Rhetorical analysis and narrative writing were two heavily focused topics in this week's readings. Analyzing rhetoric and writing narratives can be somewhat challenging but these readings gave us a basis for what we should look out for and how to structure our papers. In order to produce a well-written paper, you have to be engaged. You truly need to invest yourself into your writing and learn how to develop a good paper based on what is taught in this week's readings.
In chapter one of Envision, there was a lot of talk about your audience. When putting together a persuasive piece, an audience is extremely important, it may even be the most important part. In Alexie’s Superman and Me he has two audiences. The first audience is his readers, the second is the Indian children from the reservation who are sitting in the classroom listening to him. It wasn’t until the very final sentences of this short excerpt that I realized Alexie’s main reason for returning to the reservation. He is trying to convince these children, more specifically the “defeated” Indian kids that it is okay to stand out. It is okay to be the smart kid on the reservation; to want to learn, know more, and strive to be the best. Alexie doesn’t choose to use big, complicated ideas when speaking to these kids, he gets the point across short and sweet; “books!”, books are going to save their lives. Although being short and sweet may seem simple it goes beyond that. Alexie doesn’t choose this method because it’s a shortcut, he chooses it because he is engaged with his audience. Knowing your audience can improve your writing/speaking and can allow you to express your argument more clearly. (Writing Center-UNC) On the UNC website, they compare how a letter about your first semester at college to your grandma will most likely differ than one written to your best friend. The same goes for Alexie’s situation. When he is talking to us, his readers, he is more formal; he goes more in depth into his experiences. When he speaks to the classroom he is still making the same point but is much more informal about it. His speech is much more simplistic; it is meant for a child. I choose the UNC website as my source because I wanted to emphasizes the importance of engaging with your audience.
Besides tying Alexie’s Superman and Me to the chapter we read last week, I was also able to make a connection between his piece and raid one. The connection between these two pieces is that they’re both narratives. When writing a narrative, you engage with yourself a lot. Throughout this process you begin to learn more about yourself and how a specific situation has helped shape you. My narrative was about a musical I helped direct. For me I took words and made and image; the exact opposite of what Alexie did. He took a comic book image and put his own words to the picture. In both occurrences, we are learning through visuals. Our brain is meant to process images better than words; the portion of our brain that processes images is actually significantly larger than the portion that processes words. There are multiple studies that prove that visuals can improve the learning process. Children who associate words with images tend to score higher on tests than those who simply try to memorize the words. (Psychology Today) I found this connection interesting. To come full circle, I skimmed back over chapter one from envision and realized that it went through analyzing rhetorical images before rhetorical writing. Although visuals were not a main concept in this week’s lesson, with a little research an argument can be made that visuals are the basis of learning, they’re one of the purest forms of engagement.
"Audience." The Writing Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
"Learning Through Visuals." Psychology Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.