Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Self Reflection Essay

Since as long as I could remember I have always enjoyed writing for my own personal growth, but had trouble writing for school or work assignments. As I was reflecting on some of the weekly blog assignments that I created, I noticed that I did a particular better job at the free-writing assignments than the assigned topic ones. It was also a lot easier for me to discipline my self in writing on the free writing assignments than the assigned ones.

Don’t get me wrong some of the assigned writing assignments were very meaningful and enjoyable to write, such as the Reflective Essay “Broken Down in the Army”. Writing the last section of this essay, brought forth real life emotions inside me, it clearly reminded me if being in the Drill Sergeant’s office. When I wrote and then read the following, ““I knew that I could only hold on a little while longer, but told my self once again “It’s all mental”. Finally, the moment came where I could not go on, tears filled my eyes from the pain and disgrace I felt that I was about to throw in the towel. I fell from the invisible chair and laid on the ground, like a baby in the fetal position. I had been broken.”” It literally brought tears to my eyes as I was remembering that special occasion in my life. The reason this was meaningful and enjoyable was because it made me look back on my life, and see how that part of me, has tremendously allowed me to improve my life now. In other words, looking back at this occasion allows me to appreciate the current things in my life to a whole new level.

I do believe that my writing skills have briefly improved since starting this class and for sure my critical thinking skills, which have been stretched on some of the writing assignments. For example, the rhetorical analysis was not too difficult to write, but definitely challenged me to think critically. It was for sure the hardest assignment in class, which really challenged me to think outside the box. As for the rest of the assignments I had to discipline my self to finish, but always felt a small sense of accomplishment, ones each assignment was complete.

I believe that one of the reasons that I thought the free-writing assignments were easier to write than the other assignments was because I had the choice of choosing any topic. I am the type of writer that uses writing to share life experiences and emotions with people. So if one takes a look at all my free-writing assignments, they will see that they are all set up to give advice or touch the audience on a personal level. For example, the free-writing on marriage shares some of my experience on marriage and some simple advice that would help people considering marriage. The staring paragraph states, “Marriage is one of the most important decisions anyone will ever make in their life. This choice will either fulfill ones life or ruin it. Marriage is not what Hollywood shows to be a young beautiful girl and a handsome prince charming falling in love and living happily ever after. Marriage is a serious, long term commitment, which requires a lot of hard work and dedication.” As mentioned earlier, writing is my way for sharing emotion and life experience with people and hope that through this I could help some people out.

As for the assigned assignments, I don’t really have a desire to do, but still do because it is part of the class objective. On the opening paragraph of the second post, I share what I am feeling about writing for assigned material. It briefly refers to the difficulty I am having in writing for the assigned post. The paragraph goes like this, “To find the cultural contexts of a website, when it’s sole and only purpose is to find the meaning of words, is difficult to accomplish. Answering the five W’s, who, what, when, where and why will be no easy task, but necessary in order to accomplish the assignment.”

In closing, I am completely satisfied with the way this class has instilled into me the discipline of writing. It was also very pleasing to receive credit for free writing. The one thing that I believe has improved in my writing is to think critically of my writing. The class also refined my writing skills, which is something that every writer should always be doing on a continuous basis. The overall class was a good experience that has helped me expand my knowledge in becoming a better writer.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Rhetorical Analysis "The War in Iraq"

One thing to keep in mind as reading this paper is that war has been around from the very beginning of time, and will always be around, or in the words of the great Philosopher Plato “Only the dead have seen the end of war”. The argument addressed in this picture is a metaphorically sign of United States retreating from the war in Iraq. First I will share a rhetorical analysis of the picture. Secondly, I will refer to a current argument about the war in Iraq that is going on between the legislative and executive branches of the United States Government. Finally, how this picture serves as a strong metaphor, which represents a negative opinion on the war on Iraq by some members of congress.

Here we have two soldiers in Iraq bringing down the flag of the United States right before nightfall. The two soldiers are standing at attention, each on one side of the flag pole. They are both facing each other. Both soldiers are wearing grayish camouflage army uniforms, which are referred to as ACU’S (Army Combat Uniforms). The soldier right of the picture is holding the rope that is keeping the U.S Flag from hitting the ground as the other soldier has his right arm extended ready to catch the flag. This is the brief description of the picture. On a personal note, the soldier extending his right arm ready to catch the U.S Flag is my little brother. I know that he is in Iraq because he chooses to be there and does serve proudly.

The rhetorical analysis of the picture will answer a series of questions about the picture, which is what follows. The characters in the picture are U.S Soldiers in their late teens or early twenties. Their ethnicity is Mexican American, and possibly Caucasian. On the most basic level the soldiers are working together to bring down a U.S Flag from a pole. The medium that is used to portray the picture is an article that is directed for patriotic Americans and military personnel. The historical context of the picture is current and created in Iraq. The picture reflects metaphorically on a political issue that is currently going on between congress and the U.S President on the war on Iraq, which will be addressed later along in the essay. There is no wording on the picture, but a strong image of two soldiers doing their job. The picture is laid out with the U.S Flag being in the center and the two soldiers being next to the U.S Flag, one on each side. The picture is in color, which brings out great details of the picture. For example, the darker blue sky showing that it is almost night fall, and the shadow of the U.S Flag on the gray cement type structure behind it. There is no voice used to reach the audience of the picture. The main imagery of the picture is centered, and as stated earlier is designed to capture a patriotic or military personnel audience.

The picture has a variety of rhetorical appeals. For example, pathos, ethos and logos are used in the picture. Pathos is used by introducing patriotism through the U.S Flag and the soldiers standing at attention. Pathos is also used by capturing the picture in Iraq, which spurs different types of emotions among all kinds of different people. These emotions range from disliking or even hating the war on Iraq, to fearing it. The ethos to appeal used in the picture is the U.S Flag. The U.S Flag is recognized largely by citizens as a sign of democracy and freedom. It is recognized as the American way of life, it is an icon that every American is familiar with. The logos, is obvious in the picture, which shows that it takes to soldiers to lower the U.S Flag down from the pole accordingly.

The strategy development used in the picture is relied on example or illustration by showing the audience that the U.S Flag is used to represent the freedom that American citizen’s experience. The picture once again used the U.S Flag to relate cultural resonance with its audience because the U.S Flag is a popular recognizable symbol around the nation. The picture also represents the war on Iraq. This is common knowledge that every American is aware about, which is why it is part of our culture resonance.

There is currently a huge debate in the U.S Government about the war on Iraq. Most members of the legislative branch want troops to come home from Iraq and the war to end. As for the executive branch, it is about keeping troops in Iraq until the mission is accomplished with no set time lines for ending the war. The U.S Government has checks and balances, which does not allow one particular branch in government to have full power, but forces power to be distributed equally among branches. With this said, the conflict among branches can not be easily settled. The congress solution to ending the war is to set a timeline for withdrawing troops with any bill that funds them in Iraq. The President is pretty set on not setting a time line for troop withdrawal from Iraq. He believes it sends the wrong message to the enemy, which he refers to, as terrorists. The President has already promised a series of times that he will Veto any such bill. So with this said, I have trouble understanding why congress would still send any such bill to the President.

The President and Congress both strongly agree to disagree on the War on Iraq. They both must come to an understanding eventually or the only ones to truly suffer will be the troops in Iraq. The intention of the framers of the U.S Government were for all branches of government to work together not against each other. As the Government by the People, Brief fifth edition, states, "The framers of the U.S. Constitution created a presidency that must win cooperation from Congress to get the work of government done. Law-making and policy-making powers are divided, and the politics of shared power has often been stormy. In general, however, Congress and presidents somehow find ways to collaborate and solve problems" (Cronin Ch. 10).

The picture reflects the decision that congress is stating on their view on Iraq. Congress clearly knows that the President will Veto any bill with a timeline, but still choose to put forth the effort of trying to create such a bill. They also know that they do not have enough support to override the President’s Veto. It makes absolutely no sense why congress would do this, which leads me to conclude that they are simply accepting defeat in Iraq. In other words they want the troops to come home from Iraq and the only way they can do this with their power is by completely cutting the funding from the war. Congress will not do this because they do not want to come across to the American people as not supporting the troops. By doing this congress is sending a negative signal to the nation and the world that the U.S has already lost the war in Iraq.

The lowering of the U.S Flag by the soldiers in the picture metaphorically shows the retreat of the American troops from Iraq. It shows the defeated mind set that congress has on the war on Iraq. The congress truly believes that ending the Iraq war will produce peace, but in reality, will only produce more chaos. If one remembers from the first paragraph, war is war and will always be around in some way or form.
Work Cited:
Cronin, Tom, Jack Peltason, Paul Light, James MacGregor Bruns, David Magleby, David O'Brien. Government By The People. Brief Fifth Edition. Pearson Prentice Hall. 1995-2007.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Post 17 – Free Writing “First Date”

I remember the first date my wife and I had before getting married. I first met my wife at a church I used to attend, New Hope Church. It took me about a month to finally have the courage to go and introduce my self to her, and another month to invite her out to dinner. I was a very shy guy at the time, and especially around her. Surprisingly she accepted my invitation to dinner, but thought it was simply a casual friendship meeting. She had absolutely no idea that I was interested in her as a potential girlfriend.

The place I took her to dinner was Chili’s in Southwest Plaza. At first there were some moments of awkward silence and brief discussions about things at New Hope Church. As we both felt a little more comfortable around each other we started to talk about our future goals and interest. I belief this is where she started to get the feeling that I liked her the way a boy likes a girl. The one spontaneous thing about this date that to my surprise did not scare her off from the very beginning was a comment I made.

Around the time I met her I was considering going into the United States Air Force, active duty or Army National Guard. I was currently talking to two recruiters and getting all my documents situated to enlist. I informed Emily, (My wife now) at our first date, about my decision to join the military. I told her that if there was any possibility for us to start dating and eventually move on to something more serious I would join the Army National Guard and if not I would join the Air Force. This was a huge decision that I based on a first date, but to my surprise did not scare her off. Instead, she stuck around and two years later became my wife.

Post 16 - Free Writing "Compassion International"

For the past five years I have been sponsoring an amazing little girl named Kabugho, Moreen through Compassion International. This has been such a huge blessing and opportunity for me to be a part of. Moreen lives in Uganda, Africa where poverty and Aids is a rising epidemic. I have had such a great opportunity to communicate with her thru letters. I also get an annual update of her progress from her studies to physical condition through Compassion International.

Through my support Moreen gets the opportunity of getting an education, which would not be possible without my support. She also gets the proper nutrients required for her to be a healthy little girl from food to proper drinking water, and proper hygiene, which once again would not be possible without my support. The most amazing part of sponsoring Moreen is building a relationship with her. Another great thing is the chance of visiting her in Uganda Africa. This is the plan my wife and I have after graduating from college.

The most amazing part of this overall experience, is knowing that one is making a tremendous positive impact in the life of a precious child. The only thing required is a willing heart to make a difference and thirty two dollars a month. There is absolutely no obligation required. One could discontinue their sponsorship of a child whenever they wish. The reason I include this is because there are thousands of kids still living in great poverty with no education, that there only hope is a sponsorship. All it takes is a little over a dollar a day to make a difference in one child’s life. From my experience it is one of the best things one could ever do in their life.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Post 15 - Free Writing "Marriage"

Marriage is one of the most important decisions anyone will ever make in their life. This choice will either fulfill ones life or ruin it. Marriage is not what Hollywood shows to be a young beautiful girl and a handsome prince charming falling in love and living happily ever after. Marriage is a serious, long term commitment, which requires a lot of hard work and dedication. I am not saying that marriage is bad, but a wonderful and amazing thing, that does require work to keep it this way for the long run.

There are three things that everyone considering marriage should know before taking the road of no return. First, what they plan on pursuing as a career for the rest of their lives. Preparing for a career takes a tremendous amount of time and should be long considered and achieved before marriage is considered. Second thing to know is how to handle and budget money properly. One of the biggest arguments married couples face is on money issues. If one is already responsible with their money before marriage they will save themselves from hundreds of different battles with their spouse’s. Thirdly and most importantly is to know yourself. This is important because in order to know what one wants in a potential spouse, one must first understand who they are, and what they want in overall life.

One thing that marriage involves is getting to know your partner on a more personal, intimate level. One final thing to consider before marriage is to build a strong and solid friendship with a potential spouse. The saying “Friends before Lovers” has a significant truthful meaning.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Post 13 - Cool or not Kool?

Here we have an ad of a guy with one cigarette in each hand, two in his coat pocket and one right above his left ear. The guy’s body language is communicating to the audience, “look how cool I am because I have cigarettes”, which in reality the audience is thinking he is an utter fool. The ad is making fun of Kool cigarettes.

The ad uses a selection of rhetorical strategies to communicate its message across to people. One rhetorical strategy is comparison-contrast. Comparing what the observer of the ad is thinking of the guy to what the guy in the ad is thinking of him self. The words utter fool represent what the observers are thinking of the guy, and the guy represents just the opposite of the words, he thinks he is super cool.

Cigarette companies try to relay the message that if one smokes, than they are cool. For example, the real ad seriously advertising kool cigarettes shows an individual riding a bike, which state that he must be cool. Since he is cool, he must be a smoker. The ad poking fun at the kool company relays the truth about smoking, which is that if you smoke to be cool, you really are an utter fool. There is absolutely nothing cool about smoking. Smoking is an addiction that causes sickness and gives people bad breath and a series of other unwanted effects. The ones that are most vulnerable to becoming victims of cigarette ads in our culture are adolescents. Adolescents that are unaware of what the negative seriousness of smoking is, do to lack of proper knowledge.