Plagiarism and college culture

Blog for Eng 114. Spring 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Books Books Books

I'm reading a lot of books, but at the same time I haven't been reading! Ok that sounds confusing so to explain...I currently am not reading anything else besides school related articles/books. None the less I still like to think that since I am in the midst of a couple books...I am reading? :] As for couple? Yeah! I have a habit of starting one book, putting it down and starting another, and switching between books when one gets boring.

I'm in the midst of This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, and Of Human Bondage. The first two books are both by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I loved The Great Gastby in high school, so I thought I'd check out some of Fitzgerald's other work.

This Side of Paradise: It's all about finding meaning, finding yourself, and finding where you fit in. It's a really slow book since there's not really much of a's the main character's (Amory) journey to self-realization and meaning.

The Beautiful and Damned: Love, Marriage, Riches, Alcoholism, and Decadence during the jazz age. The story is based on the relationship between Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda.

Of Human Bondage(by W. Somerset Maugham): One word: Drama! Soap Opera! haha. This is the most interesting of the books I've started. :] Oh, for one thing it's not what you think. Human Bondage actually means Emotional Bondage. Philip is emotionally attached to Mildred and is blinded by his emotional chains that he disregards how often she has hurt him.

Recommendations+Books I've read/want to read:

Gladwell-Outliers:I was talking to my friend about how much I liked the Gladwell article we read for class...and well, she likes Gladwell just as much as I do! I haven't started Outliers yet, but my friend has the book so I'll get my hands on it soon enough. :]

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child: Two very good authors who are great at blending science/psychology, crime, mystery, and suspense. My chemistry teacher in high school granted extra credit for book reports we'd do on any of Preston & Child's books. Still Life with crows was my first book from the two authors. Yes there's science in this book, but it's hardly noticeable! Has anyone heard of the term feral child or Genie?

"A feral child is a human child who has lived isolated from human contact from a very young age, and has no (or little) experience of human care, loving or social behavior, and, crucially, of human language. .." (Google, which i just noticed got this definition from Wikipedia)

Still Life with Crows takes the concept of the feral child to a whole new innocently murderous extent.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blog Response to "Inventing the University"

Years of schooling has taught me that good writing didn't have grammatical or sentence structure errors and although a paper might not have any such errors it wasn't always the "best" essay, but it was a "good enough to get a decent grade" essay. "Good enough" as in basic, this is what I learned, I answered the darn prompt, didn't explore or express any new ideas..."Good Enough."

In "Inventing the University," Bartholomae redefined what it really means to be a basic writer. According to him, grammatical errors, syntactical errors, and not having the proper/appropriate academic "voice" are just some of the things that make a basic writer. In comparison a good writer is able to speak in a variety of voices depending on the given topic and audience.

I'm sure most people have heard that you learn from your mistakes, in my case...I'm learning from other's mistakes. Throughout his article Bartholomae used different examples of student writing to make his point. When the "Clay Model" and "White Shoes model" were compared I learned that while an error free essay is important, addressing your audience correctly and atleast attempting to speak the language of the academic community is better than staying safe within your comfort zone.

It's amusing that at the end of his article he encouraged students to take the risk and write sentences that we "might not so easily control." When it comes to getting the grade...some of the people I've talked to about essays(even myself at times) would rather stay comfortable than branch out. The same goes for spanish class...I can recall my friend saying, "why write hella hard sentences that you don't know the words to and can't put together?"

Anyhow, some of my teachers before have taught me that using "I" in an essay isn't so great. Bartholomae acknowledged the weak form of "I" as the narrator telling a story and that "I" can be used if done properly. A good example he gave was the "Composing Songs" paper. In that paper the writer established her authority by "placing herself both within and against a discourse, or within and against competing discourses, and working self consciously to claim an interpretive project" of her own.

I realized that another example of this is Gladwell's article "Something Borrowed," in which he challenged(elaborated/gave conclusion to) his first reaction to Lavery's plagiarism. He recognized other cases of plagiarism and general notions on it then challenged and learned from the things he mentioned. His voice/person was ever present in his article without having to use I....I...I...

Bartholomae placed so much importance on "audience awareness" that I just now noticed that some of the "tips" he gave are all about tailoring "a writer's ideas or his the needs and expectations of his audience."

Some of these so called tips are:
Consistency: This was a problem in the "Clay Model" which he called breaking the spell of fiction when the writer suddenly addressed his reader differently(talking down to the reader).

Building Bridges: connect/relate personal viewpoint and reader's viewpoint

and use "common points of departure" before introducing new/controversial ideas