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Magazine

the lazy day summer issue Created by Krista Porter


Table of Contents

Pages 3-4………………………...……………Reflective Essay

Pages 5-7……………………………………Substantial Revision

Pages 9-10………………………………………..Genre Change

Pages 12-14…………………………………Reader Responses


All in a Semester’s Work As a writer, it’s important to be able to expand and explore an idea or topic for an assignment by taking it in different directions. Through a substantial revision of a paper, writers are able to take a different stand on an argument, as I did in my evaluation of The Office and its stereotype of Catholics in my Op-Ed essay. A genre change allows writers to branch out to more creative types of assignments, such as the book review that I wrote based on my rhetorical analysis for The Hunger Games. This portfolio assignment has become an opportunity to take a second glance at previous assignments and in turn, grow as a writer by reevaluating my work I produced this fall semester. My topic selections for both my substantial revision and genre change were generally easy decisions to make. With my substantial revision, I decided to use a counterargument of my Op-Ed assignment because when I wrote the original essay, I found that there were many contradictions to my claim that The Office broke down the stereotype that Catholics are model citizens through their moral actions. I discovered that because The Office is a satire, many of the characters’ actions and dialogues are sarcastic, leaving me with the conclusion that show may indeed be building up the stereotype of Catholics as model citizens. I also uncovered many counterarguments that I was unable to prove wrong in my original paper. For example, when Angela changes by becoming less judgmental of her coworkers and more accepting of gays by the final seasons, she could be interpreted as no longer a practicing Catholic, given that she doesn’t even marry in a church in the series finale episode. When I wrote the original Op-Ed, I chose The Office as my focus television show to evaluate because I had recently finished the series and discovered that there were many stereotypes to be explored. Narrowing it down to the Catholic stereotype was an easy decision, because I felt like I, as a practicing Catholic, am exposed to many of these stereotypes in our society. As a young adult, it’s been important for me to challenge and question various aspects of the religion that I grew up with, and I can relate to the idea that Catholics come across as hypocritical, just like Angela is portrayed as. As for my genre change, I was drawn to the idea of doing a book review of The Hunger Games that I had previously written a rhetorical analysis about. I absolutely loved the book and all of the hidden messages that Suzanne Collins had revealed through the portrayal of the fictional society of Panem. By doing a book review, I was able to express my interest in the novel as a sort of critique of our society, which is what I picked up on as I read the novel multiple times. In light of the sequel novel’s movie adaptation, Catching Fire, being released, I began to realize that The Hunger Games possesses the groundwork for a story about a corrupt society and rebellion, in which Collins points out, could be in our future. Writing a book review was the perfect way to express what I enjoyed about the novel, including the importance of Katniss’ image as a main character and the structure of Collins’ complex vision of Panem, and how each of these ideas relates to our society. The genre change assignment allowed us students to figuratively write for different audience, which in turn, sparked creativity. Because The Hunger Games is a pop culture phenomena, people of all ages around the world could be possible readers and analysts of any of its book reviews. Keeping this in mind, I was able to explore a different type of writing other than what we’ve produced this semester.


Throughout the semester, my writing process has been modified with each assignment. I used to skip the planning stages of writing for the sake of saving time, which proved to be dysfunctional. My theses weren’t backed up by sufficient or relevant evidence, which ultimately lead to an underdeveloped essay. With these final assignments enclosed in my portfolio, I made outlines, which in turn helped me stay more organized. They also surprisingly saved time because I wasn’t up late desperately searching for ideas to reach the world limits while drafting my essays. Other than using outlines, I also found it helpful to make various drafts of an assignment, because there’s always something in a paper that could use improving. I find it very frustrating that writing is never perfect, and there are a multitude of changes that can be applied to the final product. Through the use of copy editing in my substantial revision, I found that there are many different ways to say a single sentence, and writing is all about finding the best ways to say things that ultimately make sense when you put words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs. I also learned that asking “so what?” after each sentence helps connect ideas and creates a smooth flow throughout the assignment, leaving no ideas without evidence to back them up. I can attest to the fact that I have become a better writer since this semester has begun. This portfolio project has been an asset to my writings skills that I’ll be able to use throughout my college experience. Learning to proofread and revise through the substantial revision will be something that I will carry with me for the next few years. Exploring different methods of writing through the genre change assignment has given me the opportunity to decide which types of writing I enjoy more than others. I may not be certain of what I want to do with my life just yet, but I know that I definitely want to choose a career that involves these skills that I have learned in English 101.


Christ-Like Corruption The Office is a mockumentary of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company located in Scranton, PA. A single camera follows the lives of Dunder Mifflin employees, both inside and outside of work. It depicts the successes of their lives, including weddings, birthdays, and births of children, as well as the trials and obstacles that they, like any average American, would face. Many diverse characters make up the employees of the office, including conservative and judgmental Angela Martin, who embodies the stereotype of a typical white Catholic woman. The show portrays Angela as an extremely religious, very judgmental and orthodox individual, constantly using her Catholic morals to comment on daily on-goings in the office. Catholics are taught to “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt. 7:1-5), therefore implying that The Office supports the stereotype that Catholics are hypocrites and constantly defy their moral code. The satirical stance that the show possesses exists to make fun of Catholic people for not practicing what they preach. Throughout the early episodes of The Office, Angela Martin comes across as a nun straight out of the convent. She clearly displays her disgust for the liberal actions of her coworkers through her dialogue and actions. For example, when her coworker, Pam, kissed another coworker, Jim, while she was engaged to another man, Angela called her a slut. She also verbally judges coworker Meredith whenever she goes about her liberal lifestyle of casual sex, revealing dress, and foul language. She proclaims, more than once, that green is a “whorish color” when it comes to decorating for the various office parties. While demeaning others for basic human slipups, Angela spends her time crooning over her many cats, putting up posters of babies dressed as adults, and being practically perfect in every way. The first account of hypocriticalness is made obvious when she judges others. Because Catholics are taught to “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt. 7:1-5), Angela defies the teachings of The Holy Bible by ridiculing her coworkers in humiliating ways. She always says how she feels about a person to their face, therefore provoking embarrassment from the harassed party and coming across as just downright rude. This isn’t very Catholic-like by any means. Angela’s second account of hypocriticalness happens in later seasons when she cheats on not one, but two of her significant others with the same coworker, Dwight. Not only is this hypocritical because she judged Pam for doing the same thing, but it also goes against the teachings of the Bible, specifically both the seventh and ninth commandments, which are “thou shalt not commit adultery” and “thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Exod. 20: 1–17). This means that Angela defies her religion by cheating on her significant others and lying about it. She also lies about the father of her child, saying that it was her husband’s when it was actually Dwight’s.


As the series continues, Angela becomes more and more accepting of her gay coworker, Oscar. After the employees of Dunder Mifflin discover that Oscar is gay, Angela immediately shows disgust through her actions and her dialogue. She refuses to touch anything that Oscar has touched, and avoids physical contact with him at all costs. She constantly uses hand sanitizer and treats him as though he has some type of fatal disease. During that episode, Angela states that she watches Will and Grace, which is a sitcom that portrays homosexual characters, and then says it makes her “want to throw up.” The actual real-world stereotype about Catholics’ negative viewpoints on gays is derived from the Catholic belief that “marriage is a faithful, exclusive and lifelong union between one man and one woman, joined as husband and wife in an intimate partnership of life and love” (CNS), which is interpreted as depriving gays from being able to express their affections for each other through marriage. Therefore, gays feel attacked by the Catholic church and their beliefs. According to americancatholic.org, the bishops cited a recent Vatican document that called legal recognition of same-sex unions "gravely unjust," which clearly goes against any gays’ desires to obtain legal rights under any type of bondage. This stereotype of Catholics is contradicted by a different stereotype of Catholics saying that they’re hypocritical. Because Catholics are taught to "Love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13:8-10), they are defying their religion by criticizing and ostracizing the gay community. Regardless of sexual orientation, race, appearance, or actions, it is the acceptance of all types of people that makes the Catholic religion desirable. Therefore, Angela’s judgmental views toward Oscar make her a hypocrite of her religion- just like what many other Catholics are guilty of in today’s society.


When Angela Martin has an epiphany and a complete change of heart toward the end of the series, it may seem as if she’s becoming a better Catholic. By accepting Oscar’s sexuality and asking him to be the godfather of her son, she appears to no longer be disgusted by gays. She also comes to terms with her various episodes of cheating on her significant others and no longer judges Pam for her same past mistakes. She winds up marrying the love of her life and father of her son- Dwight Schrute, which may seem like the right thing to do as a Catholic. However, it is quite clear that Angela is no longer a practicing Catholic toward the end of The Office series. When Angela exchanged vows with Dwight in the series finale, they do so at an outdoor venue. Catholicism states that “The Church in which one has been baptized and confirmed, receives Holy Communion and professes faith, ought to be the Church in which one is married” (Saunders), therefore Angela cannot possibly be a practicing Catholic at the time of her marriage.

     

The parallel between Angela’s revelation and discontinuity of her religious practices correspond with her judgmental attitude and proclamation of her religious beliefs in the early seasons of The Office. She cannot be considered a “good Catholic” by accepting Oscar for his sexual orientation, or for ceasing to harshly judge her

  coworkers. While preaching her religious values and judging others at the same time, she defies the teachings of The Holy Bible. She is considered hypocritical for lying and cheating on her significant others through the seventh and    

ninth commandments. Finally, her revelation at the end of the series is accompanied by hard evidence that she is no longer a practicing Catholic. The Office is successful in proving that Angela Martin, who is a representative of the Catholic religion, is a hypocrite, therefore coming to the conclusion that Catholics in general are hypocrites.

 

 

 

Sources   Saunders, Rev. William. "Do Catholics have to be married in the Catholic Church?." Arlington Catholic Herald.   "The Catholic Church, Homosexuality and Gay Marriage." The Catholic Church, Homosexuality and Gay Marriage. Franciscan Media, 2003. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.   "72 Bible Verses about Lying." What Does the Bible Say About Lying? Good News Publishers, n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.


Looking Through a Crystal Ball Why Fiction Should Scare Us Suzanne Collins created much more than a novel when The Hunger Games was published on September 14th, 2008. The science-fiction phenomena provoked an excited response from all ages and genders around the world, which developed into one of the largest fan bases centered on a novel series, mimicking those of Harry Potter and Twilight. However, what sets Collins’ work apart from other fan favorites is embedded in the believability of the plot. Realistically speaking, the chances of falling in love with a vampire or finding out that you’re a wizard are quite slim. Based in a futuristic society, The Hunger Games opens the eyes of readers to the corruption and treason that plagues Panem, the country in which the novel takes place, which leads to probing questions and moral concerns about our very own society today. The very detailed and carefully crafted country of Panem, according to Collins, is literally what rises up out of the ashes of the fictional destruction of North America as we know it today. After a giant war destroys everything known to human kind, the survivors are forced to start over by creating a country that thrives upon governmental corruption and social inequalities. The Capitol is the basis of all modern productivity, as it contains the modern most buildings, styles, technologies, and the people who prosper and succeed in such an environment. Behind the Capital lies the 12 districts, ranging from moderately to extremely poor, with 12, where our heroine is from, being the lattermost. The Capitol exists solely on the functions and production from the 12 districts. Each district is responsible for one trade, such as 12 being the coal mining district, and in contrast, District 1 being the career district, providing the Capitol with luxury goods. Here is when it becomes clear to readers that Collins is drawing parallels to our very own American society, for we thrive upon the cheap labor of overseas productions. The basis of The Hunger Games are the Hunger Games themselves. Derived from a rebellion that annihilated the 13th district, the annual hunger games are a commemoration and reminder to the districts of the Capitol’s great and threatening power. The Capitol provides an omniscient, Big Brother type of feel to the novel- it is to be feared and respected regardless of its irrational actions toward the districts. The games take place in an arena crafted by the games makers, who create an environment meant to physically and mentally challenge while trying to kill off the tributes. The concept of the games is simple: each of the 12 districts provide two members- a male and a female ranging from ages 12 to 18- to fight to the death. The games are viewed on national television purely for the entertainment value of the thrilling yet horrifying idea that teenagers are forced to murder each other using the most brutal kinds of warfare- knives, swords, crossbows, and daggers.


The novel is portrayed through the eyes of Katniss Everdeen, our heroine. Collins depicts Katniss as a realistic woman warrior that relates to readers from many aspects. Being from District 12, she is a representative from the poorest district who volunteers herself as tribute to replace her younger sister who is chosen at random. Her bravery and strength is revealed from the get-go, as she is certainly volunteering for a death sentence, given that the most recent district 12 winner was 25 years ago. She is hardly much of a physical threat, compared districts who live closer and share more of the wealth from the Capitol. However, she continuously proves throughout the games that her determined mentality and quick-wittedness can put up a fight to the physically built and brawny tributes. In a time of brainless reality stars being praised for their sexuality by the younger generation of girls, Collins provides a refreshing outlook on young women through her portrayal of her leading lady. Katniss isn’t commended for her physique by any means, for she comes from the district who lacks bountiful food supply. Instead, she shows a tough mentality through having to provide for her family, a soft side when she befriends and morns over a fellow tribute, and when faced with a challenge in the arena, is logically proficient. Girls of all generations should follow Katniss’ lead by using their brains instead of their looks to guide them through life. Because Collins places Panem at the culmination of our society as we know it, this can only be interpreted as a warning of what is to come. The frivolous nature of the Capitol clearly represents the economic state of our country in comparison to others around the world. Our luxurious lifestyle depends solely on the poverty of other countries, as the Capitol’s supremacy depends on the subordination of the districts. Our constant admiration of celebrity culture and the amount of time we spend trying to produce the latest and greatest fashions and looks into our own lives is clearly criticized by Collins through the use of Katniss as the star character. Katniss comes from a poverty stricken district far from the fortune of the Capitol, and when she is introduced to their lifestyle, what she sees is excessive and unnecessary. Perhaps we as a society should see what Collins depicts in her novel The Hunger Games; a world of unbalance and societal unrest.


letters from our readers The Hunger Games  by Suzanne Collins has become a cultural phenomenon over the past few years. This science-fiction novel provoked an excited response from all ages and genders around the world, which has developed into one of the largest fan bases for a book series. Based in a futuristic society called Panem, The Hunger Games depicts a dystopian world of inequality and government corruption. Every year, each of the 12 districts unwillingly choose a male and female ranging from ages 12-18 to participate in the Hunger Games which are run by the big brother-esque Capitol. The point of the games is to remember the destructive rebellion against the government that ended in the annihilation of the 13th district. They exist to ensure governmental power over the districts and to remind them that they are powerless. The tributes fight ‘til the death, which is displayed over nation-wide television for a pure entertainment factor.  I chose this text to analyze because I enjoyed reading the novel and I felt as if it was more than just a fictional story. As grueling and horrific an idea of the Hunger Games is, I feel like Collins is warning our society that our society is  going in the direction of the Capitol and their ideals. I’m arguing that the novel  is a critique of our modern day society. From the prestige of the Capitol and high class citizens, to the portrayal of the media coverage of the games, I believe that many aspects point out various flaws in our culture. For example, the citizens of the Capitol are obsessed with physical appearance. From vibrantly colored hair, to strange ways of dress, it seems as if Collins is pointing out our obsession with looking flawless and beautiful, and criticizing the ways we go about obtaining this beauty. There are also many contrasts between the modern and elegant buildings and appearance of the Capitol city versus poverty stricken District 12, which doesn’t even have electricity or running water for most of the day.  The fictional world of Panem may seem alien and impossible, but Collins seems to think that our society mimics it in many ways, especially in comparison of our American culture to 3rd world countries.    


The Office, the hit NBC series, is a mockumentary of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, PA. Many characters make up the employees of the office, including conservative and extremely judgmental  Angela Martin, who embodies  the stereotype of a typical white catholic woman. Angela appears at first to be as pure and morally just as one might portray a Catholic as. Her physical appearance; neat, orderly, and clean, fits the way she is perceived. She constantly judges and criticizes her coworkers for their morally heinous actions, like when she calls Pam a slut when she kisses Jim while she is engaged to be married to Roy from the warehouse. She also treats Oscar as diseased when he comes out of the closet to his coworkers by refusing to come in contact with him. The office slut , Meredith, is constantly undermined by Angela for her liberal lifestyle. Overall, the majority of her coworkers are, according to her standards, morally below her. The Office breaks the stereotype of a Catholic woman because Angela surprisingly defies all of her morals and values by the end of the 9th season . By having an affair with coworker Dwight, becoming pregnant with his baby, and meanwhile, marrying the Senator, she becomes the office slut that she had once criticized Meredith for being. She also befriends Oscar, ultimately  making him her son’s godfather, even after he has an affair with her Senator husband, who also turns out to be gay. Therefore, The Office shows to all its viewers that Catholics aren’t these judgmental, perfect, and homophobic people. Instead, they’re real human beings- love affairs and all. No one can be perfect, and the stereotypical Catholic is always striving for perfection in God’s eyes, which comes across as being a suck up  to society. The Office uses Angela’s character to at first build up the typical white woman Catholic stereotype, and then breaks it down with her multiple flaws that appear throughout the series, which proves to audiences that Catholics are just as flawed and make mistakes like any other human being. 


For my substantial revision, I plan on using my op-ed essay. When I wrote the original assignment, I chose a difficult stance to prove. With my revision, I’ll have the opportunity to use a counter argument to prove my new thesis, which will ultimately be less difficult in constructing than the original.  My original op-ed essay proved  that the show,  The Office, breaks down the stereotype of the typical Catholic woman through the depiction of character Angela. Throughout my analysis of the show and the drafting of  my paper, I found many counterarguments. Angela seems to be a hypocritical character and appears to  become less religious throughout the show as she defies her previous morals and values.  It can be concluded  that Angela no longer practices Catholicism as the show proceeds and as she begins to “slut around” with coworkers. She may also appear to have never been a true Catholic, because of her demeaning and judgmental views on other characters in the show. All of her mistakes clearly go against several of the 10 Commandments, which are the basis of the Catholic religion .  I’ll be focusing on a better use of vocabulary and will be looking for new ways to back up my argument, such as analyzing different verses from the Bible.  I will  use copy editing of  some of the quotes from The Bible that are in my current Op-Ed essay, because they can be used to prove that Angela clearly defies the basic moral guidelines  of the Catholic religion. Because The Office is a satirical show, I will incorporate that into my thesis and touch on it throughout my paper, which I failed to acknowledge thoroughly in my original draft. Overall, I will improve grammar, sentence structure, and the order in which I prove the sub arguments of my thesis.   



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