Allen Chak


Hello, My name is Allen Chak, a Student in Dr.Cooke’s English 101 class. I am a freshmen at Emory University, planning to major in Physics and Engineering. This exhibit is my term portfolio, showcasing the writing samples and projects I have created this term. Many of my artifacts are in-class writing pieces, drafts, and power point presentations that reflect on my improvement in the class. The goal of the artifact is to reveal the skills and knowledge I have gained in the class, using artifacts and my featured artifact reinforce my proof.

In this exhibit, I will demonstrate two areas of improvement. The first is aspect is the “Known-New”. The Know-New Contract is the grammar concept that connects and creates cohesion between sentences by using previously known information and creating new points. The Known-New Contract has improve my writing by allowing me to follow up ideas better, creating a more organized essay. It has also helped me in idea development as I have a better understanding of how ideas flow. The second area of improvement is “Synthesis”. Synthesis is using two ideas to create a theory or in this case the main idea of a essay or play. Synthesis has helped me understand and analyze the themes of the literary pieces we read this term. It has also helped me tremendously in my writing as it helps with  idea development. The final “featured artifact” is my Curated Exhibit. It shows my skill and knowledge of the Known-New Chain as well as provide an example of Synthesis in creating the overall theme of the exhibit.

Known-New Chain

In the beginning of the year, our first assignment for the class ENG 101 was the first piece of in class writing on our favorite TV show. The topic was to discuss its relationship to the audience. My first piece of writing in the class was void of the Known-New chain. The organization was horrendous while the repetitiveness of the words “the show’s” too away from the overall message of the writing. The entire piece felt more like a list than a coherent essay This was the beginning steps of my writing improvement. An example of this would be

The audience of the TV show Supernatural contains a large amount of interests and hobbies. The show’s main target audience is people who enjoy fantasy and “supernatural” settings. The shows pulls information from popular mythology and religions such as pagan and Buddhist gods to angels and demons like Lucifer. The show also integrates common legends such as vampires and werewolves but provides a twist to their lore in order to relate to the real world.

This passage shows how I begin each sentence with “The show” or “The audience”. There is not link or transition between each idea.

Artifact 1

Improvement in Sentence Structure and Flow of the essay

The next artifact is another in class writing assignment on the topic of August Wilson’s “The Ground which I Stand.” The writing examines August Wilson’s motivation in his speech as well as how his background and culture reinforce his stance; in other words the why and how of this speech. From this artifact you can see a dramatic improvement in sentence structure and organization. Each sentence either builds upon the last or introduces a new point related to the last. The sentences

“With Wilson’s history being deeply rooted in the Black Power Movement in the 1960’s, we as the audience can see that his motivations come from the same source. Being an African American, Wilson is integrated and understand both African American and European American cultures.”

shows the Known-new Chain. The first sentence introduces Wilson’s involvement in the Black Power Movement while the second builds upon it by offering new information and reason why he is involved with the movement.

Artifact 2

Using Skills that Improve Sentence Structure and Flow

The main artifact of this section is the Narrative Essay. The topic of this essay was to create a narrative where a stranger walks through our curated exhibit for the first time. In this project, we are tasked in pointing out small details which makes the each artifact stand out. We also discuss visual and design layout aspects of this exhibit and its impact on its audience. This essay revealed the lessons I have learned about writing structure and known-new chains. From the initial paragraph we can see that the sentences

“Holding this morning paper from the NY Times, my slowed followed the museum group into the exhibit. My eyes scanned today’s head line, “Black Lives Matter: Protesting police brutality and institutional racism.” For the past few years, African Americans have been targeted by police brutality and inequality in the justice system. The media has shifted away from reporting black on black crime to attributing these horrendous events to racism.”

shows my use of the known-new. It links the newspaper headline with a new chain talking about the effects of Black Lives Matter on the media. The next sentence talks about how and why this shift has occurred. My narrative essay is a compilation of all the writing skill I have learned throughout the term.

Artifact 3


Artifact 1

The first artifact that shows synthesis is the first draft of my statement of purpose. My statement of purpose showed two accounts of synthesis. The first part

“The play’s main character, Dr. Beck, is an “olive or light skinned” African American who just graduated from medical school. He believes that being light skinned means having a higher social and intellectual standing over people with darker skin. His wife, who he is jealous of and hates, is a successful and “dark skinned” entrepreneur. Dr. Beck is on trial for murdering his wife. All of the evidence points to him as he is jealous of the success of his  “inferior”  wife as well as wanting his children to be lighter skinned.” 

shows how I combined two important story points from the play to form the main idea of the author. The first point is how Dr. Beck is jealous of his wife because she is more successful. The second point shows his belief that being “dark skinned” means a person is inferior intellectually. Using these two points I discovered the theme of the play,

The play’s main theme focuses on the racial segregation and discrimination between not only Whites and Blacks, but the tone of skin colors as well.” 

The second example where I used synthesis shows from the sentences

“Eugenics, the science that improves humanity based on genetics, is an important study Dr. Beck believes in.  This connects to the fact that Whites are seen to have a higher social standing than African Americans. This way of thinking has affected the way people in the 1930’s judgement and stereotypes based on skin color.”

This shows how I synthesized Dr. Beck’s Belief in Eugenics to how Whites are believed to have higher social standing to the fact that African Americans were influenced by this social hierarchy and believes that they are inferior.

Artifact 2

The second artifact that shows my use in Synthesis is my proposal for the curated exhibit. In the passage,

“The Trial of Dr. Beck” depicts the desire for African Americans to have lighter skins and straighter hair. Many believe that they were truly an inferior race and the determinant of the social hierarchy is skin color. This created a large internal struggle between the African American Community as depicted in the play.”

This provides two ideas, one being the author’s use of light skin and straighter hair to show social class, and how people believed this as a scientific fact. By synthesizing these two points, the main connection between the two ideas became, African American Communities fought and discriminated against each other because they believed skin color determined a person’s worth.

My last artifact is my narrative essay.

Artifact 3

The Anglo-Teutonic was drawn to have a taller and skinnier head shape with more “human like” features. The Irish and Negro sketches were more similar with smaller and rounder head shapes.

Eugenics is the belief that only humans with superior genetic traits should be allowed to breed in order to improve the human race as a whole. The movement allowed governments to dictate who has the right to bear children and to sterilize those who did not possess positive genetic traits.

The two ideas shown above was in the first body paragraphs of my Narrative Essay. The first idea shows how people believed that African Americans were scientifically proven that they were more similar to undeveloped primates. The second idea shows how Eugenics prevented people who were believed to have inferior genes were prevented from reproducing. Using these two points I synthesized the theory that

The belief that Negros was the inferior race based on science and research became a crutch for the development of African American individualism.

Featured Artifact

The Trial of Dr. Beck (Curated Exhibit)

My featured artifact is the curated exhibit. I presented this project in power point form.

In the Exhibit, I utilized my Known-New Contract to provide better and more idea rich captions and intros such as

“During the Jim Crow era, many African Americans believed that being more “White” determined their social and economical standing over others. However in the 1930s the Harlem Renaissance dispelled many of these fallacies. The movement granted pioneers such as Duke Ellington and Langston Hughes freedom to create aspects of the African American culture. The effects of the renaissance paved the way for African Americans to develop their own social and artistic ideas without the shackles of western culture and prejudice.”

The paragraph here shows I linked each of the ideas after another. Starting with Jim Crow, I introduced the idea what looking more white determined social and economical standing. Next, I introduced the idea of how the last idea was dispelled. Next I explained how it was dispelled through Duke Ellington and Langston Hughes. This paragraph shows how I answer the questions What, Why and How using the Known-New Contract.

Anther Paragraph that shows the Known-New Contract is,

“Langston Hughes was one of if not the most important poet and artist of the Harlem Renaissance. His essay, The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain, published in “The Nation” magazine became the manifesto of the Harlem Renaissance. His most important message was for Black artists to be themselves, free from the shackles of white culture.”

This paragraph show how I introduced Langston Hughes, one of the most important poets during the Harlem Renaissance. Using the Known-New Contract, I introduced and answered the question “What did he do?” in the next sentence. The last sentence shows “How is he one of the most important poets?” by showing that his message was for black artists to free themselves.

I also incorporated the idea of synthesis into my exhibit. Synthesis is mostly found within the organization and structure of the exhibit. I started the exhibit with introducing “How Looks Defined a Person”. This part showed the audience the catalyst of discrimination. Using this idea, I was able to show the determination of African Americans to become more “white”, by straightening their hair, or dressing up like classy business men. Using these two ideas, I concluded my first section of the exhibit by providing my audience with the idea that

African Americans at the time were willing to sacrifice their own culture and history to become assimilated to Western Culture. This assimilated proved to be a shackle to the creativity of African Americans.

Another way I used Synthesis is by attributing the start of the Harlem Renaissance and the end of white oppression on African American creativity to the two artists Duke Ellington and Langston Hughes.

His (Langston Hughes) essay, The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain, published in “The Nation” magazine became the manifesto of the Harlem Renaissance. His most important message was for Black artists to be themselves, free from the shackles of white culture.”


Duke Ellington, one of the pioneers of Jazz music. Jazz music was one of the art forms that separated African Americans from European Americans.

Using these two ideas, I developed the theory which concluded my exhibit that

Play wrights like Hughes Allison and Langston Hughes urged the African American community to disregard such racist beliefs like Eugenics. They became the catalysts for individualism that freed the African American community from white values and beliefs.



Reflective Portfolio Letter

Reflective Portfolio Letter