In the above screenshot I used an assignment I recently had to do identify my voice markers and other peoples voice markers. In this assignment I compared Steven King and Sherman Alexie and who I believed had the better upbringing which pushed them towards writing. Whilst re-reading this I saw that I engaged two perspectives, my own and the author’s of the writings we based this off of. If I were to re-write it I would add more of both perspectives by putting more direct quotation and more of my spin of the quotations. I believe I made my voice markers prominent but could make the author’s better by using the direct quotation.
Day 1 (pages 5-7)
1.) Graff and Birkenstein explain that most writers (certainly of academic essays) are responding to what others have said, and they tell us to look for what motivates these writers. By entering a conversation, according to them, a writer has to represent what’s been said and move beyond it in some way. So, what are some of the views Gee responds to? Remember, he may name them explicitly; they may sometimes be implied, or they may be “something ‘nobody has talked about’” (Graff & Birkenstein 179).
Gee used a study by F. Niyi Akinnaso and Cheryl Ajirotutu in which they gave two mothers on welfare a simulated job interview. Gee found that one of the mother’s displayed improper dialect in the professional environment. He used this data as a way of showing readers how each environment requires a different dialect and how she did not display the values and morals required for this discourse. He also compared the other woman who used very professional dialect but lacked in knowledge and experience. Both women would most likely not be hired for the position due to lack of knowledge of the discourse which Gee says is true as well.
2.) Look specifically at paragraphs 3-4 in which Gee discusses Akinnaso and Ajirotutu’s research. Use evidence from the text to explain why Gee is critical of their analysis. If he doesn’t agree with their assessment, why would he give them so much space and so early in his own essay?
Gee is critical of their analysis because they provide a great example of Discourse and how dialect, experience, posture and professionalism won’t always get you the job you want. He says the best way to get a job/be apart of a Discourse is to completely absorb all the values, morals, dialect, social aspects, etc. of the Discourse then maybe you will be able to get in.
3.) Although Gee is a linguist, he says that “literacy studies” should focus on “social practices” instead of language (5). In fact, he claims that “what is important is not language…but saying (writing)-doing-being-valuing-believing combinations” which he calls “Discourses” (6). Using evidence from the text, explain why Gee thinks it’s important to distinguish this “combination” from language alone. What’s an example of a “Discourse” you could add to Gee’s examples that would illustrate this concept and its importance?
Gee is correct in my opinion in this statement. Just being able to speak the same language and maybe in a similar way does by no means make you a part of the Discourse (unless your going into a discourse of imitators). The best way to become part of a Discourse is by doing, being and valuing the same/similar things the people in the Discourse do. Say for instance you want to be on a lacrosse team (lacrosse Discourse). You cant just understand the game (it will help though) and talk about the rules of the game to them and be a part of the Discourse. The only way to be in the lacrosse Discourse is to be a lacrosse player which entails you to do-say-be and value the things that the lacrosse players do.
4.) As important as Discourses are for Gee, however, he explains that they are not “bodies of knowledge” that can be taught: “while you can overtly teach someone linguistics, a body of knowledge, you can’t teach them to be a linguist, that is, to use a Discourse” (7). How, then, does one become a linguist (or nurse, biologist, lawyer, sports announcer, etc)? Find a direct quotation from Gee on which to base your response. What in your experience would support Gee’s claim, and what if anything would complicate it?
Learning chemistry does not make you a Chemist. It merely makes you a student of Chemistry because you are not fully apart of the Discourse. You become part of the Discourse and gain the title Chemist by doing-speaking-valuing and becoming what a Chemist is. Gee says that when he was being trained as a linguist he had to learn to “speak, think, and act like a linguist, and to recognize others when they do so.” So just learning isn’t enough you have to adapt to the standards of a linguist or in this immediate case a Chemist.
Text to Self
Connecting with Rose’s “I Just Wanna Be Average” is fairly hard to do for me. We come from very different backgrounds, him being the son of two immigrants and me being the son of born and raised Americans for generations. He grew up in cities and very rural areas and I came from small towns and farm towns, never really moving too much. I suppose the easiest example of how I connect to him is the fact that both our names are Michael but that’s not a good example of text to self. Though we may not have similar family trees we do have a similar love and and sense of wonder with Chemistry and other sciences. He enjoyed watching chemical reactions and seeing things that before were boring but now became a reaction that fizzes or combusts which I enjoy as well.
Text to Text
The beginning of this story reminded me of reading journals of immigrants coming from their country to America through Ellis Island when it was still open. They talked about their family back home or their dreams of a better life but the journals I really enjoyed reading were the ones that talked about their life after the move to America. How there was such a struggle to find work and make a life for yourself and you children and the things that kept them going were dreams. That’s what I imagine Mike Rose’s parents went through.
Text to World
Possibly the easiest to connect considering that Mike Rose is American with parents from Italy and Naples. Having parents who were immigrants during this time was probably very hard because there was a lot of discrimination between Americans and immigrants. Their family came from poor background and worked hard to get everything they had and moved many times to find work. They went from their home countries to Chicago to Los Angeles and eventually to Vermont to settle down and find work. They most likely had a hard life but Rose still managed to find his place in the world like all the other people did who came to America in search of a better life.