Intro to Analysis Research Papers (fun!)

When thinking of my final genre for our experiment cycles, I wanted to focus on one that would allow me to substantiate my Experiment 2 genre, a podcast script. While writing my podcast script, I strongly felt it would be the most effective way for me to communicate the message and purpose of my origin piece. However, to ameliorate my podcast script I decided I needed to really focus in on my opinions about the matter, and provide some factual analysis to prove my points. This analysis should focus on Bollywood, how Indian media portrays women in other films, and a connection between how women in Indian society are treated and valued. Here’s where analytical research papers come in. 

Analytical research papers come from an unanswered question that leads to exploration of a larger subject. In my experiment, my unanswered question is as follows: How does Bollywood’s portrayal of women in media influence the way everyday Indian women are seen? To answer, I would evaluate primary and secondary sources to create a holistic view of the topic at hand. A full compilation of research then leads into creating a thesis that may or may not match the hypothesis I’ve had all of my life (a.k.a, Bollywood’s portrayal of women sexualizes them in an awful way).

That being said, one of the largest and only conventions of analysis research papers is using reliable and acclaimed primary and secondary sources to build an effective, logic-based argument (and citing these sources using MLA!). 

Another important aspect of analysis research papers to consider is the audience as it heavily sways the diction, style, and tone of your writing. If my paper was going to be sent to a group of South Asian study professors, I would be writing in a much more topicalized and specific manner than I would to our Writing 220 class. Since our class does not have much background with my topic, the sexualization of women in Indian media, a lot of my research and analysis will tie into explaining context as well. 

Some other conventions of analysis research papers to consider are avoiding basing your argument on opinions, writing in the present tense, and using MLA citations. Additionally (and almost too obviously), a writer should not be focusing on literary devices or artistic flow in their writing, but rather concision, a logical-flow, and a tone that helps create the purpose of their paper. In general, there are not many other conventions of analysis research papers since the paper itself is so individualized. 

When looking at examples of other analysis research papers, I stumbled upon one titled “Intimate Terrors: Changing Representation of Structural Violence Against Women in Malayali Cinema” written by a fourth-year undergraduate student (Rajiv Menon) at The George Washington University. In this analysis research paper, Menon uses an objective tone in discussing “Bollywoodization”, a byproduct of globalization and migration in the late 1900s that redefined Indian media to be more Western, engaging, and transnational. This piece included all conventions of an analysis research paper–not including opinions frequently, using the present tense and MLA, being concise, easy to read, and logical, and using reliable sources. Also, reading this example piece gave me some really insightful information on my own paper that I will be using 🙂

Although in my opinion it isn’t the most exciting, I think this genre will allow me to really collect solid evidence for the podcast I want to create so I’m looking forward to dive deeper into this subject.

Introduction to a Children’s Book

When I think back to my childhood, I immediately recall the abundant amount of children’s books that I read. Whether it was alone in my bedroom, before bed time with my mom and dad or in my classrooms with my classmates, I was a sucker for books. Children’s literature consists of works such as stories, books, and poems that are produced solely for the enjoyment of young children. The stories told in children’s books are expected to teach their young readers something, whether it be something simple such as a letter of the alphabet or a color of the rainbow or something more complex such as lessons about treating people nicely or the importance of having good manners. Additionally, children’s books often evoke a sense of emotion on their readers. Children should be able to connect with the stories that they read on an emotional level which should in turn encourage them to read it over and over again.

Pictures play a large role in children’s books. The pictures in a children’s book should be able to tell a story just as well as the actual words of the story can. Children are very easily attracted towards pictures and enjoy analyzing all of the details that a picture consists of. As a result, a children’s book that contains several detailed images will usually attract a child’s attention.

I don’t think it was possible for me to pick only one favorite children’s book as a kid. I had many favorites. But one book that I continue to think back to and clearly remember my past appreciation for is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. My parents used to read me this book every night before I went to sleep when I was a young girl. And you may think that I got bored of hearing the same story over and over again every night but that was not the case. I would cry when my parents would tell me that story time was over and that it was time to go to sleep because I just wanted them to keep on reading Goodnight Moon over and over again. I was drawn towards both the pictures and the words. It was the perfect bedtime story.

Many children have special objects that they sleep with nightly, whether that object is a blanket, a stuffed animal, a pillow or so on. I think if I wrote a children’s book that told a story about a little girl and her blanket it would reach a very broad audience. This story will be based off of my own childhood experiences with my blanket. I hope that this story will show children who may feel embarrassed about having something that they cannot sleep without that this is normal and totally acceptable to have. I also hope that children can engage with both the pictures that I include and the story that I share in this book. I am excited to give this experiment a go!

Intro to Epic Poetry

Epic poetry is a singular genre that is seldom used in the modern popular poetry canon. These pieces are narrative poems, usually quite long, that tell the story of an extraordinary person and a great battle or struggle that they endured. These poems feature fantastic components like monsters, magic, gods, and superhuman protagonists, though they frequently purport to be true stories about a founding figure in a given culture or group.

Perhaps the most well-known example of epic poetry is Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the stories of the Trojan War and the long journey home of a Greek general, respectively. The Odyssey is a particularly good example; Odysseus, its main character, is an archetypical hero of an epic poem. He possesses superhuman virtue, bravery, cunning, duty, and piety. He is meant to embody many of the best values that Greeks saw in their culture. This is a common trait among epic heroes. One of the most interesting parts of reading epic poetry, for me, is the information that readers can glean about the culture that is indirectly profiled through the story. In using this genre, I will likely be focusing heavily on this unique and nuanced relationship with the truth; epic poems are generally not true stories and contain outright falsehoods and made-up scenarios, but they are meant to reflect truths about a given culture or people—or humanity as a whole.

In the story, Odysseus faces a number of challenges that test him and his crew in different ways, forcing him to make sacrifices and fight for survival on his way back to his wife and children. Long journeys and dangerous battles are characteristic elements of epic poetry. They serve not only to provide dramatic and entertaining reading but to reveal the protagonists’ human traits and provide a link to the audience. Readers can look at epic poems and see elements of their own lives and struggles through the more unrealistic elements of the plots. This is the goal I am aiming for in writing epic poetry.

Creating suspense and drama in a film

I’ve always been interested in the film industry, and have actually done some work composing for short films before. When I was younger, I used to conjure up crazy ideas for movies that could happen, but I was never aware of the screenwriting process. That was until I was in high school, and I learned about the basics of screenwriting in one of my classes. One aspect of creating a script that is very important is that there are many different ways of keeping the audience’s attention or investing them in a story. However, most screenplays have a common used system of creating drama and suspense. An overarching feeling of suspense throughout the film is ultimately what will keep an audience invested. Let me take you through how this is achieved by a screenwriter.

  1. Often, suspense is generated by the plot. In order for the plot the generate suspense, you need a character with a goal. The suspense is created by narrowing the story down to two outcomes: the character either achieves the goal or they do not.
  2. In order for suspense to be created around this goal, there is usually an Opposition, or the “villain” of the script. This “villain” stands in the main character’s way, seeking to prevent them from achieving their ultimate goal. This opposition can be personified by a single character, or could be something larger such as a government, company, or society in general. 
  3. But it is not enough to just have a character with a goal and a villain that stands in their way, some stakes must be created for your main character as well. Throughout a screenplay, it must be defined what a character stands to ultimately lose or gain from what they are working towards. What will the consequences be if the character is to be unsuccessful? In the movie Avengers: Infinity War, if the avengers are unsuccessful in stopping Thanos from acquiring all of the infinity stones, half of the universe’s lives are at stake.
  4. Suspense can also be created locally within a character. This is called inner conflict, when a character is torn between two decisions, or two things that they want. For example, in the Hunger Games series, Katniss is torn between romance with Peeta and Gale, and the audience is drawn in by who she will decide to be with.

An Introduction to Obituaries

Welcome to a post about death. (Hopefully someone will appreciate my Beetlejuice the Musical reference as an attempt to lighten up this rather dark topic). In the wake of my first experiment, I was left pondering how cathartic it was to embrace some of the frustrations that come from being concerned about the state of the natural environment and dealing with the doom and gloom that comes with a lot of my studies. For my second experiment I decided that fully embracing the dark side of my topic (human control over/impact on nature) could be an interesting way to further explore these feelings through a creative outlet. And thus I have decided to go to the extreme try and write an obituary…… for the Earth.

An obituary is a written notice of death, typically occurring in a newspaper. They usually include a brief biography of the deceased, but their public nature tends to keep them really short and not too personal. When looking up the tradition elements of an obituary I stumbled across a 6-step checklist for everything that needs to be included:

  1. Announcement of death to let readers know who has died
  2. Biographical sketch which recounts the most important events, qualities, contributions, and connections in a person’s life
  3. Family: a list of those surviving them (spouses, siblings, children, ect.)
  4. Service times: time, full date and place of service, name of officiant; time, full date and place of burial; time, full date and place of visitation
  5. Special messages which can include “in lieu of flowers please send…”, prayers, lines from poems, etc.
  6. Photos typically showing off person happy, doing things they loved with people they loved.

While obituaries tend to exist for and in the community that the person lived in, in order to better understand this genre in the scope of an obituary outside of a more centralized community, I looked into obituaries for celebrities to see if there were any tenants of an obituary for someone who had a global impact that were different than what I had come across in my initial research. When looking at an obituary for Prince in the Telegraph I noticed that his obituary was headlined by his time in the public eye and the accomplishments of his career before going into the typical biographical information included in an obituary. The Telegraph also included quotes about their accomplishments and life from other industry professionals and famous friends. Many different publications had written obituaries for Prince, and each one had a slightly different point of view that was meant to encompass the ways in which their readers would have engaged Prince during his life. While even a celebrity obituary has most if not all of the six parts of an obituary listed above (often missing the service times portion), they have a lot more emphasis on the audience and the way that they engaged with the deceased as opposed to just the life of that person.

An obituary is sad in nature, but often serves as a celebration of life. I hope that exploring this genre in the context of this topic will serve both as a warning of the dangers of a lack of concern and action for environmental protection, but also a celebration of the beauty of the natural world.

Intro to Open Letters

For those of you who aren’t familiar, my origin piece(s) are text messages between my friends from home and I about my roommates over the past few years. For the most part, they’re complaints and stories about my eventful living situations. My first genre was satire, which did not pan out, so I’d figure I’d try to stick to something a little more achievable. For this next piece I want to attempt to write an open letter.

I first became familiar with the genre when I had to write one for my 125 final. I wrote this one to Donald Trump’s tie and genuinely enjoyed doing so. I’ve read many, namely from newspapers that my parents have forced me to read and from McSweeney’s.

I’ve always found these works enjoyable. My dad made me read a few political ones over the year, typically regarding acts of war and legislation, so I’ve always been intrigued by them, such as this one to former President George H.W. Bush:

My favorite one so far is this one: https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/an-open-letter-to-white-people-in-need-of-a-token-brown-person . It’s an open letter about being the token minority and it resonated with me because for most of my childhood, I was one of the few people of color in my classes. I grew up in one of the few conservative areas in California and the experience was not one unfamiliar to me. All my neighbors were white and I didn’t make my first ‘minority’ friend until I was in the eighth grade. I like the emotional nature of this piece and I like its message.

Typically open letters are written to change something or bring attention to it (https://www.mindmybusinessnyc.com/how-to-write-the-open-letter/). Personally, I would just like to bring attention to some of the more humorous, unconventional aspects of my living experiences since 2017. Similarly, the person writing the letter must establish ethos within their piece, or else it loses its credibility and becomes less enjoyable. They’re supposed to be more concise and offer some type of solution or plea in response to what they are trying to draw attention to.

Another source, (https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/open-letter/) noted that these are supposed to be intimate, emotional appeals because of their public nature. When done correctly, this same articles states, they aren’t “simply for the person to whom it’s addressed.” It also notes that these are usually done in these particular fashions:

  • A humor or satirical piece addressed to a celebrity or person in the news.
  • A piece of constructive criticism (or praise) to a politician, either international or local.
  • A letter to a thing — one of your fears, a habit you’d like to break, etc.
  • A note to yourself at a specific age/year in the future.

My hope is that my piece would/should fall into the last bullet point.

Intro to Reported Essays

My favorite thing about reading and writing is the moment of near-euphoria when you realize someone has done the same things, felt the same feelings, or thought the same thoughts as you. After feeling isolated in a long term relationship during which I rarely honestly shared with anyone what was going on in my life, nothing compared to the validation I felt after hearing the stories of women who have had similar experiences to my own. When I read The Crane Wife, an essay about trying to act “low maintenance” to the point of misery,  I was moved to read such a beautiful articulation of so many of the complicated experiences I shared.  Similarly, when my roommate ended her long distance relationship last year and opened up to me about the difficulties of her relationship and the relief she felt upon ending it, I felt even less alone. 

I want to further explore the idea of women who engage in unhealthy dynamics in relationships and explore the way traditional gender roles influence these patterns. The genre in which I want to tackle these issues is a reported essay — a genre somewhere between a journalism article and a personal essay. Aria actually recommended that I consider a reported essay last week when I explained I was torn between writing a personal essay and conducting a series of interviews. Because of my interest in journalism and my curiosity about how many others share similar experiences to mine, the idea of interviewing others and collecting their stories greatly appealed to me. However, I still wanted to do some actual writing. The reported essay genre allows me to do both. 

The reported essay, while not a clearly defined genre, is generally understood to be a mix of first person narrative and reporting. According to author Diana Burrell, reported essays are structured like magazine articles, but include traditional essay elements such as personal anecdotes. Burrell gives an example of one of her own reported essays entitled “Is One Child Enough?”. The article opens with a reflection on her own decision to have only one child, but the remainder is more structured as she analyzes the different pros and cons of such a decision and how to come to terms with it. The piece successfully combines research, interviews, and personal experiences to provide a well rounded answer to the question its title poses. 

Michelle Nijhuis states that all reported essays must start with a question. Comparing essay-writing to a traditional protagonist/antagonist story arc, she explains that the antagonist is an existing story or assumption — by the end of the essay, a new story or new perspective should triumph as the protagonist. I’m excited to explore the different questions I have about the fear of asking too much in relationships and its detrimental consequences to the self. I’m especially looking forward to this genre because it is not strictly defined, unlike my previous choice of satire, and will allow me more creative freedom to explore my subject. 

Introduction to Satire

When I first think of satire, my mind automatically rushes towards The Onion newspaper. I think of their snarky articles that, if I didn’t know were fake, would make me concerned for our society. And that’s the whole point- satire is supposed to make you question how much of it is real and how much is made up. For example, my friend told me today that she once was fooled by an article (that she didn’t realize was from The Onion) about how SeaWorld was starting to take elephants and put them in pools until they couldn’t swim anymore. A cruel, cruel thing to trick my animal-loving friend into reading, but it just goes to show how insane some satire topics can be and the big reactions they can create. And even under the layer of darker humor, they still make a point about a relevant situation, like the negative treatment of animals at SeaWorld. During my research I came across some pretty amazing titles of other Onion articles such as “27-Year-Old Lies About Every Aspect of His Life to Keep Parents from Worrying” and “Jesus Christ Sues Catholic Church for Unlicensed Use of His Image” which I found entertaining, and good examples of the humor involved in satire. 

Although The Onion is a well-known example of satire, my research showed me a little bit more of what actually makes it satire, and how the genre expands beyond newspaper articles. 

When it comes down to it, the whole point of satire is to ridicule or criticize something through irony, caricature, parody, or derision. Even though these can seem mean or rude, another important aspect of satire is that the end product is supposed to be funny. Even if it makes you laugh because it’s so obscene or cruel, if it’s not funny, then it’s not really satire. 

The more I researched satire, the more I realized that it is everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. Satire lives in the lives of our favorite movie characters, on TV in shows like the Colbert Report or SNL, resides in novels and short stories, and also is present during political debates, just to name a few examples. The Colbert Report (here is an example) is actually a great instance of how Stephen Colbert creates vexations that then attract a bigger, more passionate audience than if he had not included satire within his show. And that’s the thing about satire, it’s supposed to be so brutally honest that it can hurt to take in, but at the same time it’s honest and presented in an entertaining way so that people don’t become too offended. 

Usually, this mockery is supposed to lead to some sort of social reform by calling people to action, or simply just to expose a particular topic. Satire was created thousands of years ago, and even back then it was supposed to attack a specific trait or aspect of a person or place. Tim Keck, the co-founder of The Onion, said that satire “is the thing that everyone is thinking about, but that you would never see in an article” or whatever form it is presented in. This can especially be seen in caricatures, as they try to call people to action while highlighting all the issues going on in society- especially regarding politics.

An example from the 2016 presidential election…

So, as I see it, when starting to write a satire, only a few things are needed before beginning:

  1. A relevant/current topic
  2. Mockery masked by humor
  3. Understanding that even if your joking, someone might still be offended (hopefully no one gets offended though)

Hopefully I can include these (and many other aspects) in my own piece and work to make it both humorous but also honest. Of all the aspects of this genre, I feel that the idea that one can make fun of a subject while also calling for attention and changes to be made to that topic is something very creative and exciting that I am eager to explore. I guess we will have to see how sassy and honest my experiment becomes…

How to: write a how to!

  1. Know your topic: It’s important to do research and have intimate knowledge of a topic if you’re writing a how-to guide. My guide idea, “How to Survive Having Been on a Game Show” certainly fits that, as I’ve lived that myself and know others who have been as well.
  2. Know your audience: So, yeah, a lot of how-to guides are clickbait. The “how to write a how-to guide” articles I read were mostly about how to write stuff that got the most clicks. That’s not what I want. I want to further explore the idea of having been on a game show by using my experiences and others’ — and maybe a dash of humor — to answer the question: “You’ve been on a game show. Now what?”
  3. Use list format: I read through a couple samples of “how to get on a game show” articles, some more clickbaity than others, because those originals are my inspiration — there’s a ton of “how to get on a game show” out there but nothing about what to do after you’ve aired and you have to deal with weird questions and “did you win?” constantly. For me, that was the harder part. But this article, while the best one I found, wasn’t written in list format and it bothered me. Listicles on the internet can be kinda annoying sometimes, but in this case, they make the how-to easier to read, so you can see each step set out for you before going into the specifics.
  4. Make it interesting: My main goal here is to see how I can explore a fairly unique experience using a more informational format. So, while my origin piece was an essay, I want to take some of the same themes from that but present them as more of a guide for others that have a similar experience rather than a personal narrative.

Introduction to Blogging

Blogging has always played a significant role in my life. I constantly find myself scrolling through all different types of blogs: food to fashion to sports and so on. The Oxford Dictionary defines blogs as regularly updated informal web pages that are usually controlled by an individual or a small group of people. However, I find blogs to be a way for people to showcase their personality and opinions to outsiders. Regardless of what a blog may be about, the information that is shared usually shows us something about the individual writing it which is unique to this genre of writing and something that I find especially appealing. Blogs are often compared to personal diaries or journals. Additionally, blogs can cover a very wide array of topics. The only necessity is that you are passionate about what you are blogging about! Regardless of what ones interests are, they will without a doubt be able to find some sort of blog that resonates with something that they like and find interesting.

The structure of blogs is flexible. That is one of my favorite parts about this genre. You are able to make your blog unique to you! However, like for most genres, it is important that you capture your readers attention from the start so that they want to keep reading what you have written. Therefore, it is key to begin your blog with a catchy title and opening. This will introduce the reader to you as a writer and to the content that you will be blogging about. Another necessary component of a blog are images. A large block of words on a page can easily bore a reader and I know we have all experienced our fair share of that. Adding images is an easy way to engage with your reader and support the content you are writing about.

My favorite blogs to engage with are food blogs. As an avid foodie, I am always looking to try different restaurants and cuisines in all different cities. I love reading about peoples experiences at different restaurants and using these blogs to make my own eating plans when I travel to new places or am just exploring my local restaurants! These blogs allow me to connect with foodies all over the world which is something I find to be so unique and exciting. I love the pictures that many food blogs include and the detailed descriptions of what the writers favorite dishes are. I also love food blogs that include individuals recipes that they make at home. I am always looking for new recipes to try out and these food blogs give me great insight on new ideas!

I think it would be interesting to turn my origin piece about my childhood blanket into a blog. This would allow me to write about all different things relating to my blanket: stories from when I was younger, the best things about having a special childhood object, all of the places my blanket has traveled with me to and so on. I will be able to add pictures of me with my blanket from over the years which will give my readers an even greater insight into my life-long special relationship with my blanket. I am looking forward to experimenting more with this genre over the next few weeks!!

https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/blog