Intro, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. A tedious process and the formatting required for every single paper I wrote up until this point in time, my freshman year of college. I came into second quarter absolutely dreading an English class, because that meant essays, which I convinced myself I was terrible at. All I knew before was no “I” no “you”, basically no voice. To say that this class changed my view of writing is an understatement.
One day I remember clearly is reading Eating Animal’s by Jonathan Safran Foer, and someone in the library asking me if I liked the book. I answered pretty confusedly because what I had been reading was full of grotesque stories exposing the truth about factory farming. However, I still answered “yeah” in a shaky confused voice. I think back to that day and I know now how I would answer that question. I don’t think it’s a matter of liking the book or not liking the book, I think it’s a matter of how well and accurately Foer exposed the dark sides of factory farming to those consuming their products. When it comes to Eating Animals, I believe the question that should be asked is, “are you convinced?” and I would answer in confidence, “yes, I am convinced factory farming is broken and I am convinced drastic changes need to be made not only in the ways I shop and eat, but also the ways that factory farms operate.”
Taking a look further into the first quarter of CTW 1, I found myself sincerely enjoying writing one paper, in particular, Essay project 2 which I wrote about roses during Valentines Day. It was the first essay I have ever written that I was able to incorporate
my own voice into the essay, I also was given the creative freedom to pick my own topic which was something new to me and made it that much more fun and interesting. I was so used to writing facts, with commentary here and there, which made for a grueling process. I wrote about roses because it was nearing Valentines Day, my least favorite holiday that shouldn’t even be a holiday. Sure, I came into the writing process slightly bias, but in my writing, I wasn’t telling people not to like the holiday, instead, I was exposing the impurities of an ostensibly pure holiday item. For example, roses are shared on valentines day to express pure love for one another, however, valentines roses aren’t even grown naturally, aren’t grown in the U.S. and aren’t environmentally friendly due to shipping across the Atlantic and packaging (Lyman). Within my essay, I found that adding rhetorical questions and sarcasm throughout the essay, not only made my writing more bearable to read, but also reflected who I am as an individual.
I am able to say that I have never read a book like, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely. It wasn’t your classic novel like Of Mice and Men, in which students didn’t take much away from it except forced analysis, but one that makes you want to think and analyze yourself. This book broadened my horizon of thinking because I have never thought of deception in the ways explained by Ariely. Before reading the book, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be some guy talking at me exposing dishonest people, but through his use of primary research, secondary research, and personal anecdotes, Ariely captured my attention in an instant. I attempted to mimic some of his examples in my final essay.
Surprisingly enough, my final essay was my second favorite paper I have ever written. It was a research paper, so automatically I was not too thrilled to have to start the process. Once again, what made this project tolerable was having creative freedom to choose the topic for ourselves. I wrote my essay about power, wealth and the ability to deceive.
I wasn’t looking forward to researching until I found an article about H. Ty. Warner and his case of tax exemption. I was amazed that someone who exempted over $6 million was only punished with two years probation and community service (Novak). I was so intrigued by this case that I searched the Internet for hours on my own time, not even for this essay, for articles of the rich and famous committing heinous crimes with very minimal punishments. I was amazed at some of the things that I read, as well as in my findings through an interview I conducted. Ronald Isley, American artist who wrote “Shout!” was charged for tax evasion too, but for a much lesser amount, and his sentencing was much harsher than that of H. Ty Warner (Reilly). I also incorporated a story of a 16-year-old in a wealthy family who drove intoxicated, killed 4 people, and got off with 10 years of probation, instead of the suggested 20 years of jail time (Boroff). Isn’t that amazing? (in the worst way possible)… I could go on and on about this topic, but I’ll spare your day and stop here.
To conclude, the first day of discussion and a new writing structure changed my perspective on English classes in the best way possible. It is no longer a class I dread going to, rather one that I’m excited to share my writing and read other people’s as well. I am no longer that girl who won’t let anyone read their writing, but a girl who wants as much feedback, positive or negative. While I am 100% a math person, I am willing to make some space for writing now too.
Lyman, Francesca. “Connect the Dots: Where Did Those Roses Come From?” MSNBC: Connect the Dots: Where Did Those Roses Come From? – OrganicBouquet.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.
Boroff, David. “The wild legal ride of ‘affluenza’ teen Ethan Couch.” NY Daily News. N.p., 22 Mar. 2017. Web. 09 June 2017.
Novack, Janet. “Appeals Court Decides Beanie Babies Billionaire Tax Evader Ty Warner Won’t Go To Jail.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 13 July 2015. Web. 05 June 2017.
Reilly, Peter J. “An Isley Brother In Tax Court – Does Tax Crime Pay?” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 08 May 2014. Web. 06 June 2017.