English was never my strong suit. Typically, I fell under the umbrella of “mathletes” and “algebraniacs” which struck pride in my family of engineers, architects, and accountants. I followed the strict formulas and steps set before me even when given the restrictive and limiting five-paragraph essay. It wasn’t until I began writing my personal insight essays that I took the time to reflect on writing and my own connection to the art form. When asked about my personal form of creative expression, I learned that storytelling is my passion. Working with literature and understanding the technical aspects of it helps me better understand the lives of the characters I read about and the author’s purpose. Analysis is one of my favorite aspects of literature, and through it, I learn how to better express my own thoughts and emotions- a skill I find more powerful than any equation ever created. Although math will always have a place in my heart, literature is my soul’s expression.
Throughout this course, I have grown to understand the true capabilities of rhetoric and the importance of its techniques. Taking a step out of formulaic essay structure, I danced along the uncharted territory of expressive and detailed narrative writing. In our narrative writing chapter, we began exploring word pictures, story mapping, and rhetorical appeals that would strengthen the impact of our work. These techniques failed to resemble any of the typical steps we followed in grade school when writing research papers and argumentative essays. Additionally, I learned that outlines are not a single structure to be followed. Instead, they are a guide to help develop my essay and its purpose. The use of “I” in an essay completely baffled me until this class, for I had always been told to avoid it so as to not risk informality. This semester, however, I learned the use of “I” does not take away professionalism but rather expresses one’s authority on a subject given that one has done extensive research to attest to one’s credibility.
In this course, we also explored the process of research in persuasive and analytical writing and the importance of using reliable sources. Learning tips on how to focus my research and utilize the tools I am given, I have refined my research skills and have gained confidence in my ability to provide adequate input on the topics I discuss in my essays. I hope to build on these skills and combine them to write creative and professional compositions with clear and effective language.
This semester I have gained a stronger understanding of descriptive writing and better hold on research skills which I feel are encapsulated within my analytical essay “Life Goes on Again: Through the Tragic Journey of Moving On in Matt Maltese’s ‘Less and Less'” and my narrative essay “It All Happened in Room 425.” I have chosen these essays for my portfolio because they do the best job expressing my growth over the semester. In previous years, I have analyzed classic literature from Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, but the analysis of a music video never crossed my mind. I didn’t consider the amount of detail and rhetoric that can be seen outside of literature. With a thorough analysis, I learned about Maltese’s purpose in his music video “Less and Less” and it made me consider the true depth of the music I listen to. I began to analyze all the music videos I would watch, and it encouraged me to incorporate that level of depth into my own work. Further, in my narrative essay, I learned how to better express my emotions through illustrative diction. It taught me that to express your own personal connection to a place, you must allow yourself to be there mentally and recognize your own connection to it. This allowed me to create a piece of writing that frames the place where I found who I am and the creation of who I want to be.
I end this semester with gratitude for all I have learned and the insight that this class has given me. Expression is fundamental in understanding the human experience, and with it, we grow to be better versions of ourselves. Learning how to express our own emotions and recognize that of others is a power within itself, and it is why English comprehension is essential. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express myself and my understanding of others.