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Ricky A. Meadows Professor Redding English 1102 (Summer) Gainesville State College

Improving My Writing‌ And Having Fun Doing It


Improving My Writing…And Having Fun Doing It

Ricky A. Meadows Professor Redding English 1102 (Summer)

Note: The image on cover is property of Schlock Mercenary and its creator Howard Taylor.


Improving My Writing…And Having Fun Doing It Table of Contents

Analytical Cover Letter…………………………………………………………………..1 Quality Comparison………………………………………………………………………2 Least Successful Paper (Original Draft)………………………………………….2 Most Successful Paper (Original Draft)…………………………………………5 “What’s the Difference” Essay…………………………………………………..9 Revision Samples………………………………………………………………………...11 Least Successful Paper (Mark-up)……………………………………………….11 Least Successful Paper (Final Draft)…………………………………………….15 Most Successful Paper (Mark-up)………………………………………………..18 Most Successful Paper (Final Draft)……………………………………………..22 Free Choice Essay (Mark-up)…………………………………………………….26 Free Choice Essay (Final Draft)………………………………………………….29


Ricky A. Meadows English 1102 Prof. Redding 26 June 2012 Mrs. Redding, To say the least, being a student in your class has been interesting. My only regret is that it was a summer semester class so we only had one month to explore the topic of good and evil, which I find most interesting. Going totally unstated, naturally, is the fact that it definitely would have been much easier on my nerves if we had had more than one month to complete the multitude of writing assigned to us; you really strained my procrastination reflex. It has, however, made me a better writer, despite our constant running battle about the use of the passive voice. The most obvious area of improvement in my writing is in creating proper conclusions for my papers. My preference to let papers end naturally instead of summarizing them in a concluding paragraph, coupled with the intent to make my readers actually think on their own instead of just parroting my thoughts has made me particularly resistant to the process involved in creating a good conclusion. This is compounded by the fact that my previous English teacher agreed with me, and felt conclusions to be unnecessary if the reader had actually read the entire paper and not just skipped to the end. Your insistence that I write a conclusion forced me to expand my writing skills in an effort to come up with something that would summarize the essay, expose my conclusions, and yet still encourage the reader to come to their own, or at least think about why I came to mine. Ironically enough, the paper I consider to be my best work in this class does not have a conclusion, but that only shows that there are still improvements to be made in my writing. Another exercise that was very helpful in improving me as a writer was the literary analysis of the movie Pan’s Labyrinth. Not only was it difficult to write a literary critique of a film, thus depriving me of the author’s words to use as a starting point for my ideas, but my chosen topic of motion meant that I had to describe something that has no context vividly enough that my readers could understand the point I was trying to make. An example of this is trying to put the gestures and walk of Pan into words by describing it as “incredibly convoluted…His walk makes it seem as if his joints do not bend as those of normal humans would” (Redding, Film Critique). This exercise in portraying pictures in the form of words, however, has been not only a learning experience, but a genuinely fascinating one. Writing has always come easily to me, most likely because I enjoy reading so much and read so often that a template writing style has already been instilled in me from a young age almost through osmosis. This has led to a natural laziness when learning about specific details and formats that are important in writing. Your stringent attention to detail and corrections have helped enormously, and your class was imminently enjoyable. Hopefully, I will get to the position where I can publish works publicly, and if you see them, you will be able to see your influence on me as a writer...and not cringe too much. Sincerely, Ricky A. Meadows


Meadows 1 Ricky A. Meadows English 1102, Redding 25 June 2012 In the Eye of the Beholder: How Motion Can Affect Perception Motion has always been a detail of special importance to human beings. It attracts the eye often before any conscious thought and can subtly or even not so subtly influence how an object is perceived. In the 2006 movie Pan’s Labyrinth, director Guillermo Del Toro uses this effect of motion to further emphasize the difference between the inhabitants of the fairy realm and those of the human realm as well as that between sympathetic and unsympathetic characters. Fairytale creatures in the movie, such as Pan and his minions tend to move in swift, jerky movements. From the moment the viewer is introduced to Pan, they feel unsettled on an almost subconscious level due to his incredibly convoluted movements. His walk makes it seem as if his joints do not bend as those of normal humans would, he tends to stoop suddenly when talking, and he is constantly twitching. His minions also display some of these characteristics. In fact, the minion is first shown as a type of bug, before it morphs to Ofelia’s idealized image of a fairy. Even once they have assumed the shape of the fairy, the minions maintain the movements of an insect: scurrying and flitting quickly around. An especially vivid example of this use of motion to affect the viewer’s perception can be found when examining the movements of the monster in Ofelia’s second task. The viewer is already disquieted by the monster’s humanoid face, which is missing its eyes. The initial statue-like motionlessness of the creature only adds to this discomfort. Once the monster is awakened by Ofelia’s actions, its movement quickly widen this gulf between it and humanity. The swaying, stumbling walk of the monster would seem to indicate slowness of movement, however, it is very close to catching up to Ofelia, even when she


Meadows 2 is at a full run. Its arms wildly flail about as it uses the eyeballs in its palms to see its surroundings, yet even these movements are not smooth as you would expect from a being trying to see, but jerk around in a method that would likely make even the most hardy of individuals seasick. The director also uses movement to distance the viewer from the unsympathetic characters of the movie. Even though the Captain and his soldiers are human, their motion seems to de-emphasize this humanity. The Captain is very controlled in his movements, even down to the smallest ones such as putting on his gloves, always quickly shifting positions, without fluidness. An excellent example of this is when the viewer watches him shave as part of his morning routine. His movements are swift and measured, almost robotic. He constantly consults his timepiece, and uses that to regulate his days and actions. The same is true of his troops; they do not walk or stand normally, they march and are braced at attention when still. Their actions are snappy, such as when they salute or respond to an order. In startling contrast to these supernatural creatures and robotic soldiers, the director gives the movements of sympathetic characters such as Ofelia, Mercedes, and the rebels grace and fluidity in their movements. Ofelia runs about with the careless abandon commonly found in children, and is quite agile, as can be seen when she is running through the maze, crawling through the bowels of the tree, or climbing the chair to escape the dungeons of her second task. Mercedes performs many of her tasks in the same fashion as the Captain, smoothly, as if they had been done a thousand times before, but still manages to make her movements graceful, whereas his remain halting and proper. She even manages to maintain this grace and economy of movement when sneaking around the house or woods, running errands for the rebel forces. The rebel forces, are also portrayed as sympathetic characters, and so are given this grace and


Meadows 3 freedom of movement by the director. Where the soldiers have imposed themselves on the land, building fortifications and crashing through the woods, the rebels blend seamlessly with it, moving around without leaving a trace. They evince none of the military discipline of the soldiers and seem much more natural when talking with each other or any of the main characters, as can be seen by their casualness and the camaraderie found when Mercedes visits them in the caves. Despite their dire straights, their movements retain an element of hope. This use of motion to separate the natural and the unnatural, the sympathetic and unsympathetic subtly plays out through the entire movie. Although there are other, more obvious plot effects, such as the storyline, and the obvious use of magic, as well as the brutal tactics used by the Captain’s forces to differentiate for the viewer, the director’s use of motion helps to emphasize and reinforce these differences.

Work Cited Pan’s Labyrinth. Dir. Guillermo Del Toro. 2006


Meadows 1 Ricky A. Meadows Prof. Redding English 1102 18 June 2012 Society and Morality: The Cost of a Utopian Existence In Ursula K. Le Guin‟s 1976 short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” she invites the reader to imagine a festival taking place in a seemingly utopian society. The city of Omelas is one of peace and prosperity, a clean and open place with parks and beautiful buildings; the PEOPLE happy and content, marching in various parades as they come together to celebrate the great Festival of Summer. However, underneath this bliss lies a dark secret, and the source of their society‟s comfort: a child, tortured and alone. Le Guin incorporates the reader into the story by inviting them to fill in this vague utopia by using their imagination to add details until it is their own, then once they are fully involved in the creation of this place, uses direct unavoidable description of the suffering of the child to force the reader to not only acknowledge the conflict, but decide what is morally correct. Le Guin uses words such as “we, I, and you;” speaking directly to the reader. She invites the reader to fill in the blanks in her description of the town and its PEOPLE with their own imagination, such as when she says, “oh but I wish I could describe it better. I wish I could convince you...Perhaps it would be best if you imagined it as your own fancy bids” (733). In order to keep the reader involved but in the creation of the city and its PEOPLE, but also following the storyline, Le Guin speaks vaguely of the town and its PEOPLE, offering brief and incomplete descriptions that almost force the reader to flesh them out with their own thoughts. She mentions the beautiful, sunny weather, and the slight breeze that is just enough to move the banners around the racetrack but does not describe the banners. She mentions houses with red


Meadows 2 roofs and painted walls but does not talk of materials or what is painted on them. Le Guin also discusses the habits of the PEOPLE, suggesting that if this society was too perfect and innocent the reader could imagine orgies where beautiful priests and priestesses issue forth from buildings to freely give themselves to the PEOPLE, imagine beer overflowing the mugs of joyous celebrators, and even a drug name drooz which “first brings a great lightness and brilliance to the mind and limbs, and then after some hours a dreamy languor, and wonderful visions at last of the very arcana and inmost secrets of the Universe, as well as exciting the pleasure of sex beyond all belief; and it is not habit-forming” (734). She speaks of the wonderful smells of food coming from the feast tents but does not describe any of the foods, and of a young boy playing beautiful music on a wooden flute but mentions not the melodies that he plays, forcing the reader to populate the feast with their favorite foods and what kind of music they think best fits in this festive atmosphere. Once the reader is inextricably mired in the story, once the festival, city, and it PEOPLE have become something the reader has helped create through their imagination, Le Guin forces the reader to experience the conflict in the city by exposing them to the child‟s woes. She uses specific and unavoidable description of the torture the child experiences. “There is a room. It has one locked door, and no window...the floor is dirt, a little damp to the touch...Perhaps [the child] was born defective, or perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect” (735). PEOPLE visit the child on rare occasions: to feed it, and to show it to children they deem to be old enough to understand, each visit another torture to the child. “The people at the door never say anything, but the child, who has not always lived in the tool room, and can remember sunlight and its mother‟s voice, sometimes speaks. „I will be good,‟ it says. „Please let me out. I will be good!” (735).


Meadows 3 The reader is now faced with incredible moral conflict as Le Guin goes on to explain that not only must this incredible torture continue, but that it is this torture which allows the city to leave in such peace and happiness, and in fact, is the catalyst which inspires them to even greater heights. Truthfully, the PEOPLE of the city feel disgust as the situation and wish to end the child‟s torment, but “they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weather of their skies, depend wholly on this child‟s abominable misery” (735). As children thought to be mature enough to understand the circumstances which force this child‟s misery are made aware of it, they too feel outrage and disgust and wish to end its torment, but know that this can never happen, for if the child were to be released, all that was good in Omelas would “wither and be destroyed” (735). Adults explain that “it is the existence of the child that makes possible the nobility of their architecture, the poignancy of their music, the profundity of their science” (735) and so the torture must continue, emphasizing the unspoken but still pertinent saying that the needs of the many must outweigh the needs of the few. Just as the reader comes to the conclusion that there are only two non-coexisting paths: to forever deny the PEOPLE of Omelas and condemn their actions, or to accept their reasoning and respect how they try to live as amazing a life as possible in order to make the child‟s sacrifice worth it, the author introduces a third group that the reader may choose to follow if the other two choices are unpalatable: those that see the child, and cannot accept what is happening. With no communication to those who might feel the same way, indeed without a word to any, they simply leave. Alone, they walk away from the prosperity and beauty of the city and its PEOPLE, away from the horrible torture of the one child locked in a dim basement. “They walk ahead into the


Meadows 4 darkness and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the one who walk away from Omelas” (736). Work Cited Le Guin, Ursula K. “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin‟s, 2008. 732-736. Print.


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Ricky A. Meadows Professor Redding English 1102 27 June 2012 Comparative Essay For my most successful essay I chose my fiction analysis “Society and Morality: The Cost of a Utopian Existence” and for my least successful my film analysis “In the Eye of the Beholder: How Motion Can Affect Perception.” This may seem counterintuitive as I scored a higher grade on the “worst” essay than I did the “best” essay; however, I felt that in my fiction analysis I did a much better job of fully exploring the author’s purpose. Both essays had a strong and easily provable thesis, but the film analysis definitely offered more of a challenge. Additionally, both essays spent entirely too much time in the passive voice, but I blame that on my overly scientifically oriented background, and hope to improve my use of the active voice as I continue writing. The most difficult part of writing the critique for Le Guin’s short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” was in not quoting the author excessively. This essay has more quotes in it than any of my others, yet I felt that this was necessary in order to fully explain how Le Guin drew her readers into the story and fully exposed them to the setting. It was also difficult not taking a stance or favoring one group of people over another. The issue of personal rights is one that I feel very strongly about, and it was a constant battle to keep the critique neutral. The easiest part of writing the essay was in adapting Le Guin’s rich and colorful, yet vague, descriptions into my own words to help explain her purpose. I feel that this essay definitely gave a thorough explanation of her tactics, if not entirely exposing her purpose, as she maintained a neutral narrator’s voice throughout the story.


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The most difficult aspect of writing the film analysis was absolutely trying to create the sense of what director Del Toro intended with his creation’s movements without simply writing the scene step by step. It is much more difficult to attempt to show the director’s purpose when there are only images to use, and his words are not available to provide context. While I believe that I was able to successfully convert the motion of the film into words on paper, I remain left with a nagging sensation of only having described the scenes partially. Even though the essay is complete and thorough within the constraints of the assignment, it still has a half-finished feel to it, and leaves me lacking a sense of fulfillment when I read it. On the other hand, I feel, at least to my mind, justifiably proud of being able to analyze exactly how the director shaded his mythical, unsympathetic, and sympathetic characters with motion in such a way that my audience can see the degree to which he did so. Overall, I feel satisfied with both essays, although they both certainly could use improvement in many areas, especially in not violating your 38 picky rules guide as systematically as they do. As mentioned earlier, I feel that both essays are strong, and really the only thing that makes the fiction critique “better” than the film analysis is the vague sense of incompleteness felt when I read it. With any luck, further education and practice writing will allow me to one day look back and say, “Oh, that’s what its missing,” and be able to fix it.


Meadows 1 Ricky A. Meadows English 1102, Redding 25 June 2012 In the Eye of the Beholder: How Motion Can Affect Perception Motion ishas always been a detail of special importance to human beings. It attracts the eye often before any conscious thought, and can subtly or even not so subtly influence how an object is perceived. In the 2006 movie Pan’s Labyrinth, director Guillermo Del Toro uses this

Formatted: Font: Italic Formatted: Font: Italic

effect of motion to further emphasize the difference between the inhabitants of the fairy realm and those of the human realm as well as that between sympathetic and unsympathetic characters. Fairytale creatures in the movie, such as the FaunPan and his minions tend to move in swift, jerky movements. From the moment Del Torothe viewer is introducesd to Panthe Faun, they feel unsettled on an almost subconscious level due to his incredibly convoluted movements. His walk makes it seem as if his joints do not bend as those of normal humans would, he tends to stoop suddenly when talking, and he is constantly twitching. His minions also display some of these characteristics. In fact, the minion is first shown as a type of bug, before it morphs to Ofelia’s idealized image of a fairy. Even once they have assumed their fairy shapes of the fairy, the minions maintain the movements of an insects: scurrying and flitting quickly around. An especially vivid example of this use of motion to affect the viewer’s perception can be found when examining the movements of the monster in Ofelia’s second task. The viewer is already disquieted by the monster’s humanoid face, which is missing its eyes. The initial statue-like motionlessness of the creature only adds to this discomfort by creating a sensation of impeding menace. Once the monster is awakened by Ofelia’s actions, its movement quickly widenits movement quickly widens this gulf between it and humanity. The swaying, stumbling walk of


Meadows 2 the monster would seem to indicate slowness of movement,movement; however, it lacks the customary slowness of a human and is very close to catching up to Ofelia, even when she is at a full run. Its arms wildly flail about as it uses the eyeballs in its palms to see its surroundings, yet even these movements are not smooth as you would expect from a being trying to see, but jerk around in a method that would likely make even the most hardyhardiest of individuals seasick. The director also uses character movement to distance the viewer from the unsympathetic

Comment [R1]: Explains why the swaying and stumbling walk are inhuman. Did not want to keep repeating demonstrating inhumanity.

characters of the movie. Even though the Captain and his soldiers are human, their motion seems to de-emphasize this humanity. The Captain is overly controlled in his movements, even down to the smallest ones such as putting on his gloves, always quickly shifting positions, without fluidness. An excellent example of this is when the viewer watches him shave as part of his morning routine. His movements are swift and measured, almost robotic. He constantly consults his timepiece, and uses that to regulate his days and actions. The same is true of his troops; they do not walk or stand normally, they march and are braced at attention when still. Their actions are snappy, such as when they salute or respond to an order. In startling contrast to these supernatural creatures and robotic soldiers, the director gives the movements of sympathetic characters such as Ofelia, Mercedes, and the rebels grace and fluidity in their movements. Ofelia runs about with the careless abandon commonly found in children, and is quite agile, as can be seen when she is running through the maze, crawling through the bowels of the tree in her first task, or climbing the chair to escape the dungeons of her second task. Mercedes performs many of her tasks in the same fashion as the Captain, smoothly, as if they had been done a thousand times before, but still manages to make her movements graceful, whereas his remain halting and proper. An excellent example of this is the scene where she is cutting potatoes while her mind is on other things. Even through her distress

Comment [R2]: Instead of using specific scenes I mentioned multiple cases in which this was displayed.


Meadows 3 and distraction, she continues cutting the potatoes into perfect slices until the other cooks draw her attention back to the present then she wipes off the blade and puts it in her apron in an almost unconscious motion. She even manages to maintain this grace and economy of movement when sneaking around the house or woods, running errands for the rebel forces. The rebel forces, are also portrayed as sympathetic characters, and so are given this grace and freedom of movement by the director. Where the soldiers have imposed themselves on the land, building fortifications and crashing through the woods, the rebels blend seamlessly with it, moving around without leaving a trace. This woodsmanship was displayed in the scene where the Captain arrives at a rebel fire and searches around for them but cannot find them, and the minute he leaves they walk out of the woodline. They evince none of the military discipline of the soldiers and seem much more natural when talking with each other or any of the main characters, as can be seen by their casualness and the camaraderie found when Mercedes visits them in the caves. Despite their dire straightsstraits, their movements retain an element of hope. This use of motion to separate the natural and the unnatural, the sympathetic and unsympathetic subtly plays out through the entire movie. Although there are other, more obvious plot effects, such as the storyline, and the obvious use of magic, as well as the brutal tactics used by the Captain’s forces to differentiate for the viewer, the director’s use of motion helps to emphasize and reinforce these differences.

Work Cited


Meadows 4 Pan’s Labyrinth. Dir. Guillermo Del Toro. 2006.

Comment [R3]: I didn’t put any of the actors in because according to my MLA guide, that is only necessary if they are famous/recognizable names which none of these are being Spanish actors.


Meadows 1 Ricky A. Meadows English 1102, Redding 25 June 2012 In the Eye of the Beholder: How Motion Can Affect Perception Motion is a detail of special importance to human beings. It attracts the eye often before any conscious thought, and can subtly or even not so subtly influence how an object is perceived. In the 2006 movie Pan’s Labyrinth, director Guillermo Del Toro uses this effect of motion to further emphasize the difference between the inhabitants of the fairy realm and those of the human realm as well as that between sympathetic and unsympathetic characters. Fairytale creatures in the movie, such as the Faun and his minions tend to move in swift, jerky movements. From the moment Del Toro is introduces the Faun, they feel unsettled on an almost subconscious level due to his incredibly convoluted movements. His walk makes it seem as if his joints do not bend as those of normal humans would, he tends to stoop suddenly when talking, and he is constantly twitching. His minions also display some of these characteristics. In fact, the minion is first shown as a type of bug, before it morphs to Ofelia’s idealized image of a fairy. Even once they have assumed their fairy shapes, the minions maintain the movements of insects: scurrying and flitting quickly around. An especially vivid example of this use of motion to affect the viewer’s perception can be found when examining the movements of the monster in Ofelia’s second task. The viewer is already disquieted by the monster’s humanoid face, which is missing its eyes. The initial statue-like motionlessness of the creature only adds to this discomfort by creating a sensation of impeding menace. Once the monster is awakened by Ofelia’s actions, its movement quickly widens this gulf between it and humanity. The swaying, stumbling walk of the monster would seem to indicate slowness of movement; however, it lacks


Meadows 2 the customary slowness of a human and is very close to catching up to Ofelia, even when she is at a full run. Its arms wildly flail about as it uses the eyeballs in its palms to see its surroundings, yet even these movements are not smooth as you would expect from a being trying to see, but jerk around in a method that would likely make even the hardiest of individuals seasick. The director also uses character movement to distance the viewer from the unsympathetic characters of the movie. Even though the Captain and his soldiers are human, their motion seems to de-emphasize this humanity. The Captain is overly controlled in his movements, even down to the smallest ones such as putting on his gloves, always quickly shifting positions, without fluidness. An excellent example of this is when the viewer watches him shave as part of his morning routine. His movements are swift and measured, almost robotic. He constantly consults his timepiece, and uses that to regulate his days and actions. The same is true of his troops; they do not walk or stand normally, they march and are braced at attention when still. Their actions are snappy, such as when they salute or respond to an order. In startling contrast to these supernatural creatures and robotic soldiers, the director gives the movements of sympathetic characters such as Ofelia, Mercedes, and the rebels grace and fluidity in their movements. Ofelia runs about with the careless abandon commonly found in children, and is quite agile, as can be seen when she is running through the maze, crawling through the bowels of the tree in her first task, or climbing the chair to escape the dungeons of her second task. Mercedes performs many of her tasks in the same fashion as the Captain, smoothly, as if they had been done a thousand times before, but still manages to make her movements graceful, whereas his remain halting and proper. An excellent example of this is the scene where she is cutting potatoes while her mind is on other things. Even through her distress and distraction, she continues cutting the potatoes into perfect slices until the other cooks draw


Meadows 3 her attention back to the present then she wipes off the blade and puts it in her apron in an almost unconscious motion. She even manages to maintain this grace and economy of movement when sneaking around the house or woods, running errands for the rebel forces. The rebel forces, are also portrayed as sympathetic characters, and so are given this grace and freedom of movement by the director. Where the soldiers have imposed themselves on the land, building fortifications and crashing through the woods, the rebels blend seamlessly with it, moving around without leaving a trace. This woodsmanship was displayed in the scene where the Captain arrives at a rebel fire and searches around for them but cannot find them, and the minute he leaves they walk out of the woodline. They evince none of the military discipline of the soldiers and seem much more natural when talking with each other or any of the main characters, as can be seen by their casualness and the camaraderie found when Mercedes visits them in the caves. Despite their dire straits, their movements retain an element of hope. This use of motion to separate the natural and the unnatural, the sympathetic and unsympathetic subtly plays out through the entire movie. Although there are other, more obvious plot effects, such as the storyline, and the obvious use of magic, as well as the brutal tactics used by the Captain’s forces to differentiate for the viewer, the director’s use of motion helps to emphasize and reinforce these differences.

Work Cited Pan’s Labyrinth. Dir. Guillermo Del Toro. 2006.


Meadows 1 Ricky A. Meadows Prof. Redding English 1102 18 June 2012 Society and Morality: The Cost of a Utopian Existence In Ursula K. Le Guin‟s 1976 short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” she invites the reader to imagine a festival taking place in a seemingly utopian society. The city of Omelas is one of peace and prosperity, a clean and open place with parks and beautiful buildings; the inhabitants PEOPLE happy and content, marching in various parades as they come together to celebrate the great Festival of Summer. However, underneath this bliss lies a dark secret, and the source of their society‟s comfort: a child, tortured and alone. Le Guin incorporates readers the reader into the story by inviting them to fill in this vague utopia by using their imagination to add details until it is their own, then once they are fully involved in the creation of this place, uses direct unavoidable description of the suffering of the child to force readersthe reader to not only acknowledge the conflict, but decide what is morally correct. Le Guin uses words such as “we, I, and you;” speaking directly to readersthe reader. She invites them reader to fill in the blanks in her description of the town and its citizens PEOPLE with their own imagination, such as when she says, “oh but I wish I could describe it better. I wish I could convince you...Perhaps it would be best if you imagined it as your own fancy bids” (733). In order to keep the readers involved but in the creation of the city and its inhabitants, PEOPLE, but also following the storyline, Le Guin speaks vaguely of the town and its PEOPLE, offering brief and incomplete descriptions that enticealmost force the readers into fleshing them out with their own thoughts. She mentions the beautiful, sunny weather, and the slight breeze that is just enough to move the banners around the racetrack but does not describe the banners.

Comment [R1]: Changing reader to readers eliminates the need for a non-gender specific singular pronoun


Meadows 2 She mentions houses with red roofs and painted walls but does not talk of materials or what is painted on them. Le Guin also discusses the habits of the inhabitantsPEOPLE, suggesting that if this society was too perfect and innocent the reader readers could feel free to imagine less “puritanical” pursuits such as orgies where beautiful priests and priestesses issue forth from buildings to freely give themselves to the celebrantsPEOPLE, imagine beer overflowing the mugs of joyous celebrators, and even a drug name drooz which “fFirst brings a great lightness and brilliance to the mind and limbs, and then after some

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hours a dreamy languor, and wonderful visions at last of the very arcana and inmost secrets of the Universe, as well as exciting the pleasure of sex beyond all belief; and it is not habit-forming” (734). She speaks of the wonderful smells of food coming from the feast tents but does not describe any of the foods, and of a young boy playing beautiful music on a wooden flute but mentions not the melodies that he plays, invitingforcing the reader to populate the feast with their favorite foods and formswhat kind of music they think best fits in this festive atmosphere. Once Le Guin has the reader is inextricably mired her readers in the story, once the city, festival, city, and it participantsPEOPLE have become something they reader haves helped create through their imagination, Le Guin forces herthe readers to experience the conflict in the city by exposing them to the woes of the outcast childchild‟s woes. She uses specific and unavoidable description of the torture the child experiences such as,. “There is a room. It has one locked door, and no window...the floor is dirt, a little damp to the touch...Perhaps [the child] was born defective, or perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect” (735). CaretakersPEOPLE visit the child on rare occasions: to feed it, and to show it to children they deem to be old enough to understand, each visit another torture to the child. “The people at the

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Meadows 3 doorThe visitors “never say anything, but the child, who has not always lived in the tool room, and can remember sunlight and its mother‟s voice, sometimes speaks. „I will be good,‟ it says. „Please let me out. I will be good!” (735). The readers areis now faced with incredible moral conflict as Le Guin goes on to explain that not only must this incredible torture continue, but that it is this torture which allows the city to lieave in such peace and happiness, and in fact, is the catalyst which inspires them to even greater heights. Truthfully, the good peoplePEOPLE of the city feel disgust as the situation and wish to end the child‟s torment, but “they a All understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their

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friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weather of their skies, depend wholly on this child‟s abominable misery” (735). As children thought to be mature enough to understand the circumstances which force this child‟s misery becomeare made aware of it, they too feel outrage and disgust and wish to end the child‟sits torment, but know that this can never happen, for if the child were to be released, all that was good in Omelas would “wither and be destroyed” (735). Adults explain that “it is the existence of the child that makes possible the nobility of their architecture, the poignancy of their music, the profundity of their science” (735) and so the torture must continue, emphasizing the unspoken but still pertinent saying that the needs of the many must outweigh the needs of the few. Just as the reader comes to the conclusion that there are only two non-coexisting paths: to forever deny the peoplePEOPLE of Omelas and condemn their actions, or to accept their reasoning and respect how they try to live as amazing a life as possible in order to make the

Formatted: Indent: First line: 0"


Meadows 4 child‟s sacrifice worth it, the author introduces a third group that the reader may choose to follow if the other two choices are unpalatable: those that see the child, and cannot accept what is happening. With no communication to those who might feel the same way, indeed without a word to any, they simply leave. Alone, they walk away from the prosperity and beauty of the city and its multitudesPEOPLE, away from the horrible torture of the one child locked in a dim

Comment [R2]: I enjoyed creating the almost poetic introductions to each of the sentences. If you say it with the right rhythym, I hope it mixes with the author’s prose properly.

basement. Quietly and peacefully, “tThey walk ahead into the darkness and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the one who walk away from Omelas” (736). Le Guin‟s master stroke is that she does not condone or condemn the actions of the city of Omelas. She merely lays out the situation in such a way that readers must examine every part of it, and then examine their own principles and morality. She does not offer advice as to which of the paths is the correct one, or try to influence readers in any way. In a society where the majority are content with being told what to do and think, and the minority are content with doing the telling, she has created a masterpiece in which readers must truly ponder their core philosophies, and then, hopefully, readers will apply these conclusions to their everyday choices and lives.

Work Cited Le Guin, Ursula K. “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin‟s, 2008. 732-736. Print.

Comment [R3]: To be honest, I really wanted to leave this as the last paragraph. The symmetry of ending a review in the same manner as the author appeals to me, but I could not figure out how to introduce a conclusion without the paper seeming jumbled and out of order.


Meadows 1 Ricky A. Meadows Prof. Redding English 1102 18 June 2012 Society and Morality: The Cost of a Utopian Existence In Ursula K. Le Guin‟s 1976 short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” she invites the reader to imagine a festival taking place in a seemingly utopian society. The city of Omelas is one of peace and prosperity, a clean and open place with parks and beautiful buildings; the inhabitants happy and content, marching in various parades as they come together to celebrate the great Festival of Summer. However, underneath this bliss lies a dark secret, and the source of their society‟s comfort: a child, tortured and alone. Le Guin incorporates readers into the story by inviting them to fill in this vague utopia by using their imagination to add details until it is their own, then once they are fully involved in the creation of this place, uses direct unavoidable description of the suffering of the child to force readers to not only acknowledge the conflict, but decide what is morally correct. Le Guin uses words such as “we, I, and you;” speaking directly to readers. She invites them to fill in the blanks in her description of the town and its citizens with their own imagination, such as when she says, “oh but I wish I could describe it better. I wish I could convince you...Perhaps it would be best if you imagined it as your own fancy bids” (733). In order to keep readers involved in the creation of the city and its inhabitants, but also following the storyline, Le Guin speaks vaguely of the town, offering brief and incomplete descriptions that entice the readers into fleshing them out with their own thoughts. She mentions the beautiful, sunny weather, and the slight breeze that is just enough to move the banners around the racetrack but does not describe the banners. She mentions houses with red roofs and painted walls but does


Meadows 2 not talk of materials or what is painted on them. Le Guin also discusses the habits of the inhabitants, suggesting that if this society was too perfect and innocent readers could feel free to imagine less “puritanical” pursuits such as orgies where beautiful priests and priestesses issue forth from buildings to freely give themselves to the celebrants, imagine beer overflowing the mugs of joyous celebrators, and even a drug name drooz which First brings a great lightness and brilliance to the mind and limbs, and then after some hours a dreamy languor, and wonderful visions at last of the very arcana and inmost secrets of the Universe, as well as exciting the pleasure of sex beyond all belief; and it is not habit-forming (734). She speaks of the wonderful smells of food coming from the feast tents but does not describe any of the foods, and of a young boy playing beautiful music on a wooden flute but mentions not the melodies that he plays, inviting the reader to populate the feast with their favorite foods and forms of music they think best fits in this festive atmosphere. Once Le Guin has inextricably mired her readers in the story, once the city, festival,, and it participants have become something they have helped create through their imagination, Le Guin forces her readers to experience the conflict in the city by exposing them to the woes of the outcast child. She uses specific and unavoidable description of the torture the child experiences such as, “There is a room. It has one locked door, and no window...the floor is dirt, a little damp to the touch...Perhaps [the child] was born defective, or perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect” (735). Caretakers visit the child on rare occasions: to feed it, and to show it to children they deem to be old enough to understand, each visit another torture to the child. The visitors “never say anything, but the child, who has not always lived in the tool room,


Meadows 3 and can remember sunlight and its mother‟s voice, sometimes speaks. „I will be good,‟ it says. „Please let me out. I will be good!” (735). The readers are now faced with incredible moral conflict as Le Guin goes on to explain that not only must this incredible torture continue, but that it is this torture which allows the city to live in such peace and happiness, and in fact, is the catalyst which inspires them to even greater heights. Truthfully, the good people of the city feel disgust as the situation and wish to end the child‟s torment, but All understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weather of their skies, depend wholly on this child‟s abominable misery (735). As children thought to be mature enough to understand the circumstances which force this child‟s misery become aware of it, they too feel outrage and disgust and wish to end the child‟s torment, but know that this can never happen, for if the child were to be released, all that was good in Omelas would “wither and be destroyed” (735). Adults explain that “it is the existence of the child that makes possible the nobility of their architecture, the poignancy of their music, the profundity of their science” (735) and so the torture must continue, emphasizing the unspoken but still pertinent saying that the needs of the many must outweigh the needs of the few. Just as the reader comes to the conclusion that there are only two non-coexisting paths: to forever deny the people of Omelas and condemn their actions, or to accept their reasoning and respect how they try to live as amazing a life as possible in order to make the child‟s sacrifice worth it, the author introduces a third group that the reader may choose to follow if the other two


Meadows 4 choices are unpalatable: those that see the child, and cannot accept what is happening. With no communication to those who might feel the same way, indeed without a word to any, they simply leave. Alone, they walk away from the prosperity and beauty of the city and its multitudes, away from the horrible torture of the one child locked in a dim basement. Quietly and peacefully, “they walk ahead into the darkness and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the one who walk away from Omelas” (736). Le Guin‟s master stroke is that she does not condone or condemn the actions of the city of Omelas. She merely lays out the situation in such a way that readers must examine every part of it, and then examine their own principles and morality. She does not offer advice as to which of the paths is the correct one, or try to influence readers in any way. In a society where the majority are content with being told what to do and think, and the minority are content with doing the telling, she has created a masterpiece in which readers must truly ponder their core philosophies, and then, hopefully, readers will apply these conclusions to their everyday choices and lives.

Work Cited Le Guin, Ursula K. “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin‟s, 2008. 732-736. Print.


Meadows 1 Ricky A. Meadows English 1101, Spring 2012 Dan Cabaniss 13 March 2012 Essay 3: Explanatory Synthesis The Chasm That Can’t Be Crossed The time during and immediately following the Vietnam War is considered by many to be one of the most controversial periods of American history. ManyMost civilians disagreed with America’s continued participation in the conflict, and were shocked and disgusted by reports of massacres and atrocities being committed by our troops. Soldiers were unprepared for the nonlinear guerrilla combat, and often came home traumatized by the horrors of warfare. The worst part for soldiers, however, was coming home to find a wide gulf between them and civilians in American society. Veterans of combat in Vietnam often felt isolated and alone, that no matter what they did or how they tried, there was simply no way for people who did not share their experiences to understand the emotions and issues associated with those experiences. One of the biggest issues that veterans returning from war had to deal with is what is currently known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Veterans would experience nightmares, flashbacks to particularly traumatic events, the inability to handle large crowds of people, and many more symptoms. This disorder has gone by many names in the past, but has never truly been concentrated on as an issue until modern day psychology. Instead, psychologists would blame other events for any issues that veterans were experiencing. Veteran Robert Cagle describesd the way counselors would ignored his time in Vietnam when diagnosing him and instead focused on his marriages or childhood. “It’s anything but Vietnam,” saysid Cagle, “Not once have I been to a counselor who asked anything. They knew about it, knew I was in Vietnam, never asked a thing” (221).


Meadows 2 Veterans of any war or conflict have often had difficulties opening up to civilians who haven’t experienced what they have. They often experienced the feeling that they can’touldn’t talk to others, and don’tidn’t know where to go for help. Cagle lamentsed his inability to talk to others during his speech in Vietnam during a memorial tour of the country, crying, “how do you tell – how do you tell somebody these things?” (222). Lynda Van Devanter, a combat nurse in Vietnam, writesote in her memoir that even when she talksed to her ex-husband about what had happened in-country, she felt that he doesn’tidn’t really understand what she went through and caouldn’t help her. These feelings of separation arewere displayed when she wriotes that he “could listen to me, yet I hadn’t figured out how to say all that was inside, and probably like the other, he wouldn’t want to know anyway….Did he take away the pain? Could he? Could anyone?” (177). This inability to connect is believed to be one of the major factors in why so many veterans seem unable to maintain healthy relationships and experience failed marriages and divorce. This self-imposed isolation was further exacerbated by a sense of shame that many veterans felt due to the fact that wartime atrocities, an event common on both sides of any war, were often magnified by the press and focused on by the people. One such example is when, in what many veterans consider a traitorous and cowardly act, John Kerry freely admitted to Americans committing war crimes during a congressional hearing. “We saw America lose her sense of morality,” he saysid, deriding the idealized image of American soldiers and helping to further the destruction of this ideal in the eyes of American civilians, “as she accepted very coolly a My Lai and refused to give up the image of American soldiers who hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum” (Kerry 219). This was a terrible blow to many veterans, especially former prisoners of war, because one of the main goals of Vietnamese torturers was to get PoWs

Comment [R1]: Little bit of difficulty switching between tenses here.


Meadows 3 to sign a statement saying that they and other American soldiers had committed war crimes. Many soldiers resisted torture for years, with no hope of being rescued in order to not do this, and Kerry, along with others like him, stood up and said it freely, making their brave sacrifice for naught. Despite the amount of time that has passed, many of these feelings of isolation and inability to connect have not gone away. Around the country, veterans of Vietnam and other wars still feel uncomfortable when around civilians, and tend to gravitate towards other veterans in social settings. Many go down to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars building or can be found hanging out in gun stores, telling their stories to others who they believe can understand what they went through. This companionship with other veterans helps, but the feelings of despair and isolation remain. These feelings are best summed up by Van Devanter when she saysid, “ours is a solitary pain…there was a time when I didn’t understand that, when I didn’t know how alone I was, how alone we all were” (178). Formatted: Left, Indent: Left: 0", First line: 0.5", Line spacing: single Formatted: Line spacing: single

Works Cited Cagle, Robert. “One Vet Remembers.” “Takin’ It to the Streets”: A Sixties Reader. 3rd ed. Eds. Alexander Bloom and Wini Breines. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. 220-24. Print. Kerry, John. “Vietnam Veterans Against the War.” “Takin’ It to the Streets”: A Sixties Reader. 3rd ed. Eds. Alexander Bloom and Wini Breines. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. 217-20. Print. Van Devanter, Lynda. “Home Before Morning.” “Takin’ It to the Streets”: A Sixties Reader. 3rd ed. Eds. Alexander Bloom and Wini Breines. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. 167-82. Print.


Meadows 1 Ricky A. Meadows English 1101, Spring 2012 Dan Cabaniss 13 March 2012 Essay 3: Explanatory Synthesis The Chasm That Can’t Be Crossed The time during and immediately following the Vietnam War is considered by many to be one of the most controversial periods of American history. Many civilians disagreed with America’s continued participation in the conflict, and were shocked and disgusted by reports of massacres and atrocities being committed by our troops. Soldiers were unprepared for the nonlinear guerrilla combat, and often came home traumatized by the horrors of warfare. The worst part for soldiers, however, was coming home to find a wide gulf between them and civilians in American society. Veterans of combat in Vietnam often felt isolated and alone, that no matter what they did or how they tried, there was simply no way for people who did not share their experiences to understand the emotions and issues associated with those experiences. One of the biggest issues that veterans returning from war had to deal with is what is currently known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Veterans would experience nightmares, flashbacks to particularly traumatic events, the inability to handle large crowds of people, and many more symptoms. This disorder has gone by many names in the past, but has never truly been concentrated on as an issue until modern day psychology. Instead, psychologists would blame other events for any issues that veterans were experiencing. Veteran Robert Cagle describes the way counselors ignored his time in Vietnam when diagnosing him and instead focused on his marriages or childhood. “It’s anything but Vietnam,” says Cagle, “Not once have I been to a counselor who asked anything. They knew about it, knew I was in Vietnam, never asked a thing” (221).


Meadows 2 Veterans of any war or conflict have often had difficulties opening up to civilians who haven’t experienced what they have. They often experienced the feeling that they can’t talk to others, and don’t know where to go for help. Cagle laments his inability to talk to others during his speech in Vietnam during a memorial tour of the country, crying, “how do you tell – how do you tell somebody these things?” (222). Lynda Van Devanter, a combat nurse in Vietnam, writes in her memoir that even when she talks to her ex-husband about what had happened incountry, she felt that he doesn’t really understand what she went through and can’t help her. These feelings of separation are displayed when she writes that he “could listen to me, yet I hadn’t figured out how to say all that was inside, and probably like the other, he wouldn’t want to know anyway….Did he take away the pain? Could he? Could anyone?” (177). This inability to connect is believed to be one of the major factors in why so many veterans seem unable to maintain healthy relationships and experience failed marriages and divorce. This self-imposed isolation was further exacerbated by a sense of shame that many veterans felt due to the fact that wartime atrocities, an event common on both sides of any war, were often magnified by the press and focused on by the people. One such example is when, in what many veterans consider a traitorous and cowardly act, John Kerry freely admitted to Americans committing war crimes during a congressional hearing. “We saw America lose her sense of morality,” he says, deriding the idealized image of American soldiers and helping to further the destruction of this ideal in the eyes of American civilians, “as she accepted very coolly a My Lai and refused to give up the image of American soldiers who hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum” (219). This was a terrible blow to many veterans, especially former prisoners of war, because one of the main goals of Vietnamese torturers was to get PoWs to sign a statement saying that they and other American soldiers had committed war crimes. Many


Meadows 3 soldiers resisted torture for years, with no hope of being rescued in order to not do this, and Kerry, along with others like him, stood up and said it freely, making their brave sacrifice for naught. Despite the amount of time that has passed, many of these feelings of isolation and inability to connect have not gone away. Around the country, veterans of Vietnam and other wars still feel uncomfortable when around civilians, and tend to gravitate towards other veterans in social settings. Many go down to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars building or can be found hanging out in gun stores, telling their stories to others who they believe can understand what they went through. This companionship with other veterans helps, but the feelings of despair and isolation remain. These feelings are best summed up by Van Devanter when she says, “ours is a solitary pain…there was a time when I didn’t understand that, when I didn’t know how alone I was, how alone we all were” (178).

Works Cited Cagle, Robert. “One Vet Remembers.” “Takin’ It to the Streets”: A Sixties Reader. 3rd ed. Eds. Alexander Bloom and Wini Breines. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. 220-24. Print. Kerry, John. “Vietnam Veterans Against the War.” “Takin’ It to the Streets”: A Sixties Reader. 3rd ed. Eds. Alexander Bloom and Wini Breines. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. 217-20. Print. Van Devanter, Lynda. “Home Before Morning.” “Takin’ It to the Streets”: A Sixties Reader. 3rd ed. Eds. Alexander Bloom and Wini Breines. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. 167-82. Print.

Improving My Writing...And Having Fun Doing It  

Portfolio for Mrs. Redding's English 1102 Class

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