to me:

“In other words, even while the form of journalism changes fundamentally, the process changes only slightly – and its values don’t change at all” (Craft & Davis 69).

2018 is definitely an interesting time to be a journalist. We’re living in a time when digital media is utilized daily by the masses, and as journalists, we have to make sure we use that medium effectively so that our content reaches our readers. However, like the authors said, the only real difference between journalism in the past few decades and journalism today is the form and process.

Publishing an article online requires writing the article and then sending it to the online or digital editor, who makes edits, copies and pastes the article to the website, inserts photos and videos, and clicks a few other buttons before hitting “Publish,” which instantaneously publishes the article online. This takes significantly less time than print layout, which requires figuring out how to fit the text of the article and photos in layout software. And obviously, the way the articles look online is much different than how they look in a print newspaper or magazine.

Although the process of publishing articles is much quicker today, and the form is much different, the authors are right about how the values of journalists don’t change. Whenever I’m writing articles for the Setonian, I take the same approach with my writing, regardless of if the article is being published in print or online. No matter what the medium is, it’s still important to write about newsworthy information, conduct interviews with trustworthy sources on both sides of a story, and verify and fact-check my information. Just because it’s quicker to publish my content online, that doesn’t give me any excuse to become lazy and ignore the values of journalism.

Another similar quote from this chapter stuck out to me as well:

“Without journalism, what we have is lots of information from people wishing to persuade rather than inform” (73).

People often wonder what the role of journalists is in the digital age. However, I think this quote perfectly sums up what that role is. There is an abundance of information on social media, and without journalists, there would be no one to sort through that information and give citizens a better idea of which information is newsworthy and why. In addition to people wanting to persuade others, credibility is another issue that comes with digital media. Anyone can post anything, but if you see the information coming from a verified professional journalist or news organization, you know you can trust that source.

Without journalism, fake news would become even more of an issue on social media. It’s interesting to think about this in regards to President Trump’s comments about certain journalists and news organizations being fake news. Of course, no one is perfect, so not every news organization is going to cover every story perfectly. However, journalists are trained to search for the truth and then write articles to inform citizens. Without journalists, fake news would spread across social media, and no one would know what the truth is anymore. This is how propaganda spreads as well, so journalism is fundamental in our American democracy during a time when anyone can post anything.

Source: Principles of American Journalism Ch3

Post-Election Story

After the election on Tuesday, one of the articles I found was 5 key takeaways from the 2018 midterm elections from ABC News. This news outlet is in the neutral column on the media bias chart, and I think this article supports that stance. As the headline states, the article discussed the five most significant takeaways from the election, which included how Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives and the Republicans remained in the control of the Senate. It also discussed the historical significance of the results of this election, including the new all-time high for women in the chambers of Congress and other firsts in diversity.

I think this article was good at remaining objective while still giving the most newsworthy information. I didn’t think the language was biased toward either side of the political spectrum, and I feel like I learned the most significant information about the election results from reading this article.

I was also curious to see how CNN and Fox News handled coverage of the election. On the media bias chart, CNN is between neutral and skews left, but is more toward analysis. Fox News is listed as hyper-partisan right, and is farther down than CNN on the chart, listed under “selective or incomplete story; unfair persuasion.”

I found very similar articles from both outlets about the election results that discussed the candidates who made history with their victories. However, just the difference in the headlines was interesting:

Fox News: Midterm winners make history on Election Night, from youngest woman elected to Congress to richest governor

CNN: Women and LGBT candidates make history in 2018 midterms

Both outlets highlighted women in their headlines, but Fox News mentioned the richest governor while CNN mentioned LGBT candidates. It was interesting to see how these outlets thought different people were more newsworthy. Both articles actually mentioned most of the same candidates who made history, but the one significant difference was that CNN did not mention the richest governor at all. CNN actually ended their article with a “some firsts out of reach” section that gave examples of candidates who would have made history if they hadn’t lost, which Fox did not do.

I think both articles give mostly the same information, and both seem to be written pretty objectively, but it was interesting that the writer from Fox News thought the richest governor was newsworthy and the writer from CNN did not. Although this is just one small detail, I think it shows that these two news outlets that are classified as having particular political leanings do have different decision-making processes.

Source: Post-Election Story

Pre-Election Story

One of the articles I looked at before the midterm elections was from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which was published early in the morning on Election Day. The article was Voters Guide: Today is Election Day. Here’s what you need to know.

I kept in mind that the Post-Gazette tends to lean toward the left politically with their editorials, but this article was written pretty objectively. The article provided information about where to find your polling place and answered basic questions about voting. Additionally, the article identified some of the key races in the state, including state governor and Senate, and identified some of the more local races for the House of Representatives. Overall, I thought this article remained objective and gave helpful information, especially for voters in western Pennsylvania, where this publication is based.

I also wanted to find an article from one of the publications on the media bias chart, so I found an article from The Washington Post: Democrats hope for House win, Republicans look to hold the Senate in a final day of campaigning — but nobody’s quite sure. The article gave an overview about how many Senate, House and gubernatorial seats would be up for grabs in this election, and also talked a lot about President Trump’s campaigning techniques.

The Washington Post is in between neutral and skews left on the media bias chart, and I think article was pretty objective. Although it discussed the significance of the election, particularly for Democrats, I don’t think any of the language favored Democrats over Republicans in any way. Another thing to keep in mind is that the possibility of the Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives has been a big story leading up to the election, so I don’t think writing about that is biased, especially if you’re also mentioning how the Republicans could keep control of the Senate.

Source: Pre-Election Story


As I read the play Wit by Margaret Edson, the fact that the poems that Vivian taught were by John Donne stuck out to me, since one of the first things we read in this course was a John Donne poem. A lot of Donne’s poems deal with themes like death and salvation, so they fit seamlessly into the narrative about an English professor dying from cancer.

Although you could compare the poems to Vivian’s life, one of the most interesting aspects of this play for me was how Jason essentially became what Vivian was. Vivian did not really care about connecting with her students on an emotional level – she just tried to get them to understand poetry. However, as she became weaker and weaker because of the cancer treatment and knew she would be faced with death soon, she regretted not being kinder, saying how she “ruthlessly denied her simpering students the touch of human kindness she now seeks” (59). Her entire life, she was dedicated to trying to solve the puzzle of poetry, and this caused her to not truly care about other people.

Jason even admitted that trying to solve the puzzle of anything complex, like poetry or research, was not really possible, when he said, “The puzzle takes over. You’re not even trying to solve it anymore” (76). He also conveyed this in his conversation with Susie:

Susie: “Where does it end? Don’t you get to solve the puzzle?”
Jason: “Nah. When it comes right down to it, research is just trying to quantify the complications of the puzzle” (77).

Even though Jason knew trying to solve the puzzle would not give him an answer, he got caught up in the complexity of his research, much like Vivian got caught up in the complexity of her poetry analysis. Rather than respect Vivian’s wishes to let her die when her heart stopped, he tried to get the team to save her life just so he could continue his research. Similar to how Vivian did not give her student an extension when his grandmother died, Jason did not respect the humanity of the person in front of him, and only cared about what was important to him.

Vivian rejected any connection with students, and this cost her the opportunity to become close with anyone as she died. Similarly, Jason initially ignored the final wish of a dying woman, which could cost him the opportunity to advance in the medical field.

I couldn’t help but notice these parallels as the play went on, and they really stood out to me as the play came to a conclusion. I also thought it was fitting that the play ended with Jason saying “Oh, God,” since many of the Donne poems deal with religion. Even though this play was a short read-through, I definitely think there’s a lot more you could analyze.

Source: Wit

Writing about Literature Portfolio 3

In my third portfolio for Writing about Literature, my improvement throughout the semester is evident. My timeliness category greatly improved from my previous two portfolios, and my discussion section also continued to improve. Additionally, my posts continued to exemplify the categories of depth, riskiness, and intertextuality.


The first post that I think exemplifies depth is my Hilborn, “OCD” post. I used the close reading techniques I learned from our textbook to analyze the “OCD” poem, taking a look at both the text of the poem itself and Hilborn reciting the poem.

Similarly, my response to the poem of our choice is another example of depth. In my Matthew Arnold, “Dover Beach” post, I analyzed this poem in depth, writing multiple paragraphs and using close reading techniques to find hidden meanings in the poem.

Another post that fits under depth is Depression Quest or Choice of the Dragon. I decided to play both games the whole way through and wrote detailed descriptions about both of my experiences and how they classify as literature.

Going along with the theme of interactive fiction, my Photopia or Lost Pig post also fits well under depth. I finished playing through Photopia and also played part way through Lost Pig, and wrote extensively about my experiences with both.

Finally, I think another strong example of depth is my Electronic Literature Sampler post. I sampled three different examples of electronic literature and wrote paragraphs about my experiences with each example.


Overall, I was very pleased with the amount of risks I took in this portfolio. The first was my choice for my Academic Article. I chose an article about The Taming of the Shrew that explained how people during Shakespeare’s time period understood how the body and mind function together, which the author tied into Petruchio’s way of thinking. It was very complex, so responding to this article was a risk, but I tried to break it down and make it more understandable through my writing.

Another example of riskiness was my RWaL 6 “Writing about Poems” post. Poetry is not my strong suit, so reading and writing about the conventions of poetry was risky for me. I identified elements of poetry that I was and was not familiar with, which helped me understand poetry better.

There were a few other examples of poetry posts that I think fit under the riskiness category. In my Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” post, I grappled with the complexity of the poem, but analyzed different words and lines to make more meaning out of it. Similarly, I always consider reading works by Shakespeare a risk, so I think my post about Shakespeare, Sonnet 116 was risky. However, like I did with the Eliot poem, I used my close reading skills to make more sense of the poem.

I continued to take risks with my first academic article in my Analyzing Shakespeare Through Psychological and Historical Criticism post. In this post, I had to identify which types of literary criticisms the author of the article employed. I had no previous experience with literary criticisms, so this was challenging, but I applied what I learned from the textbook to the article.


My first post that fits under intertextuality is my RWaL 9 (1 of 2) post. I took each literary criticism I wrote about and explained how each criticism could be applied to some of the texts we have read in our course, including 1984 and John Henry Days.

In my response to the second part of the chapter, RWaL 9 (2 of 2), I went more in depth as I employed the same techniques I used in my first post. I went a step further with this post and identified multiple literary criticisms that I was unfamiliar with, and I explained how certain criticisms could be applied to different texts like The Taming of the Shrew and The Color Purple. I also discussed my American Literature course and how it related to historical and cultural literary criticisms.

Another example of intertextuality is my Brief Intro to Electronic Literature: Background post. I wrote about my own experiences with video games, and discussed how the games I enjoy have a story, relating to the idea of interactive fiction.

My response to Text Parser Games also fits under intertextuality. Since we had a brief unit on interactive fiction in my Topics in Media and Culture course, I discussed what I learned about text parser games from that course.


After improving my discussion section last time, I continued to generate discussions by commenting on a few of my peers’ blogs. As we completed our poetry unit, I left comments on Nicholas’ post about “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and Abby’s post about Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 116.” When we discussed literary theory in class, I left a comment on Steve’s “RWaL 9 (1 of 2)” post, and when we turned our attention to interactive fiction, I commented on Kaylee’s “Depression Quest Run Through” post.


Timeliness has been one of the categories I have struggled the most with throughout the semester. However, I definitely think I have greatly improved in this section since my last portfolio. The most I fell behind was a day or two with a few of my blog posts, and the rest were completed before the class period they were due. Although it’s still not perfect, I definitely can see the improvement in the timeliness section for this portfolio.


I completed all of the posts required for this portfolio, and I believe all my posts fit under at least one of the above categories. The one post that I am placing under coverage is my response to Adam Cadre’s 9:05. In this post, I briefly discussed my experience with this game during our class period.


Overall, I am very content with my work for this portfolio and the improvements I made. My work for this portfolio also shows I am continuing to work toward achieving the course goals. One of these goals is to “read and interpret literary texts on an intermediate-to-advanced level.” By reading poetry and working with interactive fiction, I have challenged myself with literary texts that I was not as familiar with. Another goal is to “develop the ability to recognize how cultural experiences shape personal tastes and literary aesthetics, and to apply that ability to their analysis of the assigned texts.” I continued to develop this ability particularly by learning about literary criticisms and theories, some of which focus on the author’s life or time period when they were alive. I will continue to work on achieving these goals as we quickly approach the end of the semester.

Source: Discussion Portfolio 3

Electronic Literature Sampler

The first work of electronic literature I tried was called Adventures with Fido. You play the game as a Corgi in your backyard, and you can stumble upon a variety of adventures. I ended up finding an underground mole kingdom, and you have to do various tasks to help the moles. I didn’t advance super far in this game because I was keeping myself to the ten minute time limit, but I found it very entertaining to play. It felt more like a game and not just a story you have to enter commands for, and I like how there isn’t one particular order that you have to complete the adventures in. It’s a silly story, but I thought it was engaging and would definitely keep playing it.

The second work I tried was called Time Passed. You play as a man who wants to confess to his friend from middle school that he had feelings for him. This interactive text was very short, as it only took me about ten minutes to complete. It’s definitely less focused on “gameplay” and more on telling the story. You click on different words to advance the story, and certain words give you background context but then take you right back to the story. It’s very linear and definitely more of a traditional story.

The final interactive text I attempted was called The Mouse Who Woke Up For Christmas. You play as a mouse who wants to show his daughter what Christmas looks like before they go into hibernation. It’s very similar to the Adventures with Fido game, as you have specific tasks to achieve, but you can take your time exploring and figuring things out. This game had a lot of different places you could go, so I mostly just spent time exploring the world, but I think it would be interesting and fun to return to.

Source: Electronic Literature Sampler