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Sally Al-Omari
Professor Greg McClure
Writing 39B
9 December 2015
Final Reflection Essay
In my Writing 39B class, we focused on critical reading and rhetorical analysis of texts in
the horror genre in order to help us improve communication skills and succeed in other courses,
as well as prepare us to engage responsibly and effectively in the university community. Two
major assignments were assigned this quarter: The Rhetorical Analysis (RA) Essay and the
Rhetoric-in-Practice (RIP) Project. For the rhetorical analysis essay, I analyzed the short story,
Snow Glass, Apples, by Neil Gaiman. In order to demonstrate our understanding and knowledge
of how the rhetorical situation shapes the text, my group, The Shining, decided to create a short
horror film. Through these major assignments, as well as the practice we did in class and
homework, I was able to improve as an academic writer and deepen my understanding of the
rhetorical situation that authors utilize as a way to persuade their targeted audience.
Before taking this course, I could not have been able to tell someone what rhetoric even
meant. Within the first couple of classes, and after reading The Anteaters Guide to Writing and
Rhetoric, I quickly developed a sense of what rhetoric is and why its is used as a tool to persuade
the audience. Although I now understood the concept of rhetoric, I wasnt quite sure how the
rhetorical situation worked. It wasnt until we closely analyzed texts in class and worked on
assignments that I understood how the author could successfully produce a piece of writing that
hits all the points of the rhetorical situation: The text, the author, the audience, the purpose.
Leading up to the rhetorical analysis essay were weekly discussions and assignments in

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order to prepare us. In class, we closely analyzed the book, I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson.
This novel, which satisfies the horror genre, is filled with passages that hold a deeper meaning.
Through the passage analysis assignment, my group and I were able to identify a deeper message
within a short passage. The first assignment that helped us prepare for the RA essay included an
analysis of the different versions of the song, Hurt. The comparison of Johnny Cashs video with
Trent Reznors, helped me understand how images can alter the texts message. These
assignments were helpful for my analysis of Snow, Glass, Apples, which I chose to write about
for my Rhetorical Analysis Essay.
The Rhetorical Analysis Essay was my way of demonstrating that I understood the
conventions of scholarly writing. Through the drafting process, I was able to improve as a writer
and strengthen my conclusions of how the text is shaped by the genre and historical context. In
my essay, I discussed the rhetorical devices used by Neil Gaiman and how it impacts the reader.
Through in-text comments provided by my teacher, and the peer revision process I was able to
focus on improvements needed to develop a stronger final essay. Three priorities that I chose to
work on during the revision process included: 1) Providing a deeper analysis of the quotes I
chose as evidence for my argument as well as shortening my quote so that every part is analyzed,
2) Focus more on the rhetoric element of the text, rather than summarizing the text, and 3)
strengthen my topic sentences so that they are more argumentative. In my portfolio, I provided a
link to annotations of my final draft to show how I improved my essay through the revision
process.
In order to prepare us for the RIP project, my teacher also assigned weekly assignments
where we developed stories in order to strengthen our knowledge of how rhetoric is incorporated
in a text. This included an imitation of The Other Place, by Mary Gaitskill. as well as a made up

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story, which can be found under the title My Own Monstrosity in my process work page. We
also watched an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where we analyzed the repetitive tropes
throughout the episode. This inspired my group to incorporate a repetitive trope in our film, as it
is a convention of the horror genre.
The Rhetoric-in-Practice project was my way of demonstrating my understanding of how
rhetoric shapes a text. My group, The Shining, worked diligently to create a short horror film.
Our conflicting schedules made it difficult to meet up to film, but through effective
communication and planning, we were able to produce a successful film. As the role of the rhetor
in the film making process (director), it was my responsibility to make sure the expectations of
the audience were met through close attention to detail. In my RIP Essay, I discussed my
strategies in the film making process. My group chose to focus on three main priorities in order
to strengthen our film. First, our teacher suggested that we include a scene in the film that would
make our audience side with a character so that the audiences reception is more greatly
impacted as a result of the ending. This suggestion inspired my group to add a scene into our
film, as discussed in my essay. Second, we focused greatly on improving detail and quality of
our film in order to influence audience reception. This resulted in my group re-recording some
scenes since we initially recorded them with an iPhone. Instead, I used a professional Sony
camera so that the quality was better as well as making the film more realistic. Our third and
what I believe to be the most important priority, was making the characters emotions run
parallel to the audiences through attention to detail. According to The Nature of Horror by Nol
Carroll, a distinguished professor of philosophy at the New York Graduate Center, Horror
appears to be one of those genres in which, ideally, the emotive responses of the audience run
parallel to the emotions of the characters. This means that the fear shown in the actors create a

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similar response to the audience, which was my focus while directing. As a result of these
improvements, my group was able to create a successful horror film. For the essay part of the
project, I took Vanessas revision suggestions into consideration by focusing on improving two
things: 1) Expanding on the conventions and tropes part of the essay in order to demonstrate their
importance on audience reception and 2) Clearly describing and expanding on the intended
message of the text. I provided annotations to show the changes that made my final essay
stronger.
We were assigned a few in class group presentations, which helped improve our
communication skills. The process of producing the PowerPoints, taught me the importance of
being an effective collaborator. One of our presentations included a look into the gothic subgenre of horror. I was introduced to many other sub genres as a result of all the presentations,
which broadened my knowledge of the horror genre. We also had two I Am Legend related
presentations which I incorporated into my process work section of my portfolio, as well as the
presentation on the evil phone call trope that we would include in our film.
Throughout the quarter, our teacher assigned several reflection assignments, which is
included in my blog. I quickly learned that these reflections improved many of my habits of
mind, including engagement, persistence, and metacognition. Being able to reflect on my work
allowed me to invest more time into my assignments as well being able to sustain interest in the
major projects. As a result of these reflections, I was able to understand the importance of
reflection as part of the learning process.
Before this class, I hadnt taken a writing class since senior year of high school. I felt
unprepared and anxious for the workload of this course. Although I do believe that this class was
time consuming, I admire how much I have grown as a writer in only ten weeks and I believe

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that in the end, it was worth it. I learned the importance of rhetoric and how to incorporate it in a
text in order to greatly influence audience reception. As a result of the assignments and
presentations, my communication skilled have greatly improved. These important skills that I
have learned throughout this course, as presented in my portfolio, will utilized in the rest of my
college career.

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Works Cited
Carroll, Nol. "The Nature of Horror." The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 46, No.
1. (Autumn, 1987), pp. 51-59