Essay Fundamentals

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Movie Reviews: “28 Days Later”

Filed under: Uncategorized — efsw16 at 11:58 pm on Wednesday, May 13, 2009

All of the reviews I looked at gave decent summaries of the movie, in that they weren’t too specific but they gave you a good idea of what was the main sequence of events. A consensus I noticed was praise of the cinematography in the movie’s beginning, while the main character wanders through a deserted London. The digital recording of the movie was also praised, as was director Danny Boyle in most cases. However, harsher critics compared “28 Days Later” to other movies directed by Boyle, such as “Trainspotting”, with “28″ being cast in the less favorable light. People praised cast selections for not being main stream, which “added to the eeriness of the picture”. However, Cillian Murphy was criticized for having his final personality change during the climax seem unbelievable and poorly led up to. Also, the movie’s ending has been panned for being too sentimental.

As a fan of the movie, I say that “28 Days Later”‘s shortcomings are surpassed by far with it’s pros: a refreshing twist on an old concept, with well played characters and an overall impressive package (music, script, cinematography). 

Pink Floyd

Filed under: Uncategorized — efsw16 at 3:12 pm on Wednesday, April 15, 2009


1.   The Midwestern sky is  reddened by the sunset, as clouds approach to cover it all with the arrival of darkness.



2.         Even the threat of rain can’t stop twenty thousand fans from flocking to the River-front Coliseum to see and hear Pink Floyd.



3.         Several thousand fans arrive three hours early, wearing their best rock-concert jeans and T-shirts, keyed up for the high-energy Pink Floyd show.


4. Newcomers arrive to the rock scene, standing out in their pressed slacks and expensive shirts, gawking at the others conspicuously.


 5. Loners weave aimlessly about in circles, arms dangling uselessly at their sides, eyes barely open, squinting to steady themselves.


 6. Couples cling to each other in near fountains or in remote corners.


7. Real police, not the rent-a-cop breed, stride confidently in large groups among the crowd, twirling their billyclubs and sweeping the area for trouble.


8. Hawkers call out to the crowds, trying to unload cheap t-shirts and pennants, only drawing laughter from most of the concert goers.


9.  As the numbers grow, roamers, couples, and cops swarm confusedly over the acres of concrete that lead up to the auditorium.


10. The management realizes the hordes can no longer be contained peacefully, and the doors open to let waves of fans pour into the coliseum, tired and sweaty from waiting, to wait for something, the final hour before the show.


Definition Essay: Scrubbing

Filed under: Uncategorized — efsw16 at 2:44 pm on Friday, March 27, 2009

Redefining the Connotations Associated with Scrubbing


Scrubbing is a hideously ugly sounding word. It sounds vigorous at the outset, with the dogged determination of the double B’s following. True to the nature of the heavy handed scouring that scrubbing implies, the word is onomatopoetic. It brings to mind the comfort of a grandma’s not so gentle bathing attempts as well as trying to restore a dirty stove. Humans are the only organisms that try so obscenely hard to remain spotless, and in more than a physical sense. There is further incentive for recognizing and appreciate scrubbing as the complex thing it is, a means of protection and disguise.


Anyone who owns a dog or has a child knows that forcefully separating filth from flesh is at best a challenge. Wriggling away from the good intentions of a soapy loofah seems to be only natural. My grandmother was particularly vicious; if I stayed at her house she would make sure I was perfectly clean- even between my very ticklish toes. Having five children tends to do that to a woman; each one reflects upon you and therefore should look its best. My grandma was always very concerned with image… Since that time I have taken delight from being scoured to a squeaky clean pink. A proper scrubbing is like getting a massage and scratching a hard to reach itch. The aftermath of certain cleanliness is done no service by the ugly sound of the word scrubbing. That is because scrubbing is far too powerful to be confined to the bathroom alone.


Or is it? Unfortunately scrubbing occurs in the bathroom in a less than desirable manner. Scrubbing the toilet bowl, hard water stains off the mirror, or caked on toothpaste in the medicine cabinet form the dark side of scrubbing. When a mess arises that a mere swipe cannot conquer, scrubbing rises to the challenge. Where would we be without steel wool? The world would be covered with baked on spaghetti sauce and impossibly dirty cookie sheets. Scrubbing can reflect a deep love of cleanliness and the objects being taken care of, almost like saying “I won’t give up on you, grass stained jeans. You will be returned to your original glory.” Though it takes sweat and a little elbow grease to achieve results, scrubbing should be appreciated for its results, not the energy required to complete the task. A pretty, flowery word just wouldn’t do.


Scrubbing has even darker connotations and more cause to its steadfast name. Society has given rise to two unsavory attitudes towards the word. When a commitment to something like the military or a job is broken, it is often referred to as “scrubbing out.” The meaning of the word has been altered to suggest weakness or irresponsibility. However, the starkest nature of scrubbing comes out in culture, past and present. Lady Macbeth, trying desperately to remove imagined bloodstains from her gown, traces of her internal guilt. People required to clean grisly accident and murder scenes, the messes humanity makes of one another, so a house can be resold. Scrubbing is more than just a loveable means of cleaning or a chore; it is The sharp “sc” that begins the word scrubbing comes from these scenarios. A word like wiping doesn’t quite describe the true nature of an earnest scrubbing; it requires physical exertion to achieve a desirable result. Scrubbing transcends a method of cleaning to a way of purifying oneself and ones position in society.


Scrubbing has been viewed for years in unfavorable light, an unwelcome offense of personal space or an undesirable task. But, scrubbing is the oxen of the domestic realm, bearing the load of humanity’s natural tendency to be dirty and our desire to have things look flawlessly clean and to ‘keep up appearances.’



Personal Essay

Filed under: Uncategorized — efsw16 at 4:09 pm on Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Personal Essay


“There is no way this thing is safe.” I snapped to my companion. “We’ve been on

this chair for like 15 minutes, it is way too big, and I can’t believe your dad wants to go down this run!” It was a struggle to make my voice heard over the creak of the chairlift and the wind howling over the crest of the mountain. “Turn around and take a look,” he said. “You’ll be surprised.”


My stomach dropped, trees and snow swirling around. “I shouldn’t be up this high.” I kept thinking, over and over again. Both thrilling and terrifying, I was a miniature an[SS1] t staring down from the top of a fridge. The earth was a face with flawless complexion, save for Mt. Bachelor, a stubborn, white-capped zit. Unlike the passes of Washington I was familiar with, this was a certifiable mountain, dominating everything around it for what could have been hundreds of miles. I felt awed, and extremely insignificant. This moment in my life was utterly terrifying, but something I needed to face. In doing so, I learned to never hesitate to rise to a challenge.


The chair’s cable ran steeply overhead, almost unbearably so, until we finally reached the top. Our arrival was greeted by a sharp blast of icy wind. The madman [SS2] responsible for our excursion to the top had already disappeared over the cliff-like edge,  instantly disappearing from view. “Figures.” I thought, frustrated with Jake’s dad for bringing us up her. To add to my anger, I face planted right off the lift, my face burning with shame. I crawled towards the edge with nothing but sky in view. My fear grew. “I’m on the last safe ground.” I thought, as my instincts screamed to cling to the only three feet of flat ground in any direction.  My pride had taken a blow as well as my confidence. But at my most vulnerable, I had to strive forward. I had never been this afraid snowboarding, or at least since I was eleven. But it turned out that fear could be motivation.


The chattering of my teeth almost overpowered the quaking of my knees. But loudest of all was the internal shrieking of my fear. “Monica! Monica? Hey!” Jake struggled to get my attention. My head snapped up from the open air in front of me. “Are you ready?” he shouted. I remained silent, breath coming too quickly.  It was now or never. I had to take a leap of faith. Like life, this run was something that must be faced, and the sooner the better.


“The only way down is down. I have to do this. I have to get down from here.” I thought inside. Outside, I simply weakly said yes. When he still couldn’t hear me, I leapt up and slipped over the edge. Surprisingly, the ground was still there. I almost let out an exulted whoop once I realized I wasn’t entering free fall, until a new terror made my stomach sink. I had absolutely no control over my speed.


Faster and faster I went, the icy mountainside making ever louder scraping sounds under my board as I carved deep into the snow in an attempt to slowdown. [SS3] Tears streamed from my eyes, the cold, wind, and speed wreaking havoc on my vision. Surprisingly, I was having the most fun I had ever had in my life. I had gone from thinking I was about to die, to feeling completely alive. Taking a risk proved to be beneficial to me.

In life we are often confronted with challenges. Things that seem impossible or dangerous are waiting to ambush us every day. My experience with a tangible terror like the double diamond run armed me with a life strategy to confront other problems (emotional, spiritual, economic) with an open mind. Not with courage, because fear is instinctual and I showed plenty at Mt. Bachelor, but with determination to learn and try as much as possible. I was dead set against my journey down the mountain, but it wound up being tremendously exciting and a part of my personal philosophy. If I hadn’t just decided to tackle the issue head on, I would have regretted it my entire life, knowing inside I wasn’t willing to try and overcome an obstacle. I am pleased to say that I have become one of the fastest snowboarders I know, and also swift to take action when a problem is present. There is no way I’ll pass up  on a chance to grow out of fear.



The Rant

Filed under: Uncategorized — efsw16 at 3:25 pm on Wednesday, March 11, 2009

1. The author describes a rant as “humorous, knowledgeable, a little angry, a little tongue-in-cheek, and sprinkled with expletives.” The baseball example serves to show how rants rise from differences in opinion, with the ranter portrayed as the wronged, more intelligent person. They also seem to give the impression that rants can be a little out of hand at times, since the baseball writer becomes angered and personal with a man over a third party issue.


2.  The internet makes it so people can rant anonymously, without having to directly face the people they declaim. Therefore, they have become much more hostile and more prevalent. There are entire websites dedicated for people to leave rants that more often than not contain things most people would never have the courage to say to someone’s face. They serve as a form of entertainment.


3.  The main strength behind the author’s view that the rant can be a tool of “merry-making”  are the examples used. He also analyzes and compares the more well phrased, thought-out essays with ones that are usually criticized to portray certain rants as superior.


4. “It would be simplistic to think of blogging as a kind of sublimated ranting, since many blogs are earnestly committed to their subjects, and still more could not be accused of sublimating anything. But blogs do form a part of our cacophonous culture, one in which high-flown and bombastic speech flourishes. ”


“The rant is an end in itself, an adrenaline-fueled literary catharsis. That’s the paradox at the heart of ranting—its theatricality usually overwhelms all else, including the desire to change whatever outrage has elicited the rant in the first place.”


5. Rants in and of themselves are not good or bad. The level to which they are taken defines them individually. I think that people should usually air their problems directly to the offending party, in a calm, reasonable matter to come to a resolution, but only in dire situations. There is no harm in releasing a little tension in a way that will not just further inflame the confrontation. 

What it means to be happy.

Filed under: Uncategorized — efsw16 at 3:07 pm on Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Being happy to me is being free of stress and tension. Happiness can come from success, relief, companionship, or even peaceful solitude. It could be compared to freedom or feeling carefree. To stay happy I need to feel like I am taking care of myself and shouldn’t be doing something else.  Recently, I felt happy to be at Carkeek Park without having to leave to go to work or study.

Showing, not Telling.

Filed under: Uncategorized — efsw16 at 4:35 pm on Friday, February 6, 2009


The hurricane wreaked destruction along the beach. House lay destroyed, and there was no sign of another person anywhere. I stood safely on a hill overlooking the mess, staring dumbly at my broken town. 


The room felt stuffy. No breeze, only the shuffle of papers and an occasional dry cough. The teacher paced, arms behind her back, enforcing the overall feeling of trapped boredom. 


Tires screeched. Bright colors flew across my windshield, followed by the sound of a wheeze. I opened my door, shaking. The clown’s over-sized shoes stuck out from underneath my car.

“Tomorrow Will be a Better Day”

Filed under: Uncategorized — efsw16 at 11:59 am on Friday, February 6, 2009

1. Rittenberg captures the attention of the reader by stating his age. It establishes who he is and what his perspective may be. It also causes the reader to identify with him, because almost anyone old enough to like reading NPR can relate to being a teenager.

2. RIttenberg mentions bygone wars and illness, which he later likens to contemporary issues like the turmoil in the Middle East and disease in Africa.


3.  The author refers to the changes modern times have brought; trips to the moon, vaccines, etc. He thinks that technology will continue to benefit us, unlike the author of “Imperfect Traces.”


4. The title is full of the optimism Rittenberg holds. It also ties back into the theme of his essay, that dark days have fallen upon us before, to be persevered over. His father holds the belief that today is a dark day, and Rittenberg emphasizes that they will be overcome as they have been before.

Thoughts on “The Imperfect Traces”

Filed under: Uncategorized — efsw16 at 11:48 am on Friday, February 6, 2009

I really liked this essay. It was more than an essay; it was social commentary and also poetic. I think that the author is totally correct in her preference for all things “old school.” The digital world is really unresponsive; sure, we can communicate more frequently with people that are hard to reach, but e-mail is pretty impersonal in comparison to a real conversation. Some people spend more time with their electronics than they do with others, which I think is an alarming trend. Who really cares how much more “HD” Comcast has than Direct TV? People who can’t imagine being places off the couch for themselves.

First Post

Filed under: Uncategorized — efsw16 at 4:23 pm on Monday, February 2, 2009

I have had the same English teacher the last three semesters, Ms. Hastig. Her class focused mainly on novels and what their underlying themes were. The writing assignments we had were only occasional, but they were absolutley awful. We had to write timed essays in class, with the prompts focusing on some obscure part of the books we read, almost like a unit test in another class. I hated them, because I always felt really anxious during the writes, and sometimes couldn’t think of anything for the prompt off the top of my head. I am seriously relieved I don’t have to try and turn out perfect outlined essays without time to really work and develop the piece. I also am looking forward to writing about what I think, and not being limited to discussing another writer’s opinion.