Monday, October 21, 2013

POW #9

As a young child Maxine Hong Kingston recalls being told that women “could be heroines, swordswomen. Even if she had to rage across all China, a swordswoman got even with anybody who hurt her family”(Field 255). As a young Chinese girl who grew up in the United States, Maxine Kingston gained both hope and strength from the legends of these women swordsmen. These swordswomen of China were often depicted as heroines to be looked up to because they followed ideals important to the Confucian beliefs. These Confusion ideals first began to take shape during the Han dynasty. During this time period a woman’s role became more defined as the Confucian ideals began to take hold in the Chinese lifestyle. Women were told that their place was below a man’s place. They were told that their duty did not include taking control, that their duty was to produce sons, and that their beauty came from their obedience and passive nature. A woman’s place was in the house, she was to have no opinion of politics, nor was she to be outspoken. The ideal woman was quiet and passive, she was dutiful and obedient, she was skilled in cooking and sewing, and she produced sons to carry on the family lineage.
However, China’s history is riddled with stories, tales, legends, and biographies of women warriors. How does a woman who is told that to be a good daughter, a good wife, a good mother, she must follow this ideal, turn into a warrior of China(4. REAL QUESTION)? How does a woman warrior balance the woman and the warrior (5.RHETORICAL QUESTION)? These stories and legends are openly told to young women AND these warriors are not seen as a disgrace—in fact they are often looked up to (2. SIMPLE SENTENCE WITH AND & 3. DASH FOR EMPHASIS). HOWEVER, most of these stories are legends: heroic tales that have been altered to serve a purpose; very few stories remain of the real woman warriors (1. USE HOWEVER). After studying the stories of these women it appears that the woman warrior of China is a complex character of many faces. At times she is a hero, a legend, a woman who has mastered the art of fighting and the manner of bravery. Sometimes she is dutiful, poised, an obedient daughter who out of honor stepped out of her normal duty to fulfill another role. Other times she is hidden, forgotten, a flickering shadow buried deep in China’s history.
Her roles are vast, expanding from a legend, to a real woman, to a figure whose history has to be pieced together from the histories of others (8.ONE SENTENCE PARAGRAPH).
Throughout the history of China, the woman warrior has put on a masquerade of faces, acts, and roles. There are the legends: the women whose histories have been turned into a myths that reveal less THAN the whole truth, and THEN there are the real warriors: women whose stories are rarely ever told and have to be pieced together from the scattered histories of other’s biographies and epitaphs (6. THEN & THAN). Each warrior balances between myth and truth (7. LONG SENTENCE FOLLOWED BY SHORT). By piecing together the lives of these women warriors and the different ways they are presented, one can begin to understand the unique roles and complex position these women fill and decipher the difference between legend and reality. 

(I tried playing with colons this week because I rarely use them, but I am not 100% sure I used them right in the more complex sentences)

Monday, October 14, 2013

POW #8

Invisible to Society

When children are born into this world, before they are able to even communicate, they are being conditioned to what is normal and to what is accepted. Girls (FUTURE HOUSEWIVES) are dressed in pink and given dolls, small and childlike, to play with; boys (FUTURE PROVIDERS) are dressed in blue and given toy cars and trains to play with(APPOSITIVES PARENTHESIS & ADJECTIVES OUT OF ORDER). They grow up hearing their parents—adults unaware of the conditioning they are placing on their children—tease them about marrying the little girl or boy down the street who likes to come over and play (APPOSITIVE DASHES). They learn, far before the age where they can conceptualize the results of their own actions and choices, what society views as normal. They should go to school, get a job, get married, have a house and kids: live the American dream (APPOSITIVE COLON).  But what happens when they grow up and find this dream doesn’t make them happy—that it’s not what they want? E Lynn Harris’s novel, Invisible Life, follows the life of a man who finds that he is torn between living the American dream and giving up the dream to find happiness with a man instead of a woman. Throughout the novel Ray, AN AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN, struggles with his identity, refusing to fully come to terms with his homosexual urges and tendencies (APPOSITIVE COMMA). Harris’s novel, filled with confusion, loss of hope, and psychological pain, illustrates the problems that arise due to society’s tendency to lean towards compulsory heterosexuality (PARTICIPLE).  In looking at how this affects society and the life of Ray, one can be begin to understand the social and psychological conflicts of self-identity that these compulsory actions place on homosexual individuals.

Monday, September 30, 2013

POW #7

The Symbolism of Birds in Women’s Literature

            In the 19th and 20th centuries the literary movement of naturalism influenced the work of many authors. The movement suggested that like animals humans were influenced by their heredity and social conditions. Naturalism sought to scientifically explain life and the development of the human character. In many naturalistic texts humans were compared to or represented by animals. In this way it was shown that humans were not above animals; HUMANS WERE ANIMALS (5. COMPOUND SENTENCE USING “;” LONG THEN SHORT). One animal that was often used as a representation of a person was a bird. For centuries the bird has been utilized as a powerful symbol in folklore, poetry and literature. John Burroughs’ writes,

 “the very idea of a bird is a symbol . . . A bird seems to be at the very top of the scale, so vehement and intense his life… the beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes, and knowing no bounds—how many human aspirations are realized in their lives” (Burroughs 5).

A bird has the ability of flight, they are masters of the air, and are free to go where they wish. Their flight symbolizes a freedom that humans were not gifted with BECAUSE birds are not bound like humans to the dusty ground (3. END WITH BECAUSE CLAUSE). In literature and poetry, though, they have been utilized endlessly as a symbol for mankind’s hopes and desires (4. USE THOUGH). The ever-watching owl symbolizes wisdom while the large eagle represents courage and freedom; the poised crane reflects the concept of immortality and the loyal falcon embodies a noble guardian; and, last but not least, the small yet plain sparrow represents hope (7. SENTENCE WITH “;” AS SUPER COMMA). It is interesting then, when studying women’s literature, that women often chose the bird as symbol or metaphor for themselves (8. REMOVE SO). Throughout much of the 19th and 20th   centuries, women were viewed as house wives. Their duty was to get married, have kids, and take care of the house. BECAUSE women’s choices and options were limited, many felt trapped by society’s expectations (2.START A SENTENCE WITH BECAUSE). They were not allowed to explore different career paths. NOR were they given the freedom to find themselves (1. START A SENTENCE WITH NOR). They were a far cry away from the birds that could respite in their flight. However, time and time again, women have used a bird as a metaphor to identify with themselves. Often the bird is a caged one, one kept in gilded bars, which is not allowed that beauty of flight. As women, they were trapped by society; as a bird, they were free to dream of their freedom and also dwell on the sadness of their forced captivity (6. COMPOUND SENTENCE WITH “;” WITH TWO SENTENCES) By examining the use of a bird as a symbol or metaphor in writings of women authors such as Mary Freeman, Susan Glaspell, Sarah Jewett, and Kate Chopin, one can begin to see and understand why women found a connection between themselves and birds.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Blog #6 Compound Sentences

(Part of an essay on the Women Warriors of China)

The idealized legends of Mulan and other Chinese women warriors contrast sharply to the more historically true story of Lady Yang. The legends have found a comfortable niche among the history of China; their stories are passed down through stories, plays, poems, and continue to play an important role in the Chinese culture. Mothers tell their daughters of the dutiful Mulan and the loyal Mu Guiying. Their reflections of Confucian ideals secure their place and their acceptance among the people of China, FOR many of them are viewed as well-loved heroes of China (COMPOUND SENTENCE WITH COMMA). Young girls look up to these warriors; FOR they show them the importance of the Confucian ideals, while giving them hope that one day they will be called forth to be a woman warrior of China (COMPOUND SENTENCE WITH SEMICOLON). YET Lady Yang remains a shadow -- her history and legacy left mostly to the dry pages of books (SENTENCE THAT BEGINS WITH FANBOY). Because she does not fit into an acceptable role, she is excluded from the popularity and recognition of her fellow Chinese women warriors. Her power, her choice to commit adultery, and her unconventional role as a leader kept her from encompassing the ideals that the legends such as Mulan were able to project despite being warriors. From these viewpoints one can see how the legends play a far larger role in Chinese society than the women warriors whose stories have not been turned into a myth. Despite the fact that Lady Yang is portrayed more accurately than her legendary counterparts, it the legends that will continue to play a larger role in the society of China. The Confucian ideals that allow them to be accepted in society give them a stronger hold in the culture than the less fabricated stories where the actions of the woman challenge Confucian ideals. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013


What Older Writers Do
          The first topic discussed by Pat Cordiero is what tendencies older elementary students have when trying to punctuate their writing. Cordiero identifies that students at this age often end up with fragmented sentences due to different hypotheses they have gathered in the last few years. Most third graders made “misplacements which could be classified syntactically and semantically as phrase structure”(Cordiero 51).  Sixth graders tended to struggle with run-on sentences as their thoughts and stories become more detailed and complex.

The Writer as Editor  
            Cordiero had students edit by writing a hand written draft and then editing while they copy their hand written stories to a word processor. She noted that some students only added punctuation in the editing stage, while others tended to completely change their thoughts and ideas as they edited in an attempt to make their stories more clear to the reader. IT IS NORMAL FOR SRUDENTS SUCH AS DORA AND HER FRIENDS TO EXPERIMENT WITH THEIR EDITING AND PUNCTUATION (compounded object of preposition with two or more personal pronouns). Cordiero identified that at the sixth grade level most students use editing to try and make their stories understandable to the reader. HAVING TO EDIT AND READ OVER THEIR OWN WORK HELPS THEM TO UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPTS OF GRAMMAR (COMPOUND VERB). Cordiero noted that students WHO had learned through instructional systems, versus learning to spontaneously process punctuation, struggled with actual concept of punctuation (USING WHO IN A SENTENCE).  DORA AND THE OTHER STUDENTS ARE GROWING AS WRITERS WHEN SHE AND THEY EXPERIMENT WITH THEIR WRITING (COMPUND SUNJECT WITH TWO PERSONAL PRONOUNS).

What’s a Writer to Do?
            Cordiero believes students who have been active in the writing process “punctuate from a set of hypotheses that they have formed based on prior experience” (Cordiero 55).  Students who have edited their own writing generally have a better understanding of punctuation than those who have been using workbooks to learn punctuation. Cordiero argues that WHOMEVER corrects their own work will grow as writers (USING WHOMEVER IN A SENTENCE). Workbooks generally lay out simple sentences, while children in their own writing tend to create more complex sentences. Cordiero says punctuating is far more about learning your own set of abstract rules than simply memorizing the rules out of a workbook. DORA’S TEACHER LET SHE AND THEM DEVELOP THEIR OWN INTERPRETATION OF GRAMMAR (compounded direct object with two or more personal pronouns).

What Punctuation Does
            Pat Cordiero defines punctuation as “abstract symbols that make a story able to stand alone without the author’s intervention”(Cordiero 56).  Punctuation allows writers to segment their writing so the reader only has to take in so much at a time. Paragraphs allow a writer to move forward to a new idea by presenting a short pause. Punctuation, such as an apostrophe, allows writers to identify their meaning. Cordiero argues that the rules change every time a writer picks up a pen, and holding kids to set list of rules will only damper their understanding of punctuation.

Characteristics of Today’s Punctuation
            Cordiero discuses Meyer’s theory that there are three types of writing that all follow different rules when it comes to punctuation: informal, formal, and narrative. Cordiero discuses Meyer’s theory THAT EXPLORES three types of writing that all follow different rules when it comes to punctuation: informal, formal, and narrative (REVISE THERE ARE SENTENCE). The formal style is punctuated more than the other since there is a tendency for the sentences to be longer and more complex, while the informal and narrative styles contained less punctuation. Meyer argues that good punctuation is more about good judgment than following a standardized set of rules.  Cordiero addresses that in school students are taught formal writing, which makes punctuation more difficult for them to grasp.

Toward a Theory of Punctuation
            Cordiero addresses that teachers have made a mistake in grouping punctuation, spelling, handwriting, and capitalization together. SPELLING, HANDWRITING, AND CAPITALIZATION all can be constrained into a final form, while punctuation cannot (TWO OR MORE SUBJECTS JOINED WITH AN AND). Punctuation is not mechanical skill that follows an exact set of rules. Cordiero states that we confuse kids by grouping an artistic skill with three mechanical ones.

Teaching About Punctuation  

            Telling students to out a period at the end of a sentence encourages them to merely memorize a rule that they do not have knowledge to grasp. Cordiero addresses a man named Dawkins who suggested that students should play with literature by adding and taking away punctuation so they understand the effect punctuation has on the writing. Writing is a new language to students and teaching punctuation as a set of standardized rules rather than a strategy deters them from fully understanding punctuation.