M

Makayla

My name is makayla. I am in twelfth grade. This is my english blog.

3rd Post : Boghossian Arguments

What do you think about Boghossian's arguments? How does it affect your ideas about next year? Feel free to see this as a broad assignment - write/explain/argue about whatever the article made you think about.

The way Peter Boghossian wrote his letter was very interesting to me. I think instead of convincing me of his argument, it turned me against him. The very techniques meant to be persuasive were repelling me the whole time, they came off as standoffish, superior, and slightly manipulative. For example, one of the first things Boghossian does in his letter is state his credentials. He does this for i think 3 paragraphs. Surely the university knows what he's done while he was there? Why is there need for such a thorough reminder? The way I first saw it was that Boghossian was developing his position, not of argument, but of power. He has listed every good thing (he believes) he's done for the school. In doing so, he has created the atmosphere of superiority. It seems a bit uneven seeing as we, the reader, do not get to listen to three paragraphs worth of the credentials for the other side of the argument. Nonetheless, Boghossian then uses his position of superiority to state his claim in the rest of the letter. Why this bothered me so much is because Boghossian states at the beginning of his letter that he is writing to provost Susan. Typically, when referring to those who rank higher up than you (either in height or status) you speak with a bit of respect. I understand that Peter is mad at the school, but it should at least be a bit of a habit to speak to the provost with some respect seeing as he's been teaching at that school for more than 6 years. All in all, these paragraphs set a rather condescending and haughty tone for the rest of the letter.
This tone is not without cause, however. If you dig a bit into Peter's background, you find that he was not in line for a tenure position at PSU, despite being at the university for at least twelve years. He doesn't have a Ph.D in philosophy, and instead obtained a Ed.D in education from PSU itself. Acquiring his degree from the same school which has become a "social justice factory" and "corrupted". Peter received his title of assistant professor six years after he had been teaching at PSU. Furthermore, he applied for the Associate professor position a year before he resigned (and subsequently published this letter), and he was rejected. This along with the fact that Peter's letter ended up on Fox News, a notoriously republican news media, coming to them with a reason to tear down Portland State University, a notoriously liberal university (voted most liberal college in America in 2017), I think that everything Peter complained about may have been (more than) a bit dramatized.

Paper 1 Practice Exercises

The rainy night had ushered in a misty morning-half frost, half drizzle-and temporary brooks crossed our path, gurgling from the uplands
-Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

Discuss:

  1. Bronte uses both visual and auditory imagery in this passage. Which words create visual images? Which words create auditory images? Which words create both?
    -Really all of the words create visual and auditory images. A gurgling brook conjures the image of a stream running down a hillside, but a brook is not the same as a gurgling book. The words all work together to be both auditory and visual.

  2. What feelings are traditionally associated with rain, mist, and frost? How would the feeling of this passage be different if the rainy night had ushered in a brilliant, sunny morning.
    -spooky stuff, like Halloween. Also, a bit of the unknown feeling. Fog inhibits your vision, and creates a sense of mystery around the scene. If it were sunny in the beginning of the passage, the tone of the paragraph wouldn't have been the same.

2nd try
He slowly ventured into the pond. The bottom was deep, soft clay, he sank in, and the water clasped dead cold round his legs
-D. H. Lawrence,"The Horse Dealer's Daughter"

  1. What effect does sentence length have on this passage?
    the first is short and just stating the words. the second is painting the picture.

  2. Examine the second sentence. How does the structure of the sentence reinforce the meaning?
    The structure of the sentence is dependent clauses separated by commas, slowing down the pacing of the sentence. This creates the effect of reading it slower, and making it fit into the scene, where the man slowly sank into the pond. The sentence structure mirrors the actions of the sentence.

3rd try
She is a woman who misses moisture, who has always loved low green hedges and ferns.
-Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

  1. Both of the subordinate clauses in this sentence modify woman. What effect does this parallel structure have on the sentence?
    It makes woman the focal point of the sentence. Like, puts her in the center of all the ideas introduced in the sentence.

  2. How would it change the feeling evoked by the sentence if it read:
    She misses moisture and has always loved low green hedges and ferns.
    It puts the emphasis on she rather than woman, making it seem like she is less of a person. She becomes a pronoun who likes moisture and hedges and whatnot, not a woman who loves all these things.

2nd Post

Prompt : What caught your attention this year? What are you interested in at the moment? This can be a story, an event, a hobby, skill, relationship...anything.

One thing that caught my interest this year was that I am an astounding corn-hole (tailgate toss) player. The only thing is that I can only hit the board when I am throwing the bean bags left handed. I guess it must run in my family. Although none of us are left handed (a few of us can't even wave with their left hand), my grandmother putts left handed, and my cousin throws darts left handed. Just something I thought was interesting.