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Asaph Rangel

Writing 37 1PM
Midterm Reflection Essay
If my first-week self were to look at my present self, he would be amazed with my
newfound ability to analyze the rhetoric of texts. Looking back at the past five weeks-worth of
work, I could definitely see improvements in both my tone and organization in my writing, as
well as making my writing suitable for a scholarly audience. Aside from writing, group
discussions, presentations, and work has benefited me immensely for allowing me to gain
feedback from my groupmates. Having to take notes for fairy tales and doing the exploratory
writing exercises helped in cultivating my writing and analytical skills as a whole. In other
words, all of the work up to the middle of the term has aided me in understanding how to best
fulfill the class objectives.
My improvement in writing is best complemented by my exploratory writings, where I
thought the most about what to include or exclude. I figured that the best way to determine
relevancy of information, is by pretending to read the text as another person with an unbiased
opinion. This method greatly helped because I often found flawed or irrelevant sentences in the
exploratory writings that I previously thought were necessary. For example, in the exploratory
writing for male heroes, I felt the introductory paragraph was fine without quotes, but as I read it
again with a different mind-set, it seemed like it would be stronger with at least one quote. Had I
not attended this class, there would have been no second thought on whether I would reassess the
introductory paragraph. However, if I were given the opportunity to redo the assignment, I would
make sure to include more quotes from the texts under analysis; it would assist in giving context

about the writing style, sentence phrasing, and overall demonstration of conventions applied by
the author.
In addition to my exploratory writings, the group presentations and work were great in
understanding the thought process of other people, providing a much larger array of perspectives
and priorities. Whenever my group, The Ugly Ducklings, was assigned a task, we would go
through a process of proposals, discussion, and finalization. This structure was effective in
syncing our thoughts together in order to eradicate conflicting ideas that would distract from our
work. The proposal phase was when one of us would think of an idea, which would immediately
lead to the discussion phase--a time where each group member would state facts on why the
proposal was faulty or unusable. If the proposal made it through the discussion phase, the
finalization phase would commence; we would think and eventually agree on the phrasing of the
proposed idea. The reason why this method was effective in my improvement of writing was
mainly due to how methodical it was. I took away from this process the importance of
methodically choosing and phrasing the bits of information at my disposal. Nevertheless, using
only a methodical thinking process is not entirely reliable, which is where I believe my group
could have improved on. To be more specific, after we recorded our information, the manner in
which we presented it lacked a bit of improvisation; that is, we often read directly from our
group work, making the rest of the students to ignore us and pay closer attention to what was
written. Despite all of this, I ultimately feel like my openness has developed from allowing my
groupmates to propose differing ideas and persuading me with said ideas. Also, my flexibility
improved due to the various times I spoke outloud to the class, causing me to think about the
expectations the professor and my classmates had for my answer. These two habits of mind are

reflected on my engagement with the class, as well as my work in the Cultural Fairy Tale Video
Project.
The moment that the professor mentioned a project concerning a video, my previous
struggles in video editing and script writing were brought up. Other than the video project in this
class, I have only ever worked on video productions twice in my life, and they were both horrible
experiences. When my group first began in researching about ancient Egypt, the culture we
chose, our discussions consisted of mostly vague ideas. However, as we continuously thought
about the data worthy of being written into the script, our focus strengthened, and we overcame
our initial challenge. The reason being that it was decided we would work on what we were most
comfortable and confident with. In my case, researching about ancient Egypt was the role I felt
most at home with, yet still a bit lacking. As I continued to research ancient Egypts traditions,
values, and history, I became more absorbed by it, which is to say that my curiosity was
reinforced. If I were to conduct research on a topic I found uninteresting, it goes without saying
that my curiosity would have remained silent, thus unimproved. In addition to the advancement
of my curiosity, my openness also enhanced from working on the video project. When I finished
compiling my research into a script, I was prompted to allow my groupmates to make
adjustments or edits where they saw fit. I felt that the opinions of my groupmates were as
important as mine, since their insight could lead to the improvement of the script. To be
completely honest, the only aspect I felt that I could have improved on was the phrasing of the
opening paragraph. For example, Alongside these splendors was the Nile River, a great source
of life and beauty for the entirety of ancient Egypts existence. Introducing the Nile River could
have been fused into the introduction of the other Egyptian wonders; allowing this sentence to
be separate from the others gives a sense of inconsistency. Aside from my group work, the

notes I produced for various fairy tales aided in developing my writing style by forcing me to
identify central key ideas found in fairy tales--or any genre, really.
The note taking these past five weeks has improved my ability to simplify fairy tale
conventions, thus allowing me to analyze conventions in fairy tales more in depth. A clear
example of this is in my Rhetorical Analysis Essay, specifically in the portions that describe the
historical contexts for the three texts discussed. Tim Lambert, an experienced historian who has

written a World History Encyclopedia, mentions that around the early 1800s, Prussia suffered
heavily losses from losing to France in a war, so a large portion of lower-class people were
impoverished (Local Histories). This paraphrase of Germanys state in the early 19th century is
the result of simplifying the detail that Lambert provides in his description of Germanys history.
My persistence was incredibly improved by the note taking and the RA essay because it required
prolonged focus of the subjects in order to properly write and convey the information I intended
to include. Without persistence, I would have opted to writing at an easy and adequate level
rather than at a more challenging level. Nonetheless, for the remainder of this term, I hope to
further improve my writing with more analytical-oriented exercises.
To summarize what was discussed above, all of the activities and class engagements have
helped in developing my current writing level, and the proof is found within my writing. Though
I am generally satisfied with my current writing level, I do admit that there is room for
improvement; some of my written texts still lack in effectively utilizing the habits of mind. Im
sure that the second half of this term will succeed in teaching me how to further increase my
writings impact and validity.