Tuesday, September 30, 2008

LITR 161 - Native American Literature

Original: A course in the oral and written literatures of Native American cultures -— emphasizing memoirs, essays, fiction, poetry, drama and film of the 20th and 21st centuries -— examined within their cultural and historical contexts. This course will promote and understanding of traditional Native world views, as well as examine the impact of Native peoples’ contact with other cultures.

Revision: Native American Literature focuses on the oral and written literatures of different Native American cultures. The cultural and historical contexts of memoirs, essays, fiction, poetry, drama, and film of the 20th and 21st centuries will be examined. This course promotes an understanding of traditional Native world views and examines the impact of Native people's contact with other cultures.

I chose to revise this text because it simply did not flow well. The second and third times that I read it, I noticed that the hyphens were used as a sort of adhesive that attempted to hold sentences together. The description was a bit "turgid" and sloppy, especially the first sentence. I began my first sentence with the title of the class, in order to fulfill the First of the "Two Principles of Clear Writing." Williams' first principle being that, "the subjects of the sentences name the cast of characters." The list of different Native media worried me some, and I almost cut it from the text. The list, however, gave a feeling of specificity that I felt really helped to explain the class.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Peer Review 1

The initial peer review went well. When I began reading and reviewing the other group members' essays, I was apprehensive about what to comment. I had no problem commenting on something that was grammatically incorrect, but when a phrase just didn't flow well, I was unsure. After leaving my mark a few times, I began to feel like an unconfident English teacher. Leaving positive comments was a lot more enjoyable than leaving negative comments because the latter made me feel like a prick. Had I been an actual English teacher, I would have felt no remorse. Since I was often unsure whether or not my comments were correct, leaving comments gave me an uneasy feeling. I ended up leaving all the comments that I thought were necessary because I would have wanted them left for me. The comments I received were helpful, but few. The only thing that I would have liked to receive were more comments.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Strunk and White

I found Strunk and White's The Elements of Style to be very helpful and easy to follow. The first section was an interesting brush-up of elemantary usage skills. Reading this section brought me back to fifth grade or so, and the sort of examples that we would study in class. I thought that the way this text was written, with at least three or four different examples, was not just easy to follow, but enjoyable. Who would have thought that learning english language usage rules could have been so much fun? The different examples also seemed to be well chosen in that they explained each exception or question I had about a particular rule. In addition to just listing examples of correct usage, the text also depicted the incorrect usage of certain rules. While explaining the correct situation in which to use dashes, the text explains that they are appropriate, "when a more common mark of punctuation seems inadequate." The obvious following question would then be: when would something be considered inadequate? One of the two examples written was, "Violence-the kind you see on television-is not honestly violent-there lies its harm." The same text is then written next to the original, except with commas and periods puntuating it-having a much less poingant effect. One piece in the first section that I found to be unhelpful, or unnecessary was at the very end. The text states, "Sentences violating Rule 11 are often ludicrous." The two examples of "ludicrous" sentences that followed, did not really seem all that ludicrous to me. Perhaps they were a little awkward, but anyone reading them would surely be able to decipher their meaning. The first example read, "Being in a dilapidated condition, I was able to buy the house very cheap." Anyone over the age ten can figure out that this statement is referring to the fact that the house being bought is in less than spectacular condition and is therefore being sold at a cut rate. It was as if the text did not want me to finish the first section without anything bad to say about it. Fortunately, the illustration on the following page made up for it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Writing Technologies

My writing technologies consist of a pen, pencil, or other stylus-like utensil that fits in my hand, or the word processor on a computer. I most routinely use a pen or pencil to write on paper, or sometimes another similar instrument like a marker. If a document must appear "professionally" written for school or work, I type it on a computer and print it out, or e-mail it. Over the years this has changed because I remember using a typewriter as a child, as we did not yet have a computer in our home. My first experiences with computers were in elementary school where I was exposed to two different shades of green on a screen that featured the letters that I typed. As the years have passed, my use of typewriters was phased out and computers took their place. I still use pens and pencils, although the pencils are much skinnier than the first times I used them. There aren't really any writing technologies that I avoid using, unless you count a typewriter. I wouldn't know where to find one if I ever felt the need anyway.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Blog Post

Hello. This is my first blog post.