Quinn Gabrielle Cantor’s Reflection

Quinn wrote this reflection to accompany her essay, “Race and Rhetoric: Examining How the Audience’s Race Creates Rhetorical Constraints and Influences Rhetoric,” in her Composition I class in fall 2021.

The writing process of this essay is completely different than all the other essays I’ve ever written. Much of this difference comes from the drafting process that we did, where we had to generate and develop our ideas, and then create an audience-facing draft, and then finally create our revisions vs my highschool writing process where we had to develop a thesis statement first, create an outline, and then write our essay. I think the writing process this time made writing the essay much easier for me, because it made sense. I came up with different ideas during the idea generating part, developed one specific idea further, which is actually what became my essay topic, and then discussed it with my professor during our conference. I think the idea generating and developing really helped me sort of create the framework for my essay; because the main idea was already there, I simply had to develop it further and connect it with the previous texts we read (Halevi, Dirk, Allen).

I think the hardest part of the essay was making the audience-facing draft because at that point it was already more like an essay. I struggled with organizing my thoughts and ideas mainly, since I had a lot of ideas and connections that could work, but I didn’t know how to pick out which ones actually work and which ones don’t. I think what helped with my struggle was when we did the checklist for our essay and assessed what things we did successfully and what things we were still missing. I was able to see which ones I still needed to work, so I added them on my to-do list, and my professor’s comments on my introduction also helped a lot – since I would have missed it otherwise. I also found the peer review very helpful since my partner actually pointed out things that I have to do better on, and it was really helpful even just reading their work as well, since I was able to get some idea of what worked in his essay that I didn’t do so well on on mine. Another person I received feedback from was a classmate during class. Since we had chosen the same text, we mostly talked about our ideas with each other and discussed what our individual topics were about. Just like my peer review, I found reading and learning about other people’s ideas and texts really helpful since it allowed me to assess my own writing as well.

I think my final essay is pretty solid. I cut out a lot of the ideas I had written originally, which I struggled with, but in this process I was able to expand on my ideas deeper. I really like my body paragraph about Villarosa’s use of scientific objectivity, because I was able to directly connect it to two texts: Dirk and Allen, since they respectively talk about genre awareness and scientific writing. I think the most difficult part of my essay was the introduction since I wasn’t sure how to introduce the Rhetorical Situation Model without revealing my entire essay (which is actually what my professor had pointed out). I ended up literally saying what I was going to talk about in my essay, since it directly introduced my topic.

After the entire process of writing this essay, I think my understanding of the rhetorical situation model (RSM) and rhetorical theory grew so much. Even though we read a lot of texts on RSM and we analyzed a bit in class, I didn’t really fully know how to apply it until I had to use it myself in the essay. I really didn’t know how to analyze from a rhetorical perspective because I was so used to writing research essays in high school. However, once I started labeling the elements of the RSM, I think that’s when the ideas started flowing out, which is why I wrote so much in my idea-generating draft. That’s when I realized that it’s true what we discussed in class: writing makes us think deeper and makes us write more. I actually began to appreciate the use of RSM in analyzing texts, because it automatically makes us think deeper than the surface meaning or message of the text, and I know for sure that I will be using it a lot more when encountering new texts.