am writing an essay, I am talking to the reader; I want to reach
the reader. I used to ask myself, why would I have to use what
someone else is saying to show that my point is right? What I am
saying should be enough. This was my attitude about writing ever
since I have begun writing essays. I would always hate using
quotes because I thought that it was my paper, and my paper
should have only one author. This was my constant attitude
towards citing sources. Half of it had to do with selfishness
and the other half in laziness. When I say selfish I mean that I
wanted the reader all to myself. I wanted the reader to
recognize how good a writer I am, and not how good a writer
someone else was. I always knew that this was going to become a
problem for me in college, but I didn't know it was going to
become as important as it did.
result of this was a decrease in my grade. My essay "Paradise" was a very good essay, but it hardly used any quotes and for
that reason I did not receive the grade I was aiming for. I knew
that it was a good essay, but I was a bit upset at the fact that
the essay didn't get a grade for what it really was. I felt
that the essay was powerful and it didn't matter if I hadn't
used any quotes. I felt that I didn't need any quotes because
the essay was an essay about the images of beaches and the
effect that they have had in my life. There was no need for me
to bring another persons opinion when I am talking about my life.
But the fact was that my grade was on the line, and I was not
going to jeopardize that for anything
This is an excerpt from my third essay called
and Thugs" about the way that gangsters and thugs say and do
everything we want to but can not, and the effect of the
gangster being from another country.
Warshaw explains that "the gangster
speaks for us, expressing that part of the American psyche which
rejects the qualities and demands of modern life or 'Americanism
itself'" (344). The gangster expresses what we can not express
in our everyday lives because we would be considered somewhat
crazy by American society.
I was just
beginning to learn how to incorporate another person's quote
into my essay. This quote was one that I would have been
completely against before because it is one of those I would
have felt stole the reader from me. This quote seemed to fit in
perfectly with what I was trying to say in my essay. In the end
I realized that the gangster topic was one that required a lot
of quotations because there are so many perspectives and
opinions that my paper would not be complete without them. I
also realized that topics that have more perspectives and
opinions make the best essays because they arouse conflict.
After the midterm portfolio I promised myself that I
would always use a quote from someone else. And ever since then
I can not imagine a paper without a quote. When I look back and
compare my essay "Paradise" with my essay "Gangsters and Thugs"
it seems as if two completely different persons wrote them.
While working on "Gangsters and Thugs" I started to begin to
explore with the citing technique and I actually found out that
I could be very useful. Citing sources has become such an
important factor in all of my essays after the Mid-Term
portfolio that I can even remember how was it possible that I
wrote a whole paper without challenging or agreeing with someone
else's idea. The essay right after the Midterm portfolio
included quotes, and the goes to show that I was willing to try
this new technique immediately, and I worked pretty well. When I
compare essay 2 to 3, I feel as if different people wrote the
essays. Then after I began to use quotes I began to play with
it a little bit and see how I could challenge what someone else
was saying like in essay 4.
essay was on the whole concept of branding and the effects that
it has on society today. This quote was about The Economist
newspaper and their opinion on consumers being hard to reach
"The Economist also argues "Consumers
are also harder to reach. They are busier; more distracted and
have more media to choose from". One can see the truth in this
statement considering all the ads, billboards, commercials and
even internet Pop-Ups. But the fact is that our space is almost
always being taken over by the same images, and they are usually
the wealthiest companies who can afford this space"
with the economist in a respectful way and carefully stated how
I didn't necessarily disagree, but mentioned factors that play a
big part in proving what he said not so accurate. This shows
that I have a fair minded ethos. Showing that I have a fair
minded ethos will actually allow the reader to realize that I am
a fair minded writer, and that will actually gain me a type of
respect from the reader that will allow him/her to feel that
they aren't reading a bias essay.
I also learned how I can agree with my opinion without having to
put someone else's opinion down. I have realized that by
disagreeing with someone else's opinion you can actually make
yourself a better writer, and the readers will notice it. I
realized that when I use quotes, I am not lending the paper to
another author, I am just showing another persons perspective
and what I think about it. By then adding on and saying what I
think about the other person's perspective, I am keeping the
focus of the essay on my opinion. I take the reader back from
the author whose work I cited, and the paper remains "mine". I
found that not only learning to use quotes, but using quotes
that are relevant to the topic can be a deciding factor between
an A paper and a C paper. I feel that this has been a very
important step in English for me because now it seems to me as
if I can not write a paper without using any quotes; it has
completely changed my writing style. The irony of the story is
that now I have found myself addicted to bringing in other
peoples opinions to give my paper some other perspectives, when
in the beginning all I wanted was to keep the focus on myself
and my own opinions.
When I really come to think of it, I believe that the
writer I used to be was a selfish and lazy writer. I say selfish
because I would not allow my essays to include anyone else's
words. I felt that if the reader has chosen to read my essay,
they should get my essay and my opinions only. I also believe
that I did not use quotes because of laziness. I did not want to
go through the whole process of looking for a quote, adding the
quote and then citing my quote at the end of my paper. In the
end I found out that the laziness and selfishness were indeed
like writing sins. The greed and sloth were keeping me from
getting the types of grades that I deserved, it is a good thing
that I realized the terrible mistake I was committing in time to
be able to show my professor what I am capable of doing. I also
learned that one can not say he/she likes or dislikes something
without trying it first.
sets the reader up for a story of discovery (not the only way to
reflection on the problem of using sources
Notice that in
order to make a point about his use of sources, he cites his own
writing and explains its significance.
Here the writer
makes a claim about his growth in dealing with sources.
provides evidence for his claim.
Here the writer
discusses the meaning of the evidence that he has presented.
Notice that the conclusion is an elaboration on the material in
the introduction. There’s a clear focus on a thesis.
would have stronger if he’d dealt with more of the Outcomes