Inquiry Four Reflective Essay

I have changed. Not what everyone expects of me, yes I might be a little heavier from the freshman fifteen, or my back is crooked from toting around a loaded backpack, or the fact that the only thing I want to do anymore is sleep. But I know the truth; I’ve changed from that high school kid cranking out the five paragraphs with no revisions and really no care. For once I am actually proud of what I am turning in for credit. Not just because I know I will get a good grade, but that I am giving out my thoughts and emotions in a mature way so my audience can see and hopefully understand what I am thinking and feeling through my eyes.

I am now a revision freak. I must have people go through my paper and mark it up. From the first inquiry I can see how my peers have helped me become a better writer. It could be something as little as explaining the boat from Strayed’s essay or something as big as starting over because I don’t make any sense in my proposal. I can see how a simple rough draft of an essay takes away the stress from throwing it all together at the end. I now create a proposal and find a friend to look over it. If they like it, I continue forward, if they don’t then I will figure out the problem and fix it. The first rough draft is always the worst. I don’t know my direction or really a clue about format or voice or audience until I see the words and thoughts on paper. Then I and my peers can edit the crap out of it. The second draft is better. I have a more focused idea heading into it. I write with more ease and more knowledge. I am happy and go for one last final review from my peers and maybe my professor (if I have time and they would be so kind). By now its tiny tidbits of advice, it’s almost ready. I read through my essay one last time, usually with a thesaurus and change a few words to make it sound pretty. And like that my crazy random thoughts and words in my head are transformed into an essay that I’m ecstatic about.

I am not without faults. I know tricks to make the length or word requirement. Talking in circles is how I work through day to day life. It’s easy and natural for me to talk a lot but when people really listen to me; I’m just saying the same things over and over to fill the empty space. I know I can do that with my writing as well. I don’t know any new information or I can’t think straight so I just rant and rave. I also think that it can be somewhat of strength. I rant about every thought on my first rough draft and that gets me to the word count. And by my second rough draft my peers and I can look through it and pick out the good parts of my rant and now I have some good ideas to fill the page.

I want to do more essays but not in text. I loved the photo essay for inquiry three. It was challenging to combine all the ideas with the pictures but it was so much fun. I love taking pictures (I don’t care how bad I am at it) and this was awesome and not too much like the text essay. I got my point across in a creative way and I’m proud of it. I might want to do an audio essay in the future but I have to get some more confidence (I think my voice sounds too manly when recorded and it freaks me out).

This English class has been like no other. I love it and I’m sure if every English class was like this one then there would be less complaining and more terrific papers around campus, the Miami CCM book would become a tome. I am so glad that I was able to take this course and with an open mind I was drawn into the world of essays and all their glory. I was expecting the normal boring class with huge assignments from awful books that no one would really read on their own time. Sure the assignments in this class were rather large, but we had so much time and we broke it down so small, that it didn’t matter (except maybe to Manu). Thank you so much for this class and giving me the confidence in my ability to produce an amazing essay.


Niihka Blog Two

I thought that Mr Popular was interesting. It wasn’t what I thought it would be at first, then it turned into something completely different. Through the first time I read it through, it was confusing. After all who would defend a kid who threw a rock at their face? I had a rock thrown at my eye when I was in the third grade and it hurt so badly that I refused to speak to the person who threw it until the elementary graduation day, when they finally apologized for it. After re-reading the essay there was more that I could relate to. Hearing of the other popular crowds from different schools and having that thought that other schools have their own circles, it really happens. In my school district, three elementary schools came together to be in the same middle school. Upon hearing this it was a surprise. How would the circles be reformed? Its amazing to see how minds used to revolve around the popular crowd. Its possible that we are wired to always look for and try to be friends with the popular people. I believe that the point of the essay is to realize how we can be so wrapped up in someone else’ status that we can forget about ourselves. Every human yearns to be a part of something, to be accepted by everyone and the majority of the time we work on others acceptance of us instead of working on being someone we would actually be proud to be.  The narrator was so involved in making sure that Thad could become his friend, he doesn’t think about the fact that Thad threw a rock at his face.

Niihka Blog One

This helpful webpage introduced me to a popular art form in the time period that Robert Frank was growing up. Dada or Dadaism was most popular within the 1910s through the 1930s. So right about the time that Robert was born, dadaism was in its prime and was very influential around Switzerland (it all began in Zurich, Robert’s hometown) and then moved on to Berlin (of all places) and the rest of the world.

The background of dadaism is that it was the reaction to the first world war. Dada influenced art “rejects reason and logic” by “prizing nonsense, irrationality, and intuition”. Many of the artists (just like hippies during Vietnam) thought that the war was “barbaric” and their art reflected their thoughts of protest. Dadaism wasn’t just reflecting the protesting of the digusting and horrific wars that were surrounding them, they also protested the “prevailing standards of art”. Andre Breton stated that “Dada is a state of mind…Dada is artistic free thinking…Dada gives itself to nothing..” I think that this is an important influence on Frank. He wasn’t really following many of the “traditional” ways of photography, so could the Americans be a altered form of Dadaism? Maybe. The most famous dada art is Nude Descending a Staircase (1913) by Marcel Duchamp. Dadaism influenced the surrealism movement and that was the movement that lasted through a majority of Frank’s life.

Many of the Dadaist artists were forced to flee from their european homes as WW II got well underway. Hitler was not a fan of the “irrational travesty” and there were many dada artists who died inside of his concentration camps. The lucky ones fled to north America because America was still thought of as a melting pot and that everyone was welcome.

I think these articles really help to see what Frank was surrounded with art wise as he was growing up. I’m positive that both surrealism and dadaism are some sort of influence on his photography and I really want to figure out exactly how. The articles allowed me to learn more about the art movements that were going on in Robert’s time growing up.  I’m going to read more in the second article as it is longer and I only skimmed through it looking for information.


“Dadaism – Styles & Movements – Art in the” Art in the – An introduction to art history. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2013.


“Dadaism.” Student Personal World Wide Web Pages . University of Southern California, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <>

Freewrite Four

I have never had a photography class/lesson. I enjoy looking at many pictures but I don’t try to interpret them. Whoever took the photo might have had some special moment or thought or something there that I could never feel exactly the same about and that could ruin the picture in my thoughts. I think that photos are public but their meanings are private among those who were actually there experiencing that moment in time.

Freewrite Three

An essay is a short story of someone’s thoughts on a subject, not too long for it to become a novel, but it can have the same mental impact.

Montaigne confessed everything about himself and yet he was still on the banned books list. What makes him so different than the greek philosophers? He just thought out loud and wasn’t ashamed of anything. I learned that sometimes chaos is okay in a piece of writing.


Freewrite Two

The most helpful piece of peer advice that I received was that I should continue with my multiple opinions and different looks on the grieving process that most people endure after losing a loved one, but that I shouldn’t overcrowd my paper with them. It seemed from my peers that my greatest strength is the flow of how I write. I write as if I’m talking and it seemed that its a good thing (usually english teachers hate me for it). I know I need improvement of analyzing the original essay more than just saying what I feel about it or about Strayed’s issues and as I continue writing I will probably need improvement on keeping the flow of my paper. I have a few ideas but I’m not scared of asking for help.

Freewrite One

The most challenging part of this inquiry (3) was picking a topic and really sticking to it. I knew that I wanted to do a photo essay about opportunity but at first I didn’t know how to photograph it. The door theme was originally a joke by some friends and I actually liked it. Then when we went around in class saying what our topic was, I got a lot of strange looks and I wanted to change my entire idea. But I stuck with it and really like how everything turned out. I followed my peers advice and I’m working on trying to get music on my prezi. Its very rewarding to know that even though a lot of people thought I was crazy for photographing doors and I knew it, everything turned out to be something that I am really proud of.