Reflective Letter English 101/Section 19/Fall 2013 The University of Arizona December 9, 2013 Dear Ms. O’Neill, Before taking English 101A, I was not confident in my writing ability. I never was able to wrap my head around what I was supposed to do and often wrote off topic. I would spend too much time looking at the screen thinking of what to write. My essays often turned out to be a summary; this was reoccurring. I feel that this class strongly helped me develop some standard and basic skills for writing an essay.
The amount of time we spent breaking down each of the three essays was very helpful for me. It helped me really realize that I need to get into deeper thought to correctly analyze the text and put it on paper. I have obtained the knowledge from learning in the classroom that acquiring the ability to thoroughly analyze, make points for my body paragraphs, create a thesis, etc. , is much simpler than I made it for myself prior. I now realize that I overthought too much while writing essays. I used to try to perfect every sentence as I wrote or typed.
I found myself using so much time doing this. I found that just writing my ideas and thoughts down first, while ignoring diction, punctuation, and the flow of the sentences, and revising after made for a much more efficient and successful process. My experience in this class has really opened my eyes to realize that essay writing is a much simpler process than I thought it to be. Going back to revise my Essay 2 assignment, I noticed many of my sentences were dry and not very deep. I felt that my analysis part of my essay was very weak.
I also failed to connect each of my body paragraphs to my thesis and idea of the author’s main point. Rather than revising my essay, I felt I would be better off re-writing the entire essay with a fresh start. First, I reread the poem and went into a deeper thought about my interpretation of the poem hoping that this procedure would improve my writing process; I was right. I feel that I acquired a better understanding of the poem and the author’s meaning. Secondly, I changed and improved my thesis so that it offers a debatable claim about the meaning of the text.
My thesis now reads: “In “Charlie Howard’s Descent, Mark Doty argues and exposes the great harms that are caused by bullying and rejecting an individual particularly because of his or her sexual orientation using sensory description, diction, metaphor, and enjambment to touch the reader and explicitly describe the scene at which Charlie Howard was murdered” (Deffley 1). This new thesis makes it easier to connect my body paragraphs and points to my thesis. I feel that my new thesis helped build a more effective argument.
The difference in both effort and ability to better analyze and connect to the text made my essay much stronger than before. After taking this course, I am more confident in my writing. I feel like I know what I need to do to correctly follow the prompt/criteria. Before, I would have difficulty sticking to the main idea. I would drift off topic and my essay would be very broad and far from the point. My connection to literature was severed, but through all of the assigned readings and short writing assignments, I was able to find the connection.
I truly believe that the short writings are highly responsible for my improvements. It was overwhelming to me to have to write a multi-page essay. I would not know where to begin. The short writing assignments helped me analyze texts without a required page length. With this lack of pressure, I was able to think freely and go on and on. Throughout the semester, I found my short writing assignments to get longer and longer. I really was able to deeper analyze the texts on my own! I realized it was much simpler than I had thought it to be.
I am very confident that my analytical skills improved throughout this semester and I believe that a barrier has been broken and that my writing skills will surely take off and continue to progress to where I would like them to be. I feel that my analytical skills and understanding of texts have greatly improved throughout this semester. I still do not feel fully comfortable writing, but I do feel that I have overcome some of my biggest writing obstacles that were holding me back from being successful and satisfied in
my writing. I was surprised as to the amount of improvement I saw and felt in my writing and feel that I am ready to take it to the next level. That being said, I have not reached my full potential as a writer, but now have the faith in myself that I will reach it with more practice. I believe that reading will help me better connect with literature and help me better familiarize my writing. I am looking forward to seeing how I will continue to improve next semester in English 102. Sincerely,