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Rachel M Fredette

Anatomy: The Poison Fish Macrorie


1. What is composition? (Is it an art, a disposition, a civic action, a mode of
scholarship?)
a. Composition is a collaborative piece of writing. Its a relatively new
concept to claim writing as your own thought and not as a collaborative
piece. But writing builds off of others, and by building off of others,
nothing is entirely original. But unoriginality allows us to grow and learn.
2. What are the consequences of composition? What is at stake in its practice? What
happens if we practice good composition? Bad composition? (How is it important
or dangerous to knowledge, the person, the community, the future?)
a. By practicing good composition we are riding the idea that anything is
completely original. And because of this we can agree that there is no
basis for literary property. If there is no originality and no literary
property, there is no basis for the notion of plagiarism (791). When we do
this we are allowing there to be a freedom to further ideas and expand our
knowledge. Also, good composition by the idea of Howards new policy
does not endorse a "more lenient attitude"toward plagiarism;rather,it
suggests an enlarged range of definitions and motivations for plagiarism,
which in turn enlarges the range of acceptable responses (789).
b. By practicing bad composition we give into these new ideas of plagiarism
and that there are complete orginators. Essentially in how we very
plagiarism today, writers who want recognition must assert priority; to
assert priority is to assert originality; and to assert originality engenders a
fear of being robbed (791). But the reality is that there is no priority or
originality. But rather composition has always been built off of the
merging of other works. Howards speaks of this when he brings up voice
merging and Martin Luther King, Jr.s speeches and how he drew on
patching together a variety of sources (792).
3. How is it done? What particular skills or strategies would one need to practice or
in order to perfect this kind of composition?
a. Composition is done by honing on the contributions of others. Because
no longer do we have originators and plagiarists (791) but rather we
have authors who can attribute a lot of what they write to someone else.
And patchwork pull from various sources and string those sources
togetherto create something new. I think Howard would agree that there
is still importance in crediting the people whom your ideas were taken
from, as throughout his texts he cites his sources. However, it is done by
taking away the preconceived idea of what plagiarism is and that there is
no original idea. By doing this, we allow others to be able to expand on
and create further discoveries.
4. Who is and/or should be involved in composition, particularly as a composer,
writer, rhetor? And, by extension, who shouldnt be?
a. I think those that Howard believes should be involved are those who are
composing the work, those whose ideas they are building off of have an
involvement in the composition but those are not active involvement. I

think he says that those who are criticizing the piece or grading it should
only have the credibility to do so if they understand what authorship truly
is and what composition is. Howard notes that we always have unfinished
text (791). So in order to be critical over what plagiarism is and is not, you
have to understand that.
5. What is the political and social environment from which this version of
composition emerges? How does that environment seem to influence the
conception of composition?
a. This composition is pushback on what we already believe true
composition to be. Changing what we believe authorship to be. We are not
in a world where authorship has ties to the economy. People can claim
writing as their own and put a price value on it. Howard brings this into
his argument when he writes Observing the chasm between theory and
the law, we must recognize that pedagogical applications of contemporary
theory have gone as far as they can within the limits of now-outdated law.
It is time, therefore, to undertake gradual revisions of the law, so that it
will reflect rather than obscure the complexities of student authorship
(803). Essentially in order for us to change this and the way in which we
view authorship and composition and originality of texts we need to look
at the pedagogical implications of it. See the way we view plagiarism in
schools. We have to understand the motives behind students writing. The
intentions with which they write. People tend to be sensitive over what
writing is theirs and how we can or should use it. So essentially to write in
the way and grade in the way Howard suggests, we have to work through
the social environment writing is taking place in. And that typically starts
in schools.