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Ethan Gillett

Period 3A
Self-Reflection Paper
Process Questions:
There are three main assignments that have helped my writing improve from last year.
The first assignment was the descriptive writing piece we did in September. In this piece, we
were assigned to show our favorite place using a descriptive and active vocabulary. My word
choice and ability to show not tell improved after this assignment. The second assignment was
the personal narrative given towards the end of September. We were supposed to bring a
picture of us as kids and write a memory that is tied with the photo. This assignment really
taught me how to include dialogue and develop my voice in a narrative. The third assignment
that really helped my writing was the response paper we did at the end of the term. We were
supposed to analyze and criticize the essays we did the powerpoints on. This paper taught me
that I could criticize someone else's paper in a formal setting. Before this I always had to agree
with the author and back up his ideas.
I used different writing strategies to complete my Response essay. I tried to use logos,
pathos, and ethos, all powerful strategies when analyzing a paper. I felt that my use of logos
was the most productive. I gave many logical reasons as to why the author was right and wrong.
The least productive was my use of ethos. I tried to make myself look more accomplished but
being a high school student I have a lot less experience.
The biggest problem I haved in writing this paper was finding points I disagreed with.
Shelby Steele did an awesome job of describing the double bind and I agreed with most of his
ideas. I was pretty successful in solving this problem. I re-read the essay and found a couple of
things I disagreed with, the strongest one being stable family lives. I felt that I addressed this
idea well and provided sufficient evidence as to why he was wrong. The most significant

strengths in the response essay were the use of logos to agree and disagree with Shelby Steele
and finding personal examples to disagree with his idea of family life. The most significant
weaknesses in the Response Essay were probably fully developing my ideas and the sentence
structure. I wish I would have spent more time on topic and transitional sentences.
I learned about myself as a writer that I love to criticize people's writing. Nothing gives
me more pleasure than to find fallacies or ignorant ideas in a well educated authors writing.
Reading Shelby Steeles essay and finding ways to criticize it was lots of fun. Critical writing is
much more fun and slightly easier than agreeing with the author. It also helps develop personal
ideas and makes you feel like you are not repeating what the author is saying.

Subject-Related Questions
I encountered tensions between my ideas/experiences and those of the author and/or
others when I read Steeles idea that a stable family life could not be found in families who
favored race. I disagreed with this idea completely. I wrote about my friend J.T. who has a
stable family life while still attributing himself with the black attitude. This was my strongest point
of disagreeing with Shelby Steele.
When I wrote this paper I did not change my mind from how I first viewed this essay. I
still totally agree with Shelby Steele on the occurrence of a double bind and disagree with him
on a stable family life. Writing the paper just gave me a way of expressing how I felt about this
paper. Writing about this subject taught me that victimization in blacks was much worse than I
could have thought. I had no idea that blacks created their own social class depending on how
severe their victimization was. It gave me a different viewpoint on the 60s and the civil rights
Rhetoric Related Questions:
I imagined I was writing back to Shelby Steele in my essay. This influenced my writing by
making it not as harsh. I feel if he were to read my paper without me knowing it, I could have

been a little harsher. This would have created some interesting dialogue between Steele and I
and I think that would have been beneficial to my understanding of the essay. I want readers to
take away that there is a double bind affecting black Americans and that a stable family is
available to those who put in the effort. My voice in this paper is informative and yet friendly. I
utilized pathos to try and appeal to some emotion of the reader. The rhetorical strategy that
pleased me the most was creating a very formal and yet sympathetic tone. In a paragraph about
the new social ladder created by blacks, I used an example of how guys in my own peer group
have used victimization to be seen as cooler than other kids. This was one of my stronger
points in the essay. I didnt really take any risks in writing this paper. The riskiest thing I did
was probably try to tie in a very personal connection I had with writing about J.T. I didn't know
how I was going to include him in my essay but everything worked out well in the end.