Thursday, September 15, 2011

Homework #2 Matilda Jarvis

In chapter one of Everything's a Text, a potent statement stood out which read: "Critical literacy educators argue that an important part of being literate is being aware of the relationship between language and power..." (Melzer and Coxwell-Teague 3). This struck me because it's true; language has an effect on people, whether you are the one speaking (or writing) or the one hearing (or reading) someone else's words. Literacy comes into play as you make the connections, and understand the purpose and meaning of the words.
Another hot spot followed Mos Def's "Dollar Day" when the motivation for message rap was being looked at: "The primary purposes of songs in the subgenre of message rap are to make a political statement by exposing injustices and to persuade the audience to take action" (Melzer and Coxwell-Teague 21). This really shows the power of literacy (awareness of the connection between language and power) as "Dollar Day" explores and provokes thoughts about events that relate to the audience. The rap is a passionate call to its listeners to become more conscious of what is happening, and to inspire them to take action.

In the Pearson text, I realized the way we have been taught in high school to write essays is just fine and dandy for certain situations, but I regret not having the opportunity to write more creative and "less structured" pieces as well. For, "to become a better writer...the most crucial thing is to have 'a good, interesting question'" (Ramage, Bean and Johnson 1). Writing  essays was a pain until I made sure to choose topics (when I could) that I really cared about, and that I wanted to know about enough that researching it would be worth the work. Continuing this subject, the authors say, "By 'thought-provoking,' we mean questions that don't have simple 'right answers' but that invite 'possible answers' supported by different lines of reasoning, speculation, and argument" (Ramage, Bean and Johnson 11). These types of questions are the ones we should have been taught to explore. Sometimes in persuasive writing, especially in high school, it is more difficult to add counter-information because it goes against the thesis; but by exploring the possible answers, readers are able to make their own decisions while learning about the subject and the author's opinion.

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