“Choosing a Genre & Pitching Your Project” – Researching Your Project Idea

I have been questioning exactly what it is that I  want to do for Project 1. However, for the purposes of the assignment at hand, I will continue exploring the realm of children who have ill parents.  More specifically, those who are children of parents with Multiple Sclerosis and/or Parkinson’s Disease.  I want to keep the forum open so I looked for texts concerning any disease that is incurable.

  1.  The first text I stumbled upon is one that I never read as a teenager but perhaps should have.  It is posted on the National Multiple Sclerosis website.  Can you guess what it is?  It’s titled, “When a Parent has MS; A Teenager’s Guide.” Find it here if you wish.  It is structured as an advice pamphlet. Broken up into what resembles the steps of grieving, its intended audience is obviously teenagers who have just found out about their parent’s diagnosis.  Now, when I was 16 I had already been living with the stark realization for about 4 years so perhaps this pamphlet wouldn’t have done me any good.  However, as I read each page I have found myself resonating with much of what is being said.  There are testimonials from other children, teens, and adults whose parents were diagnosed when they were around the same age I was.
    • The multimodal design of the pamphlet incorporates both visual and spatial modes.  I found that the use of a deep red speaks to the professionalism of the pamphlet due to its association with the National MS Society.  The incorporation of pictures, presumably of those who gave testimonials, offers a breakage in the text itself.  While I question just how real each photo is, it is nice to have something else to look at.  The spatial arrangement offers 2 columns of text carefully spaced from one another.  It is easy to read and find certain themes as there are headings above each topic.
    • The what relates to the how here as the pamphlet works as an advice column for grieving and perhaps frustrated teenagers.  It aims its audience at a crucial age in development; one where you begin to mature and understand just how significant the diagnosis is.  It is offered on an online platform as I am sure it is in a physical document which makes it accessible to anyone at any given time.  If this text was presented as an essay, it would lose its sense of purpose because it relies on the efficiency and accessibility that the pamphlet layout provides.
  2. The second text I want to insert here is an article written for the Odyssey, an online forum that often has college students write for them.  This text can be found here. This read differently than the pamphlet mentioned above because it was raw.  The author writes about her mother who has MS.  She walks us through the process of diagnosing, the fear she felt, and the support she wants to offer.  I love what she says here, “For those of you out there who have a parent who has MS, cancer, ALS, lupus, or anything that can only be treated but not cured, you are not alone.”  It speaks to what I hope to create with my online portfolio.
    • The author uses mainly linguistic and visual modes here as she begins her piece with a picture of her mother and her.  The article is organized is a very traditional way; separating each new thought into a new paragraph.  It differs from the pamphlet in its organization and tone.  She sacrifices incorporating new media (i.e. videos of her and her mother, more pictures, links, etc.) for raw linguistics.  I felt compelled to read her piece but only because I am also the daughter of a mother with MS.  If I was not, I would not feel the need to read the piece. She fails here to spread awareness due to the constraint of her audience.
    • The what and the how are related in the sense that she writes about her personal struggle with the diagnosis of her mother by facilitating an open discussion for other college students who may have parents with incurable diseases.  I find it compelling that she used the Odyssey as her outlet as many people often share articles written on here.
  3. The third and final text that I am going to introduce here is a story featured on BBC News.  The story is told through a video as well as a short summary text beneath.  Watch the video here. A mother speaks about what it is like to have MS and parent. This gives a different perspective on the topic I am interested in as it focuses on the parent’s struggle rather than the child’s.  Her emotional testimony is heartbreaking and reminds us all to be grateful for the life we live.
    • This is the most multimodal project out of the 3 texts I have provided.  It uses all 5 modes of communication: linguistic, aural, visual, gestural, and spatial.  The video shows snippets of the mother’s life raising her son as she speaks about it.  We cut back and forth from these video clips of her son playing and pictures of them to her sitting in a chair talking to the camera in an interview-style set-up.  The incorporation of the summary below the video provides a quick read for those who cannot watch the video in its entirety.
    • The what and how is related here in the same sense as the other texts except here we have the use of video.  The message is much better conveyed when we can put a face and a name to the disease.  Especially when we can take an inside look at the daily life of a parent with MS. She talks about how she gets tired easily and cannot do what she wishes she could.  She cannot play with her son as much as she wants to, she cannot take care of him on her own for very long, and she cannot stand the idea of his life being not as full because he has her as a parent.

The third text inspires me the most to continue researching this topic.  Perhaps I can incorporate video of my mother into my ePortfolio.

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