Monday, October 25, 2010

Post for Wednesday, October 27

Hello All,

As we find ourselves in the midst of the quarter, it's a good time to review the course.

As the course title --Advanced Writing-- declares, this course is designed to assist you in becoming advanced writers, but what does it mean to be an advanced writer?

Obviously, a writer is one who writes, and to be advanced, one must be proficient or even skilled in the process and technique of writing.

Advanced writing can be defined in many ways:

Italo Calvino, an Italian novelist, divides and classifies the qualities of advanced writing into six categories: lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, multiplicity, and consistency. (Read his Six Memos for the Next Millennium if you're interested in these, or read If on a Winter's Night a Traveller if you want to read his most famous work).

William Zinsser, a former writing professor at Yale, has seven principles: the transaction (the writer's connection to the topic), simplicity, clutter, style, the audience, words, and usage.

CSUB's Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) defines advanced writing as possessing five characteristics: tasks, reasoning, development, organization, and prose. (Here's the link to their explanation).

Advanced Writing as I define it in my English 310 course has the following criteria: insight, logic, organization, style, and adherence to grammatical/mechanical norms. In other words, a work of advanced writing should...

1. Be insightful (with an argument that moves beyond shallow or generic thinking);
2. Be logical (with a thesis, supporting arguments, evidence, and a lack of fallacies);
3. Be organized (with an overall plan to the essay and to individual paragraphs);
4. Have a style (with rhythm and precision through syntax and diction);
5. Be grammatically and mechanically correct (with an absence of errors).

In terms of English 310, the heavy foundation of reading complex texts is designed to assist students in meeting the first aspect of advanced writing. By reading and then synthesizing ideas from complex texts, 310 writers should be making more complex and insightful arguments. More specifically, I have emphasized the idea of archetypes in order to provoke more complex and insightful thought regarding contexts many people dismiss as being meaningless: popular music, popular film, and advertising. In other words, students in my Advanced Writing course will be finding and arguing a meaning that others may not see, which is the definition of insight.

The lectures on the parts of the essay and the rhetorical modes should assist students in organizing their writing more logically and effectively.

The lectures on syntax should assist students with style, and the grammar/mechanics lectures should assist students with understanding grammar and mechanics.

And now, your blog....

1. What is your strength regarding advanced writing? What would you like this class to include (in terms of advanced writing) before the quarter ends?

2. What film are you thinking of analyzing for your next essay?

3. One concept Eliade describes in The Myth of the Eternal Return is the idea of the Celestial Model. In the film Sunshine, we see that process at work in the names of the crew and the ship. Choose one of the following names, explain the name's etymology (this is one instance where you may use Wikipedia to find the name's word history, where it comes from, what it means), and explain how that name fits the person or thing in the film:

Icarus (the name of the ship)


  1. Mel Ynostroza:

    I'm not precisely sure what my strength is when it comes to writing but if i were to hazard a guess i'd say it was imagination at connecting ideas. The class seems sufficient enough for my tastes too. I am hoping to do the film "The Last Samurai" for the analysis project. Icarus was the name of the son of Daedalus who using wings made by his father flew too close to the sun before crashing into the sea because the wings fell apart. It fits the name of the ship because that is its fly close to the sun.

  2. nadee ramirez
    i do not really have any strengths i think i am alittle hit gooid in most things but not great so thats the reason why i do not consider me having strengths. im still not sure what movie i will be analyzing because i am not sure qhat we have to be looking for in the movie. kaneda is a Kaneda is a Japense family name, bu there was a Japenese astronemer named that, so it would make sense to have someone with that name. i also found this quote in wikipedia,"An ensemble cast of international actors was chosen for Sunshine to reflect both a democratic process and the international collaboration in saving the world."

  3. 1. My strengths regarding advanced writing are my organizational skills of my thoughts and ideas. I believe that having more group discussions would help students in this class become proficient writers.
    2. The movie that I will be analyzing is "Children of Men."
    3. Icarus comes from greek mythology, which means "the son of the master craftsman Daedalus. The main story told about Icarus is his attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings constructed by his father. He ignored instructions not to fly too close to the sun, and fell to his death", (Robert, (1955) 1960. The Greek Myths, section 92 passim) This description of the name Icarus represents the symbolism of the ship getting close to the sun in the movie, in order to save mankind.

  4. Trisha Morrissey

    I feel that I can improve on all five of the writing skills, however I believe my best skill would be writing insightfully. I feel that I can bring up interesting topics and opinions, but I lack the logical evidence to back the ideas up. The only thing I would like to learn more about in this class before the quarter ends would be the tools for finding evidence and facts. I have already learned a great deal about finding support through incorporating quotes, though, which has helped give support to my papers. I am contemplating between many movies at the moment, but I am beginning to lean towards the “Bourne Identity” to analyze for the next paper. Corazon is a Spanish word that means “heart.” The heart is the center of the circulatory system; an essential organ to humans and animals. Corazon was in charge of the garden on the ship which provided oxygen for the crew. The garden provided life to the astronauts and kept them breathing. The heart is also an organ that provides a life sustaining necessity to a body. Therefore, Corazon brings the crew oxygen as a heart brings blood to the body.

  5. Diana Camacho
    My strength in writing I would say is the reasoning. I think that once given a topic I understand, I am pretty good at explaining it further.
    2. The movie is " Slumdog Millionare"
    3. Corazon is a spanish word for heart, in the movie Corazon is the caring character for the oxygen garden, so her name fits her well because she is very loving towards the plants.

  6. Ashley Smith
    I'm not sure what my strengths are as a writer, most of the time I feel like I muddle through it and manage to receive a passing grade. I wouldn't change the set up of this it works quiet well. I'm not sure what film I will be analyzing yet. Kappa is the 10th letter of the Greek alphabet, it is also a Japanese river imp or sprite, they are skilled teachers and leaders which is fitting for the captain of Icarus.

  7. Jessica Delgadillo
    My strengths in advanced writing are my organization and logic skills. I think the class has been very helpful so far. I'm thinking of writing on one of my favorite movies, "The Notebook,"but I always change my mind at the last minute.
    Cassandra originated in Greek mythology. It is known as the Cassandra metaphor, and it is used in situations in which valid warnings or concerns are dismissed or disbelieved. Cassandra was the daughter of Priam and was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo. When she refused his romantic advances, he placed a curse on her in which no one would believe her warnings or prophecies. This name probably fits the name of the character in the film because the crew won't believe her warnings.

  8. Maria De La Riva

    1. In writing, I think that my strength would be reasoning and bringing in ideas. Although I get lost sometimes in my organization skills. As a result, I feel that sometimes that weakens my paper a lot even though I think I have good ideas. As a class, going over organization, punctuation, and parts of the essay has been very helpful.
    2. The movie I'm thinking of is Forest Gump.
    3. In psychology and psychiatry, kappa represents a measure of diagnostic reliability. In Sunshine, Kappa was the Captain or the leader of the crew in the ship. He was the person they relied a lot on not only for answers and decisions, but for personal help.

  9. Eva Salas

    My strength in writing are my insightful ideas and point of view on certain subjects. I believe that advanced writing should include structure and great explanations along with examples in order to explain reason. I have learned good techniques in this class with archetypes and symbols. The film I have in mind for my paper is “Wall-E”. Icarus is the Greek mythology name for the son of the master craftsman Daedalus who tried to escape from Crete by having his father build wings. Icarus is also the name of the crew ship that controls the auto pilot. This is appropriate for the ship because it is in control of guiding them to the sun and around space. In Greek mythology Icarius flew too close to the sun and was destroyed which looks similar to the conclusion in the film we are watch in class.

  10. Megan Reimer

    1. My strength in writing would be logical and organizational skills. I usually do well at transitioning as well. I could use improvement in all of the areas covered in advanced writing.
    2. I haven't settled on a movie yet but I have a few in mind. Dear John, The Last Song, or a war movie. Pearl Harbor could be a good movie to amalyze.
    3. Mace is usually referred to as pepper spray. It is a weapon that is sprayed in the eyes of an attacker to temporarily keep them away from you so that you can have a chance to get away. It causes severe burning in the eyes. In the movie Mace seems like he comes from a military background. He is quiet but smart. He seems like he could be the ships or the crew's hidden weapon. He shows signs of being fearless and a fighter.

  11. Danielle Williams:

    1. My strengths: advanced vocabulary usage and syntax, correct grammar, the ability to capture the readers interest, and thorough descriptions of each point made in the thesis of my papers. I would like the class to include a section on syntax and diction in relation to "having style" in one's writing. Evaluation of various poems would be nice for this discussion.

    2. I am thinking about doing Clockwork Orange, but I am unsure if it would work for the assignment. I would appreciate any feedback, Mr. Woodman.

    3. Kappa is the 10th letter in the Greek alphabet, it has significance in the study of Physics, it is a measure of diagnostic reliability in psychology, and it is of importance in Japanese folklore. In common Japanese myth, the Kappa is a reptilian, monkey-like creature, with a turtle shell on its back. It has a ring of hair on its head and in the middle of this ring contains "strength-giving fluid". It is said that if a person is to come upon the Kappa and he/she bends far enough down, the Kappa will bow in return, thus allowing some 'strength-fluid' to flow onto the person. Kappa also comes from the Portuguese word for the monk's habit, Capa. These Portuguese monks went into Japan and since their cloaks resembled shells and their ring of hair looked like the spirit's hair, then the spirit was given the name Kappa. The name Capa is therefore fitting for the physicist member of the crew because the crew relied on his diagnostics of the ship and other physical problems when they were to make very important decisions about the voyage. Also, he is a very strong character in the movie and this strength projects onto other members of the crew. Finally, he is the one member of the crew that seems to be very stoic in his mannerisms, which goes along with the Portuguese monk origin.

  12. Janae Burres

    1. My strength in advanced writing is my ability to be organized- very rarely do I achieve the other four components in every paper.
    2. I'm not sure what movie I want to analyze yet- Im thinking a Disney-Pixar animation.
    3. Cassandra is a Greek name meaning 'inflaming men with love'. This may relate to Cassie's relationship with Capa.

  13. Jorge Solis

    1. I think that my strength regarding advanced writing is when i am in the point of given examples and explaining them. The reason I believe this, it’s because I have a really good imaginary mind that lives off examples and explanations. Well, so far I think that the class has been interesting and fun. Anything like the previous assignments would be fun to do.
    2. I think that the film that I will be analyzing for my next essay will be “Bulletproof Monk” but I am still not sure. This movie gives a good message and I think it would be fun to explain it in an essay.
    3. Icarus is a Greek mythology. Icarus is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus. The main story told about Icarus is his attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings constructed by his father. He ignored instructions not to fly too close to the sun, and fell to his death. It fits into the film ship because when the ship gets too close to the sun it will get destroyed.

  14. Brian Dolph

    1.) I really do not know where my strength lies when considering advance writing. I can hoenstly state that writing can be very difficult for me, and on top of that i normally tend to be a perfectionist. Based on those though, i would venture a guess that my strength lies in my resolve to improve myself.
    2.) I really don't know what movie i'm wanting to do my essay on. I've been switching my mind about it almost hourly. However, i am wanting to do the paper on a Disney movie...
    3.) The name Cassandra is usually a refernce to greek mythology, in which the maiden Alexandra, commonly refered to as Cassandra, was blessed by Apollo to have visions of the future and thenn cursed to have no one believe them and thus be powerless to stop the dreadful things she saw. This name fits the character Cassie because of her powerlessness to stop the crew from doing the actions that she did not agree with.

  15. Erma Morales

    I think my strengths in advance writing lie in my organization skills. If I don't organize myself in the beginning then I will never get started. I can't just start writing from the top of my head. I need structure. The movie I will be writing on might be "Scarface". The name Corazon represents heart in Spanish. Corazon in the movie is the woman who cares for the garden, and the garden represents the life support for all crew members.

  16. Joey Rico
    I think my strength in writing is being able to transition in between paragraphs and ideas. On the other hand sometime these transitions are to blunt, i would like to learn how to disguise the transitions so the reader isn't able to point them out as easily. The movie i am thinking of analyzing will either be "v for vendetta" or "the sixth sense". Corazon in Spanish means heart, this is a great fit for the character because she is caring and she also takes care of the plants which supply the oxygen to the crew. The heart can not survive without oxygen and the crew does not survive without Corazon.

  17. As a writer my strength would be creative writing, once i get the clutter out of my mind, my writing or
    story telling isnt so bad. I can pick and pick at my writing flaws, but i think
    the one which bothers me most is staying on topic!! The film i am choosing is going to be Disneys, Little Mermaid.
    i chose the name Cassie. According to the name "Cassie" means "generally beautiful, inside and out
    " and "Never selfish. Absolutely gorgeous. Funny, smart, beautiful and lucky. Every body likes her.." in history,
    Cassandra was the daughter of Priam and Hecuba, king and Queen of Troy at the time of the Trojan War. She was known
    to be the beautifullest girl in the world at the time. In the movie, Cassandra plays the most caring role.
    She is of course beatiful and plays the sweet, inpspiring roll.

  18. Basil Qumsiyeh

    1-My stenghth is writing about business topics. I like this class to give us the opportunity to have one optional topic to choose and write about. Which means we choose the topic.
    2-my movie is The Shawshank Redemption
    3-Icarus is is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus. The main story told about Icarus is his attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings constructed by his father. He ignored instructions not to fly too close to the sun, and fell to his death. The myth shares thematic similarities with that of Phaëton, and is often depicted in art.