December 2009 Archives

EL 227 Portfolio #4

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Ahh, the end has finally arrived. Going into this class, I thought I would be in good shape with my previous knowledge from High school, but I hafta say, I've learned a lot about ethics from Haiman, and I feel like my AP Styleguide knowledge has strengthened as well. I remember being angry during one of our clicker exercises, because I learned in high school that one through ten were spelled out and 11-infinity were numerals, so I got the question wrong. Now, I'm not sure if I've always been doing this wrong, or if the rule has recently changed, but that's just one example of what I've learned from this class. I also learned a lot about the different types of news articles. I never really took into account that an accident or crime report is written so differently from a spot news article. All in all, I feel like I've grown a lot over the course of this semester thanks to this class, and not just as a journalist, but as a writer in general as well.

Coverage--all the assigned readings I blogged entries for:
  • The Comment Gracious -- Crimson Review I linked to both Josie and Angela's entries, as well as to the Setonian Online
  • The Comment Informative -- Jen's Crowded Webpage. I commented on Jen's response to the online newspaper websites and gave some of my insights that were drawn from my experiences gained in Writing for the Internet.
  • Educational, but hard to navigate --in this blog, I brought some of my prior education in, because I learned about web design in EL 236. I linked to the course website from when I was enrolled in the class.
  • Crimson Review was my best blog in this portfolio. I think this entry fit all of the criteria of a great blog entry: timeliness, depth, discussion and interaction, and xenoblogging.

EL 237 Portfolio #4

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Ah, the end has finally arrived, and I've gotta say, it's been a wild ride. But, I feel like I've learned a lot this semester, especially in terms of close reading and researching. Looking back, I'm proud of all the work everyone's done this semester. I can't believe this is finally the end.

Coverage--all of the assigned texts that I blogged for this time:
Depth--blogs that were longer than usual:

Interaction--This is where I contributed to my peers on their blogs, as well as on my own:

Discussion--There were several entries this time around that sparked discussion among my peers:



Interpretations aren't black and white

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In determining whether an object, action, or character is a symbol, you need to judge the importance that they author gives to it. If the element is prominent and also maintains a consistency of meaning, you can justfy interpreting it as a symbol.

Roberts, pg 151


"Analyzing a literary work as a product of cultural and intellectual history is the task, first, of determining what can be clearly deducible as coming directly out of the major issues existing at the time it was written, and, second, of deciding what is new and permanent--that is, of determining what has been created by the author of the work from ideas prevalent at the time of composition."

Roberts, pg 234

Symbols and allegories aren't new to me. What is new, however is the idea of contextual vs. cultural symbolism. It's not that I don't know what a symbol is, it's just that I'm not used to them being categorized. For me, a symbol is a symbol. I hadn't given it much thought before about whether a symboli in, Shakespeare's Julius Caesar could also occur elsewhere or only in that piece of literature. I'm not sure how I feel about Roberts' claim for how to identify a symbol. If a character is very prominant, why does he have to be a symbol? Does that mean he always has to be a symbol? I'm not sure. If he's the main character, obviously he's going to be prominant, but that doesn't necessarily mean there's a giant symbol lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce on unsuspecting readers at any time. Call me crazy, but I thought literature was supposed to focus on the grey areas, not the black and white. I know there are some stretches that you shouldn't make, but at the same time, literature is great because it's so up to interpretation. I guess I'm just trying to interpret Robert's interpretation of symbols now.

I guess it's really all just up to interpretation. The same goes with analyzing a piece of literature for its historical and cultural values These two chapters (Roberts ch. 10 and 16) should probably be closer together in the book, because they both address similar information.

Wow. My brain hurts.

Rights not Privileges

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Media freedom is protected not because of its own intrinsic value, but because it has a larger purpose. The opinions studied showed that, despite the apparently absolute language of the First Amendment, media freedom is a means, not an end.

Haiman, 71

I really liked the end of this guide. They're making some great points here. The Media has the freedom to be unfair, because it's their job to reveal the truth to the public. And it's not like they don't still have some restrictions--in terms of libel issues and the like, but the main point is that this "Right" isn't a privilege like some of our other rights are. It really surprises me that Americans think the press has too much freedom. We (yes, I still consider myself a part of the press, because I do work on the school paper) still have more restrictions than I'd like to acknowledge. Sometimes, it makes sense. Outside of school, I learned today that press aren't allowed to bring cameras into the courtroom. I can understand that--it would be REALLY distracting to see cameras constantly flashing, but they're still allowed to swarm around the lawyers and defendants once they leave the court room. The press makes compromises when they have to--it's the public who have a hard time compromising with the press. I get that we don't like having people nose around in our business, but I see things from both sides I guess, because I have experience as a journalist. It really is a touchy subject.

Happy Ending for All

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Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. SOme people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on his globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed; and that was quite enough for him.

So all ends well in the world of Scrooge and company. I have to say, first of all, that when I saw A Christmas Carol on the list of required texts, a little part of me died inside. It's not that I dislike Dickens (okay, that's not entirely true); it's just that my only other experience with Dickens was A Tale of Two Cities in my Honors English 9 class. I can tell you what happened in the first and third books...don't ask me what happened in the middle book, because sparknotes were my friend for a bit there. There's just something about the way that book was written, I dunno, it just put me to sleep...but I was fine in the beginning and at the end. In fact, I enjoyed reading those parts...
Okay, so here's the point I'm trying to make before I ramble too much as usual. I actually enjoyed reading A Christmas Carol. And not just because it's Christmastime either--if anything, that would make me dislike it even more, because I already am a bit of a Scrooge myself--I tend to think that all the Holidays mean anymore is another example of corporate greed. But anyway, I gotta say I was pleasantly surprised when I read this book. And I also have to admit that the film adaptations are good for kids, but they don't do the book justice (as usual).

Christmas Carol Assumptions

Then, with a rapidity of transition very foreign to his usual character, he said, in pity for his former self, 'Poor boy.' and cried again.
'I wish,' Scrooge muttered, putting his hand in his pocket and looking about him, after drying his eyes with his cuff: 'but it's too late now.'
'What is the matter?' asked the Spirit.
'Nothing,' said Scrooge. 'Nothing There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. I should like to have given him something: that's all.'
The Ghost smiled thoughtfully, and waved its hand: saying as it did so, 'Let us see another Christmas!'

This was a very important part for Scrooge, in that the readers finally begin to see a change in his attitude. He's finally becoming remorseful for his future actions. Up until now, he's still been, well, a Scrooge, I guess. But then finally starts to see things from the opposite perspective. It's a nice start.

In class Monday (yeah, I'm blogging a little late, my bad), we talked about the fact that this book is basically the start of science fiction in that it involves time travel. When I was a kid and watched the old Disney and Muppet adaptations of A Christmas Carol, I'm not sure I ever really got that he was actually time traveling, and to be honest, I'm still not sure I agree with that assumption. Who's to say that he didn't just dream the whole thing up? It's a likely story. It certainly fits in with reality a little better than time travel or spirits. But I guess that really isn't what's important here, now is it?

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