Initially, I thought exposition was simply the beginning of writing. I thought we'd just be taught how to write and that be all. We did, in a way, learn "how" to write. It was not so much as the methodical process but the exploration process. Through research, analyzing, and discussing, we honed in on the expository aspect. When writing, it is often hard to develop an idea that follows a prompt. We are sometime limited by the parameters set by scholars. However, this course did not limit our scholastic minds. There was room to explore different angles of writing and to develop our ideas in a way that best suits use as students.
This class came highly recommended by another professor of mine. I was quite apprehensive due to my lackluster skills in the abstract nature of writing. I am more factual when it comes to literature. I see "A". "A" existence. "A" has a purpose. The purpose is "XYZ," No more. No less. That is how I have always approached things in life. Often times, I do not fancy the existence of overzealous writing. The first few weeks, I know that I said "WTF" at least three times a day in class. I just did not understand where Dr. Wharton was trying to take us. After taking a step back and speaking with her, everything became so much clearer. Her purpose was not to just bombard us with a ton of work but to weave our way through multimodality to achieve our expository goals. Once I grasped where she was trying to take the course, the course became more bearable. Granted, I struggled with some things but it was not without cause.
Exposition encompasses much more than its mere definition. It is a practice that, if approached correctly, reaps writing gains like no other. I am appreciative for the new insight to exposition that I have acquired while in this course.
I hate most technology. Unlike Diana Carla, I am not a techophile. I feel as if we have encountered too much technology too fast. By the time we become familiar and comfortable with one object, six more objects surface without enough turn-around time to learn their functions. Although we have adapted many"smart" objects, the average human brain can not keep up with the excessive technological advantages of today. I have the latest iPhone as well as the latest iPad but I often feel myself getting frustrated and overwhelmed because these objects have been created to operate beyond the realms of basic human cerebral capabilities.
In Diana Carla's article, "The Dream of Intelligent Robot Friends," she talks about a innovative new "thing" called the Karotz. The Karotz reminded me of the Disney channel movie, "Smart House," where a family wins a computerized home with a cyber maid named PAT (Personal Applied Technology. Initially, PAT was a helpful assistant to the family but after time progressed, she became controlling and ultimately wanted to be a real mother of the family. That is how I envision the Karotz. Unlike other technoifcal devices, the Karotz seems to want to function like a basic human being instead of an inanimate object. The Karotz and PAT were both meant to service the everyday needs of humans. Although both creations were marketed as "smart," it is also true that without the ability of reason and emotion, how can an object truly be "smart."
Diana Carla also wants an object to be a "friend." Friends have souls that connect them to one another. There are emotional and mental attributes that relate to the existence of friendship; attributes that are non-existent in the Karotz. Though she attempts to compare the Karotz to the existence of a washing machine and dishwasher, she fails to acknowledge how those objects were not created in place of a human presence. They are simple entities used to facilitate somewhat strenuous tasks. Those objects can not function without the existence of human interaction. There is an invisible line that does not convey the boundaries and scope of technology. How do we start giving objects the ability to function that does not completely infringe on the existence of humans? Will these objects be capable of basic human motor skills? How is logic being applied to the functionality of these objects?
Reading the article was somewhat difficult for me to read and comprehend. However, from what I gathered from it and my own personal interpretation is that oftentimes humans do not want to accept the ugliness of death. Death is shitty. There is no "right way" to deal with it. Thus we as humans,try to make death as aesthetics as possible. By attempting to acknowledge the "beauty" of death, one is able to better cope. For example, when one dies, many do not just dispose of the body of their loved ones. Investments are made into the preservation of the body in the form of embalming. Embalming the body does not only assist in personifying a corpse but it attempts to keep the body as normal as possible. When my father died in 2013 from a car accident, I had a hard time at the funeral not only because he was gone but because he did not look "dead." His face was smooth. His hair was neat. His beard was shaved. He did not look like someone who hit an 18-wheeler head on. Because it was hard to accept his death, it was necessary to his mother to preserve him in a way that made him still seem alive.
On the other hand, an Egyptian tradition of using masks to cover the faces of dead royals exemplifies how death is suppose to eliminate its ghastly nature. The masks are carved out of precious metals such as gold and decorated to accent the beauty of the deceased. The beauty of the mask is a distraction from the rotting corpse behind it. A normal human being does not welcome the existence of death. Rather, death is an inevitable part of life that is least wanted. Death is unexpected. Death is unfathomable. Death is downright ugly.
In "The Secret to Good Writing: It's About Objects, Not Ideas," John Maguire stresses the importance of the objectification in writing. Oftentimes, students are not keen on exactly how an assignment should go thus they opt to take the path of being abstract to cover a multitude of bases. The essay does not only outline the importance of being more specific in writing but as Maguire explains the necessary improvements, he exemplifies it in his writing. He is basically taking his own advice in the essay. Maguire basically “practices what he preaches” as he writes the essay. He lays out a problem, gives a solution, and in turn, uses the solution in his writing. His mentioning of the Henry Fowler statement is spot on to how I feel about student writers.
“A writer uses abstract words because his thoughts are cloudy; the habit of using them clouds his thoughts still further; he may end by concealing his meaning not only from his readers but also from himself.”
Many times, the prompts given by instructors are either not very clear, too short, or they are verbose thus not really giving the student a concrete basis for writing. The prompts of assignments spearhead the writings of students thus if the prompt’s foundation is shaky, the writing from the student will be as well. It is imperative that prompts are concise, clear, and extremely specific so that there is no confusing on what is to be written.
Adversely, some instructors give clear and concrete instructions but the student feels that it is necessary to go beyond the scope of the prompt so that there is “diversity” in the writing but that can be catastrophic. Simplicity is sometimes seen as a negative in writing due to its abstract nature. Students feel like they have something to prove thus by attempting to be abstract, the true purpose of the writing is lost in a black hole
Maguire’s solutions are straightforward and easily understandable which is often lacked in today’s writing courses from students. Life is often very simple thus the educational curriculums should follow that model of simplicity in writing and literature.