Skyla Janus


Throughout the semester, I have grown as a writer which is evident in each of my assignments.  Specifically, I have learned to pay closer attention to detail and altered my style of writing to be more coherent and organized.  The concrete examples in my various works showcase this progression providing tangible evidence to demonstrate my growth as a writer.  Overall, I believe that I have become a more eloquent, effective writer thus increasing my confidence.


At the start of the semester I used general, vague terms and did not specify my purpose.  Throughout the semester I have learned to pay close attention to minor detail and am able to better articulate my thoughts in my writing.

Artifact 1: Statement of Purpose Draft


As this is one of the first pieces of work I created, I am able to measure immense progression in my writing.  In reviewing my Statement of Purpose I now notice a plethora of ways in which I would be able to improve this.  The many skills I have acquired throughout the semester have impacted my writing allowing me to notice the necessity for these corrections.  The first sentence, “The effects of repressed women and their identity struggle was a colossal issue during the 1960s,” introduces the idea of identity struggles but, does not explain the origin, context or the reason it was an issue during the 1960s.  Additionally, within the statement of purpose I addressed Sarah’s alter-egos yet failed to mention the significance and symbolism of each alter-ego.  The alter-egos were one of the most important aspects to this psychological play which therefore should have been outlined in my Statement of Purpose.  Likewise, I discussed “strong individuals” without ever mentioning who these strong individuals are or their significance regarding the circumstance.  If I were to rewrite this draft, I would delve deeper into the generalizations I made and analyze each concept.

Artifact 2: Plan of Action Draft


My plan of action exemplifies growth in regard to attention to detail, compared to my Statement of Purpose, however, there is still room for improvement.  Within my plan of action I outlined which sources I planned on using for my proposal along with what information I was going to use from each source.  I organized my thoughts and created an outline with goals and how I planned to attain these goals.  Although this is an improvement, I did not properly analyze how I was going to do this or adequately plan out my time.  On my timeline, I solely wrote “finish plan of action by Sunday 10/2 the latest” without any further explanation.  In retrospect, I realize that I should have included exactly how I would do this.  For example, I should have wrote a more concrete explanation on what I would do to attain this goal.  Similarly, I reminded myself to use databases to locate more journals without signifying which databases and journals to use.  Although I saw slight progression from my statement of purpose, there is still room to pay closer attention to detail.

Artifact 3: Narrative Essay


I believe my narrative essay most clearly illustrates my growth.  The goal of the narrative essay was to walk an explorer through the exhibit scrutinizing the exhibit for the reasons of how emotions were triggered and why those emotions were triggered.  I began the essay by introducing the exhibit on what drew the attention first then provided an explanation on how and why such occurred.  “Thus, upon viewing this exhibit I was drawn immediately to the large, bold, white writing which reads “Identity Crises” and grew curious as to what this phrase entails.  The large, bolded, white font contrasted on the, otherwise empty, black background enlightened me that this phrase, the title, holds great importance in relation to the entire exhibit.”  By explaining my mentality, I am providing the reader with an increased sense of familiarity and clarity.  Additionally, I took this one step further to explain the significance of colors as a whole and how they psychologically trigger certain emotions.  “The color black relays a sense of sophistication, effectiveness as well as seriousness while the color white further emphasizes sophistication and purity.”  By explaining the connection of these colors to emotion, the reader will further understand the ultimate purpose of the exhibit which is to analyze “identity crises.”  Furthermore, the use of “identity crises” as opposed to “crisis” triggers much curiosity.  This notion explains the exploration of multiple individuals not just one specific circumstance.  “This is important because it emphasizes that this is a societal, not individual concern.” This phrase explains the meaning behind “identity crises” and provides a basis for the exhibit.


Prior to the semester, my writing was extremely unorganized and my thoughts were not fully connected.  I have noticed a great deal of change within my writing therefore I believe that my style of writing has changed; I am now able to structure my thoughts and provide more effective transitions.

Artifact 1: In Class Writing Assignment


While reading through my in class writing assignment from the first week of the semester, I realize that there are many areas requiring improvement in this assignment.  I successfully answered the prompt of explaining my favorite TV show, yet did not surpass these expectations as my thoughts were not eloquently formulated.  I have learned that sentence structure should vary throughout an essay or paragraph which, prior to this course, is something that I did not fully understand.  Additionally, I did not use proper transitions to connect my sentences.  “My favorite TV show is Gossip Girl.  The main purpose of Gossip Girl is to entertain its audience of essentially teenage girls.”  These sentences are solely redundant and could be connected in a much more natural way.  I would rework these sentences to say “The main purpose of my favorite show, Gossip Girl, is essentially to entertain its audience of teenage girls.”  I believe that this is a more concise, clear way of relaying the same message.  This paragraph illustrates the unorganized nature of my writing.

Artifact 2: Objective


My objective shows growth from my first writing as I used more effective tools to convey my thoughts.  I move away from my initial redundancy to an approach that instead emphasizes the main idea of the objective.  “To be African American or a woman was seen as inferior, but to be biracial held a more confusing stigma.  With the great divide throughout the country, how could an individual identify as both African American and White?” These sentences clearly introduce the topic of the paragraph, defining the identity struggles and cause of Sarah’s alter-egos.  In contrast to my first writing assignment, my objective is coherent and organized.  Though this piece of work exemplifies progress, there is still room for improvement.  “Throughout time, the means of oneself identifying with a certain race have become more lenient and it has become more common to identity with multiple races.” This sentence lacks coherence and disrupts the flow of the paragraph.  I would reword this sentence to read “The categorization of identifying in regard to race has become more lenient, as people now have the option to identity with many races.”  I noted some progression in my work yet, believe I could further improve upon the style of my writing.


Artifact 3: Annotated Bibliography


My annotated bibliography exemplifies a great deal of organization, summary and analysis demonstrating my stylistic progress.  In my annotated bibliography, I carefully summarize and analyze the sources I used in my proposal.  The cited source that precedes each annotation essentially serves as a title to separate each annotation.  I begin each citation by introducing exactly what my source is.  “This source is a Theatre Journal describing Adrienne Kennedy in relation to the character’s in her play, “Funnyhouse of a Negro.””  This is is the first sentence of my Funnyhouse of a Negro annotation that simply introduces what will be discussed, demonstrating a great deal of organization.  I then move on to providing background information on who Adrienne Kennedy is in order to provide a connection between her and the protagonist in her novel.  “Likewise, Sarah feels trapped and isolated from any community as she often denies her black heritage and hopes to escape the powerless stereotype that comes with being a woman.”  This phrase clearly observes the fact that Adrienne Kennedy writes the play while thinking about her own personal experiences and struggles with racism.  This is a smooth transition into an analysis of the importance of this connection, “Learning that the insights and multiple personalities of Sarah actually reflected a different perspective of Kennedy herself was significant background information to enhance my argument of repression and identity struggles.”  This phrase successfully concludes my annotation, emphasizing the significance of the source in relation to the entire proposal.  I follow this same format throughout my annotated bibliography tailoring each annotation to the relevant information.  By using the same format throughout the annotated bibliography, I am demonstrating a great deal of organization which clearly shows my improvement as a writer.


Featured Artifact: Curated Exhibit


My Curated Exhibit most accurately notes my overall progress as a writer, as I have learned throughout the semester how to pay closer attention to detail and how to improve my style.  I believe this artifact best illustrates my progress in these aspects and is also the work I am most proud of.

In this artifact I clearly embody learning concepts such as summary, analysis and writing as a process. These techniques allowed me to notice my improvement in terms of both, style and attention to detail.  I began working on this exhibit by outlining my thoughts then adding ways to connect each thought using smooth transitions.  I decided that I would start off my exhibit with a brief summary of what will be discussed then provided an agenda to further outline the order of the exhibit.  Additionally, each slide within the powerpoint has its own clear function demonstrated by the respective title.  This organization provides the explorer with a great deal of structure and organization.  “The storyline behind this complex play is alluded to Kennedy’s past, revealed throughout the interviews. Contrastingly, Camille Billops’ artwork represents the portion of the population that embraces their identity. Identity is a powerful thing that could have positive or negative effects dependent on one’s perception.” This excerpt from the summary effectively combines each piece of work and explains its purpose within the exhibit.   This excerpt avoids redundancy by being concise and maintains coherency with a central focus in each sentence.  Since each slide has its own focus, the exhibit is very organized thus easy to understand.

Along with being easy to understand, I analyzed each artifact to adequately explain the significance of each aspect of my exhibit.  Within my summary I first introduce the importance and purpose of what will be discussed by providing relevant context.  “The exhibit explores the immense issue of identity struggles regarding race and gender through a collaboration of relevant artifacts. “  As this phrase uses vague terminology such as “identity struggles,” and “race,” I further examine the relevance of each artifact in relation to the entire exhibit.  The play, Funnyhouse of a Negro, is my artifact that essentially ties the overarching theme of “Identity Crises” together thus I first introduce this play’s relevance.  “In the play, Funnyhouse of a Negro, Adrienne Kennedy emphasizes the negative results of identity crises by exemplifying the dreams and alter-egos of her protagonist. “  This phrase reveals the main idea of the play and its connection to identity crises.  Additionally, the exhibit as a whole pays much attention to minor detail as each artifact caption provides a description of the artifact’s physical appearance as well as its relevance in relation to society and the entire exhibit.  For example, I clearly state the purpose of the James V. Hatch interviews about Adrienne Kennedy’s upbringing and encounters with racism, “These interviews inform the audience of Kennedy’s origin and where her identity came from, including her encounters with racism.”  My curated exhibit tells the story of identity crises which I believe shows my increased ability to pay close attention to detail.

Throughout the semester I have noticed an immense improvement in my overall writing.  I have come to value the concept of writing as a process as it has allowed me to become aware of my flaws and use my strengths to overpower these weaknesses.   I have also noticed a great deal of improvement in my writing from writing and rewriting many texts.  I believe my greatest deal of growth is in my style of writing and my attention to detail used concurrently with summary, analysis and writing as a process.  The artifacts I have chosen to include in this portfolio are all connected as they exemplify my overall growth as a writer.  As the pieces of writing become more recent, my writing becomes more advanced.  It is intriguing to be able to see my growth illustrated throughout my past works.