The progression I have made throughout this semester when it comes to my ideas and my writing is unbelievably clear. Not only that but my ability to conduct, what is perceived as a basic skill but in actuality is much tougher than it seems, research has helped me evolve into the writer that I am today. When we started the curated exhibit I was struggling to find facts that back up my thesis and gave credit to my exhibit, but as the semester quickly passed I began picking up specific skills on how to maximize the odds of finding what you need. The key was to stay simple with your search and not look for anything too specific, but instead to find a more general article that has one, maybe two paragraphs about what you are looking for. This really helped me expand my ability to find resources and information that completed my exhibit. That was only my first problem though. I would have to stitch the newly found information into my own words and relate it to my theme. Writing about a certain topic that you know nothing about is more of an art, it takes time and effort to master. I used the semester to hone the skills I already had and to build the ones that I did not. At first I could not find a way to properly connect my ideas to my theme. To be clear this portfolio is here to serve one purpose: to prove my improvement in three key aspects of the class. These key components are: “analysis”, “known-new chain”, and “audience”.
"Known-new Chain" Rule
To begin with, the Narrative Essay was assigned to us so that we could look at our own Curated Exhibit’s from a readers perspective and analyze everything about it from the way it looked all the way to the emotions it brought to us as we went through each page. It is a very constructive piece of work that required many idea’s to be linked together in order to create a more complex thought. The narrative essay proves that I have enhanced my ability to apply the “known-new chain” rule. In the beginning of the semester when we were assigned assignments such as the Statement, or the Objective for the Curated Exhibit, I was not using the “known-new chain” rule to help my paragraph’s flow better and I definitely was not using it to connect my previous sentence to the following one. As the semester wore on I began to hone my skills and start encrypting the “known-new chain” rule into my work. Instant progress was made in my writing as the sentences started to flow much smoother and have a well established thought throughout the paragraph as a whole.
“After examining 3 pictures and the front cover of a play write, I have come to the conclusion that Paul Robeson and James Earl Jones are connected in some way. Lets start with what we know for a fact: they are both African Americans, they both played roles in the play Othello. Robeson in 1930, and Jones in 1964. This would be the first connection between the two great actors. The second would be when Jones went on to be the lead actor in the play about Paul Robeson. In fact, he played the role of Robeson himself. After synthesizing this information, a few ideas popped into my head. Paul Robeson must have been someone that Jones looked up to in the acting world. Around the time they were making a name for themselves, black people did not have complete freedom and liberty. In some states they were still looked down upon. For Jones, seeing an actor that was so successful have the same skin color as him could have really gotten to him. It could be the reason why he looked up to Robeson, leading to him playing the same role in Othello.”
The quote above is a paragraph from an in-class writing on September 2nd, one of the first few classes of the semester. As you can see, the paragraph is not bad BUT at the same time it does not flow as well as it could. The sentences do not connect to each other from one end to another causing many different ideas to be placed next to each other in the same paragraph. The highlighted sentences are there for evidence. One sentence ended by stating that Jones was the star actor in a play about Paul Robeson. Instead of adding on to that background information with greater detail about how he was offered the part or what the part was like, I skipped straight into how Robeson was an influential figure in the life of Jones. Without more detail about the play these two sentences don’t end up linking smoothly together throughout this paragraph and it would probably be better if the follow up sentence was better related to the Robeson part that Jones was awarded. The next set of highlighted sentences also don’t link together too well. The one in blue states that around that time Black people were not offered the commercial freedom to make a name for themselves. Instead of explaining how they couldn’t OR why they couldn’t, I jumped straight into saying how Jones potentially could have looked up to Robeson because he was becoming successful. It would have been better to explain how the Black artists were treated before explaining that lack of freedom could be the reason as to why Jones felt such a “master-apprentice-esque” relationship between him and Robeson.
” How Do You Do by Ed Bullins thoroughly invokes emotion into its reader due to its ability to recapture the reality that African American people had to live through. This reality is a dystopia that helps us make connections between the symbols in the play and the real world. The objective of this research paper is to help the reader understand the connections between Ed Bullins, the Black Power Movement, and the issue of social and economic class during the movement. Those links will then in turn prove that Ed Bullins, through his work, was symbolically fighting for the perception of African American men, women, and children’s social and economic class.”
The excerpt above is from my Objective statement from my final proposal draft that was due on October 12th. As you can see right from the beginning my improvement was on display. By ending the first sentence with a statement on the reality that African Americans had to live through and starting the next sentence by explaining the reality, I am effectively linking two smaller ideas together to create one complex thought that is explained in it’s entirety to the reader. It continues throughout the paragraph. By stating the connections that would be made throughout the proposal in the first pink phrase, the opportunity to go more into detail about it in the following sentence opens up. I took this opportunity and linked the two sentences together to form a more cohesive unit and really smoothen up the end of the sentence.
“Black Arts Movement: Evaluating How Ed Bullins’ plays symbolize the social and economic discrimination of the African-American Community.
This exhibit is used primarily to go in-depth on the Black Power Movement and how it was important to the eventual complete freedom of the African-American community. It especially highlights Ed Bullins and his ability to invoke thoughts of racial discrimination in the reader’s mind. Ed Bullins uses symbolism to help the reader create those images and understand the suffering that African Americans dealt with that resulted in the Black Power Movement. The black community was discriminated in many ways by white people. They couldn’t live in the same neighborhoods, learn in the same schools, or enjoy the theater in the same places. Ed Bullins used his work to emphasize the discrimination amongst his people and attempt to bring an end to it.”
This last excerpt is the introduction to my Curated Exhibit that was due mid-November. This begins to show just how much I began using the “known-new chain” to enhance my work and make it easier for the reader to understand my message. This one begins with the title. The title explains what the whole exhibit is about. I start off by explaining what the Curated Exhibit was made to do, which is to go in-depth on the Black Power Movement and how it lead to the eventual freedom of African American artists. As you can see, even though I did not repeat the word “This exhibit” in the beginning of the second sentence, I used “It” to connect it back to the Exhibit which was the subject of the first sentence. The end of the first sentence talks about the freedom of African American artists and it’s connected to middle-end of the third sentence where I explain HOW Ed Bullins used his work to highlight these specific societal issues before tying the ending of the sentence back to the Black Power Movement: the subject of the first sentence. All these connections creates a build-up in the ideas that I have been proposing throughout the paragraph and it does it in a manner that doesn’t confuse the audience. The final straw was shown in the last couple of sentences. I start by claiming that the black community was being discriminated by the White folk living near them. The second sentence was just there to provide some evidence but if you take a look closely at the last sentence the subject at hand goes back to Ed Bullins, who was also a subject in the beginning of the paragraph, and the discrimination towards African Americans which was the subject two sentences earlier.
First I would like to start off by clarifying something very important about this part of my portfolio. My progression is shown throughout one artifact because it is the main artifact where we as students had to send a message to our audience through different mediums of work. Also, it’s the only artifact because I will be using separate pieces of it to show my progression throughout it as a symbol for my improvement throughout the semester. The Curated Exhibit helps me prove how I improved throughout the semester on the topic of “audience”. In my opinion, “audience” is an improvement on one’s ability to channel his thoughts towards the audience in a precise manner. Throughout the semester I have improved on my ability to transmit my message to the audience through my work. By adding background information about my topic to my exhibit, I gave the audience an opportunity to understand the roots of the problem before going into the main part. Sometimes background information is key to understanding the main problem and therefore helps the audience understand my message more clearly. Not only that but the audiences ability to maneuver through the exhibit is also a very important part. By making it easy to go from slide to slide, the audience is more likely to stay interested in the exhibit and absorb more of the information. By adding hyperlinks to the page allowing the audience to move back and forth between the pages with ease, the maneuverability of my Curated Exhibit increased tremendously.
The pictures above are from the Curated Exhibit that we had to create throughout the semester. The Curated Exhibit was assigned for us to pick an artist and create an exhibit that tells a story about how the author, Ed Bullins for me, helped the Black Power Movement as a whole. I didn’t want to start by just stating his plays and how he used symbolism to transmit his message, I wanted to connect with the audience at a much deeper level so that they could fully understand the story. That’s why I decided to start with background knowledge of how African Americans were discriminated by showing them the vulgar banners that were directed at the black community. I believed that this would help me drastically when I decide to relay my message to the audience because they would have an understanding of what exactly it was that the Black community was experiencing at that point in history. This was just a basic understanding of how to enhance the experience of the audience as they are going through the Exhibit. The next artifact will depict more progression.
As you can see here these pictures are also from my Curated Exhibit. I believed that the audience had no chance of getting the full experience of my Exhibit without thoroughly having the proper information required to understand the message. This is why I provided background knowledge on the Black Power Movement and Ed Bullins; the two subjects of my entire exhibit. Audience enhancement is not only about providing them with the information that is necessary for the message but it’s also about making the presentation easy on the eyes and making maneuverability as slick as possible. That’s why I formatted it the way it is. Everything is neat and explained in a clear and concise manner and once you reach the end of the page there are two hyperlinks waiting to be clicked to take you to either the next page or the previous one. This enhances the audience’s experience because it allows them to move through the exhibit with ease and not only in a forward motion, but they could also go back if they felt like they needed the information on the previous page to fully understand the one they were one because after all the Exhibit is a story that is being told in chronological order and everything is placed where it is to make sure the audience can understand the messages that are engraved within the text.
This final artifact is the last part of my progression. Instead of just explaining to my audience how the play How Do You Do impacted the Black Power Movement, I inserted an image of the cover so that they could have a visual aspect of the play that got their mind thinking what the image could potentially mean before they even read about the play. I follow that up with a brief description of what the play is about so that the audience understands the message that the play itself is revealing and not just the relationship it has to the message I was directing at them through the exhibit. I added a manuscript of the text so that they could read the dialogue that I felt symbolized the entire theme of the book in the best way possible. All these things help the author connect to the audience in a different way. This Curated Exhibit enlightened me to the connection between author and audience and how deep it really is. It is a very important connection to have or else the message might not be understood clearly. This English-101 class helped me understand the sheer importance of the connection and without it I could never have progressed as a writer.
In conclusion, I believe this class has given me more than just skills in writing, it has given me the ability to look at work in a completely different perspective and I believe you can see that in my featured artifact the Curated Exhibit*. I now have the ability to understand the perspective the audience could take on my work before I even submit it. This will allow me to enhance my work throughout my life. This class has given me a better understanding of what it takes to be a good writer and what separates the artistic minds from the rest. Without the Known-New Chain I would not have been able to provide my audience with a smooth read through my works and without my ability to understand the audience’s reactions before I even created my Exhibit I would have never been able to realize that the transparency of the message at hand is extremely important. The whole topic is extremely fragile because just one little quirk can cause a member of the audience to disappear into his own thoughts and suddenly you have less of an audience to enchant your message upon. This class has really helped this semester and I am extremely grateful.
Link to Featured Artifact (Curated Exhibit): https://classes.emory.edu/webapps/Bb-wiki-bb_bb60/wikiView?course_id=_118138_1&wiki_id=_17108_1&page_guid=3d896557cabe466ebcf608ae2cbbb343
I hope you enjoyed this portfolio on my progression throughout this semester
The Reflection Letter
Dear English Committee,
My name is Hassan Kenawi and I am planning to major either Political Science or entering the Goizueta Business School. When I was signing up for classes at the beginning of the semester I picked this english class because I wanted to learn more about the archives and artists back in the day. I felt like it could be a good way to enhance my knowledge in general while working on the writing skills that I will very much need later in life.
In the beginning I honestly thought that it was just going to be an easy class that wouldn’t teach me much. Boy was I wrong. Without this english 101 class i believe I would still be writing at a sub-par high school level. I was never the greatest writer but I always wanted to learn the art to writing powerful essays. I was always improving my writing throughout my high school career but I just had this feeling that it wasn’t enough. That feeling has finally gone away. Here I am writing this reflection letter about how this class has gone throughout the semester and I could not be more confident in my writing. I feel that I have honed my skills throughout this course and that is solely due to the way the assignments were set up. We started with just small in-class writings where we would develop ideas and link them together to create a more complex thought, also known as the “known-new chain”. The known-new chain was probably the skill that helped my writing more than anything else. Although at the beginning I wasn’t too great at it. I was having trouble linking my sentences together through the use of similar subjects without jumping the gun too early. The in-class writings helped me with that and prepared me for the much bigger tasks ahead such as: the proposal draft, the Curated Exhibit, the narrative essay, and finally the Portfolio itself. The proposal was the first real assignment that proved that I was beginning to progress as a writer. I was able to create an objective, a plan of action, and a statement of the issue all about a thesis that I hadn’t even researched yet, and the best thing of all was that I was able to work on something that is very important; my ability to conduct proper research. The proposal forced me to use scholarly journals that I had never used before to make sure I get the best sources I could that back up my thesis. This was all very important for the main project, the Curated Exhibit. The Curated Exhibit was my best piece of work. It fully proved to me and my audience that I had finally matured as a writer. I was able to implement the known-new chain rule at a much higher level and thus connect with the audience at a level that I never had before. It was a true sign of progression throughout the class. I felt like I had gone from amateur high school writing to a solid college level. To be honest, I was extremely happy. I felt like I had put in the work and that I deserved to improve the way I did. Next came the narrative essay where our writer’s voice was put on display. I also feel that I did well on that and I clearly depicted the message I wanted to depict with the narrative essay. it was a story about my Curated Exhibit and how to get through it and absorb every bit of information that you needed. My progression throughout the class was really beginning to show and my writings in other classes began to get better as well. I am saying all of this because I truly am happy about the improvements I have made throughout this semester and I thoroughly believe that without this class I would have not been able to make these improvements.
In conclusion, everything that I have learned this semester will be useful to me in the real world. I believe that it was extremely important for me to take this class because it gives me a good foundation to really kick off and hone in on my writing skills in order to enhance them as much as possible. this class effectively gave me the ability to produce great speeches and no longer will I doubt my confidence whenever I am asked to write a powerful essay.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read the story about my semester, I hope you enjoyed it.
Yours truly, Hassan Kenawi