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Success is a Routine

Erin Kelley Richards Dr. Matthew Horton English 1101 07 December 2011


Success is a Routine Table of Contents

Analytical Cover Letter....................................................................................................................1 Quality Comparison .........................................................................................................................4 Least Successful Article Response ......................................................................................4 Most Successful Article Response .......................................................................................6 “What’s the Difference?” .....................................................................................................8 Revision Samples ...........................................................................................................................10 Least Successful Article Response (with markup) ............................................................10 Least Successful Article Response (final) .........................................................................13 Most Successful Article Response (with markup) .............................................................15 Most Successful Article Response (final) ..........................................................................17 Most Successful Essay (with markup) ...............................................................................19 Most Successful Essay (final) ............................................................................................25


December 6, 2011 Matthew R. Horton, Ph. D. Assistant Professor of English Gainesville State College Oconee Campus 313b Oconee Classroom 1201 Bishop Farms Parkway Watkinsville, GA 30677 Dear Dr. Horton, My name is Erin Richards and I am a freshman at Gainesville State College. Through this class alone, I have improved immensely in my reading and writing skills. I have successfully managed to create and organize two blogs; something that I never dreamed I would be able to do. You taught me how to take effective notes on what I have read; a technique I now use in all my other classes. I learned how to be competent with the computer and use it to organize my work. I also feel like I mastered the ability to read and evaluate an article. I grasped the concept of cultural significance; which was extremely hard for me at first. In this class, I learned how to write a clean article essay. I thought I knew how to write when I first took this class, but I realized I have a lot left to work on. You have helped me achieve significant improvement in my writing skills. I think a lot of my achievements are demonstrated throughout my portfolio in the article responses and the article essay. My worst article response and my best article response do not even compare. You showed me how to combine sentences almost as if it were a math problem (which made it easier to understand). I also did not know that paragraphs in an article essay or article response are supposed to be about the same length. In my article essay, you showed me how to write my stages so that they are not just listed, one after the other. You also taught me, throughout this semester, how to argue one side in some essays, but yet, in some assignments, how to stay neutral and simply “shed light on the subject.” The most important thing I learned was that success is a routine. I learned in order to perform better in your class I had to get to sleep on time, begin on the writing assignments long before they were due, and constantly try to find ways to make my work better. My portfolio evidently shows how far I have come as a writer, and my ability to improve my work using the skills I have acquired through your class. My least successful article response is called Realization. It was my first writing assignment in English 1101 and is (by far) my worst. Because it was my first, it shows my lack of understanding on how to cleanly show the author’s point of view and the cultural significance. Many sentences throughout the response lack any witty arrangement of words or sentences. My ending sentences are abrupt and off topic. For example, I wrote, “For instance one must watch the gas gauge in a car to determine how much gas is left. That is what Berry challenges us to do, to realize how much gas we have got left so that we can determine when we might run out.” This statement is completely off topic and irrelevant to the cultural significance of Berry Windell’s article. My first paragraph is also composed of many sentences that are either irrelevant or my opinion. I changed many sentences in this article response to try to make them more abstract. For instance, I replaced the sentence that talks about the gas gauge with, “Berry 1


challenges us to, ‘re-examine the economic structures of our lives, and conform them to the tolerances and limits of our earthly places. Where there is no more, our one choice is to make the most and best of what we have.’” This sentence does a better job of clarifying what Windell argues, and it demonstrates a better way to sum up my article response. My most successful article response is called All For One and One For All. This assignment was much harder to improve on because it showed my best effort to perfect an article response. I selected it as my best article response because it flows smoothly throughout both paragraphs. I was completely on topic in the first paragraph. I demonstrated the ability to show the author’s point of view and his arguments that support his viewpoint. My sentences consist of combinations and linking words that are more complex. For example, I wrote, “He points out that, ‘When Democrat Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the House, the leader of the lawmaking branch of government, she said her priority was to ... elect more Democrats.’ On the other hand Edwards says, ‘the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said his goal was to ... prevent the Democratic president's reelection.’” This sentence shows my improvement on sentence combination and using the author’s quotes to fluently indicate my point. I still needed to polish and add a few sentences to complete it. I changed a few sentences from passive to active so that they are easier to understand. I even added a few that would bring more of the author’s argument into my response. An example of a sentence I added includes: “Congress functions not as a gathering of America’s chosen leaders to confront, together, the problems we face, but as competing armies determined to dominate or destroy.” This sentence adds to the author’s idea that Congress does not act as it should. My article essay is called The Circle of Life. I picked this article response over my first one because this one displays an issue that I felt personally attached to. It shows how I took one idea from the article and related it to a significant experience of my own. In the article, Evovle, I read about how technology and overpopulation has damaged some of the earth’s most precious ecosystems. This subject was touchy because I am adamant about the earth and the creatures that live on it. I related what the authors stated about overpopulation to me being a cancer prospect. I took their statement, “Technology, in short, made us human,” and made it into my own. I argued, in my essay, that technology did not make us human, technology made us monsters. This was my thesis because it is the underlying factor of my entire essay. I changed many of my sentences to try to make them less wordy. My starting sentence to my essay was also a little blunt. I changed it from, “In the article, Evolve, by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, the authors state that humans’ hands were designed to used tools,” to “In the article, Evolve, by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, the authors describe how humans developed into what we are today: imposable thumbs, premature babies, and big brains. They state that humans’ hands were designed to use tools, and, as our bodies, our brains, and tools evolved, so too did our ability to radically modify our environment.” I changed many sentences to try to polish up the transitions from one sentence to another. Although I have greatly improved, there is still a lot I have left to work on. I have a lot of trouble starting my writing assignments. Getting my ideas down on paper sometimes seems impossible to me. I also tend to get off topic extremely fast. When I was first writing both of my article essays, I would start with one idea and flip to another in the middle of my essays. I also have a problem constructing my stages in my article essay. They are not as smooth as I try 2


to make them. Even though I have expanded my use of sentence structure and words, I am starting to become redundant with the new words and structures. Some of my weaknesses also include my beginning and concluding paragraphs. Either they are rushed or too brief and I often start all of my assignments the same way. My goals consist of getting rid of the repetition in my writing, focusing more on my starting/ending paragraphs, and developing a wider variety of sentence structures and verbs. Along with those goals, I need to work on writing with length requirements while making the content exceptional at the same time. For the most part, I could either write the correct length or write with satisfactory content, but putting them both together was a struggle. I have a long way to go before my writing comes close to spectacular but I look forward to trying. The skills I have acquired and the skills I have yet to learn will stick with me throughout my life. My first assignment in your class was a disaster. I was expecting English 1101 to be a breeze, because I love to read and write. After that first assignment, I was very intimidated by your class and really focused on what I needed to do to perfect my writing skills. I realized that my writing started out mediocre but I feel like, throughout this class, I have greatly improved. I believe that this portfolio illustrates my improvement, especially when looking at my least successful article response compared with my most successful article response. The mark ups on both article responses and the article essay also show what I have learned through this semester, and that I can effectively apply my new skills. At the end of this journey, I feel good about what I have learned and I believe that my work in this portfolio is worthy of an A. Sincerely,

Erin Kelley Richards

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Least Successful Article Response Realization Berry, Wendell. "Faustian's Economics: Hell Hath No Limits." Harper's Magazine. The Harper's Magazine Foundation, May 2008. Web. 24 August 2011. According to Berry, people in America are extremely greedy. They desire to be free from limits in a world that cannot exist without limits. People do not want to help others, they only wish to help themselves. He says our society strives for limitless growth, limitless wealth, limitless natural resources, limitless energy, and limitless debt. With this idea of limitlessness, our economy turns more to predatory economics as apposed to community economics. And this will end in limitless destruction. Berry says we need to look at this from the art and religious perspective. There are limits in theatre, art, and dance, but that does not make the performances any less spectacular. In Berry's point of view, "an art does not propose to enlarge itself by limitless extension but rather to enrich itself within bounds that are accepted prior to the work." The religion aspect comes into play with how we should treat each other. Instead of trying only to pursue our own desires, we need to help our neighbors and the people around us. According to Berry we need to discover the art of living and do the best we have with what remains. Berry challenges the way we are living in America right now. He is challenging America's way of life with cars, jobs, and money. Our cell phones, pagers, iPads, and Mac computers are now a part of everyday life. Millions of cars are made each year and with social networking the world stays connected 24/7. This was not the case just twenty years ago. Most people living in the United States today are used to having technology. We do not question the way we live, because technology is part of American culture. People in America grow up with technological items including: Nintendo Wii's, movie theaters, xbox 360's, Facebook, twitter and

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smart boards. Berry's point of view is important because it influences us to pay attention to the direction in which we are headed. It allows us to be aware of our lifestyle whether we agree with him or not. All changes start with realization. For instance one must watch the gas gauge in a car to determine how much gas is left. That is what Berry challenges us to do; to realize how much gas we have got left so that we can determine when we might run out.

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Most Successful Article Response All For One and One For All Edwards, Mickey. "How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans." The Atlantic Magazine. The Atlantic Monthly Group, July/August 2011. Web. 8 September 2011. The author takes a neutral stand in the battle between Republicans and Democrats. Edwards is originally a Republican, but he argues that we should be paying more attention to the actual attributes of the people we're voting for rather than the political party they represent. According to Edwards, "Ours is a system focused not on collective problem-solving but on a struggle for power between two private organizations." The original idea of a democracy is a way to size up candidates for a public office and choose the person who is best suited for the position. In Edwards' opinion we should choose committee staff solely on the basis of professional qualifications. Therefore, committee staff members should be picked by a nonpartisan House or Senate administrator and should serve all members equally without a biased opinion to one party or the other. The Congress, by the Constitution, is suppose to be the voice of the people and to keep the executive branch in check. It's purpose is ultimately to allow members of Congress to come together to consider problems and potential solutions. Although Edwards is not for the party vs. party war that consumes politics today, he states, "The goal is not to destroy parties but to transcend them; to welcome their contributions but end their dominance; and to take back from these private clubs control of our own elections and our own Congress." The author's point of view challenges the audience to examine the political system. Our eyes are opened to the way the government is run. We then should look carefully at the people who are running for political positions. He informs us to select people, "not only for their policies but for their temperaments, knowledge, experience, and values." He points out that,

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"When Democrat Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the House, the leader of the lawmaking branch of government, she said her priority was to ... elect more Democrats." On the other hand Edwards says, "the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said his goal was to ... prevent the Democratic president's reelection." Despite the recession that has struck our economy, "our government leaders' first thoughts have been of party advantage." Edwards challenges us to imagine how different the congressional dynamic would be if a nonpartisan group made decisions regarding the country's affairs. If representatives are picked because of the party they represent, then they are more likely to make choices based solely off of the approval of their party. The biggest challenge in uniting the voting population is to find people who are not biased towards one party or the other, and will evaluate candidates based on what they represent despite party affiliation. Edwards' ideas are a big deal because he's challenging a voting system that has been present in America for many years.

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What’s the Difference? My least successful article response, Realization, had an abundance of generic sentences. The sentence structure was very concrete and straight-to-the-point without many complex sentence combinations. I started the article response with, “According to Berry, people in America are extremely greedy.” This is what I got from the article; this was not Berry’s point of view. The sentence, “People do not want to help others, they only wish to help themselves,” also does not display the author’s point of view, nor does it show any form of skilled writing. I had a lot of trouble finding the significance of the article when I was first attempting the article response. I rambled on about Americans and how many things they have today instead of telling the audience why Berry Windell’s point of view is culturally significant. I also only used one quote from his article. I learned that it is easier to show the author’s point of view through the use of some of his own words. Most of the content in my first Article Response was what I got from the article. It did not display the author’s point of view, his arguments on his point of view, or why that point of view was culturally significant. My most successful article response, All For One and One For All, was right on track with what the assignment asked for. I explained the author’s point of view with the American party system and I showed how his point of view was culturally significant. The paragraphs contain more complexly combined sentences, along with a variety of different verbs. I used more words like, “he argues,” or “he challenges,” or “our eyes are opened to” etc. The sentences flow much smoother and it is consistently on topic with what it is supposed to discuss. There is a clear conclusion and opening sentence. The author’s words are incorporated into my paragraphs just enough to show what the author really argues, but not so much that it is just comprised of quotes. My opening sentence in this article response was, “The author takes a neutral stand in

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the battle between Republicans and Democrats.” This is a much better opening than, “According to Berry, Americans are extremely greedy.” The opening sentence of my best Article Response has excitement and makes the article sound interesting. The sentences that follow contain just as much excitement and complexity than the opening sentence.

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Least Successful Article Response (mark up) Realization Berry, Wendell. "Faustian's Economics: Hell Hath No Limits." Harper's Magazine. The Harper's Magazine Foundation, May 2008. Web. 24 August 2011. In this article,According to Berry, people in America are extremely greedy describes the limitless lifestyle adopted by many Americans today. TheyBerry argues that many Americans

Comment [GSC1]: Berry does not say specifically that he thinks all Americans are extremely greedy. This was my interpretation of the article and not the author’s opinion. It also does not explain Berry’s point, nor is it an example or an argument to back up Berry’s point.

desire to be free from limits in a world that cannot exist without limits. He states that pPeople do not want to help others, they only wish to help themselves are more concerned with luxury items and money rather than helping others. He says o “ur society strives for limitless growth, limitless wealth, limitless natural resources, limitless energy, and limitless debtIn keeping our unrestrained consumptiveness, the commonly accepted basis of our economy is the supposed possibility of limitless growth, limitless wants, limitless wealth, limitless natural resources, limitless energy, and limitless debt.” With this idea of boundlessnesslimitlessness, our economy turneds more toward predatory economics as oapposed to community economics. And this will end in limitless destruction. To improve our damaged economy, Berry instructs says we need tous to look at this from thean art and religious perspective. There are limits in theatre, art, and dance, but that does not make the performances any less spectacular. In Berry's point of view,

Comment [GSC2]: I only used one quote from the article in this response. I found that it is easier to explain the author’s point of view by using some of the author’s words. Comment [GSC3]: Limitless was getting to repetitive and old. It takes away from what I’m trying to say in the Article Response. Comment [GSC4]: This sentence is too plain with no real abstract thought or sentence combination. Throughout this paragraph I found concrete, boring sentences without much variation in sentence structure.

"aAn art does not propose to enlarge itself by limitless extension but rather to enrich itself within bounds that are accepted prior to the work." The religion aspect comes into play with how we should treat each other. Instead of trying only to pursue our own desires, we need to help our neighbors and the people around us Berry believes that it is the artists, not the scientists, who have dealt unremittingly with the problem of limits. According to BerryHe insists that we need to discover the art of living and do the best we have with what remains. The author concludes

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Comment [GSC5]: I felt like this was more of my opinion than that of the authors and, for this assignment, my opinion is not relevant. This is the third time I have done this. This is another sentence that does not show how Berry feels or what he is trying to argue. Comment [GSC6]: I started most of my sentences with “According to Berry”, “In Berry’s point of view”, or “Berry states that”. It was getting too repetitive and it also takes away from what I’m actually trying to tell my audience. Reading it as an audience, I found it to get almost annoying.


that, “We will have to start over, with a different and much older premise: the naturalness and, for creatures of limited intelligence, the necessity, of limits.”

Comment [GSC7]: It needed a concluding sentence to wrap up the point of view of the author instead of blatantly ending it.

Berry The author reveals the faults in America’s economy todaychallenges the way we are living in America right now. Berry criticizes America’s “free market” economy that has been the basis of American culture for centuries. He believes that, “in the phrase ‘free market,’ the word ‘free’ has come to mean unlimited power for some, with the necessary consequence of economic powerlessness for others.” Berry introduces an idea called community economics, or “a sharing of fate,” that would possibly end the power/powerless cycle that currently envelopes

Comment [GSC8]: Berry really hit America’s economy pretty hard. He repeatedly talks about the economically powerful against the economically powerless. This is one of the main culturally significant aspect of Berry’s article that I did not include.

America. His ideas of imposing limits, community economics, and helping the ecosystem are so far from the values America has adopted today. He is challenging America's way of life with cars, jobs, and money. Our cell phones, pagers, iPads, and Mac computers are now a part of everyday life. Millions of cars are made each year and with social networking the world stays connected 24/7. This was not the case just twenty years ago. He informs us that hitting, “these limits at top speed is not a rational choice. To start slowing down, with the idea of avoiding catastrophe, is a rational choice and a viable one if we can recover the necessary political sanity.”

Comment [GSC9]: This does not show why this article is significant or why the audience should care. This, again, was my idea rather than the significance of what the author is really getting at. Berry is not telling us to get rid of these things, and although he does mention technology, his article is not solely challenging Americans and their technology. He mentions the use of natural resources but he doesn’t talk about getting rid of iPhones, cars, or technology.

Most people living in the United States today are used to having technology. We do not question the way we live, because technology is part of American culture. People in America grow up with technological items including: Nintendo Wii's, movie theaters, xbox 360's, Facebook, twitter and smart boards. Berry's point of view is important to consider because it pushesinfluences us to pay attention to the economic direction in which America we are headedis headed. It propelsallows us to be aware of our lifestyles and of the impact our lifestyles have on the economy/ecosystem. whether we agree with him or not. All changes start with realization. Berry challenges us to, “re-examine the economic structures of our lives, and

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Comment [GSC10]: I needed to be more specific. We could have been us as individuals, our economy, our ecosystem, our country, our world, etc. Comment [GSC11]: We are “allowed” to do whatever we want with our lifestyles. Berry is really enlightening us to what’s going on, and pushing us to slow down with our lifestyles and wants just a little bit. Comment [GSC12]: We are going to be aware of our lifestyles “whether we agree with him or not” anyway. This is not about agreeing with Berry or not agreeing with Berry and that does not need to be states.


conform them to the tolerances and limits of our earthly places. Where there is no more, our one choice is to make the most and best of what we have.”For instance one must watch the gas gauge in a car to determine how much gas is left. That is what Berry challenges us to do; to realize how much gas we have got left so that we can determine when we might run out.

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Comment [GSC13]: This sentences was awful… This is completely irrelevant to the significance of Berry’s article. And it has nothing to do with why anyone should care… It also does not clarify: run out of what? Natural resources? Money? Health?


Least Successful Article Response (final) Realization Berry, Wendell. "Faustian's Economics: Hell Hath No Limits." Harper's Magazine. The Harper's Magazine Foundation, May 2008. Web. 24 August 2011. In this article, Berry describes the limitless lifestyle adopted by many Americans today. Berry argues that many Americans desire to be free from limits in a world that cannot exist without limits. He states that people are more concerned with luxury items and money rather than helping others. “In keeping our unrestrained consumptiveness, the commonly accepted basis of our economy is the supposed possibility of limitless growth, limitless wants, limitless wealth, limitless natural resources, limitless energy, and limitless debt.” With this idea of boundlessness, our economy turned more toward predatory economics as opposed to community economics. To improve our damaged economy, Berry instructs us to look at this from an art perspective. There are limits in theatre, art, and dance, but that does not make the performances any less spectacular. "An art does not propose to enlarge itself by limitless extension but rather to enrich itself within bounds that are accepted prior to the work." Berry believes that it is the artists, not the scientists, who have dealt unremittingly with the problem of limits. He insists that we need to discover the art of living and do the best we have with what remains. The author concludes that, “We will have to start over, with a different and much older premise: the naturalness and, for creatures of limited intelligence, the necessity, of limits.” The author reveals the faults in America’s economy today. Berry criticizes America’s “free market” economy that has been the basis of American culture for centuries. He believes that, “in the phrase ‘free market,’ the word ‘free’ has come to mean unlimited power for some, with the necessary consequence of economic powerlessness for others.” Berry introduces an

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idea called community economics, or “a sharing of fate,” that would possibly end the power/powerless cycle that currently envelopes America. His ideas of imposing limits, community economics, and helping the ecosystem are so far from the values America has adopted today. He informs us that hitting, “these limits at top speed is not a rational choice. To start slowing down, with the idea of avoiding catastrophe, is a rational choice and a viable one if we can recover the necessary political sanity.” Berry's point of view is important to consider because it pushes us to pay attention to the economic direction in which America is headed. It propels us to be aware of our lifestyles and of the impact our lifestyles have on the economy/ecosystem. Berry challenges us to, “re-examine the economic structures of our lives, and conform them to the tolerances and limits of our earthly places. Where there is no more, our one choice is to make the most and best of what we have.”

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Most Successful Article Response (mark up) All For One and One For All Edwards, Mickey. "How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans." The Atlantic Magazine. The Atlantic Monthly Group, July/August 2011. Web. 8 September 2011. The author takes a neutral stand in the battle between Republicans and Democrats. Edwards isis originally a Republican, but he argues that we should be paying morepay more

Comment [GSC1]: Passive writing is not as easily understand than active so I switched this sentence to active.

attention to the actual attributes of the people we're voting for rather than the political party they represent. According to Edwards, "Ours is a system focused not on collective problem-solving but on a struggle for power between two private organizations." The original idea of a democracy is a way to size up candidates for a public office and choose the person who is best suited for the position. In Edwards' opinion we should choose committee staff solely on the basis of professional qualifications. Therefore, a nonpartisan House or Senate administer should select committee staff members that should be picked by a nonpartisan House or Senate administrator

Comment [GSC2]: “Should be picked” is a passive sentence. Sentences using passive voice are often a poor and wordy way to express thoughts.

and should serve all other members equally without a biased opinion to one party or the other. The Congress, by the Constitution, is supposed to be the voice of the people and to keep the executive branch in check. It'sIts purpose is ultimately to allow members of Congress to come together to consider problems and potential solutions. Congress functions not as a gathering of America’s chosen leaders to confront, together, the problems we face, but as competing armies determined to dominate or destroy. Although Edwards is not for the party vs. party war that consumes politics today, he states, "The goal is not to destroy parties but to transcend them; to welcome their contributions but end their dominance; and to take back from these private clubs control of our own elections and our own Congress."

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Comment [GSC3]: I added this because it adds on to the idea of Congress. In the sentences before it, I told what Congress is suppose to do but not what it actually does. I added this sentence to clarify what the author actually believes the Congress does for America.


The author's point of view challenges the audience to examine America’sthe political system. Our eyes are opened to the way the government is run. We then should look carefully at the people who are running for political positions. He informs us to select people, "not only for their policies but for their temperaments, knowledge, experience, and values." Once elected into Congress, U.S. representatives are dividing into warring camps. He points out that, "When Democrat Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the House, the leader of the lawmaking branch of

Comment [GSC4]: I felt like (although it’s obvious to me) this needed to be more specific so people know which political system I’m talking about. Comment [GSC5]: I really liked these to sentences because in the first one I talk about how our eyes have been opened to this new idea, and in the second sentence I talk about how (now that our eyes are open) we should look at candidates in a new light. Comment [GSC6]: I added this sentence because it prepares the audience for the examples the author gives on how, exactly, these parties have really turned into battling groups.

government, she said her priority was to ... elect more Democrats." On the other hand Edwards says, "the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said his goal was to ... prevent the Democratic president's reelection." Despite the recession that has struck our economy, "our government leaders' first thoughts have been of party advantage." Originally, parties were factions uniting on a few major issues, not marching in lockstep on every issue, large and small. Edwards challenges us to imagine how different the congressional dynamic would be if a

Comment [GSC7]: I felt I needed to talk more about the parties, because a lot of what I talk about is mainly about Congress (which is a huge part of it) but I just felt that I needed to bring it back to the cultural significance of parties.

nonpartisan group made decisions regarding the country's affairs. If representatives are selectedpicked as a result because of the party they represent, then they are more likely to make choices based solely off of the approval of their party. The biggest challenge in uniting the

Comment [GSC8]: “Because” is a plain, simple linking word and I replaced it with “as a result of” which sounds more sophisticated and shows a tiny bit of higher level writing.

voting population is to find people who are not biased towards one party or the other, and will evaluate candidates based on what they represent despite party affiliation. Until then, the American government will go on the way it has, not as a collective enterprise but as a battle between opposing tribes. Edwards' ideas are important to a big deal becauseconsider because he's is challenging a voting system that has been present in America for centuries. many years.

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Comment [GSC9]: I switched “many years” to “centuries” because many years could imply ten, twenty, or fifty years when the system has really been around for hundreds of years.


Most Successful Article Response (final) All For One and One For All Edwards, Mickey. "How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans." The Atlantic Magazine. The Atlantic Monthly Group, July/August 2011. Web. 8 September 2011. The author takes a neutral stand in the battle between Republicans and Democrats. Edwards is originally a Republican, but he argues that we should pay more attention to the actual attributes of the people we're voting for rather than the political party they represent. According to Edwards, "Ours is a system focused not on collective problem-solving but on a struggle for power between two private organizations." The original idea of a democracy is a way to size up candidates for a public office and choose the person who is best suited for the position. In Edwards' opinion we should choose committee staff solely on the basis of professional qualifications. Therefore, a nonpartisan House or Senate administer should select committee staff members that serve all other members equally without a biased opinion to one party or the other. The Congress, by the Constitution, is supposed to be the voice of the people and to keep the executive branch in check. Its purpose is ultimately to allow members of Congress to come together to consider problems and potential solutions. Congress functions not as a gathering of America’s chosen leaders to confront, together, the problems we face, but as competing armies determined to dominate or destroy. Although Edwards is not for the party vs. party war that consumes politics today, he states, "The goal is not to destroy parties but to transcend them; to welcome their contributions but end their dominance; and to take back from these private clubs control of our own elections and our own Congress." The author's point of view challenges the audience to examine America’s political system. Our eyes are opened to the way the government is run. We then should look carefully at

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the people who are running for political positions. He informs us to select people, "not only for their policies but for their temperaments, knowledge, experience, and values." Once elected into Congress, U.S. representatives are dividing into warring camps. He points out that, "When Democrat Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the House, the leader of the lawmaking branch of government, she said her priority was to ... elect more Democrats." On the other hand Edwards says, "the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said his goal was to ... prevent the Democratic president's reelection." Despite the recession that has struck our economy, "our government leaders' first thoughts have been of party advantage." Originally, parties were factions uniting on a few major issues, not marching in lockstep on every issue, large and small. Edwards challenges us to imagine how different the congressional dynamic would be if a nonpartisan group made decisions regarding the country's affairs. If representatives are selected as a result of the party they represent, then they are more likely to make choices based solely off of the approval of their party. The biggest challenge in uniting the voting population is to find people who are not biased towards one party or the other, and will evaluate candidates based on what they represent despite party affiliation. Until then, the American government will go on the way it has, not as a collective enterprise but as a battle between opposing tribes. Edwards' ideas are important to consider because he is challenging a voting system that has been present in America for centuries.

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Most Successful Article Essay (mark up) Erin Richards Dr. H English 1101 14 October 2011 The Circle of Life In the article, Evolve, by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, the authors describe how humans developed into what we are today: imposable thumbs, premature babies, and big brains. They state that humans’ hands were designed to use tools, and, as our bodies, our brains, and tools evolved, so too did our ability to radically modify our environment. With these new tools, humans “increasingly walked upright, hunted, ate meat, and evolved.” The authors claim “Technology, in short, made us human.” As we became more adept with our new weapons, “We hunted mammoths and other species to extinction. We torched whole forests and savannas in

Comment [GSC1]: I went into the point I wanted to talk about from the article a little too fast. I think adding the sentences in front of the “humans’ hands” sentence helps to smoothly flow into what I want to talk about. I also added the sentence after it because I felt like it also made the transition into the next sentence a little smoother. A lot of my sentences in this essay needed to be polished up a little bit to make the transitions from one idea to another or one sentence to another a lot cleaner.

order to flush prey and clear land for agriculture.” While our capabilities to transform our environment have, over the last century, expanded substantially, the trend is long standing.Humans inhabit the earth with many other species, but humans are far from sharing. Humans have expanded in extremely large numbers and are continuing to try to clear more land to supply these numbers with places to live. With our increasingly advanced technology, “The world’s great, diverse, and ancient forests are being converted to tree plantations, farms, and ranches. Humans are causing massive, unprecedented extinctions on Earth due to habitat destruction. We are on the verge of losing primates in the wild. We have so overfished the oceans that most of the big fish are gone.” The risks now faced by humanity are increasingly ones of our own making—and ones over which we have only partial, tentative, and temporary

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Comment [GSC2]: This idea doesn’t need to be here. Some of my sentences in this essay aren’t needed and some aren’t even important in what I’m trying to say. Comment [GSC3]: Including this sentence in my paper makes this idea too redundant because it appears again and again in my essay.


control. The problems created by humans affect ecosystems around the world and some of these problems cannot be undone. In short, technology did not make us human. Technology made us

Comment [GSC4]: This sentence is a better way to say what I was trying to say in the sentence after it that was deleted.

monsters. Not everyone wants the help that our new, and improved technologies offer. It is rare, in American society,In American society though, it is very rare for a young patientperson with a fighting chance to refuse treatment. Such a decision, in a society that proudly advocates medicine, is not easy for the majority to comprehend. It is almost like breaking a social norm. People refuse to even try to understand why people in that situation do what they do. On

Comment [GSC5]: This idea isn’t important in my explanation for how society will react because I have already stated that it is uncommon for people to understand so to continue with this idea is too much.

October 4, 2011, I went in to the Doctor’s office for an ordinary check up. After the check up was over, the doctor insisted that I come back for more tests on a following day of the week, as he believed my stomach might possess some problems. I have had stomach intolerances to an array of foods since I was little, but my stomach problems have recently intensified. As a result

Comment [GSC6]: Before I start talking about my stomach problems I need to introduce why I am all of the sudden going to start talking about how I’ve had stomach trouble for a long time.

Because of the situation, he believed I might have gastric cancer. Being the daughter of a doctor, I knew the response he was anticipating. My response was far from the one he was expecting, but, when he pressured me for the response he was seekinglooking for, I did not argue my position. Instead, I avoided the confrontation and went along with his instructions. There are many reasons why I avoided it, but I still did not concedegive in to the doctor’s decision. Cancer is not the problem. The uncontrolled, increasing human population is the problem, along with the technology that permits it. The doctor’s expectations were clear. He informed me that I needed to come back for more tests, and told me to make an appointment. When he told me I might have gastric cancer and that I needed to come back for more tests, he looked as though he already knew the answer that was coming. He did not phrase it in a question; he did not ask if I wanted to come back in

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Comment [GSC7]: This sentence is a little too wordy for what I’m trying to say. It also sounds a little too plain and needed a little more structure.


for more tests. He simply told me that I must come back so they can take appropriate measures if I do have cancer. My answer came as a shock. My first response was to decline his offer. “No,” was my automatic first response. The doctor went on to explain the importance of the situation and how some cancers can be cured if the problem is stopped in time. I gave in to his reasoning to avoid the argument, but I was far from complying. He scheduled an appointment for me that would consist of a series of tests to figure out what some of the problems were. Almost immediately after As soon as I walked out of the office doordoor to that office, I called and canceled the appointment. The second he mentioned cancer, I knew instantly what I would do; whether or not I have cancer is not a concern to me. I knew up front what I was going to do the minute he mentioned cancer, because I do not want to know whether or not I have cancer. Although it remains a relaxed issue in my eyes, I realized it would not be the same to my family

Comment [GSC8]: This was another repetitive sentence that needed to be revised in my essay. It was also too informal. It sounds like I’m talking to my friends.

and to my doctor; I realized what they would expect me to do.I also knew what I would be expected to do by the doctor and by my family members. Although my automatic response was denial, I did not defend my position openly to the doctor. I believedknew he would probably think I was a “wack job.” This is a term my mother uses when I refuse to take pills and antibiotics when I am sick. Even my father informedtold me that I needed to “quit being so radical.” I could not expect the doctor to understand where I was coming from. I knew, with his profession, that he probably believed the refusal of medication to be a ridiculous choice. young people who refuse treatment are idiots. In any case, he probably has never had a young patientperson tell him they do not want to see whether or notwhether they have cancer. He did not even ask me why this was my decision. He adamantly continued to press the importance of the situation by giving me statistics about the number of people who die from cancer every year. According to him, it is the second highest cause of death in America

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Comment [GSC9]: This sounds much more sophisticated and complex than “young people who refuse treatment are idiots.” It is a formal essay and it needs to sounds like one. Comment [GSC10]: “Whether or not” was a little too wordy and not necessary here.


today. His facts on the issue had the opposite affect on me, but I gave in at his office to avoid having to explain totell him why I was refusing to even find out if I had cancer. I also avoided the situation because I did not want him to judge me by my decision. Beliefs that venture so far from that of the majority’s cannot be easily accepted or even understood. There are quite a few reasons why I push so strongly against medication. The main reason is my love for the earth and the earth’s creatures. Death is a cruel, but necessary, evil. It keeps each species from becoming overly powerful and destructive. Human beings seem to have trouble accepting that death is a crucial part to a balanced life on Earth. Keeping so many people alive has caused many other organisms to suffer. Habitat destruction due to the widening population is adversely affecting many species of animals. Many species of animals are decreasing in large numbers due to habitat destruction. Human populations need more and more room to live and food to eat. The earth can hardly feed the number of mouths we currently have,

Comment [GSC11]: I played around with a different sentence structure because my sentences are all pretty close to the same structure throughout my essay.

yet we continue to turn our noses up to the idea of human limitations. Our precious Earth has limits that are becoming smaller as we continue to expand. Humans do not even take care of the places they inhabit. We dump large amounts of trash into the rivers and oceans, without a concern as to whom it affects. There are still damages from the oil spill that happened almost a

Comment [GSC12]: This sentence by itself seems dead. It needed an idea to follow up with to make it sound better.

year ago, but people are satisfied as long as their fabulous cars are running. No, death from illnesses and diseases is not the tragedy it is accused of being made out to be. The real tragedy is the environmental problems on Earth that we refuse to see. going on all around us. Technology has fueled our arrogant attitudes. It has allowed us to keep thousands of people alive that would have died otherwise. Even still, technology is not what is destructive. It is what we do with technology that is destructive. Chopping down entire forests, causing many animals to die because of habitat loss, and overfishing the ocean to feed millions of people are

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Comment [GSC13]: “going on all around us” is not specific and leaves a lot of room for interpretation. The environmental problems on Earth is a little more specific and tells my audience really what I’m trying to get at.


not new problems. Keeping more people alive than we have room for is one of the relatively new problems that came about as a result of technology. Curing diseases like cancer allows the human population to grow without an equalizing, balancing force. I still do not know what is wrong with my stomach, nor do I care. My beliefs about the earth and the way we should be living go way beyond my life, because dying is inevitable. I know I will die someday, but the earth is my primary concern right now; treated better, the earth still has many, many years left to offer. If we do not take care of our planet, there will be consequences. If we do not place any limits on our populations or actions, then the entire planet will suffer as a result. The intentions of technology are generally good, but the monsters that abuse technology will ruin the planet for everyone.

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Works Cited Shellenberger, Michael, and Ted Nordhaus. "Evolve." Orion Magazine. Orion, September/October 2011. Web. 6 October 2011.

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Most Successful Article Essay (final) Erin Richards Dr. H English 1101 14 October 2011 The Circle of Life In the article, Evolve, by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, the authors describe how humans developed into what we are today: imposable thumbs, premature babies, and big brains. They state that humans’ hands were designed to use tools, and, as our bodies, our brains, and tools evolved, so too did our ability to radically modify our environment. With these new tools, humans “increasingly walked upright, hunted, ate meat, and evolved.” The authors claim “Technology, in short, made us human.” As we became more adept with our new weapons, “We hunted mammoths and other species to extinction. We torched whole forests and savannas in order to flush prey and clear land for agriculture.” While our capabilities to transform our environment have, over the last century, expanded substantially, the trend is long standing. With our increasingly advanced technology, “The world’s great, diverse, and ancient forests are being converted to tree plantations, farms, and ranches. Humans are causing massive, unprecedented extinctions on Earth due to habitat destruction. We are on the verge of losing primates in the wild. We have so overfished the oceans that most of the big fish are gone.” The risks now faced by humanity are increasingly ones of our own making—and ones over which we have only partial, tentative, and temporary control. In short, technology did not make us human. Technology made us monsters.

25


Not everyone wants the help that our new, improved technologies offer. It is rare, in American society, for a young patient with a fighting chance to refuse treatment. Such a decision, in a society that proudly advocates medicine, is not easy for the majority to comprehend. On October 4, 2011, I went in to the Doctor’s office for an ordinary check up. After the check up was over, the doctor insisted that I come back for more tests on a following day of the week, as he believed my stomach might possess some problems. I have had stomach intolerances to an array of foods since I was little, but my stomach problems have recently intensified. As a result of the situation, he believed I might have gastric cancer. Being the daughter of a doctor, I knew the response he was anticipating. My response was far from the one he was expecting, but, when he pressured me for the response he was seeking, I did not argue my position. Instead, I avoided the confrontation and went along with his instructions. There are many reasons why I avoided it, but I still did not concede to the doctor’s decision. Cancer is not the problem. The uncontrolled, increasing human population is the problem, along with the technology that permits it. The doctor’s expectations were clear. He informed me that I needed to come back for more tests, and told me to make an appointment. He did not phrase it in a question; he did not ask if I wanted to come back in for more tests. He simply told me that I must come back so they can take appropriate measures if I do have cancer. My answer came as a shock. My first response was to decline his offer. The doctor went on to explain the importance of the situation and how some cancers can be cured if the problem is stopped in time. I gave in to his reasoning to avoid the argument, but I was far from complying. He scheduled an appointment for me that would consist of a series of tests to figure out what some of the problems were. Almost immediately after I walked out of the office door, I called and canceled the appointment. The

26


second he mentioned cancer, I knew instantly what I would do; whether or not I have cancer is not a concern to me. Although it remains a relaxed issue in my eyes, I realized it would not be the same to my family and to my doctor. I realized what they would expect me to do. Although my automatic response was denial, I did not defend my position openly to the doctor. I believed he would probably think I was a “wack job.” This is a term my mother uses when I refuse to take pills and antibiotics when I am sick. Even my father informed me that I needed to “quit being so radical.” I could not expect the doctor to understand where I was coming from. I knew, with his profession, that he probably believed the refusal of medication to be a ridiculous choice. In any case, he probably has never had a young patient tell him they do not want to see whether they have cancer. He did not even ask me why this was my decision. He adamantly continued to press the importance of the situation by giving me statistics about the number of people who die from cancer every year. According to him, it is the second highest cause of death in America today. His facts on the issue had the opposite affect on me, but I gave in at his office to avoid having to explain to him why I was refusing to even find out if I had cancer. I also avoided the situation because I did not want him to judge me by my decision. Beliefs that venture so far from that of the majority’s cannot be easily accepted or even understood. There are quite a few reasons why I push so strongly against medication. The main reason is my love for the earth and the earth’s creatures. Death is a cruel, but necessary, evil. It keeps each species from becoming overly powerful and destructive. Human beings seem to have trouble accepting that death is a crucial part to a balanced life on Earth. Keeping so many people alive has caused many other organisms to suffer. Habitat destruction due to the widening population is adversely affecting many species of animals. Human populations need more and

27


more room to live and food to eat. The earth can hardly feed the number of mouths we currently have, yet we continue to turn our noses up to the idea of human limitations. Our precious Earth has limits that are becoming smaller as we continue to expand. Humans do not even take care of the places they inhabit. We dump large amounts of trash into the rivers and oceans, without a concern as to whom it affects. There are still damages from the oil spill that happened almost a year ago, but people are satisfied as long as their fabulous cars are running. No, death from illnesses and diseases is not the tragedy it is accused of being. The real tragedy is the environmental problems on Earth that we refuse to see. Technology has fueled our arrogant attitudes. It has allowed us to keep thousands of people alive that would have died otherwise. Even still, technology is not what is destructive. It is what we do with technology that is destructive. Chopping down entire forests, causing many animals to die because of habitat loss, and overfishing the ocean to feed millions of people are not new problems. Keeping more people alive than we have room for is one of the relatively new problems that came about as a result of technology. Curing diseases like cancer allows the human population to grow without an equalizing, balancing force. I still do not know what is wrong with my stomach, nor do I care. My beliefs about the earth and the way we should be living go way beyond my life, because dying is inevitable. I know I will die someday, but the earth is my primary concern right now; treated better, the earth still has many, many years left to offer. If we do not take care of our planet, there will be consequences. If we do not place any limits on our populations or actions, then the entire planet will suffer as a result. The intentions of technology are generally good, but the monsters that abuse technology will ruin the planet for everyone.

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Works Cited Shellenberger, Michael, and Ted Nordhaus. "Evolve." Orion Magazine. Orion, September/October 2011. Web. 6 October 2011.

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Final Portfolio