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Ruffa Corbett

Professor Mathew
Writing Journal
According to Mathew Parfitt, college students often lacks a strong foundation when
writing essays due to the misconception of passing the class rather than understanding a concept
to reason with the given argument. He also correlated our ability to grasp information to a
sponge: absorbing knowledge while having the skill to apply the information in a new
perspective. Through this section, I was able to understand the value of questions and how it not
only connects to English but also my perception of different forms of literature and art. This
knowledge also relates to my current work in ENGL 110 because it helped distinguish the
differences between high school and college expectations when dealing with essays.

Mathew Parfitt believed that one must read with a purpose to fully understand the
authors argument. Parfitt also emphasized that one must interpret various works of literature
with an open mind and an understanding of historic events that could influence a writers work.
This chapter also explained Close Reading and how it correlates to a strong foundation when
writing essays. This information is significant because it involves analytical concentration along
with many forms of research to connect the passage with the Bigger Picture. This chapter
connects with my current work in ways where I am able to understand the different forms of
reading and how close and active reading are the most effective types when interpreting an
authors argument.

Active Reading
According to Matthew Parfitt, active reading is an essential tool that enable readers to
view the authors position in a given argument. Parfitt also encourage students to reread passages
several times to comprehend what the author is trying to convey, while formulating an original
response to the reading. This chapter also listed different ways to improve ones reading and
writing skills. For instance, Parfitt stated that annotating a book develops a conversation with the
author through the words we select to mark or highlight. This section deals with my work in
ENGL 110 because it provides helpful guidelines such as reading slowly, using a reading journal
and creating a dialectical notebook to express my perspective about the given text.
Drug War Nightmares
According to Michelle Alexander, racial caste and inequality still occurs in our country.
Despite our claims for equal rights, Alexander argues that Americas prison population has
drastically increased within a few decades. In her statistics, she provided a correlation between
crime rates in poor community of colors with drug related charges in prison. To persuade the
readers, Alexander stated her claim, included historic events, provided an explanation, and closed
the argument with facts. The passage is helpful because it depicts how an effective argument is
structured. This is also serves as an example of how a writer should capture their audience, using
facts and effective statistics to strengthen the argument.
Organizing the Essay
According to Matthew Parfitt, organization will not only reveal the authors argument,
but will also provide a sense of flow to the essays foundation. Throughout this chapter, Parfitt
distinguished the difference between an argumentative and exploratory essay. Although one is

created without the strict structure of a thesis driven essay, they both have different points that
influences the readers perspective. In an argumentative essay, he believes that one should
strengthen the nucleus of the essay, making a clear stance in an argument. He also states the
importance of ones understanding of opposing side of the argument. Rogerian Rhetoric,
according to Parfitt, will benefit the writer in ways where their opinions are not biased due to
their empathetic views and interpretation of the counterargument. This term is important because
it allows you to understand the opposing perspective while forming a common ground between
the two sides. When creating an argumentative essay, this would be effective because it will
allow you to put yourself in the other persons shoes, allowing audience to understand your
reasons for choosing a specific side in the argument while providing an open mind for the
counterargument. Providing detailed explanation of both sides will prevent bias. This section is
also important because he provided various examples of different essays, where he included side
notes to help the readers comprehend the essay.
The Order of Things
According to Malcom Gladwell, we grade, judge and base our standards according to a
subjects reputation. He stated that we often measure using a fixed variable instead of using a
reasonable base to judge or choose from different options. To strengthen his argument, he
provided examples such as Thomas Brennans questionnaire on which law schools ranked top ten
based on the schools quality. The result of this statistic shows our tendency to have reputational
prejudice because we rely solely on the sources that are given to us through various forms of
media. This argument is helpful because it serves as an example of how one can create a detailed
argument using facts, examples and other factors such as statistics and various perspectives to
persuade the reader.

Life on the Island

According to Emily Esfahani Smith, mans need for independence has resulted in
isolation, along with self-absorbed individuals. She also provided a correlation
between anti-social behaviors and suicide rates based on the progression of our
society. Smith uses different examples (such as a psychological standpoint to a
modern day music genre) to strengthen her argument on how we are living as
Islands, self-absorbed, materialistic and isolated from our urban community.
Throughout the essay, she provided research, examples and different perspectives
to support her views on the topic. This is significant because it serves as a good
example of an expository essay due to its strong foundation.
Chapter 9 and 10
According to Matthew Parfitt, a student must demonstrate their ability to interpret,
analyze and provide background information when writing an effective research
paper. Parfitt also listed the importance of different sources such as Library books
and articles, electronic catalogs, Google, and Wikipedia. When reading a passage
from Wikipedia. Despite its availability, he warns readers of its weaknesses and how
some articles are poorly written. This reading also provided useful tips such as
choosing a topic that will not only provide an insight, but also one that can raise a
controversy. On chapter 10, he also explains IMRAD and how its useful when
interpreting scholarly article. Using this method is important because when reading
difficult passages, it allows you to find the main idea and the authors standpoint on
the topic. Narrowing a topic, searching for bias and evaluating if a website is reliable
are tips that I found helpful when reading this chapter. Identifying if the author is

biased is helpful because it allows you to understand the authors position in the

Is Google Making us Stupid?

According to Nicholas Carr, the advancement of technology has affected our ability to read and
absorb information from long passages of literature. He states that having immediate access to
information decreases our ability to concentrate on our current task. Carr also provided facts
from historic events (Gutenbergs printing press, typewriter, television) along with different
perspectives on how the Web is reshaping our ability as a reader and writer. Through this
passage, I was able to understand how constant exposure to technology can scatter our
concentration and reprogram our reading habits. Reading in a quiet environment is a coping
strategy that I found effective because it prevents room for distractions and reprograms my mind
to deep reading.
Developing an Argument
According to Matthew Parfitt, for one to develop an effective argumentative essay,
having a better understanding of the essays structure will affects the arguments foundation. For
a reader to recognize the authors perspective, a clear view of the motive should be held with a
claim, an assertion of something valid, and support, the evidence that will strengthen the authors
research. Parfitt also provided a detailed outline of how one should construct each paragraph
from drafting to revising the paper. To persuade the audience, he also believes that one should
follow the concept of logos (logic), ethos (credibility), and pathos (emotion). This is important
when writing an argument because it not only reflects the authors views, emotions and
credibility, logos provides a strong foundation when persuading the readers. This passage is

helpful because I was able to understand the importance the value of persuasion when writing an
argumentative essay.
Bumping into Mr. Ravioli
According to Adam Gopniks Bumping into Mr. Ravioli, we lose track of the important
things in life because we often fall into the habit of creating a busy schedule. If not from work,
we grab meals, run errands and use our phones to communicate rather than spending time with
those around us. Gopnik used Ravioli to represent the lack of connection between people.
Through this passage, I found that the author first used a small issue then broadened the topic to
explain a larger issue at hand. This form of writing is useful because it provided a useful example
of an exploratory essay.
Blues for Vincent
According to Mathew Parfitt, Geoff Dyers Blues for Vincent is a collection of unrelated events
which interprets the correlation between sorrow and comfort. In this story, the author used
unrelated stories which shared the same theme of despair and how each character coped with
pain. This short story is a sample of an Exploratory Essay and is significant to my current work
in ENGL 110 because it provides an example of how the writing is structured. This is important
because it gave an insight of how the use of word choice and language can affect the way I
express my perspective in a piece of literature.

Active Reading

According to Mathew Parfitt, active reading includes various strategies that can help when
analyzing a difficult text. Strategies such as taking notes, drawing a diagram, and finding the
difference between what it says and what it does in an argument will enable you to analyze the
passage thoroughly. Parfitt also states that we often misinterpret passages due to our tendency to
look for a specific information. To prevent this error, we must find the strengths and weaknesses
of the essay by showing the relevance and meaning of the ideas in our own perspective. These
strategies are important because it will help improve my skills as an active reader. Reading with
and against the Grain is a method that I found helpful because it described how I could analyze
essays using the author and the critics perspectives.