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Write On, Downtown! Student Writing at the ASU at the Downtown Phoenix campus

Vol. 1 April 2007

Editors: Regina Clemens Sarah C. Dean Rosemarie Dombrowski

Cover Art: Alexander Scott Hughes www.alexanderscotthughes.com info@alexanderscotthughes.com


Contents: Acknowledgements

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Introduction

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Lindsey Condon Writing Assignment: Personal Essay Student Writing: Best Friends

Kayleigh Feld Writing Assignment: Assessing and Responding to the Rhetorical Situation Student Writing: The Rhetorical Situation, Whole Foods Market

Lauren Harley Writing Assignment: Personal Essay Student Writing: My Superman

Crechelle Jackson Writing Assignment: Critical Reading, Film Student Writing: Creating the Myth: Hero Myth

April Johnson Writing Assignment: Field-Specific Literature Report Student Writing: Getting the Dirt on Archeology

Adam Juel Writing Assignment: Interview Report Student Writing: Technical Writing in Process Services

Segen Kidane Writing Assignment: Film Review Student Writing: The War Within: The Struggle Between Right And Wrong

Joshua Menigoz Writing Context: Introduction by Kelly Adams Student Writing: Land of the Cowards

Claudia Pardo Writing Assignment: Critical reading, Film Student Writing: A Controversial Hero Myth

Obed Rojas Writing Assignment: Interview Report Student Writing: Technical Writing in the Legal Field: An Interview with A Public Defender

Shawntella Stewart Writing Assignment: Ethnography Student Writing: Bloods


Acknowledgements: We wish to thank several people without whose support this student publication might never have come to fruition. First of all, we would especially like to thank Fred Corey and Afsaneh Nahavandi who gave us the support of University College at the Downtown Phoenix campus and who encouraged and supported us through the process of creating this publication. In addition, there were several University College staff who played key roles in implementing this project: Carol Sumner who allowed us to expand our roles in the Student Success Center to accommodate work on this publication, Norma Talamante who managed the administrative aspect of this project both in terms of the publication and the awards luncheon, and Karen Mancini who helped us put together and format the final layout of this publication. We also thank Greg Glau and Neal Lester from the Department of English who gave us the chance to mentor and teach at the Downtown Phoenix campus this year. In addition, we would like to thank all of those who contributed their work to this publication. We thank Alexander Scott Hughes for allowing us to use his artwork for the cover of this journal and all of the students who submitted their writing for this publication. Finally, we would like to thank the students at the Downtown Phoenix campus who made this year a wonderful experience for the three of us.


Introduction The phrase, “One University in many places,” encapsulates the new educational philosophy of Arizona State University—its most recent manifestation realized/witnessed in the opening of the Downtown Phoenix campus in the fall of 2006. Though the phrase seems to primarily connote differences in spatial locations, we as faculty quickly learned that “many places” referred to more than just geography; “many places” were also different sites of identity and perspective. As Fred Corey articulated his vision of the Downtown Phoenix campus, we learned that our new positions as graduate teachers and academic mentors in writing entailed a new mindset—one that included terms such as “urban,” “interdisciplinary,” and “multicultural.” We were not just moving into offices on a new campus, but into a new and interesting academic environment. In our first efforts to conceptualize this difference, we envisioned a composition program based on the idea of “Writing in the Urban Landscape.” Now, as we reflect at the end of the inaugural year, we ponder what it (truly) means to write and teach in an urban landscape, grappling with how space influences perspective, access, diversity, and identity. Ultimately, we have shaped our writing assignments around this unique landscape, encouraging students, among other things, to explore contemporary modes of ethnography and professional writing—modes that require students to actively engage in field work and research, which is ultimately made more accessible by our urban environment. Hence, not only have students had the opportunity to encounter cultural and professional perspectives outside the typical university paradigm, they have also experienced a multiplicity of diverse disciplinary backgrounds and writing styles within their composition classrooms. In short, they have occupied spaces that are ontological, physical, and experiential—spaces that some college students never occupy or experience. As a result of our unique situation at the Downtown Phoenix campus, we were excited by the prospect of showcasing student writing in a scholarly publication, one that would be simultaneously celebrating our diversified urban space and the unique possibilities it affords both instructors and students. Overall, the publication is an excellent teaching tool, helping students to imagine possible audiences outside the composition classroom, though the prevalent model employed by many colleges across university campuses features contest-oriented publications, which raise some specific problems—one, that it becomes very competitive and is framed as a “contest” with “winners” (which automatically entails “losers” too), and, two, the recognition for winning the contest is not acknowledged in an intimate and personal way. Winners receive a monetary prize and their work is published in a book, but because students are disconnected from much of academia, this reward system may not seem as tangible to them as it does to the people giving the prize and publishing the work. Nevertheless, the foundational ideas of showcasing student writing and rewarding quality work are excellent for improving students’ self efficacy, which as Pajares notes, “raise[s] competence through genuine success experiences” (344)1, but in such large academic settings, only a small percentage of faculty get involved, thus making the 1

Pajares, Frank. “Self-Efficacy During Childhood and Adolescence.” Self-Efficacy Beliefs of Adolescents. New York: Information Age Publishing, 2006. 339-367.


experience seem less important than it ideally could be. Moreover, the students’ families and friends (the people that help students perceive experiences as tangible) are rarely involved in the winning of the prize or in the publishing of the work. Given the environment of the Downtown Phoenix campus and our roles as teachers and mentors, we felt that we could address some of the negatives of traditional student publications by emphasizing the students’ ability to experience success in more personal ways. At a small and intimate academic institution, such as University College at the Downtown Phoenix campus, where there is less distance between faculty members and students, we felt that the idea of showcasing student writing could provide the kind of “genuine success experiences” Pajares refers to. The recognition of well-written work by students could be praised, rewarded, and acknowledged in a less competitive manner, such as in a “Call for Papers” fashion similar to scholarly conferences, where all are invited to submit and the best of the submissions are chosen. Additionally, the recognition of the acceptances could be done in a more intimate environment where interested faculty and staff could be involved and where family and friends can come and watch their loved ones accept awards and listen to the students speak about their tangible successes. In this inaugural publication, entitled Write On, Downtown!, students from all levels of writing courses offered at the Downtown Phoenix campus, including first year composition and upper division professional writing, were invited to submit their work, resulting in a diversified collection of personal narrative writing, film analyses, ethnographies, professional interviews, literature reports, and rhetorical analysis and response papers.2 Wherever/whenever possible, we included the corresponding assignments in an attempt to provide a contextual frame through which to better understand students’ work. Through the many spaces offered in the student writings and rhetorical situations that we included, we hope that readers will see how writing in an urban landscape represents multiple positions of perspective and identity. In our roles as Academic Mentors, multiplicity encapsulates our combined experiences of working with such diverse student populations and various writing situations. However, we deliberately refrain from defining the implications of this multiplicity. At the end of this inaugural year, we fully accept the idea that perhaps the question of what it means to write in an urban landscape is something that has yet to be fully discovered. As the ASU at the Downtown Phoenix campus evolves, the students and the writing environment will continue to change. What we offer here is a look at the beginning of that evolution—a beginning which we feel holds a great deal of promise for the future. Regina Clemens Sarah C. Dean Rosemarie Dombrowski

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We have deliberately avoided introducing or setting up the papers in any additional way since our positions of authority as teachers, editors, and mentors risk defining the papers. To preserve the multiplicity of the publication, we prefer to allow the readers to draw on their own interpretations.


Writing Assignment: Personal Memory Essay Instructor: Rosemarie Dombrowski WAC101/ENG101 Most personal essays, like your text suggests, are like “photographic self-portrait[s].” Though both capture our essence at a particular moment in time, the essay allows us to recreate the past, uncover new details (that might lie beyond the parameters of the photograph) and engage with the past from our present perspective. Ultimately, the personal essay should convey something significant to the audience, and in the process, you should discover something unique about yourself. Hence, the questions that your essay should address are the “what” the “how” and the “why”: what do I want to convey (topic, theme)? how do I want to convey it (organization, voice, style)? why is it significant to me (and why might it be to the audience)? Features of the Personal Essay subject is often commonplace (the minutia, the everyday) written in first person; conversational tone implicit/unconventional thesis; because the essay is exploratory in nature, the meaning isn’t generally revealed until the end predominately a narrative of the writer’s experiences (narration of memory), observations (descriptions), and the meaning behind both (personal commentary/reflection, personal and universal significance) engages in the dialectical process: narration = creativity; commentary/reflection = analysis The “Artifact” In order to facilitate the “translation” process (abstract ideas into concrete concepts/words), we’re going to first bring our abstract concept to life through the use of an “artifact,” a concrete object or photograph that will help us to engage with the past. Not only will this artifact instigate memories, it will also provide us with a visual object from which we can derive some of our physical descriptions. Framing and Organization The artifact can become the basis for the opening paragraph, and it can also be incorporated throughout the narrative sections. You might also want to consider “framing” your essay by opening with a strong description and then returning to the descriptive mode in the closing paragraph. You could also begin with a powerful personal reflection, perhaps on the theme you’re about to undertake, then conclude with a more universalized reflection. The organization of the body is up to you, but be sure to include all the pertinent elements/techniques (see #4 in the features section above) at some point in the essay.


Student Writing: Best Friends By Lindsey Condon A picture says a thousand words, but more importantly, it can bring back a million memories. The picture that means the most to me sits on my night stand. Having this picture so close to me gives me a sense of security, knowing she’s still there. This person that’s so close to my heart is my best friend, Lisa. To me, the definition of a best friend is someone who is and will always be there for you through thick and thin. Sometimes, a best friend can end up being a person who you would have never accepted in the beginning. On a warm autumn day in September, the children from Quail Hill Estates headed towards the bus stop that was surrounded by the multi-colored leaves falling towards the ground. Lisa walked from the Westside and I came from the Eastside. We met at the corner for the first time. The impression I got from Lisa was that she was anything but ordinary, especially compared to the rest of us. She showed up dressed in fish net stockings, plaid clothes, and knee high platform boots. Quick to judge without even spending more than a few minutes with her, I assumed we would never be more than acquaintances and couldn’t even imagine us becoming friends. One day in April, I ran to my door to escape the falling rain. Outside the door, on my neighbor’s stairs stood Lisa. As she was standing there, soaked by the rain, I asked her if she wanted to wait in my house until my neighbor came home. It didn’t take much time for me to realize that this punk girl was my soul sister in disguise. This was the time in our lives where monthly movie trips turned into weekend sleepovers, and then ended in daily get-togethers. Lisa started to become a part of my everyday life. She brought


excitement and happiness into my depressing and darkened days. Our styles actually started to grow on each other. I did her makeup and picked out her clothes when she finally gave in and let me. We both brought our own special qualities to the relationship. At this time in my life, when it seemed I had reached my all time high, everything suddenly crumbled. The pitiful part is that it takes so long to reach your highest peak, but it only takes a moment for you to crash. This is just part of the process of life; it’s full of ups and downs. My family and I had to move to Massachusetts to take care of my ill grandparents. I was scared, worried, and confused. I wondered where I would go to high school, how I would make new friends and, most importantly, if I would ever get to see Lisa again. The beginning of the transformation was fine. I would visit my old town and stay with Lisa every weekend. This was fine for the first month until our visits dwindled into bi-weekly ones, then to once-monthly get-togethers. Only being able to see each other once in a while was hard, but it made it that much more special when we did see each other. The picture that sits on my nightstand was taken around the time of our separation. The last time I saw her feels like yesterday; the feelings and reflections are unforgettable. Her hair was always bleached blond, that color blond that almost matched the sun. Her eyes were icy blue like artic waters and her skin was white as fresh snow in December. Friendship is almost like a marriage, especially when you’re so close that you love each other. Love comes in many forms: physical, psychological, and emotional. Friendship is more emotional and psychological, unlike marriage which is a combination of all three. Moving away from that special person is hard for anyone; it’s like losing a part of you until you see them again.


Since the separation was hard, I tried to keep my mind occupied, so I got a job. I was surrounded by greasy food and grouchy customers, but the only thing that mattered was getting paid. Everything was going fine until one Monday night after work. I received and urgent message on my answering machine. I wouldn’t have been that worried except for the fact that this message was different. Lisa’s brother had left it with such pain and sadness in his voice. He had said to call him back right away and that it was really urgent. My heart stopped; my palms were sweaty and my eyes started to tear up. I knew something was wrong. When I finally gained “consciousness,” I called; her dad answered, and that’s when I heard the news. My best friend in the whole world had hung herself. There was then a knot in my stomach and I was frozen in time. I just wouldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it. She was always the happier side of our friendship. There wasn’t any way this could have happened to someone as innocent as her. I felt sad and alone, with so many questions and no one to answer them. Half of me wanted to scream and the other half wanted to curl up and lay next to her. I never could have imagined anything like this, and then I experienced it. Death is one of the worst experiences someone could imagine, and especially one of the worst to live through. Teen suicide is one of the hardest types of death to deal with because of all the questions it leaves behind. This was not an accident, and there wasn’t any evidence; sometimes, things just happen. People who experience suicide like this have two options: to be affected or to affect others. Acceptance is the key; you can change anything, so why not change someone else’s life? Don’t just let a friend or even an acquaintance be down and sad; try to cheer them up. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that life is too short and that you should not let anything or anyone get you down. You should


enjoy life and everything it brings. The mind is so complex and confusing; you can never even fathom what goes on inside of it. By just looking at Lisa, you would never have imagined this to be a girl who would do something so tragic and undeserved. I’m now missing a part of her, but I’m left with the memories we had together. Imagine your dearest friend committing suicide: would you be able to complete each day not knowing why they were so miserable and whether or not you could have done something to prevent it? I never saw this coming and it something I have to live with everyday. This is why I have to be the best I can be and live my life to the fullest, no matter what.


Writing Assignment: Assessing and Responding to the Rhetorical Situation Instructor: Regina Clemens ENG 301 Purpose The purpose is to help you identify the rhetorical situation that calls technical communication into being, assess it, and respond appropriately. Tasks 1. Identify the rhetorical situation: Find a writing situation. Find a situation in your workplace, around campus, or in your personal life that calls for technical writing, such as a letter, report, or memo. 2. Assess the rhetorical situation: Create your assignment. Outline the situation identifying the purpose, audience, and goals of the situation and how you will approach your written response. Create an assignment sheet. 3. Respond to the rhetorical situation: Write the assigned document. Respond to the situation with technical writing that meets the needs of the situation, rhetorically. Grading Criteria WP 4 will be holistically scored, so the overall quality is what the grade will be based upon. The following is a list of qualities I will be considering, in order of importance: •

Clear concise point: what is your overall impression that the rest of the report supports in some way?

Evidence, support, examples, details, descriptions, & explanations: do these things substantiate or support assertions, and are all assertions thus supported?

Response to the assignment: have you fulfilled the purpose of the task/assignment that you created?

Organization, layout, or format: how does the appearance of the layout enhance your reader’s ability to access what you have communicated?

Style: have you followed APA style, cited appropriately, and provided a references page? Have you at least played with the APA headings and cover?


•

Grammar and spelling: have you read and reviewed your report several times checking for and correcting any errors?


Student Writing: The Rhetorical Situation Writing Project 4 By Kayleigh Feld Purpose: As a consumer it is your right to demand high quality service. Whole Foods is known to be a superior shopping market, but in recent months the store has had several complaints. The problem is that the prices displayed on the shelf are not what are being charged at the register. Repeatedly prices are higher on the receipt than what is posted on the shelf. This assignment is to request that Whole Foods refund the difference in prices; also that they take extra precaution in pricing future items. The letter is also to request a follow up of what measures they have taken to ensure this. Task: To resolve the issues at Whole Foods a complaint letter needs to be written to the manager. The audience of this letter will include a manger or store leader. This letter needs to be formally written in proper business format. The project should not be limited or constrained in any ways. Whole Foods is a large company, which can sometimes mean difficulty in promoting change. But seeing as this issue could cost Whole Foods many customers, they should be willing to make change. Another task includes research to find the name and mailing address of the Whole Foods manager. There shouldn’t be any limitations here; the information should be easy to find. The rhetorical situation will be to motivate the store managers to take action and to refund money, also to make a change in their system of entering prices. This letter should also bring up the issue of losing customers due to unethical reasons. Guidelines: The letter should have a moderate tone; the letter should not reveal any anger. The letter also needs to include praise at the beginning, a request or action in the body, and a specific action in the ending. The letter should also include appropriate documentation, such as receipts. The direct pattern is usually best for requesting straightforward adjustments. (Guffey) Due Dates: Wednesday, November 8 Thursday, November 16

Draft of Assignment sheet Draft of Letter Final Draft of Assignment sheet Final Draft of Letter Oral Presentation


November 8, 2006

Mike Hardy Store Team Leader Whole Foods Market 5120 S Rural Road Tempe, Az 85281 Dear Mr. Hardy: I have been a customer at your Tempe store for two years now. I have always enjoyed the friendly people and the high quality food. I have enjoyed your store so much that I have recommended many of my friends and family. Recently, in the past few months I have noticed incorrect prices on my receipts. Some of the prices shown on my receipts were higher than what the shelf price displayed. The difference in price was usually only a few cents, but in my last shopping trip there were a number of errors. For example, I bought blueberries that were posted at $3.99 but my receipt indicates that I paid $6.99 for them. Enclosed is my most recent receipt, with the errors highlighted. I know the intention wasn’t unethical, but it could appear that way to others. If a thousand people went through the store that day and bought blueberries that would be a three-thousand dollar profit over and above what it should have been. I’m sure this wasn’t the intention but some people could see it this way. After receiving such high quality from your store I’m disappointed about the recent issues. However, I know that Whole Foods takes pride on pleasing their customers so I expect that a refund will be sent, and that there will be a change in your system of entering prices. I will be expecting a letter back informing me of the measures you have taken to work out this issue. I am confident that a store with your reputation for excellent service, will want to resolve this issue immediately. Sincerely,

Kayleigh Feld


Writing Assignment: Personal Memory Essay Instructor: Rosemarie Dombrowski WAC101/ENG101 Most personal essays, like your text suggests, are like “photographic self-portrait[s].” Though both capture our essence at a particular moment in time, the essay allows us to recreate the past, uncover new details (that might lie beyond the parameters of the photograph) and engage with the past from our present perspective. Ultimately, the personal essay should convey something significant to the audience, and in the process, you should discover something unique about yourself. Hence, the questions that your essay should address are the “what” the “how” and the “why”: what do I want to convey (topic, theme)? how do I want to convey it (organization, voice, style)? why is it significant to me (and why might it be to the audience)? Features of the Personal Essay subject is often commonplace (the minutia, the everyday) written in first person; conversational tone implicit/unconventional thesis; because the essay is exploratory in nature, the meaning isn’t generally revealed until the end predominately a narrative of the writer’s experiences (narration of memory), observations (descriptions), and the meaning behind both (personal commentary/reflection, personal and universal significance) engages in the dialectical process: narration = creativity; commentary/reflection = analysis The “Artifact” In order to facilitate the “translation” process (abstract ideas into concrete concepts/words), we’re going to first bring our abstract concept to life through the use of an “artifact,” a concrete object or photograph that will help us to engage with the past. Not only will this artifact instigate memories, it will also provide us with a visual object from which we can derive some of our physical descriptions. Framing and Organization The artifact can become the basis for the opening paragraph, and it can also be incorporated throughout the narrative sections. You might also want to consider “framing” your essay by opening with a strong description and then returning to the descriptive mode in the closing paragraph. You could also begin with a powerful personal reflection, perhaps on the theme you’re about to undertake, then conclude with a more universalized reflection. The organization of the body is up to you, but be sure to include all the pertinent elements/techniques (see #4 in the features section above) at some point in the essay.


Student Writing: My Superman By Lauren Harley Dad: intimidating and strong, yet soft at heart to me. Webster’s Dictionary defines a father as “someone who has continuous care and love of his child.” My father stands a stunning six feet one inches off the ground with shoulders of steel. His face is worn from the years of raising four girls, yet his personality is still juvenile. His hands display the years of hard work, but still feel soft when I grab hold of them. He dons a mustache above a smile that lights up my heart. His voice is deep and stern, but the words he speaks are those of love. Deep inside, he has a heart overflowing with love, and a brain filled with endless knowledge and wisdom. From the outside, you could never know the battles he has fought and overcome. My father looks like a healthy man, but the demon named cancer tells the story of his life for two grueling years. “Lauren Rebecca, come down here,” I hear from the deep tone of my father’s voice as I sit on my bed engulfed in the internet findings. It’s dark out, although it is still early, and the glow of the Christmas lights flash through my windows. I roll my eyes and think to myself, “What the heck could he want now?” I drag myself out of my comfortable position and trek down the seemingly endless hallway. The stairs are wrapped with garland strands of flickering intertwined Christmas lights. The smell of the roast beef dinner my mom is cooking lingers through the air and the faint sound of Christmas music is chirping in the background. With Christmas only a day away, the feeling was everywhere. Usually I would walk down and he would have something funny to say, but this time the aura was different. His eyes had a glass look to them, as if he had been crying, and the kitchen was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. My heart crept into my


throat as I took a seat at the table. “I don’t want to scare you, but I have been diagnosed with cancer,” My dad muttered. I instantly had that tunnel feeling—it was unreal, untrue. My dad had cancer? It seemed unreasonable. I sat silently for a good amount of time, until I eventually choked down the lump in my throat and was able to ask more about the cancer he had been diagnosed with. “Cancer of the kidney, they found it while doing a routine cat scan of my lungs. The scan had went too far, and my kidney was abnormally shaped,” my dad told me in a voice that I had never heard come from his mouth. It was the beginning of what seemed to be an endless battle of a father-daughter relationship. It’s a beautiful picture. The background is blurred and you can just barely see the architecture of the house and the stairs that we stand upon. On my shoulder rests a strong hand that has protected me from harm. I stand wrapped in my father’s arms, safe from the world’s troubles, and protected from anything. Our eyes resemble each others, both brown and big. He towers over me about four inches; he can watch over me at all times. My long blonde hair takes over most of the picture, lying against his face and his shirt. He is wearing one of my favorite hunter green, long polo shirts that I am sure I picked out for him to wear that day. His glasses rest on his nose that matches mine and his smile is one in a million. Under the shirt I can see the gold chain wrapped around his neck that carries a beautiful cross right over his heart. Of course, his face is clean shaven except for his infamous black mustache. The short trimmed hair is sparse, two toned black and gray, that I love to run my hand over to tickle my palm. I look just like my dad. Every morning, I would wake up to some silly song my dad had thought of. “Shut up!” I would scream, angry because the morning had come too soon from a long night of homework the night before. After many attempts, I would drag myself out of my


comfortable bed and head into my parents’ room. I would sit on their bed contemplating excuses to use to get out of going to school, before deciding to just go. My mom would yell from her room, “Hurry up! You’re going to be late.” I of course, would ignore her statement and lackadaisically rummage through my room for my uniform. I would grab my back straining backpack and head downstairs, where I would be greeted by my dad, eating his daily dose of cheerios, extremely happy. On the counter sat a brown bag lunch for me to take with me, and I knew there was more in there than just food. Every morning my dad would write notes in my lunch and hide them cleverly in the bag. Sometimes I would open up my turkey sandwich and between the bread, in a baggie, was a letter he had written. Walking out the door, my eyes still half shut, I would mumble, “Love you dad.” “Ditto,” he would say, “love you too, have a great day.” It was a seemingly unwinnable battle between my dad and me for a couple years. We did not get along. My sister and he were best friends though. She was a firefighter like him, and they had more in common than I could ever wish for with my father. I was me. I would never be home, too wrapped up in my social life to think about my family. I was a freshman in high school obsessed with the social life I thought I needed in order to fit in. I thought weekend dates were more important to me than being with my family. They would always be there when I got home. Our relationship grew distant and was left to an occasional forced conversation at the dinner table or the car rides home. A quiet, mannerly conversation would, in almost every case, turn sour and end with slamming doors and stomping feet. It was a chore to talk to my father, and a chore to be his daughter. Being only fifteen years old, I blamed my father. I didn’t understand the emotional burden that having cancer would put on someone, and that is what I was not


capable of accepting. Regardless of whether he had cancer or not, I still did not grasp why he was often emotional and angry. I, myself, did nothing to help the situation, only worsen it with my teenage attitude and ways. Cancer is a horrible disease. Not only does it take over the life of the diagnosed, but it puts a difficult burden on the loved ones around them. Many people are faced with difficulties throughout their lives, including diseases. Cancer is one of the most common diseases in our society today. It varies from moderate to severe, but no cancer is good cancer. It controls peoples’ lives; it is mentally, physically and emotionally straining. Unfortunately, in today’s society, cancer is becoming too familiar. The most common form of cancer is cancer of the skin. Whether it is skin cancer or lung cancer, it is a life threatening disease. Doctors and scientists have worked vigorously to find ways to cure and fight this disease. As a result, we have treatment methods like, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Whether it is cancer or any other disease, it is nothing that anyone wants to be faced with. Today, I can honestly say that I am happy with the struggles my Dad and I have endured. I cannot go a day without talking to my dad. He has become more than just my dad during recent years; he is my hero. I admire the great distance he has come from so many struggles in his life. I look up to him, someone who puts every person in his life before himself. Looking back, the couple years of fighting and not getting along were worth the relationship I cherish with my father now. Cancer is such a horrible disease, and it takes over people’s lives. I have learned to find the good in the bad. I found the good in the bad of my father having cancer. It may not have been at the time he was ill, but I now see the worth in it. Appreciation is the biggest lesson I have learned from


myself in the battle I have fought all of high school. I needed my dad more than ever the past three years of my life and we have the best father-daughter relationship. He constantly reminds me that he is there for me no matter what, and he would do anything for me. I, in return, tell him how much I love him and care about him, this time for real. I no longer fumble for words or conversation starters when I am with him; if it’s silent, it’s comfortable. Through the struggle of the disease, my father has become my best friend.


Writing Assignment: Critical Reading—Film Instructor: Sarah C. Dean WAC101/ENG101 For this writing assignment, you will be writing an essay where you use the idea from one of the readings and apply it to a new example. To do this, there are two major elements that you need to include in your essay. The first is a clear summary of the major ideas from one of the readings that we are covering for this project. The second is to use those ideas and apply them to a film example of your choice. To accomplish this, you can use the semiotic relationship between yourself and the film as a support for your argument. Some of the elements of the personal essay may aid you in exploring your personal reaction to the film. What does it mean to use an idea from another reading? Using an idea from another reading can often be tricky. You need to make sure that you have a clear understanding of what the original author was saying and you must be able to write a summary in your essay that covers the major points (or at least the major points that you will be using to apply to another example) and gives the reader an idea of the overall context of the article. At the same time, you need to clearly cite the source of these ideas since taking an idea from someone else and presenting it as your own is plagiarism (even if you write it in your own words). What does it mean to write a semiotic analysis of a film? In writing a semiotic analysis, you are looking at the abstract concepts (signified) associated with the sign or as a signifier. In this case, you are looking at the meanings that a film gives to the viewer (yourself). The focus for your semiotic analysis will be guided by the ideas from the reading that you choose but you should also consider your responses to the film. You also need to be sure that you are making clear connections between specific examples from the film and the concepts you are using from the article. Expectations Throughout this process, I expect you to give adequate time to each step that we take. Although I don’t require certain page lengths for the drafts, I do expect that your process will reflect a serious effort at developing your ideas (i.e. no drafts that are only a page or two long, etc.). In my experience, most students at this level have an extremely difficult time in meeting the requirements of this paper in drafts less then 4 pages long (therefore the minimum page requirement is 4 pages). Give yourself time to develop your ideas; if you need to, you can always edit out later. It is not always the best thing to go for the bare minimum, especially since it really limits the scope of feedback that you get from the instructor and your peers. In addition, you should always keep in mind the policies that are laid out in the syllabus.


Student Writing: Creating the Myth: Hero Myth By Crechelle Jackson What is a hero? How can society identify a hero? What’s the distinction between a myth and a true hero’s journey? In my perspective, a hero is a person that accomplishes a courageous act without being selfish. According to Linda Seger, “Myths are the common stories at the root of our universal existence…;” a myth is a story that is “more than true” (Seger, 2006, p.318). The popular adventure film, The Lord of the Rings, portrays characters that are seen as heroes, and generally follow the hero myth composition. But some heroes in the film don’t exactly follow the hero myth structure as well as it should. In fact, the film depicts the main hero and others to be corrupted by evil itself. This film exemplifies how a hero isn’t always the good guy, but can go against what he is fighting for…if he lets evil corrupt him. As a consequence, this means that the hero myth structure doesn’t always tell a true heroic journey even if the character is known as the mighty hero in the end. When we hear narratives about somebody implementing a brave or courageous act, we think of them as a hero or savior. Then, to some extent, we like to believe that our lives somewhat correlate with their heroic journey. We want to imagine that we can be just like the hero in the movie, in the tales, and in the various narratives we often hear. We want to think that the journey that the hero embarks on resembles the lives that we lead each day. Such as in the film, The Lord of the Rings, the main character, Frodo Baggins, has to embark on this long and difficult journey. In this long voyage, he goes through a series of complicated and risky situations. He defeats these risky, complicated


situations therefore he transforms into a heroic figure. This heroic display makes us wish we could accomplish those tasks as well. According to Seger, every hero story has a certain flow and arrangement to it. In the beginning the hero is shown but not as a hero just yet. He or she is depicted as a normal, average person. They are seen as basically a nobody, someone who isn’t known for any remarkable acts or accomplishments. In fact, introducing a hero in a film is perhaps the most important element in a good hero film. The introduction of a hero is what sets the whole beginning of the hero’s journey. It’s how we relate to the hero as well. We see the hero being introduced and we feel that we relate to their normal, average life. Frodo Baggins is portrayed as an ordinary person that lives in the beautiful land of the Shire. In detail he isn’t just an ordinary person, but an ordinary hobbit. The aspect that he is a hobbit illustrates him as being in somewhat of a mediocre group, since they are so small, therefore putting out the image that they can’t do as much as a normal human being. This point makes Frodo seem even more average and ordinary. Another hero-like character, Aragon, is introduced by trying to help out Frodo and his fellow companions. Gandalf the wizard is introduced by showing up in the Shire and presenting Frodo with a difficult task. The introduction of these characters lets the audience and viewers see that the hero film will be composed of these main characters. Every hero story has a hero that does a courageous and brave act to save the community or the population from evil. The hero executes these acts no matter how the consequences have an effect on themselves. All they would like is for the community and the people to be safe, happy and free from all evil. For instance, when Aragon leads his small defensive force into battle against Mordor’s huge Ork army, he knows he doesn’t


have a chance to conquer it. But that doesn’t really matter to him. He is only concerned about creating a diversion for Frodo and Sam to get past the all seeing eye of Mordor. He is willing to put his life in danger, so freedom can once again be restored. This act of courage and bravery is what makes Aragon a true hero. His heroism in the film follows the structure of a true hero myth. He doesn’t get corrupted by evil itself, but instead he fights against it. He fights for the good of mankind. This act of heroism is the kind that society loves to enjoy. We as audiences can usually differentiate a hero from the evil villain. But in some cases there is a slight twist that confuses the audience. In the film, there are two characters, Gandalf the Grey Wizard and Saruman the White Wizard. Gandalf is of course the good wizard that is trying to destroy the ring. But Saruman is the wizard that was once good but was converted to the evil side. He was converted to evil because the powerful ring corrupted him. He liked the glimpse of power so much that he was trying to do anything to get his hands on it. We as the audience can see that Gandalf is good and is working to help Frodo. Saruman also sees that Gandalf is a wizard like him and he could help him rule the ring. Therefore, Saruman offers Gandalf the chance to join him and help take the ring. He tries to convert Gandalf to the evil side. But Gandalf refuses his evil offer. Saruman can’t let Gandalf get away if he won’t join him. Instead of Gandalf fleeing from him, he stands and fights Saruman. He’s fighting against evil; we all hope that he will overpower Saruman. But unfortunately he doesn’t succeed in defeating him. But it doesn’t matter that he didn’t overpower him. Just the fact that he attempted to battle him shows a brave and courageous trait. This also lets us know that he


is a true hero, fighting for good. He didn’t let the glimpse of power overtake him. He fought against it and became the hero in this battle scene. In the film, The Lord of the Rings, Frodo is searching for freedom and the dreadful land of Mordor. Frodo was given the difficult task to protect the ring and destroy it in the fires of Mordor. After a grueling and complex journey, Frodo and Sam finally reach the Mountain of Mordor. Frodo now has to throw the ring in the fire, so it can be destroyed forever. But before Frodo is about to throw the ring into the fire, something happens to him. He suddenly realizes that he is about to annihilate the most powerful ring in the world. He suddenly changes his mind and wishes to keep the ring to himself and only himself. At this point he sinks to his lowest point on his journey. All that he has struggled, suffered and fought for has all been wasted. He gave into the ring; he gave into evil. Of course we expect any hero or non-hero to have a couple of weaknesses and faults, and it is generally at this point when the hero reveals his flaws. However, this tells us that evil can corrupt any person, even a hero. Hero or average human being, they all still have the same human characteristics. They are humans not unlike everybody else. Of course they may do courageous and brave acts but, when great power is within their grasp, they take action just like any other mortal would. This unfortunate flaw doesn’t exactly fit the hero myth structure. We all have expectations that the hero would take on the mission and accomplish it without being corrupted by evil. But the fact that Frodo was corrupted and almost taken over by this evil ring tells us that this film isn’t a good hero myth illustration. After the mission has been accomplished, everyone is exhausted and relieved that it’s all over. Frodo and Aragon are ready to go home. According to the hero myth


structure, the hero is expected to return home a changed character with a new found personality. Aragon seems to return home with a new perspective on life and values it even more. There is evidence of this when we see that he is crowned King and has the one he loves by his side. Frodo, on the other hand, is also relieved that the dreadful journey is over and the task is completed. But Frodo doesn’t seem to be happy in his homeland of the Shire. He appears to be somewhat content with himself and with what he has defeated. But something still doesn’t feel right. There was nothing that he brought home to his people…in fact, his community doesn’t even know what he had accomplished for the entire world. In a hero myth story, the hero returns home and is known for his/her courageous acts. Then the hero has the image that he/she is the community’s savior and hero. But Frodo’s journey wasn’t known to his own community at all. When he returned home, it was just like any other day. On top of that, Frodo still feels like something is missing from his life. The ring that he worked so hard to destroy has destroyed him. While accomplishing a great act, he has lost himself as a consequence. You would think he would get rewarded and praised for it but no. He feels depressed and empty inside. He can’t seem to go back to the way he was before the ring came into his life. In the end, he decides to leave the Shire and go to a place where he believes he won’t feel as empty as he does. Frodo believes that moving to this new place will allow him to get on with his life or at least make him feel somewhat at ease with himself. If he doesn’t do this then he won’t be able to go on with his life. In addition, he certainly doesn’t want to end up like his friend Bilbo. So he feels he has to get away from the life he once knew and possibly start over in a new setting.


In conclusion, Linda Seger identifies a hero myth as being the root of our universal existence. This then makes us want to be like the classic hero that exhibits courageous and brave acts and then saves the day. The film, The Lord of the Rings, is a great display of a hero’s journey, therefore creating a society that desires to resemble the hero in the film. But this film also doesn’t exactly follow the hero myth structure, as much as we may like. In fact the hero in this film isn’t depicted as a real hero, which takes on the mission, defeats all obstacles, and then returns home. Instead the main hero Frodo is corrupted by evil and this lets us know that this film goes against the typical hero myth. Everybody likes to see the hero save the day and be strong enough to refrain from the evil they are up against. Frodo is considered the big hero in this film, but his actions in the film don’t fit a true hero. He gets corrupted by the ring; this tells us he wasn’t strong enough to refrain from evil. This type of act isn’t what a hero myth is all about. But on the other hand, this film isn’t composed of only just one hero, but several heroes. The other heroes follow the hero myth structure very well. They go up against evil and defeat it without giving into evil. Therefore we can conclude with the fact that this film is composed of the hero myth structure but at the same time it goes against the hero myth in certain areas.


Writing Assignment: Entering into the Conversation: Field-Specific Literature Report Instructor: Regina Clemens ENG 301 Purpose: The purpose is to introduce you to the conversations going on in your field, and to help you enter into those conversations. One of the ways people learn to communicate within an unfamiliar genre is to “listen in” on the conversations that are taking place there. Just like entering a conversation at a cocktail party, you must listen to what is being said before you enter the discussion yourself. This assignment is designed with two objectives in mind: one, to help you get a feel for what people in your field are discussing, and how they go about discussing it; and, two, to help you learn to take large amounts of information and condense it in a report format. Tasks: 1. Be prepared to spend some time at the library with a reference librarian who is an expert at finding literature from most fields, if you are not sure where to start with your research. 2. Try to find at least two different periodical sources from literature in your field. They can be newspapers, magazines, or journals. Photocopy your sources and include them in your final draft folder. 3. Use a three-pass approach to your reading of the texts. • First, look them over in a global way paying attention to how they are organized, formatted, and constructed. Compare and contrast the different sources; how are they alike or different? • Next, read through the texts with an open mind for a sense of how the authors have set things up. Is there a major claim stated up-front followed by explanations and evidence, or does the evidence throughout build up to a claim in the concluding section? What are some keywords or phrases that sound like jargon? Create a list of terms and definitions or quote noteworthy passages. And, again, compare and contrast. • Finally, read through carefully, and analyze what kinds of claims are made. Are they believable? Why or why not? What sort of evidence is put forth to substantiate claims? Are there graphs, charts, statistics, stories, etc.? Are the arguments credible, logical? 4. Your report should bring into focus much about the intended audience, and the purpose of the literature. Your WP should reflect this. 5. Limit your report to 4-6 typewritten, single-spaced pages (using a good readable layout, and paying attention to headings and subheadings). 6. Experiment with report formats, either with Microsoft or other technology, or by referring to samples in Chapter 17 and18. 7. It is your job as a technical writer to choose the best format and style for your information and audience. Have fun with this! Grading Criteria


WP 1 will be holistically scored, so the overall quality is what the grade will be based upon. The following is a list of qualities I will be considering, in order of importance: • Clear concise point: what is your overall impression that the rest of the report supports in some way? • Evidence, support, examples, details, descriptions, & explanations: do these things substantiate or support your assertions about the literature you have studied? • Response to the assignment: have you fulfilled the purpose of the task/assignment? • Organization, layout, or format: how does the appearance of the layout enhance your reader’s ability to access what you have communicated? • Style: have you followed the style guide of your chosen field, cited appropriately, and provided a references list, bibliography, or works cited page (depending on style)? • Grammar and spelling: have you read and reviewed your report several times checking for and correcting any errors? Checklist: The following suggestions are adapted from page 492. • Introduce your subject matter to your audience; consider crafting a title page, an abstract, table of contents, or summary to tell your reader where the report will lead. • For the body of the report be sure to introduce your study, discuss your subject matter, analyze the technical writing of your field in terms of audience, purpose, and goals, and conclude with your response to the study. • List all references, include samples of technical writing in appendices, or construct a glossary of technical jargon or terms of art. • Include also in your folder, the articles you copied and analyzed.


Student Writing: Getting the Dirt on Archeology *Please note that original cover page, table of contents, and appendixes have been removed for publication.

By April Johnson ABSTRACT Anthropology has a wide range of fields; Archeology is a sub-field of anthropology—it falls into the social, cultural and linguistic portion. In this report I am comparing the writing techniques from two much respected sources. One is from the National Geographic Magazine, titled “Pyramid of Death” from October 2006 issue. This article reveals a new discovery from Mexico’s bloody history. The other article is from the New York Times, “Final Battle” published January 16, 2007. This article is also about violence, describing newly unearthed clues from ancient Mesopotamia’s war – stricken past. Both articles are examples of modern day excavations enlightening the past—each have their own story to tell. My job is to peel back the pages and expose the intent the writers have and compare the writing styles, the intended audience, purpose of each piece and the goals. INTRODUCTION Anthropology is a complex field in which to explore. The most significant component of the field to most anthropologists is archaeology—the art of digging to discover the past. Archeology is controversial because when a dig is done, it disturbs, sometimes ruining the artifacts. Our past of social evolution is elusive at times, and that is why archeology is a necessary tool used to rediscover the lost cities buried by wars, disease and natural disasters. The focus of this paper is to compare two articles within anthropology: both archeological digs on two different continents, both discovering very similar topics-violence due to war. The two articles present in the paper are listed below: •

“Pyramid of Death” by A.R. Williams is from the National Geographic Magazine, October 2006 edition. This article describes the human and animal sacrifices that took place at Teotihuacan, an ancient city in Mexico that was in the height of its time in A.D. 400 way before the age of the Aztec.

The second article titled “Final Battle” by John Noble Wilford is from the New York Times, January 16, 2007. This piece relates the new findings and discovery that proves that a major battle did take place destroying the city walls around 3500 B.C.

My task at hand is to compare these two articles and analyze their technical writing and how the writer takes information from the field and makes it widely available for others


to read and understand. In doing so I will also study the structure of both articles and take into consideration the jargon used, organization, and the use of imagery. THE AUDIENCE Both the National Geographic Magazine and the New York Times are widely available to the masses—meaning that any one can pick it up and read it. The intent of both articles is that it is easy to read, understand, and follow the nature of the writing. The reader is the key objective in both articles—the writer wants any one to to read and get the gist of the story. This is just one of eight very importance aspects of the “Measures for Excellence in Technical Communication” (Markel, 2007). The writers are considerate of the readers time and interest-keeping both articles short and easy to follow. Williams gives a thorough background to the reader so it is easy to comprehend the mind boggling news of ancient blood rituals found in Mexico. The “Pyramid of Death” is a ten-paged article that is made up of reenactment drawings and photos—this helps the reader get a visual of what was found. The wording is easy to follow and does not use any vocabulary related to the field that would make any non-anthropologist readers confused. The wording flows with ease and describes a very blood driven society. Overall, it is short and very descriptive. The purpose of the article is to tell the reader about the findings and the gruesome events that took place in Teotihuacan in a Bothers Grimm fairy-tale style The article from the New York Times, “Final Battle” is straight forward with no pictures and is also intended for the general audience, but the writer is communicating to those within the field of archeology and is giving an update on the story that many may already know, for example: “our interpretations are going to shift,” when these new findings are published. This quote suggests that there are opinions formed about the excavation site and what is expected to be found is predetermined. The new discovery may change the opinions that have already been formed. This piece seems to be for the more—advanced anthropologist who knows about the dig in the area of Turkey and Syria. The intent of the article is to inform the reader that war was in fact the reason for the city’s demise. FORMAT AND STRUCUTRE “Pyramid of Death” is very short, and the written material is about one and half pages long. The rest of the article uses graphic drawings depicting people and animals being beheaded, photos of human and animal remains and some artifacts. It is easy to read and understand the story even if you look at the pictures. There is also a map to show the area where the items were found and a timeline. This creates a whole picture so the reader has a total and complete message of the intent of the story. The article gives a brief history of the work site and gives the names of some of the people working on the site and the institutions they represent.


The writing style of Williams is descriptive and analytical. The report tells us what was found and what archeologists think happened during the time from the area of excavation. During excavation, “remains of ten men from about A.D. 300. Probably prisoners of war, they were made eternally submissive: With their hands tied behind them and stripped of all ornamentation, they were beheaded and thrown in a heap” (150). The article ends by leaving the reader wanting to know more and states that more work is being done to “fill in the gaps”—so to speak. The second article in comparison, “Final Battle” wastes no time in telling the reader what was found- “evidence of how one of the world’s earliest cities met a violent end by fire collapsing walls and roofs, and a fierce rain of clay bullets. The battle left some of the oldest known ruins of organized warfare” (p. F2). This article is also analytical—it gives the findings and makes assumptions based on the artifacts found. The story is informative, but short. There are no pictures to distract or entertain the reader—just the facts. ORGANIZATION and TECHNICAL JARGON The two articles I selected for this analysis both presented information clearly and quickly due to lack of time and space. The findings are told within the first or second paragraph and there is no guessing what the writers want the reader to know. There is little to no technical terms, the first article described below was intended for the general public, so no explanation was needed for any words used. The second article had a few words that an average person would not use on a day-to-day basis and are defined in the glossary. The New York Times article does not define these terms, again that this was an article written for the general public but addressed those within the anthropological world. The “Pyramid of Death” article states the findings of the excavation and explains that there is evidence to support the theory for human and animal sacrifices at the site of Teotihuacan. “The earliest sacrifice, from about A.D. 200, marked a substantial enlargement of the building” (Williams 2006). The writer uses descriptive words to enhance the imagery that accompanies the article. The organization of pictures and words reflect each other and the pictures nestle the story between its high gloss pages. Williams chooses to educate the reader on the history of the site and explains why some animals were found, “Animals representing mythical powers and military might… were killed and buried for the war goddess to whom the burial was dedicated” (p. 148). In contrast, the other article, “Final Battle” is again very similar in organization, giving all the facts up front. “Archaeologists are gaining a broader perspective on a transformative period in antiquity that saw the rise of the first cities, specialization in work, stratification of society and eventually, the first known writing.” (Wilford 2007) The writer chose not to “tell a story” as did the other article—this was more reporting than giving a history lesson. Wilford chose not to use descriptive words as in “Pyramid


of Death” giving the reader nothing to visually grasp while imaging the destruction of the long ago war that destroyed the ancient city of Mesopotamia. CREDIBILITY Both the National Geographic Magazine and the New York Times are widely respected and utilized means of getting proper and correct information. Both articles give names of institutions, colleges and organizations that were working on the excavations and names of doctors and researchers. Both articles were professional in appearance, no doubt that these two articles wanted to earn respectful readers. And as Markel states in his book, to have a successful article one will need to follow these rules: honesty, clarity, accuracy, comprehensiveness, accessibility, conciseness, professional appearance and correctness (p.12) The site of the ancient city of Teotihuacan is a major tourist attraction and establishing well documented records for excavations is vital in order to allow for the destructive digs to take place. National Geographic is known for its scientific reports and would not allow misleading information to be printed. If any information is misinterpreted or printed it is stated in the next published magazine the following month under the “Letters” section in trademark yellow framed text. The New York Times has only one job-to report. The freedom of speech can have its drawbacks but for this paper and this article I will keep it simple: the article “Final Battle” is told black and white—just like the print. I don’t know any thing about the writer but I do not know any one who would write and print an article with their name with out checking the facts. CONCLUSION In my professional opinion I liked the information presented in both articles. I did not like the artistic drawings that the “Pyramid of Death” used—they seemed immature and highly biased showing the gruesome and wanting to have the reader feel emotion. But the New York Times article did not give any imagery, which I like to see because of the artifacts found at the Syria site. Over all, both were well written and direct. The information was presented clearly and easy to read and follow. I have one question that I want to follow up on for the “Pyramid of Death” my question arose because of this: “The earliest burial (A) included a human victim, and several animals—all apparently buried alive” (Williams p.148) The article does not state what evidence lead to the idea that the human and animals were buried alive. I want to know from a Forensic Anthropologist’s standpoint what made the archeologist or the writer believe this. I want to see proof.


GLOSSARY Terms used in “Final Battle” article from New York Times: Antiquities: ancient times Artifact: an object made by humans, usually buried. Excavations: an organized dig with a purpose of recovery or in search of Obsidian: a volcanic glass used to make tools, very sharp.

REFERENCES Markel, Mike. (2007). Technical Communication. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s Wilford, John Noble. (2007, January 16). Final battle. New York Times pp. F2 Williams, A.R. (2006, Oct). Pyramid of death. National Geographic Magazine, 144-153


Writing Assignment: Interview Report Instructor: Regina Clemens ENG 301 Assignment: Interview a professional in your field about technical communication on the job. You may choose someone at a local company or one of the professors here at ASU. Remember: technical communication entails producing reader-based documents that contain essential, useful, often job-sensitive information. Remember from Chapter 1, successful technical communication meets 8 criteria for excellence and possesses 7 major characteristics. After your interview, use the information you gleaned to write a report describing the role of technical communication in your field. The report is to be about “technical communication” and not about the person you have interviewed, so be sure to focus your writing in an appropriate fashion. It is a good idea to collect samples of your interviewee’s writing, if possible, to illustrate your report. Purpose: Sometimes a writing assignment is open to interpretation. Professional writers are expected to gather information from a variety of sources and to determine the best method for presentation. It is left up to the writer to then synthesize raw data into a cogent informational report. As a future professional in your chosen field, you will definitely need skills in interviewing colleagues and superiors to gain information about projects, policies, and procedures. You will also be expected to turn such raw data into readable documents. Responsibilities: You must find a contact person who is willing to assist you in preparing a document about writing in the workplace. By working together the two of you will explore the dimensions of this assignment—from the most obvious to the most obscure— and by developing strategies for completing the assignment successfully. As such, you will sharpen your rhetorical skills, and, in the process, you will gain insight into your topic area and improve your writing. Tasks: 1. Interview a “contact” person—someone who can give you insights into “real” writing, assist you with your document, or even help you find a job after you graduate. 2. Schedule your interview soon so that you have enough time to write a rough draft to workshop in class. 3. Stress to your interviewee that your purpose is not to evaluate the quality of his or her writing—you’re only gathering information to fulfill a class project. 4. If appropriate, ask your interviewee for writing samples. 5. Limit your report to 7-8 typewritten, single-spaced pages (using a good readable layout, and paying attention to headings and subheadings). 7. Experiment with report formats, either with Microsoft or other technology, or by referring to samples in Chapter 19, pp. 494-518. Have fun with this!


Checklist for writing the report: Adapted from Markel (2007 p. 492): this is suggested only. Feel free to create your own order or organization of the following components.

• • •

Introduce your subject matter to your audience; consider crafting a title page, an abstract, table of contents, or summary to tell your reader where the report will lead. For the body of the report be sure to introduce your study, discuss your interview approach or methods, analyze the technical writing of your field in terms of audience, purpose, and goals, and conclude with your response to the study. List all references, include samples of technical writing in appendices, or construct a glossary of technical jargon or terms of art.

Grading Criteria: Goal, purpose, or focus: have a purpose or focus that is clear, well-supported and supported throughout. Response to the assignment: make the report address the technical communication of the interviewee’s field; base the report on the data gathered from the interviewed professional. And discuss the research methods you used as well as rely on the interview to your claims. Support: Use quotes or paraphrases from the interviewee, references to sample texts listed in an appendix (if possible), and descriptions of the way writing happens in the profession of the interviewee. Organization: make this a logically arranged report, easy to access with subheadings to guide your audience through. Consider a table of contents. Style: Conform to APA style guide; document all support properly. Grammar, spelling, punctuation: Make your report error free. Peer review: Be prepared to participate in the online peer review workshop on time.


Student Writing: Technical Writing in Process Services *Please note that original cover page, table of contents, and appendixes have been removed for publication.

By Adam Juel Background Whenever a court action is begun, law requires that all parties in the case be properly notified of such action and provided with copies of the documents initiating the procedure. This service of process is carried out by individuals deemed by the county government as being impartial to the case. For most types of documents that necessitate service, Maricopa County requires that these process servers be licensed as such and that they maintain some form of related ongoing education. Having been a legal courier for two years, many of my own experiences in the business have provided the foundation on which this paper was written. However, in an effort to broaden the scope of this analysis I determined that it would be necessary to collaborate with someone who had much more extensive knowledge of the courier and process service fields. To meet this objective, I choose to interview Dana Juel of Rush Attorney & Process Services. He is the owner of a local process service company for more than ten years and has been involved in the business for sixteen years. As such, I concluded that he would be the ideal candidate. I conducted the interview on two separate occasions using some predetermined questions. First on February 24th, 2007 and then on March 2nd 2007. Introduction For Juel and Rush Attorney Services, one of the most common technical documents in the business is the affidavit. There are various purposes for affidavits which extend beyond the work of a process server but in the industry affidavits are used to describe the circumstances surrounding a “serve”. The two most common are affidavits of service, which detail a completed serve, and affidavits of non-service, which describe the steps taken in an unsuccessful attempt to serve. There are several sub-categories pertaining to both of these but for the sake of brevity I will not attempt to explain all of them. Because process services involve handling a large number of documents each day, most companies also utilize document cover sheets which are produced and used internally. These cover sheets or “runner slips” as they’re called in the business, have very specific purposes and are essential to the productivity of a company. They resemble memos in many respects. Courier Cover Sheets (also known as runner slips)


Purpose and Audience Cover sheets are usually produced by a secretary working for the firm who is requesting a particular service. Their intended audience is limited to the courier or process server who handles the documents. For this reason they are much less formal and more concise than affidavits. These cover sheets serve a wide range of purposes. Usually they act as a summary page for a set of documents that need to be delivered to a location or served on a specific individual. They can on occasion however act as stand alone memos. Accessibility and Conciseness In order for runner slips to fulfill their purpose it is essential that they be kept concise and easily accessible. This means that each slip is limited to one page mostly consisting of check boxes and blank fields used to designate common directions and information such as which court the documents originated from or which judge the documents are to be delivered to. Each slip will contain a list of accompanying documents and a brief set of instructions. In my own experience, approximately fifty percent of the cover sheets processed are comparable to the example provided above. Others however, might contain several paragraphs of detailed service instructions such as recommended time and dates to attempt service, physical descriptions of the person to be served, vehicles registered to that person or any other pertinent information. To maintain the highest level of accessibility, Juel sorts and digitally scans every cover sheet on a regular basis. The scanned images are processed by a program that identifies the text on certain portions of the document, namely the date and name of the client, and then stores it in a database. This database is searchable, allowing us to completely dispose of paper copies and thus save space. A downfall to this system is that the documents must be produced using a word processor because the scanning software can rarely interpret handwriting. For this reason, templates are distributed to clients via email or CD. Correctness In most situations, cover sheets are a courier’s most valuable reference because they contain all of the information necessary to complete a delivery. In order for a job to be completed successfully, all of the information contained in a cover sheet must be entirely accurate. According to Juel, in one recent incident upon the request of a client, extremely time sensitive documents were filed with the Maricopa County Superior Court by one of our couriers. These documents were supposed to have been filed by 5:00 p.m. that day at


the Arizona Court of Appeals in order to meet a hearing deadline but because a paralegal provided detailed yet inaccurate instructions, that deadline was missed. Depending on which judge has been assigned to the case and which court is hearing the case, some deadlines may occasionally be more flexible than others. However, missing a filing deadline could very easily result in a party’s motion or petition being denied, and in some situations, such as a lawsuit which is bound by a statute of limitations; the case may be dismissed altogether. Affidavits or Certificates of Service Clarification: Affidavit or Certificate? An affidavit of service or non-service is essentially the same document as a certificate of service or non-service. I will use those terms interchangeably. As was pointed out by Juel, the difference lies in a rule passed by the Arizona Supreme Court which no longer requires public notaries to sign and notarize the document. Since a single process server might produce ten to twenty affidavits in a week, the courts decided that requiring a notary seal on every document was not only unnecessary but also a hindrance. Instead, every certificate of service produced by a process server will contain a statement acknowledging the threat of perjury should they knowingly include false information followed by their signature. Audience Affidavits pertaining to process services are considered public record. When completed, they are filed with the appropriate court and then made available for viewing by the county records department. For this reason, it must always be assumed that the audience will be any individual with an interest in the case. Specifically, the most immediate audience consists of the parties, their respective attorneys, judicial clerks and judges themselves. As Markel (2007) points out, various readers may have an array of different backgrounds (p. 85). Because of this, these documents must maintain a highly professional appearance and remain easily accessible. Purpose The purpose of a certificate of service is simple; to provide official court documentation describing the attempted or actual service of an individual involved in a case. A certificate of service describes the successful service of an individual while a certificate of non-service summarizes the attempts made and methods used thus far in order to complete service. A certificate of non-service can often be as important to a case as a successful serve. For example, a certificate of non-service might detail a person’s


attempts to circumvent judicial proceedings by deliberately avoiding service. This may result in an alternative method of service being ordered by the court, in which case, it is not necessary for the individual to be served in person. In instances of monetary judgments, this can be especially important since Arizona law does not require a defendant to respond to a claim when deciding to award compensation to the petitioner. This is known as a Judgment by Default (Arizona state court rules). During the interview, Juel said that for reasons such as this, he always makes it a point to mention in these certificates and resistance he has met when attempting to serve a document (personal communication, February 24, 2007). These documents most closely resemble progress reports or incident reports, two of the more common types of documents used in professional writing. Like progress reports, affidavits pertaining to service are often used to officially update our clients on the status of a serve. In his description of progress reports, Markel (2007) writes that information is communicated “regardless of how well the project is proceeding” (p. 439). Certificate of Service Used to prove to the court that service was completed appropriately. Includes time and date of service. Might identify witnesses to the actual service to prevent individuals from denying having been served with documents.

Certificate of Non-Service Used to “update” the court on the status of a serve or altogether failure to serve. Includes times, dates and methods of attempted service. Can accompany written testimony from a witness such as a private investigator in order to prove a persons dishonest or malicious intent to avoid service.

Components, Organization and Accessibility Because of the volume of paperwork involved in court proceedings, it is essential that a standard format be adopted. The same format that is used for common court documents such as pleadings or motions is also used in creating certificates of service. The upper-left corner of the document contains a return address for the person requesting service. This contact information is most often that of the attorney representing the party, in which case it would include the name of the attorney, a mailing address, telephone number, and state bar number. The uppermost right portion is left blank, as is the case of any document to be filed by the county, so that there is sufficient space for the court clerk’s date stamp. Below the return address and center justified is the name of the court in which the document is to be filed. Following the name of the affiliated court is the information which identifies the case. On the left are the names of the parties separated usually by “vs.” and identified as either the “Defendant/Respondent” or the “Plaintiff/Petitioner”. On the right is the case number which will have different prefixes or suffixes depending on the type of case being addressed. Just below the case number is the name of the document being filed.


After the case information is the body of the affidavit or certificate. This contains the time, date and location where the service of process took place. During the interview, Juel said that any process server would want to include an exact address and suite or apartment number (personal communication, February 24, 2007). Of course, this may not always be possible in every situation. For example, I recently served a subpoena on a local police detective who was on special assignment in an undeveloped part of the city. My certificate of service named the nearest crossroads and a general description of the area. Jargon Legal documents are especially expected to be saturated with jargon. Fortunately, while the average certificate of service certainly contains its fair share of jargon, it is usually not in the form of complicated Latin phrases. In the body of the example provided, Juel uses the phrase “Skip”. This refers to “Skip Trace” or what is more easily recognized as a highly simplified background check. Skip traces are conducted to help determine the whereabouts of the individual being served and utilize various public records accessed through an online database and search tool in order to locate potential places of residence both past and present. Ethical / Legal Considerations and Accuracy Because of the nature of the business being conducted by process servers, high ethical standards are crucial. As Juel pointed out in the interview, a certificate pertaining to service is a sworn statement. For this reason, any details contained in the body of the document must be as accurate as humanly possible. Nevertheless, he said that accuracy is always more important than level of detail and if he can not guarantee that a piece of information is absolutely correct, he will not include it in his summary (personal communication, February 24, 2007). Various Terms and Definitions Affidavit: A written sworn statement. Conform: The act of stamping documents as they are filed. Copies of original filings are conformed by a court clerk to indicate the date of receipt and authenticity of the original filing. Runner: Courier. Slang term. Skip/Skip Trace: A search conducted using electronic resources that uses public records to attempt to locate an individual Conclusion Of the plethora of documents that pass through the hands of attorneys, court clerks and justices each day, the affidavits or certificates produced by process servers are


generally regarded as being among the least influential in a case. Nevertheless, Juel said that it is not unusual for the testimony of a process server to tip the scale in certain court proceedings when a judge, arbitrator or attorney is having difficulty making a decision especially in regards to decisions that relate to the character or behavior of a party in the given case. Considering this as well as the knowledge that these documents are sworn statements and matters of public record, process servers must maintain high standards of accuracy, correctness and professionalism in their writings. While not often recognized, process servers and legal couriers are the workhorses of lower court functions and the documents they deal with on a day to day basis are essential to the most basic operations of the local legal community.


Writing Assignment: Film Review/Evaluation Instructor: Rosemarie Dombrowski WAC101/ENG101 Simply stated, a sound evaluation involves three things: a subjective judgment/claim, criteria by which to evaluate your subject, and evidence that supports your judgment, or more specifically, evidence that supports each individual criterion. Making a subjective judgment/claim First, you might want to introduce your subject (film) as well as the purpose of your paper (to review and evaluate). In order to effectively introduce your subject, you need to provide your audience with a general list of expectations (criteria associated with the genre, film in this case), qualities that you think all great films should possess. Then, you’ll need to make your claim/state your thesis, which should indicate the degree of success that the film achieved. Listing criteria This is your opportunity to make your criteria more specific to the film in question. For example, if one of your initial expectations about film was that it should be creative, you now need to address the question “what element of this particular film was creative?” Your response might be that the “story” was creative, which should prompt you to include the phrase “creative story” in the clause immediately following your claim/thesis. The clause that follows your claim can either be written in the form of a “because clause” (X is great because of x, y, z,) or a “blueprint clause,” both of which indicate the trajectory of the body by outlining the topics of the body paragraphs. This clause(s)/sentence(s) should address all of your criteria in a manner that is specific to the film, each criterion supporting your claim/thesis – supporting the film’s degree of success or failure. Claim: X was an exemplary “social” film… Blueprint Clause: …due to its handling of religious conflict, the informative way in which it highlighted ethnic differences, etc… Supporting your claim/supporting your criteria Each body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that states the criterion and its degree of success – i.e. its relationship to your claim. The remainder of the paragraph should contain examples (dialogue, scenes, images/imagery, actions, sounds, etc.) that support the criterion in question and ultimately contribute to your overall claim. You should have at least four body paragraphs.


Student Writing: The War Within: The Struggle Between Right and Wrong By Segen Kidane To evaluate is “to examine and judge carefully� (dictionary.com, 2007). Specifically, film evaluations, also known as reviews, are conducted on films to rate a film and judge whether or not it is going to appeal to an audience. A great film should be original, emotionally moving, appeal to the audience, and have realistic actors or characters. The film The War Within appeals to an audience because of its wordless narration, accomplished through the use of powerful images, and emotionally moving dialogue. On the other hand, this film is not entirely successful because the story is not original and it has a tragic ending, something that most audiences find disappointing. For more than a decade, the feud between the United States and the Middle East has been escalating. Middle Eastern countries have planned terrorist attacks on the United States, killing innocent civilians. In retaliation, the United States has invaded these Middle Eastern countries. In order to discover possible terrorist attacks, allies of the United States have interrogated and tortured suspected terrorists. In the movie The War Within, French allies of the United States kidnapped, interrogated, and tortured an allegedly innocent Pakistani man by the name of Hassan. Years later, Hassan was released and made his way to New Jersey to visit an old friend, Sayeed. Hassan, along with other terrorists who he had come into contact with while in prison, were planning an attack against the United Stated. Throughout the movie, Hassan struggles internally, debating whether or not he should go through with the attack.


The War Within is appealing to an audience because of its breathtaking scenery. The images used as backdrops for the scenes were unbelievably beautiful. Not only are the images beautiful, they also narrate the movie without words. The scene with the Statue of Liberty was majestic and devoid of words, but the images spoke a thousand words. Throughout the scene, the director was trying to tell his audience that even though an attack has been made on the United States, the United States would continue to stand strong. Also, the image of the statue allowed the audience to remember what the statue symbolizes. Over 100 years ago, the French gave the United States the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of friendship. For many years, Ellis Island, where the Statue of Liberty is located, was an immigration port where immigrants coming to America would have to stop and register in order to come into the country. It’s ironic that ungrateful individuals will attack the country that opened its doors for them. Not only does the scene with the Statue of Liberty symbolize unity, it also symbolizes betrayal. The scene when the FBI arrests Sayeed also speaks to the audience without using words. The FBI asks Sayeed to come with them so they can ask him some questions. The way they were man-handling him indicated that Sayeed had become a suspect even though he was trying to be a good Samaritan. This scene symbolizes discrimination, specifically the king of discrimination that resulted in Hassan’s arrest in the beginning of the film. The FBI automatically assumed that Sayeed was a terrorist because he was from the Middle East. The dialogue in The War Within is captivating and well-formulated. The director used dialogue to express the hatred that had settled in some of the characters’ hearts. The letter that Hassan wrote to Sayeed was read so that audience would better understand


Hassan’s objectives regarding the planned terrorist attack on the United States. The letter explains how Sayeed and his family were blind to the truth and they were living a life that was full of lies. In the letter, Hassan states, “The life you live is born from the blood of our brothers and sisters around the world.” The language Hassan used in the letter was captivating because there was passion behind the words. Originality is a key element to a good movie. The War Within was not original, nor was it creative. The director used the conflict between the United States and the Middle East as the plot for his movie. There have been countless movies made about terrorists trying to invade the United States to commit senseless acts. The film World Trade Center, an Oliver Stone film, is also a movie about terrorist attacks on the United States. In most films made about terrorism, the terrorists succeed in their plot against the United States. Therefore, the ending of this film was not original either. In our society, originality is what attracts an audience, and without originality, movies wouldn’t be very appealing. Also the film’s degree of realism is a detraction. People go to the movies to be entertained, not to lose hope. This movie touches the hearts of many Americans, but in a tragic way. The tragic ending is also a negative aspect of this film. The audience would have wanted Duri to saved Hassan from his foolish act of revenge when they were in the Grand Central Station. The ending of The War Within was offensive and disrespectful to much of its audience. American patriots do not want to see a terrorist attacking their country on the big screen. Knowing the circumstances, the director shouldn’t have ended the movie with a suicide bomber attacking Grand Central Station. In order to have made a successful ending, the director should have allowed Duri find to Hassan before it was


too late. Duri would have stopped him with the love she had for him, and it would have given the audience hope. Overall, I would consider the film The War Within an appealing movie because of its wordless narration through imagery and emotionally captivating dialogue. The lack of originality and the tragic ending, however, were not appealing to all audiences. Even though this movie is emotionally disturbing, it is based on the truth. There are terrorists coming into the United States and killing innocent people just to prove a senseless point. I propose that the United States should be more cautious about how many immigrants come into America. Maybe that would stop terrorism, or, maybe it would make it worse.


Writing Context Instructor: Kelly Adams WAC101/ENG101 Josh Menigoz’s paper, Land of Cowards, is a piece of writing that captures the thoughts of a very passionate and infuriated American. It was inspired—in part—by his time spent in the military and the frustrations that developed from his experiences as a conflicted soldier. Sometime after his leave from the military, as he watched stories of the recent war unfold in front of him, he felt a “sudden urge” to write—to share his thoughts. As an American citizen who felt the country could and should be doing more for its citizenry, Josh took his time to write an essay that reflects his thoughts on the situation in hopes to encourage others to follow in his footsteps and speak out against actions being taken abroad.


Student Writing: Land of the Cowards By Joshua Menigoz I believe Benjamin Franklin said it best, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” In my opinion, this is what the people of this great nation did following September 11, 2001. When the World Trade Center Towers were destroyed on that day, the United States gave up those liberties for safety. Now people support a war with blurry boundaries and ridiculous bills are being passed leading to a police state. An example of such a bill is the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, better known as the PATRIOT ACT. Yet the majority of American people continue to allow this travesty without trying to deter this road leading us into a living hell. Cameras are going up on more and more street corners of America and the government is listening in on phone calls of everyday citizens; we can see how much the majority of Americans will give up in order to have false security from a threat that can never be contained. A threat by all means is the “real” reason we invaded Afghanistan though many would argue otherwise. To keep the American people scared, our sincere government told us that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). However, before we were even on our way into Iraq the “Coalition of the Willing” reported that there were no WMD. When the news of this surfaced it brought with it a lot of controversy, since President G. W. Bush had distorted the “definition” of what makes up a WMD. The pre-Bush WMD was a weapon that had long distance capabilities and could take out a city such as Washington DC. On the other hand, our wonderful president decided to include weapons such as mustard gas


and other battlefield weapons that don’t have the long range capabilities and could not take out a city. These are the same gasses that were used during World War I. The American public still allowed itself to be afraid of not only the threat from afar but also from the threat within our own government. “The reality is that, sometimes, it is easier to ignore uncomfortable facts and go along with whatever distortion is currently in vogue,” noted Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.). Our government monitors everything we do today. They look into which books are bought from book stores and checked out from the library, movies we rent, movies we purchase, the music we listen to (they are probably reading this as I write) and the list goes on and on. What is the reason for this you might ask yourself? The reason for this is that we are scared. For no reason other than that. Scared of death, terrorists, a god character (of which there is not any proof) and what other people think. We still allow ourselves to be scared when all we have to do is stop, take a breath, and roll with it. We allow our government to frighten us by stripping away our civil liberties as American citizens. The liberties our founding fathers decided we deserved, the liberties that may have been getting pushed aside previously. Our ancestors fought for those liberties. What would these men feel right now knowing everything they have fought for is now being given away? They wouldn’t want us to say “no” to science that could help humanity; they wouldn’t want us to continue to destroy the earth at an outrageous rate. They would probably want us to save the earth, get the medicines and research we will need through science, through stem cell research or a less controversial means. They would want us to live by our hearts, whether it be getting an abortion because you know you can’t take care of a child or keeping your child, loving someone of the same sex or


being straight. I believe they would want our society to move into the future and out of the past. I believe this since our founding fathers were enlightened thinkers; they were interested in science and creating inventions that would better the society of their time and the future. Thomas Jefferson even wrote letters to the Danbury Baptists talking about “the separation of church and state.” Yet so many politicians and church groups want us to move into the past with their blind beliefs. There are many threats in the world: crime, war, terrorists, debt. What scares me the most is the direction of this country, not the fact that our military is spread so thin, the rising crime rate, high unemployment rates, the growth of national debt; these are not the things that scare me as much as the quietness of the American people that will not to stand up to the current administration. I believe these are just a few of the problems the American people are allowing. While more Americans are beginning to speak out for what they believe, there needs to be more. More teachers asking their students, of all ages, what they—the future leaders of America—think, more discussions with family and friends, more communication from the American people to our government about how we feel. We need to try and get our liberties back not just for our individual future but the future of this great nation. The civil rights movement in the 50’s and 60’s did this for their rights; liberties which Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and others with similar thinking during the American Revolution wanted to give African Americans to start with. Thomas Jefferson wrote in the original Declaration of Independence to make African Americans free and he also tried to leave out a higher power. We need to get over our fears and turn it into motivation, to fight long and hard to get these rights back. We should get over the


concept of a “God” that brings evil with it. The American people need to separate this mythical creature from the state once and for all. The American people need stem cell research, we need our troops home, we need equal rights for all, but mostly we need the American people to get over these fears and fight. The American people need to question our governing body not just now, but always. If we relax and just put all of our hope and trust in them this could happen again or just continue to get worse. Don’t be afraid; speak out—get over your fears. If you speak up someone will hear you and may even join your cause. Martin Luther King Jr. did this; Rosa Parks, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams did as well and now it is up to the American people to make some changes. There are some organizations that are trying to speak out. Speakout.org is one such organization, but the support they receive and the recognition they get is just not enough. These are the organizations in which your voices can be heard along with the tens of thousands already using these sources. If we join them, we can rule our fears instead of allowing our fears to rule us.


Writing Assignment: Critical Reading—Film Instructor: Sarah C. Dean WAC101/ENG101 For this writing assignment, you will be writing an essay where you use the idea from one of the readings and apply them to a new example. To do this, there are two major elements that you need to include in your essay. The first is a clear summary of the major ideas from one of the readings that we are covering for this project. The second is to use those ideas and apply it to a film example of your choice. To accomplish this, you can use the semiotic relationship between yourself and the film as a support for your argument. Some of the elements of the personal essay may aid you in exploring your personal reaction to the film. What does it mean to use an idea from another reading? Using an idea from another reading can often be tricky. You need to make sure that you have a clear understanding of what the original author was saying and you must be able to write a summary in your essay that covers the major points (or at least the major points that you will be using to apply to another example) and gives the reader an idea of the overall context of the article. At the same time, you need to clearly cite the source of these ideas since taking an idea from someone else and presenting it as your own is plagiarism (even if you write it in your own words). What does it mean to write a semiotic analysis of a film? In writing a semiotic analysis, you are looking at the abstract concepts (signified) associated with the sign or as a signifier. In this case, you are looking at the meanings that a film gives to the viewer (yourself). The focus for your semiotic analysis will be guided by the ideas from the reading that you choose but you should also consider your responses to the film. You also need to be sure that you are making clear connections between specific examples from the film and the concepts you are using from the article. Expectations Throughout this process, I expect you to give adequate time to each step that we take. Although I don’t require certain page lengths for the drafts, I do expect that your process will reflect a serious effort at developing your ideas (i.e. no drafts that are only a page or two long, etc.). In my experience, most students at this level have an extremely difficult time in meeting the requirements of this paper in drafts less then 4 pages long (therefore the minimum page requirement is 4 pages). Give yourself time to develop your ideas; if you need to, you can always edit out later. It is not always the best thing to go for the bare minimum, especially since it really limits the scope of feedback that you get from the instructor and your peers. In addition, you should always keep in mind the policies that are laid out in the syllabus.


Student Writing: A Controversial Hero Myth By Claudia Pardo “Creating the Myth” by Linda Seger is an article which summarizes how a legend, a “hero myth,” is created and portrayed on the big screen. There are many hero myths throughout our history and, as Seger said: “Many of the most successful films are based on these universal stories. They deal with the basic journey we take in life” (Seger, 2006, p.317). The basic journey in life can be interpreted in many different ways according to your point of view but they all become or contain universal experiences that touch, connect, or relate with our personal lives: “The trappings might be different, the twists and turns that create suspense might change from culture to culture, the particular characters may take different forms, but underneath it all, it’s the same story, drawn from the same experiences.” (Seger, 2006, p.317). What I like about Seger’s article is that she is clear with her definitions about what a “hero myth” is and with her ten steps to describe the sequence of the hero myth in a movie. She does a good job choosing “Star Wars” (a fictional story) in order to explain the idea of the hero myth in a light way. But when we talk about universal stories, I related more with real stories, true experiences, and not with fictional events. “We share in the life journey of growth, development, and transformation” (Seger, 2006, p.317). In that case, will true stories follow the patterns of Seger’s ten steps? One character that always intrigues me because of his popularity and controversial personality is Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, mostly known as “Che Guevara.” He is a controversial character since he is a “hero myth” for some and for others the symbol of the left side, whose image currently persists as a symbol of socialist or communist ideals. Recently, this controversy was taken to the big screen in the movie


“Motorcycle Diaries.” Using many of Seger’s ten steps, we can see how the director, Walter Salles, presents Che Guevara as a hero myth in “Motorcycle Diaries.” In the majority of the hero myth movies, the story begins with the principal character shown as an individual with a normal life: “…the hero is introduced in ordinary surroundings…as a nonhero; innocent young, simple, or humble” (Seger, 2006, p.318). Motorcycle Diaries begins with Ernesto Guevara (interpreted by the Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal) talking about the journey that his friend, Alberto Granado (interpreted by Rodrigo de la Serna), and he want to make around South America. Ernesto tells their goal, “to explore a continent that we had only known by books. The method: improvisation” (Guevara, 2005). Ernesto is a medical student specializing in leprosy and a person with asthma. At this point, Ernesto is just a normal person who will take the adventure to explore a continent that eventually will change his perspective on life: “This isn’t a tale of heroic feats. It’s about two lives running parallel for a while, with common aspirations and similar dreams” (Guevara, 2005). This quote tells the viewer everything; it presents a person with an ordinary life, a college student with no supernatural powers. This allows us to connect our lives to his—a young and simple person with health problems, who decides to make a journey on an old motorcycle. Humble, nonheroic, young and simple are the characteristics that Seger describes as the introductory persona of the hero myth. Ernesto’s description presented at the beginning of the movie is the “setup of most myths” (Seger, 2006, p319). This is the point when we meet the character in their first stage, a normal person, before going through the transformation and ending as a hero.


“Then something new enters the hero’s life. It’s a new ingredient that pushes the hero into an extraordinary adventure” (Seger, 2006, p. 319). This ingredient is implied in the introduction because we already know what the adventure will be. Now some heroes need a second recall to the adventure; although Ernesto’s parents tell him that he should wait because it is only three more classes left for him to become a doctor, he is sure about taking the journey and that doesn’t matter to him. Also when he goes and visits his girlfriend, he knows if he leaves, he may lose his girlfriend but he takes those risks. “What we had in common:” referring to Alberto and himself “our restlessness, our impassioned spirits, and a love for the open road” (Guevara, 2005). Ernesto illustrates that life is all about taking risks, experiencing life without knowing what the road will bring them. Although the hero might not know what lies ahead, he usually has someone to help him during the journey. In Ernesto’s journey, Alberto is his help; they go together in the journey, taking care of each other, and going through many difficulties that they encounter on the road. But for both, the help usually comes from the people they encounter in the journey. These people are part of the method they mentioned before, improvisation. When they lack food or a place to stay the night, there was always someone there to help them; they don’t take the journey alone. This relates to our own lives by demonstrating that our journey will not be always alone and that the people that we encounter in life are in many ways the key to continuing on the journey. It is through the journey that the hero “is ready to move into the special world where he or she will change from ordinary into extraordinary. This starts the hero’s transformation, and sets up the obstacles that must be surmounted to reach the goal”


(Seger, 2006, p.320). For Ernesto, the transformation is not shown at a particular point; the transformation goes throughout the movie. There are many key points that change Ernesto, especially the people who he meets during his travels. One was the old woman who was suffering from an illness and who Ernesto talked about in writing to his mom: I knew I was powerless to help her, Mom…This poor old women who only a month ago waited tables,…trying to live with dignity. In her dying eyes there was plea for forgiveness… now vanished, just as her body will soon be lost in the great mystery that surround us. (Guevara, 2005) But there are two culminating points of transformation, one that the movie production shows as the turning point and another that I personally perceive as the key in Ernesto’s personality transformation. The turning point that the movie focuses on is when he is in the Peruvian Amazon in the San Pablo Leper Colony. This place is a refuge where people infected by leprosy are put in order to cut off the spread of the disease. There the staff and the doctors decide to celebrate Ernesto’s birthday at night but after the celebration is almost done he decides that he also wants to celebrate his birthday with the patients. As a result, Ernesto swims to the other side of the river where the people with leprosy are located. Ernesto shows by this action that we are no different than one another just because we have a health problem. He shows that all humans, no matter how they live or act, are equal. As a result the director shows an Ernesto who cares about people. This key factor reveals that Ernesto will eventually become a leader for the people who, as shown in the next turning point, fights injustice.


The second turning point that I personally identify with is when Ernesto and Alberto meet a couple in the desert of Atacama, Chile. The couple only had land but it was taken by force by the government because the couple were communist3. For that reason, they left their son with their family and escaped from the town to look for a job in the mines. Because the work was hard and dangerous at the mines, the people running the mines did not care who the employees were. In this episode, Ernesto sees the cruel world and it is here where he is transformed by the injustice and prejudice he perceives in society. He describes that night: Their faces were tragic and haunting. They told us of comrades who had mysteriously disappeared, and were said to be somewhere at the bottom of the sea. It was one of the coldest nights of my life, but also one which made me feel closer to this strange, for me anyway, human race. (Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, 2005) For him, that coldest night of his life changes his perception about the world and his eyes (for the first time) meet reality. For me, this is the transformation point because after this episode Ernesto’s eyes look more aware of how people are affected by the economic, social, and political problems. Ernesto’s ideals are changing and what his values used to be at the beginning are not the same anymore. The director, for a second time, illustrates an Ernesto that not only cares about people but also about injustice. We see again the leader, fighting to obtain justice for the people. In the midst of the transformation, the hero “often hits rock bottom. He often has a death experience, leading to a type of rebirth” (Seger, 2006, p.320). The rebirth is

3

Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization, based upon common ownership of the means of production. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism)


mostly when the hero goes back and gets ready for his new goals. In this journey, Ernesto hits bottom; he now knows the injustice that people face and transforms into a person with new ideals and with new goals. He doesn’t know how he will do it but he knows that one of his goals is to change the world. After the transformation, or rebirth “His challenge is to take what he has learned and integrate it into his daily life. He must return to renew the mundane world” (Seger, 2006, p 320). After the multiple turning points (like in the desert of Atacama), he is more open to the people that he encounters on the road. He wants to learn more about each culture and about their economic, political, and social problems that these cultures meet everyday in life. He goes back to Buenos Aires, Argentina. There he graduates and then meets communist people; that is when he becomes one of the communist leaders. The final step that Linda Seger explains is when the hero is transformed and the viewer needs to see that by the hero’s actions or by his new life. In “Motorcycle Diaries,” Ernesto has changed although he is still confused and declares that he needs to think more. Ernesto tells Alberto: “…all this time we spent on the road, something happened. Something I’ll have to think about for a long time. So much injustice…” (Guevara, 2005). He continues to speak to the viewer in a voice-over: This isn’t a tale of heroic feats. It’s about two lives running parallel for a while, with common aspirations and similar dreams. Was our view too narrow, too biased, too hasty? Were our conclusions too rigid? Maybe. Wandering around America has changed me more than I thought. I am not me anymore, at least I’m not the same me I was. (Guevara, 2005)


In this the hero myth, Ernesto Guevara begins as a simple young man with one goal, to travel and know more about a continent that he only knows by books. In this journey he not only learns more about the cities, communities, and cultures but he also learns about the injustice that people are surrounded by. This journey in his life changes his view; in looking for an answer to end injustice and to establish common rights, he joins the communist party. Not all of Seger’s steps can be pointed out perfectly in “Motorcycle Diaries,” as they are in “Star Wars.” Seger’s ten steps are not so general that they will all appear in any movie that allows us to see the development, transformation, and the victory of the hero myth. Maybe the ten steps are more for fictional hero myths, like Superman, Batman, Spiderman, or Zorro because they all start as simple and then go through a transformation (obtaining supernatural powers) and are victorious against evil. When we compare the steps to real stories, like Martin Luther King Jr’s or Che Guevara’s, all of Seger’s steps don’t necessarily work because those lives cannot be explained in just one movie since their transformations are more complex and many other factors are involved. I will suggest that there are two kinds of hero myths: the fictional hero myth and the real hero myth. Watching a fictional movie is totally different than watching a true story based on someone’s life. Real heroes have a stronger impact since “They come from our own experiences of overcoming adversity, as well as our desire to do great and special acts. We root for the hero and celebrate when he or she achieves the goal because we know that the hero’s journey is in many ways similar to our own” (Seger, 2006 p.318). True stories are also an evidence of the human race’s history; we cannot change its course, as


opposed to fictional stories where we can alter any episode in order to make the movie more amazing. Moreover movies taken from true stories can change your perspective of how you view life and how others do. It can change your beliefs or values because of the impact that the character has on you. By using many of Seger’s ten steps to analyze “Motorcycle Diaries,” we can see how the director presents the character of Che Guevara, a person like you and I, who transforms because of the circumstances he encounters on the journey. His journey is similar to what we experience in our lives. At the end, he becomes the “Hero Myth.” But although this controversial hero myth is well presented and is based on the true story, this movie only gives us the beginning of his controversial character; we are not yet presented to the person who later becomes either the revolutionary hero or the radical rebel.


References Anonymous. (2007, February). Communism Retrieved February 11, 2007, from http://.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/communism Salles, W. (Director). (2004). Motorcycle Diaries. [Motion picture] United States. Film Four. Seger, L. (2006) Creating the Myth. In Maasik, Solomon (Ed.), Signs of Life (pp.317325). Boston, New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.


Writing Assignment: Interview Report Instructor: Regina Clemens ENG301 Assignment: Interview a professional in your field about technical communication on the job. You may choose someone at a local company or one of the professors here at ASU. Remember: technical communication entails producing reader-based documents that contain essential, useful, often job-sensitive information. Remember from Chapter 1, successful technical communication meets 8 criteria for excellence and possesses 7 major characteristics. After your interview, use the information you gleaned to write a report describing the role of technical communication in your field. The report is to be about “technical communication” and not about the person you have interviewed, so be sure to focus your writing in an appropriate fashion. It is a good idea to collect samples of your interviewee’s writing, if possible, to illustrate your report. Purpose: Sometimes a writing assignment is open to interpretation. Professional writers are expected to gather information from a variety of sources and to determine the best method for presentation. It is left up to the writer to then synthesize raw data into a cogent informational report. As a future professional in your chosen field, you will definitely need skills in interviewing colleagues and superiors to gain information about projects, policies, and procedures. You will also be expected to turn such raw data into readable documents. Responsibilities: You must find a contact person who is willing to assist you in preparing a document about writing in the workplace. By working together the two of you will explore the dimensions of this assignment—from the most obvious to the most obscure— and by developing strategies for completing the assignment successfully. As such, you will sharpen your rhetorical skills, and, in the process, you will gain insight into your topic area and improve your writing. Tasks: 1. Interview a “contact” person—someone who can give you insights into “real” writing, assist you with your document, or even help you find a job after you graduate. 2. Schedule your interview soon so that you have enough time to write a rough draft to workshop in class. 3. Stress to your interviewee that your purpose is not to evaluate the quality of his or her writing—you’re only gathering information to fulfill a class project. 4. If appropriate, ask your interviewee for writing samples. 5. Limit your report to 7-8 typewritten, single-spaced pages (using a good readable layout, and paying attention to headings and subheadings). 7. Experiment with report formats, either with Microsoft or other technology, or by referring to samples in Chapter 19, pp. 494-518. Have fun with this!


Checklist for writing the report: Adapted from Markel (2007 p. 492): this is suggested only. Feel free to create your own order or organization of the following components.

• • •

Introduce your subject matter to your audience; consider crafting a title page, an abstract, table of contents, or summary to tell your reader where the report will lead. For the body of the report be sure to introduce your study, discuss your interview approach or methods, analyze the technical writing of your field in terms of audience, purpose, and goals, and conclude with your response to the study. List all references, include samples of technical writing in appendices, or construct a glossary of technical jargon or terms of art.

Grading Criteria: Goal, purpose, or focus: have a purpose or focus that is clear, well-supported and supported throughout. Response to the assignment: make the report address the technical communication of the interviewee’s field; base the report on the data gathered from the interviewed professional. And discuss the research methods you used as well as rely on the interview to your claims. Support: Use quotes or paraphrases from the interviewee, references to sample texts listed in an appendix (if possible), and descriptions of the way writing happens in the profession of the interviewee. Organization: make this a logically arranged report, easy to access with subheadings to guide your audience through. Consider a table of contents. Style: Conform to APA style guide; document all support properly. Grammar, spelling, punctuation: Make your report error free. Peer review: Be prepared to participate in the online peer review workshop on time.


Student Writing: Technical Writing in the Legal Field: An Interview with a Public Defender *Please note that original cover page, table of contents, and appendices have been removed for publication.

By Obed Rojas Abstract This is a formal report about an interview with Alfonso Castillo J.D. who works for the Maricopa County Public Defenders Office in Glendale, Arizona. The purpose was to explore technical writing in the legal field. The interview was focused on the role of persuasion in this field, the specific documents Mr. Castillo uses everyday in his job, and the main issues he faces as a writer. As a response, Castillo stressed the importance of persuasion in his job, and explained IRAC (Issue, Rule, Analysis, and Conclusion) which is the specific approach to persuasion used in the legal field. He also defined and explained motions and memorandums as the most common types of documents he performs in his job. Finally, Mr. Castillo shared that the main issues he faces as a writer are: organization of his ideas, and clarity in his argumentation. In addition to that, he provided information about his own writing techniques and the resources available for writers in his field. Keywords: IRAC, Motions, Memorandums Introduction Technical communication is used in every field (Markel, 2007. p.3). There are different kinds of documents used in every workplace which facilitate communication and make it efficient. These documents work as a tool to maintain the connection within and outside any organization. The legal field is not an exception. Everyday lawyers write documents to colleagues, to judges, and to companies. with the purpose of making the communication objective, efficient, and formal. This writing is about an interview with Alfonso Castillo J.D. who works for the Maricopa County Public Defenders Office in the city of Glendale, Arizona. The purpose is to explore the writing he uses as public defender and the processes of technical writing applied to his job. The interview focused on the importance of persuasion in the legal field, the most common documents performed in the interviewee’s job, and the main issue’s he faces regarding technical writing. The content of this writing will follow the specific approach of lawyers to persuasion IRAC (Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion), the analysis of the two most common types of writing in this job: Motions and Memorandums, and different issues for writing as a public defender. The Role of Persuasion in the Legal Field


Persuasion is important, whether one wants to affect a reader’s attitude or just present information clearly (Markel, 2007. p.158). The three main elements of persuasion are: the evidence, the reasoning, and the claim. Evidence is the facts and judgments that support the claim; Reasoning is the logic one uses to derive the claim from the evidence; and, the Claim is the ideas one is communicating (p.158). Persuasion is very important for Castillo’s job. Whether he requests something from his boss, a judge or somebody else, he needs to apply this concept and its elements. His approach to this concept is: state the claim, explain the reasoning, and then present the evidence. “Most people in my workplace use the same approach,” he added. The specific method to approach persuasion in the legal field is called IRAC (Castillo, Personal Communication, Feb 27, 2007). When applying this method, Castillo presents the issue. Then, he looks for the law that applies to the issue. Later, he forms an argument by mixing the issue and the law. At the end, the writer comes to a conclusion about the issue, the law, and his argument. For example, Castillo explained, a man is stopped while driving a car. The officer realizes the car was reported as stolen. The IRAC method will apply to this case as follows: -Issue: Did the man steal the car? -Rule: Did he know the car was stolen? Did he have reason to know the car was stolen? -Analysis: Applying the facts of the case to the rule. The evidence is: -The car’s window was broken at the time this man was stopped -The steering column was cracked -The man did not have a key for the car -He was using a screwdriver for the ignition -Conclusion: The man stole the car because he should have known the car was stolen based on the condition of the car. Whether the man stole the car or just borrowed it from the person who really stole it, he would be treated as the one who stole the car. Most common types of documents used in the Public Defenders Office One common characteristic for all documents in this office is the first page which includes basic information. This section includes the name of the defender, his address, phone number, and bar number. It also includes the case number, the name of the defendant, the name to whom the document is addressed, the date, and the defender’s signature. Motions According to Castillo, motions have three main purposes. These are: to request a hearing from a judge, to ask for a continuance which is a petition to the judge to continue a case by allowing more hearings, or to request a release condition which means the lawyer asks the judge to set the client free from jail. Persuasion is applied to every purpose of motions. Lawyers justify requests based on evidence and reasoning. If the defender wants the judge to release his client, he has to support his evidence and reasoning to get a positive answer. The length of motions varies according to the case, sometimes an argument can go from one page to hundreds of pages. Types of Motions


At Castillo’s office, motions are of two types. One is a template that the defender just fills out while the other is a longer document where the petition needs more argumentation. template. This motion is a form divided in four sections. The first section contains basic information, and the direction of the motion. It can be to continue a hearing, to dismiss, to modify release conditions or pretrial services, or other reason. The second section includes the kind of argument whether it is requested to be oral or not. It also asks for the reason for the motion. It can be a brief explanation showing the defender’s argument for the motion. The third section marks any objection made by the prosecutor, the defense attorney, or the defendant. The last section is called “the order”. It shows if the motion was granted or denied. It includes the date, time, and the signature of the judge. formal motions. This type of motion requires more time and effort. It is divided in three sections. The first includes also basic information and the defender’s claim. The second is section I and is called “Facts and Argument”. It explains the issue and the rule of the law applied to the issue. As mentioned before, the argument can go from one page to hundreds of pages. Here, the defender places his reasons for the motion to be granted. Section II is the conclusion of the motion. It presents the petition of the defender and the law under which it is justified. It also has the date, the name of the defender, and his signature. At the end, the names of the judge and deputy, and their respective addresses are included. Memorandums For Castillo, this type of document is less formal. It can be addressed to the judge or to another attorney. It also applies persuasion most of the time and it usually states an issue. For example, the defender can ask for an extended time for his client at different situations. It also works as a letter for sentencing which is a letter to the judge asking for a just sentencing for the client. This document is not divided in any sections. It is more like a letter that explains the defender’s argument about an issue. The first page includes basic information and, after this, the defender explains the purpose of the memo and his argument by presenting the facts and reasoning about the issue or particular case. At the end, the writer puts the date and his signature. On the last page, the date in which the memo was mailed, the names of the judge and deputy along with their respective address are included. Writing Issues in the Legal Field Organization and Clarity One of the most important things for Castillo is that his writing should be effective at all times. The main issues he faces are: the organization of thoughts, clarity in his argument, and questions that may appear when he is writing. “When writing about a case, the writer


has many ideas, facts, perceptions, etc. The most important thing is to present the interaction of these elements effectively in writing,� he said. He also added “Clarity is very important too because the writer has to make his argument in such a way that it helps his client. The defender has to look at the facts and arrange them in a clear and helpful way.� Resources Available When Castillo has questions, he goes to other attorneys and to different sources for lawyers specifically. He uses the database for public defenders established exclusively for employees of the Maricopa County. Here, the writer can find examples of other cases done in the past along with techniques on how to write the different kind of documents used in this office. He also uses medical articles, encyclopedias, law school journals, and the Westlaw internet legal search tool on line. This search can be accessed only with a password assigned to each lawyer. He also uses the Bluebook. This source is a method exclusive for citing every kind of legal documents. These can be real cases, motions, videos, etc. Writing Techniques The technique Castillo uses for writing is as follows: First, he does free writing. He expresses all his ideas and thoughts at once. Second, he arranges all his writing. This arrangement should be logical and objective. As mentioned before, it is directed to help his client. Third, he does the grammar and spell checker in Microsoft word. At the end, he proofreads his own writing. Usually he leaves the document for some time to refresh his mind, and then he returns to proofread the document again.

Conclusion Technical writing is very important not only for the legal field but for all other fields like medical, business, education, etc. In the legal field, persuasion is an everyday tool used by all people before any particular case or issue. At the Maricopa county Public Defenders Office, motions and memorandums are the main documents used by employees. These documents are necessary for effective communication among lawyers and judges. The main issues Mr. Castillo faces regarding technical writing are: organization of his ideas, and clarity in his argumentation when he writes motions, memorandums, and other documents. These issues are not common only to lawyers but to all writers in general. Technical writing is the key for effective communication in every organization. At the end, effective communication makes the organization more productive and competitive. Reference Markel, M. (2007). Technical communication. Boston, MA: Boise State University.


Writing Assignment: The Ethnography Instructor: Rosemarie Dombrowski WAC101/ENG101 Ethnography is a discipline of anthropology that involves extensive field research – research that is based on close observation of all aspects of the group’s behaviors, interviews with group memebers and the examination and analysis of artifacts – and from that research, renders a written record of a particular culture or sub-culture. Since most of you will not be able to experience the culture of your choice firsthand, you will have to rely on published images, interviews and reputable material reagrding the members’ way of life. In short, you will be doing traditional research in order to produce an ethnograpy, a portrait of a particular culture or sub-cultutre (or a group that identifies themselves as such) that exists somwehere in the world today. Before beginning your research, you’ll have to define some areas of inquiry, or what we might also call ethnographic criteria. Since we can only understand a culture by examining specific areas of that culture – like characteristics of its people, their activities, beliefs, etc – you’ll need to consider addressing the following: History Geographical location Criteria for membership initiation ceremony Behavior language/speech patterns rituals/traditions activities Beliefs religious political common motivations Social/family structure social hierarchy significance/effects of gender significance/effects of ethnicity/race Artifacts (images or tangible objects) use significance Keep in mind that your research methods, though less field-work oriented, will still need to render ethnographic information, so consider the following approaches: researching other peoples’ work on the culture (which is how you’ll obtain most of your history and factual information)


looking at photos and videos conducting interviews/reading published interviews identifying and analyzing artifacts


Student Writing: BLOODS By Shawntella Stewart Gangs are a group of youngsters or adolescents who associate closely, often exclusively, for social reasons, esp. such a group engaging in delinquent behavior. The sub-culture of gangs, specifically the Bloods, has a thirty to forty year history in the United States. The sub-culture entails a specific lifestyle, set of behaviors, beliefs, appearance, and social structure. In addition, there are meaningful symbols related to Bloods, such as tattoos, graffiti, hand signs and verbalizations. The L.A Brims began in 1969 on the Westside were a powerful street gang, but were not yet considered Crips; the Blood gang had not yet been established. Several gangs which eventually became part of the Blood family had already existed though. By late 1971, the Avalon Garden Crips and the Inglewood Crips joined other Crip sets. In the 60’s there were other gangs in Compton called the Piru Street Boys, the Bishops, Athens Park Boys and the Denver Lanes. The Pirus, which are now Bloods hung out with the Crips in 1972. For a short period they were known as the Piru Street Crips, and they also wore the blue rags (bandanna) as part of their appearance. In 1972, the Compton Crips and the Pirus had a conflict, and an all out rumble. The Pirus were out numbered, and the Crips won. The Pirus wanted to terminate peaceful relations with the Crips so they turned to the Leuders Park Hustlers for back-up. They agreed and a meeting was called on the Piru Street. The Crips had murdered an L.A. Brim member earlier that year, so the Pirus asked the Brims to attend the meeting too. Others that attended were the Denver Lanes and the Bishops. How to combat intimidation was discussed along with the creation of a new alliance to counter the Crips. At that time, the color of their bandannas was not


important, but since the Crips were known to wear blue bandannas, the Pirus and the other groups decided to stop wearing the blue bandannas. They decided to wear the opposite color, red, and created a united organization, which later became known as the Bloods. The Pirus, Brims, Athens Park Boys, and Pueblos decided to unite with the Bloods, and soon after, other groups who had been threatened or attacked by Crips joined the Bloods (“Bloods”). In order to join a gang like the Bloods, you have to go through a process called initiation. During this process you have to do different things to prove yourself. There are different types of gang initiations such as initiation by cop. Initiation by cop means you have to kill a police officer in order to join the gang. Other gang initiation methods involve being jumped-in or sexed-in, which is mainly used for female initiation. In addition, you can be jacked-in, which is when you have to commit theft or larceny, or you can initiated by committing a drive-by-shooting. Another method, Russian Roulette, is when you put one bullet in the gun and point it to your head and pull the trigger. Also, there are methods called “Blood in Blood out,” “Circled in” and “deeded in,” which involve having sexual intercourse with someone who has an STD. If you don’t get the STD, then you’re in the gang, but if you do, you’re out of luck (Carlie). Once you become involved in a gang, it requires a lifetime allegiance. They have a strict set of laws that result in “violations” for breaking these rules. Violations are disciplinary punishments issued by the leaders of the gang for violating the laws. The punishment ranges from menial tasks to physical assault to death (“Crips & Bloods”). Blood appearances are differentiated by their gender. Bloods tend to wear all red and carry a red bandanna. They do wear other colors, but it’s very rare to catch then in other


colors, especially blue. The males usually wear oversized white tee shirts with a crease in the middle and oversized Dickies, which allow them to sag. Females use too much baby oil or mousse in their hair. Also, they wear heavy make-up and oversized clothing as well. (“Gang Related Clothing” 2004). A blood’s behavior is characterized by their peers and traditions. Bloods are known to be domestically violent. They engage themselves in risky activities that are life threatening. For example, they do drive-bys and commit robberies. Also, they are most likely to become convicted criminals because they are involved in illegal activities. Their peers have a major impact on their behavior, especially their O.G. s (original gangsters). These are the other affiliated members of the gang that are involved in the same activities and have a longer history within the gang . They pressure other members into doing everything the gang beliefs involve. Bloods also speak differently than others, using a slang called “Ebonics.” Another speech pattern characteristic of Bloods involves switching the opening letters of words. For example, if a word begins with the letter “C”, they replace it with the letter “B”. For example, “what’s crackin” becomes “what’s brackin” (“Brackin”). All gangs, not just Bloods, social structure is very family oriented and deals with their beliefs. All affiliated members socialize as brothers and sisters. They all believe that respect is the most important thing to acknowledge. Within the social structure, there are four sets or types of gang members. The “hardcores” commit criminal acts as a gang member. The “associates” hang out with gang members, but do not involve themselves in gang activity. The “peripherals” are outside the gang but identify with the gang for protection or for favors, and are usually women. Finally, the “want-to-bes” claim to be


part of the gang, but really aren’t. There are also three groups or divisions within each of the four sets or types: the O.Gs, Baby Gangsters and Tiny Gangsters, which are usually the juvenile members of the group. Every set of gang members have O.Gs, Baby Gansters and Tiny Gangsters (“More Crips& Blood History”). The sub-culture’s artifacts, like tattoos, essentially represent beliefs and membership. Often their tattoos refer to the mythology that the gang has invented for themselves. A common tattoo that some Bloods get is a tear drop under their eye. If the tear drop is open, that usually means that they have done jail time or have committed at least one murder. If the tear drop is closed, that means they have lost someone close to them (“Tattoos”). Gang tattoos also symbolize membership. The various symbols represent specific beliefs or gang affiliation. Often when gang members get tattoos, they are done by another member that is affiliated with the gang. In these cases, both of the affiliated gang members know what it means (“GANG TATTOOS”). Another of the sub-culture’s artifacts, graffiti and hand gestures, represent their lifestyle and behavior. Gangs spray graffiti to mark territory or send a threat to a rival gang. Different gangs have different hand gestures. Bloods specifically used their fingers to form a B or they spell out blood with both hands. Graffiti and hand gestures are all part of their behavior because it causes domestic violence between the two arrival gangs. Also, hand gestures are part of their lifestyle because when they throw up their gang you know their life is based on the gang’s beliefs (“Graffiti”).


In conclusion, the sub-culture of gangs, specifically Bloods, has a thirty to forty year history in the United States. The culture carries with it a specific lifestyle, set of behaviors, beliefs, appearance and social structure. In the words of a blood, “Live by the Gun, Die by the Gun; Blood in Blood out.�


Works Cited

“Bloods.” (n.d) Retrieved March 15, 2007, from http://gangsta411.com/Bloods.htm

“Brackin.” Urban Dictionary. Retrieved March 15, 2007 from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Brackin)

Carlie, Michael. “Into the Abyss: A personal journey into the world of street gangs. Part 11, how to join a gang.” (n.d) Retrived March 15, 2007, from http://www.faculty.missouristate.edu/m/MichaelCarlie/what_I_learned_about/GA NGS/join_a_gang_htm)

“Crips & Bloods History.” (n.d). Retrieved on March 21, 2007, from http://www.gangsta411.com/Crips-&-Bloods.htm

“Gang Related Clothing.” July 9, 2004. Retrieved March 17, 2007, from http://www.tyc.state.tx.us/prevention/clothing.html

“GANG TATTOOS.” January 26, 2007. Retrieved March 17, 2007, from http://www.chicagogangs.org/index.php?pr=GANG_TATTOOS

“Graffiti.” Wikipedia. (n.d). Retrieved March 2, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gang_signals


“More crips& Blood History.” (n.d) Retrieved March 21, 2007, from http://www.gangsta411.com/Crips-&-Bloods2.htm

“Tattoos.” (n.d). Retrieved March 17, 2007, from http://www.gangsorus.com/asianmrks.htm


Profile for College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

Write On, Downtown issue 1, 2007  

A Journal of Student Writing at the ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus

Write On, Downtown issue 1, 2007  

A Journal of Student Writing at the ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus

Profile for writeon
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