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Ferra Kochanek

Professor Ditch

English 115

4 December 2017

Reflection of Improvements

When I entered my English 115 class, my knowledge of writing essays was very limited.

I have often viewed myself as lacking fundamental skills. During my time in the course,

however, I became more confident in my ability to write a meaningful, well-written essay. Part of

the reason I believe the improvement occured is because of the mandatory Learning Resource

Center visits I attended. The tutor was very helpful and I learned a lot about the stages of writing

an essay, as well as how to intertwine quotes. Regardless of the reason for improvement, the fact

remains that my writing has improved. It becomes apparent as my introductions to quotes,

syntax, and diction have all increased exponentially.

Gender Roles and Videogames was my first essay in which a space needed to be

described in relation to gender. The space I chose was the gaming world and how females were

being suppressed and discouraged from the fraternity of gaming. My second essay, named

Radical Woman, was about the book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by

Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. Once again, gender performances were analyzed in this

piece. However, the purpose of this essay was to show how two characters of the book either

conform or break free from the normal gender performances of the society, instead of my own

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One of the ways I know I have improved as a writer is by the increase in quality of

transitions used. For example, in paragraph four of Gender Roles and Videogames, one of my

quotes had no introduction and was just pasted in. I wrote In the article, Becoming a Member

of Society, Aaron Devor describes attributes that correlate with men and women. These two

clusters of attributes are most commonly seen as a mirror images of one another with masculinity

usually characterized by dominance and aggression, and the femininity by passivity and

submission (39). These two sentences did not flow together as there was no intro for the quote.

However, in Radical Woman, every quote has an introduction which fits it best, instead of every

quote having the standard introduction of author, follow by article name, then the quote itself. On

page one of Radical Woman I use the sentence Our most beloved radicals are often the greatest

communicators, says Jason Del Gandio in his book Rhetoric for Radicals, which introduces

the quotes in a new way instead of the boring, standard way I said above. Moreover, some quotes

were weaved in without the need of an introduction as shown on the third page of Radical

Woman, also during this time, education for woman wasnt very common, due to the scientist

that claimed women could not be educated because their brains are too small (Hubbard).

These small changes created significant results, improving the quality and flow of the essay


One of the greatest improvements that happened for me was the use of correct syntax, or

the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences. For example, my first

essay uses repeated words for starting sentences. On page three I say this was to start

consecutive sentences, which both sounds, and looks terrible. However the syntax of Radical

Woman is levels above the last one. Even when I repeat the same phrase, it works out and flows
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well. For example, on page one I write, Elizabeth McKenna, a strong-willed woman, fought for

what she believed in during the WWII period and died for what she believed in, staying

composed and defiant till her last breath. This sentence is not only entertaining but is also


Last, but not least, my diction, or vocabulary, is definitely the largest improvement I have

had. Going into the second essay I felt an extraordinary amount of pressure, given the low score I

received from the previous essay. Knowing that I needed to improve the quality of my work, I

decided to up my game and aim for a higher score. The biggest correction that needed to be

made was my diction. Since high school, my english teachers have told me to stay away from

basic words like good or bad so as to give my writing a little more color. Despite their

critiques, in the first essay I used phrases like gaming is bad (2) and girls arent good enough

(3). These phrases do capture the essence of what my essay was saying, however, they leave the

reader feeling underwhelmed with the lack of substance in these words. In my second essay, I

used much more descriptive language in an attempt to draw attention to certain statements. Some

of these include using debunking this claim (3) instead of countering this claim and path of

distinguishment (4) instead of self-education.

Although I have came a long way, my journey through the English language does not end

here though. I know that there are many improvements that can still be made, but I know my

work has improved from Gender Roles in Video Games to Radical Woman because I improved

on my introductions, diction, and syntax. Gender Roles in Video Games to Radical Woman, albeit

my first college paper, received a C letter grade. Because of the amount of work I put in and

my dedication to improve my composition, I received a grade of A for Radical Woman. In

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Radical Woman there were less correction marks since I a clear vision of what I wanted to write

and better evidence to support my thesis. Therefore, I can say my work has definitely improved

from essay to essay.