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Robert Lewis Professor Lynda Haas Writing 37 12/02/2013

Personal Reflection When I discovered that I would be in an intensive writing class that extended two and a half hours on Monday and Wednesday, I felt rather discouraged. Although I am aware of its importance, reading and writing have never been my niche. I initially didnt like the idea of having a seemingly endless amount of grammar modules, writing assignments, and in class presentations. But despite the occasional feeling of being overwhelmed with the workload, throughout the quarter I have gained an abundance of knowledge and skills necessary to improve as a scholar; skills that I can take with me not only to a classroom but also apply them in career. Something that made this particular class interesting was the theme centered on zombies. One of the first and key assignments we had was to establish the origin of the zombie genre. We did this by watching and analyzing conventions found in George A. Romeros Night of the Living Dead, which is considered the original zombie picture. After assessing the conventions of the classic zombie movie the class broke off into groups of four, where each group would decide on a different zombie film we would analyze. After deciding on the British zombie film 28 Days Later, we started our notes and analysis. As we would come to find out, the first set of notes consisted mainly of plot summary and there were not many signs of critical thinking. In response

to this, I watched the film for a second time; this time I was looking for less obvious conventions and themes from the film. After watching 28 Days later, it was time to start our first 10 minute class presentation during which we would analyze the rhetorical situation and conventions of the zombie genre found in the film. One Habit of Mind that stood out to me in this instance is responsibility because of the division of work strategy we used in order to be successful. After dividing up the work and meeting with my group at the library, we put the presentation together and ended up with what we thought would be a decently sized PowerPoint. However, as we would come to find out, ten minutes was a very short time to explain all the information we had. After an extensive presentation, we learned that the slides we used contained too much text and not enough visuals to engage the audience. Creativity is an important aspect to a presentation in order to make it appealing to the audience. Following this presentation we started our first writing assignment where I analyzed the conventions that allows 28 Days Later to fall into the zombie genre. As the class learned from literary critic and expert Kyle Bishop, these genre protocols include not only the zombies and the imminent threat of violent deaths, but also a post-apocalyptic backdrop, the collapse of societal infrastructures, the indulgence of survivalist fantasies, and the fear of other surviving humans. During my first draft I just regurgitated everything that I saw on to my paper. Although I was writing conventions that I found, I was using conventions such as the appearance of zombies. This led me to create a superficial paper that I did not feel very proud of. After having my peers and my instructor give their opinions, I knew there were several changes that I needed to incorporate in my essay such as my thesis statement and the conventions I used. At that time I felt that my greatest strength in that essay was my introduction where I felt I explained the rhetorical situation and the definition of genre well. That being said, there was much to be

changed for the next draft of this paper. By analyzing the picture I was able to spark my curiosity of the metaphorical meaning of the zombies and gave me the desire to look further into the genre. This new found interest in the zombie genre allowed me to be engaged in the topic and caused me to invest more time in what I was writing about. After analyzing 28 Days Later and determining the conventions found in the zombie genre, my next project was to write another rhetorical analysis on World War Z. The first step in writing this next major assignment was to read World War Z: An Oral History of The Zombie War. At first I was a concerned about reading the novel as I am not an avid reader but the topic was interesting to me and I found myself very engaged while reading the novel. While I started my first draft I found it initially difficult to decide which characters to write about in order to do a rhetoric analysis. Metacognition was a key factor in my essay writiting. I ended up referring to both of my past forum response questions in which I analyzed the importance of Todd Wainio and Hyungchol Choi. After rereading their accounts of the zombie war I decided to base my essay on the convention of fear that is prevalent in the novel. After I finished my first draft I received peer review and instructor feedback where I discovered that I had summarized more that I had analyzed the text. I had to use the openness habit of mind and allow myself to change my thought process in order to create a better paper. I began my revision by taking out my analysis of Dr. Kwang Jingshu and replacing it with a more relevant character who talks about fear as a convention; Breck Scott. This called for me to remain flexible and not be too stuck on a decision if I can do something to make it better. This time I felt more confident about rhetorical analysis than I did on the essay concerning genre. Although I felt more confident about my draft but my conclusion felt weak and there was still editing that needed to be done.

All of the work we had done thus far lead up to the final presentation: the RIP seminar. For the RIP seminar it was my groups task to prepare food for everyone attending the seminar and to create final power point presentations based off of the in class presentations we gave throughout the quarter. This included: a revised presentation on the conventions of 28 Days Later, a presentation on three characters and their significance in World War Z and lastly, a presentation on two cultural connections found in World War Z that reflect on modern culture. I contributed to the first presentation by creating the speaking about the conventions, both classic and new, found in 28 Days Later. In the second presentation I contributed by analyzing and presenting Todd Wainios significance in World War Z. For the last portion of the seminar I contributed by creating a presentation on the cultural connection regarding the conflict between North and South Korea. I felt fairly confident about presenting to the class after the various practice presentations we had given to prepare for the seminar. However, I was initially more intimidated due to the larger audience and having to recall the three specific aspects I was presenting on. Something that was very important to the success our class had a run through of the presentation which allowed us to better prepare for the task at hand. This proved to be beneficial as there was very little problems during our presentation. After our class finished presenting our portion of the seminar it was time for the other class to present. After watching their various technical difficulties and watching the students presenting stumble on their thoughts, it became obvious that we had been much better prepared than the other class Over the past ten weeks I have learned a lot about writing that I can apply not only to the rest of my college career but also to the rest of my life. The two most important things Ive learned from this class are the importance of persistence and the rhetorical situation. Something that set this class apart from other classes was the addition of a grade contract with which one

will receive a B by completing all assigned work on time. With the addition of this policy, I was able to focus and be persistent on my writing and not worry as much about the grade I am receiving. This caused me to strive for improvement on every writing assignment in order to receive an A in the class. The most important thing I learned in this class was to be aware that the language we use and how it affects the audience we are writing to. By understanding this I can effectively write a scholarly essay or a more informal writing