Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Blog: Self-Reflective

How I See Myself as a Reader and Writer

Growing up in a Vietnamese household and being the first generation in America, English is my second language. Therefore, from a very young age I have always thought myself as a weaker writer than most of my classmates. English for me has always been area of weakness in school. This put a lot of pressure on me to be a better writer; I felt the need to excel in English to prove to myself, to my family, and to all my peers that a foreign person can succeed in America. I believe I have come a long way as a writer and I have my family, friends, and teachers to thank for.

English 1020 have taught me the meaning of reading critically and writing well. As a reader, I have learned to read for meaning and read like a writer. These strategies allow me to look at a text in more than one way. When reading a text, I have learned that in order to fully comprehend what the text is attempting to convey, it was best that I read the text multiple times. I am now able to convert my focus from meaning to rhetoric; in other words I am able to convert from what the text is trying to convey to why and how it is conveyed. My writing improved as I begin to master these concepts. To be a good writer I had to be able to understand the text in terms of what, when, why, who, and how. It was important to understand the style of the text such as is it a form of observation, reflective, or rhetoric. Each of these styles of text were studied and analyzed in class. I believe that because we were able to discuss each assign article in class, I learned a lot from hearing what my peers had to say about what they understood from it. Having the opportunity to discuss each article as a class was the most effective part of my learning experience.

Out of all our major writing pieces that we were assigned to do, I believe that my rhetoric piece showed the most improvement because as we spent more time in class discussing about how to be a critical reader and a better writer, I grew as a reader and writer and became better at analyzing a piece whether it is in a text form or a multimedia form. For my rhetoric piece, I used a video from YouTube and just from images that was provided, I was able picking out and understanding the types of rhetorical strategies that the author used to make her argument about poverty such as her use of logos and pathos:
“In the YouTube video, the author uses logos in the form of various pictures and facts to support her argument. The video consists of clips of young children with barely any clothes on, children who looks like they haven’t ate in weeks causing their ribs and joint area to protrude, a woman working in a factory, a homeless man sitting outside next to his cart. All these video clips are her strategy of trying to get us to acknowledge the extent of poverty that some people have to endure everyday. It allows us to see visual images of what it means to live in poverty. Some facts that were used in the video were…” In writing this rhetoric piece, it was important that I understood that her strategy of using logos and pathos was a very important asset of her video because this was what captured the audience attention. I learned that it is crucial to capture an audience attention when dealing with a rhetoric piece because the goal here is to sway the audience.

This class has honestly helped my improved as a reader and a writer; I hope to continue to improve as there is always room for improvement. Not only have this class helped me improve in my English skills, but it have helped with other college courses that I am currently taking such as Anthropology, Human Physiology, and Biochemistry. All these courses require a lot of reading. As I read assigned reading from textbooks for these classes, I find myself really analyzing the text and trying to get a better grasp about what the author what me to understand as a reader. In addition, I’m better at picking out what is important within a text and why it is important. As for my Anthropology class, I just wrote an 8 page paper about different cultures around the world and received 100% on it! I believe I have this class to thank for that. Thanks Joshua!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Rhetoric paper

“A Rich man is nothing but a poor man with money”
-W.C. Fields

Living in country where the economy is booming we sometimes forget about other countries around us. We live in a country that has advanced in technology, where education is provided through our government, and where food is unlimited. We are apart of the first world country that have it all. But what about other countries that are not as fortunate. Poverty is a huge problem in this world; it is a problem that has been neglected by many.

In making this video, a cause and effect would be the author main goal or strategy in capturing to audience attention. The author hopes that in watching this video the audience will acknowledge the extent of poverty around the world and by acknowledging it, the audience will hopefully take actions to help decrease poverty rate. Along with the images and text of facts, the author also used music as part of his/her video. The song that author used is call ‘Mr. President’ and it starts off as, “Dear Mr. President, come take a walk with me….I would like to ask you some questions, we can speak honestly. What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street.” This song is obviously directed to the president who represents America. The video is therefore directed towards America.

In the YouTube video, the author uses logos in the form of various pictures and facts to support her argument. The video consists of clips of young children with barely any clothes on, children who looks like they haven’t ate in weeks causing their ribs and joint area to protrude, a woman working in a factory, a homeless man sitting outside next to his cart. All these video clips are her strategy of trying to get us to acknowledge the extent of poverty that some people have to endure everyday. It allows us to see visual images of what it means to live in poverty. Some facts that were used in the video were:

-“About 24,000 people die everyday from hunger or hunger related causes. This is one death every 3.6 seconds”
-“3 thousnd of the deaths are children under the age of 5”
-“Poverty is the main cause of hunger”
-“One in 12 people worwide is malnourished, including 160 millions children under the age of 5”
-“Worldwide more than 850 milllion people are illiterate”

These facts appeared in the beginning of the video and it focuses on poverty in underdeveloped countries. Half way into the video the author then uses facts about our economy which allow the audience to better understand how severe this situation really is. These facts allow the audience to compare and contrast between the first world countries such as United States, Europe, and Japan to the third world countries that are exploited and underdeveloped. We live in a society with high living standards; we buy way more than what is necessary for sufficient living. We spend a great deal of money on materialistic goods such as nice expensive cars and big houses. With as much money as we spend on ourselves for unnecessary goods, we could have fed millions and prevent deaths that are caused by poverty and hunger. The facts that the author used were:

-“Nike paid Michael Jordan $20 million a year to promote Nike sneakers. The combined annual income of 30,000 Asian women who sew Nike sneakers equal less than $20 million”
-“Sweden and the United States have 681 & 626 telephone lines per 1,000 people. Afghanistan, Cambodia, and the democratic republic of Congo have 1 line per 1,000 people”
-Cosmetic in the US equal $8 billion”
-“Perfumes in Europe and US equals $12 billion”
-“Narcotic drugs in the world equal $400 billion”
-“Business entertainment in Japan equals $47 billion”
-“Cigarettes in Europe equals $50 billion”

These facts are significant part of the video in that it made us aware about children and poverty. Another astonishing fact from the book Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism written by Richard Robbins, is that approximately one-fifth of the world’s population, over 1 billion people, earn less than one dollar per day. Facts and images that were used in the video played a powerful role in stirring emotions of sadness, empathy, and sorrow within the audience which gave the effects of pathos. In addition to stirring up emotion within the audience, each person presented in the video showed some sort of emotions ranging from sadness, hopelessness, and hungriness which is also a form of pathos. They didn’t choose to be born into a world of poverty and they have done nothing to deserve such things. Just by looking at the image, you can imagine their daily struggles. Their clothes are torn apart and dirty. They look weak and fragile from starvation. Their life is threatened from poverty and their life span has been cut short because of poverty. The message here is: save the children of mankind!

The main purpose of the second set of facts is to stir up guilty emotions among people from first world countries by using facts to remind us how much money we spend on non-strategic resources. The use of astonishing high numbers caused us to feel guilty that we as a country spends so much money on assets when there are millions of people out there who are struggling to even get by life daily.

In the end of the YouTube video, the author quotes: “Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn’t commit.” This brings in the idea of cultural resonance, as human we have moral obligations to help these people who are getting punish for a crime they did not commit. They didn’t choose or ask to be born into poverty, instead the life of poverty were forced upon them. We have the necessary technology and resources to make changes, to make a difference in this world. The problem is: are we willing to put in the time and effort? That decision is up to you, each and every one of us can make a difference. As the audience watches this video, the author hopes to do just that—to persuade the audience to make a difference in the lives of the unfortunate.


Robbins, Richard. Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism. Suny at Plattsurgh: Allyn & Bacon Publishing Inc., 2004.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Blog: Free Write

A Little Bit About My Family

My parents arrived to America 25 years ago from Vietnam to give their children a better life. I have heard heroic stories about my father’s journey to America many times, and I still can’t believe the hardship he went through to give us a better life. Life in America for my parents was very tough especially since they were foreign and therefore did not know any English. Both my parents work 10 hours a day 6 days a week. Why so much? Because there’s five of us kids plus an additional 3 which belonged to my uncle; therefore they were raising 8 kids. Amazing isn’t it. Till this day, I still don’t know how they managed. All five of us are now currently attending college. I am the 2nd oldest of my siblings, and I have to admit, my parents did an amazing job raising us. With one more semester to go I will be applying to pharmacy and nursing school next semester. I will be first in my family to graduate college and I have my parents to thank for. Growing my parents encouraged my to excel in school, to be the best I can be; and today I am as far as I am because of my parents. Many of us take our parents for granted but it is important to remember that they gave us life and they help us shape who we are today. They love us unconditionally even though at times it doesn’t seem like it and when we become parents ourselves one day, we will understand.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Blog: Free write

Tragedy Strikes Us Again

As you all know, there has been another school shooting, but this time it was at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg Virginia. It just seems to never stop; it’s like a non-ending curse. A curse that has been haunting this nation for as long as…who knows how long. When will it all stop? If anything, it seems to be getting worse. This is now the deadliest school shooting; thirty-two victims had been shot to death by Cho Seung-Hui. When I first heard what had happened, I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. At first I thought there has been some kind of mistake, but it didn’t take long for me to finally realize what had happened. My heart just dropped, it felt so heavy. I was overwhelmed with sorrow, my heart just poured out to all the families that have lost their love ones, for every student at VT. This horrible event will forever change their life, it will forever change our lives, and it will forever have an impact on our nation. I just hope they have the strength to endure the long healing and painful journey they still have ahead of them. Thing will be tough and rough, but we must hold each other up. My prayers go out to all the victims. My heart goes out to each and every one of them.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Blog: Free write

During work on Friday, two of my very closest friends dropped by my work at separate times and unexpectedly. Since I work at the Walgreen Pharmacy on Colfax and Race, it get incredibly busy there and there’s never really any time to just to a break and talk so for that reason I knew something was up because they never drop by my work. My first friend, Shauna that dropped by my work dropped off a pineapple drink for me and just said “you better get off on time” and left. My other friend, Nancy dropped by an hour after and quickly handed me a card and left. As I read the card, I quickly realized that it was an invitation to my ‘surprise’ birthday party that they were throwing for me. After I got off work, I went home and quickly got dressed. When I arrived at Erin’s house, everyone screamed “surprise!” I acted surprised even though I really wasn’t; I knew what was going on. To tell you the truth, I am a very hard person to surprise. The food that was at the party was amazing. Nancy baked so many sweets I felt like I was going to get sick if I didn’t stop eating. Among the stuff that she baked, she also made this flower basket out of fruit. The night ended continued at the club called The Church where everyone was just wasted. I however, was just buzz since I was still sick I tried not to drink so much. The night ended when we got kicked out of the club because Nancy was too drunk. It wasn’t the best birthday, but the only that really matters are the people that are there to celebrate my birthday and I thank them for that.

Pictures of that night as posted below

Wednesday, April 11, 2007