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WRT 308 Reflection

The style intervention groups in WRT 308 helped me out a lot. Not only was I able to hear what my classmates had to say about the piece of work I selected, but I was also able to see how my classmates reacted to the work while they gave me feedback. This was very interesting because some people claimed they had never learned this much about Tetanus Immunization but still felt connected to the work. Regardless, everyone should know about Tetanus and its impact on people as well as the military / society (which I address). The feedback given to me during the style interventions was very helpful, to the point that I wished we began them earlier and used more of our own projects to get feedback on.

            I felt as though my paper on tetanus immunization was already strong, however, I wrote it so long ago that I must have overlooked some things. I say this because my classmates found numerous errors that I did not even know were present. Thankfully, I was able to note these errors while also asking questions so that I could understand exactly what it was they were saying and recommending to me. Although I disagreed with a few things my classmates said, I took them to heart because I know that any form of criticism is good criticism.

            In my paper I was writing to an academic audience, therefore having an academic audience read and critique my paper was exactly what I needed. They told me that my structure was good for the most party, however, many paragraphs were long and wordy and I should split them up in order to address my points more clearly and concisely. It is important, while receiving criticism on your work, to never take it to heart and always keep your eyes and mind open. No matter how much you disagree with the corrections your classmates have to offer you have to keep in mind that you are writing to a wide range of people. Therefore, everyone’s individual critique matters.

            Also addressed in my writing was the structure of my sentences. When going back and editing my work I found it hard to take out and readjust certain sentences, mainly due to the fact that I wrote the piece in my own voice and, thus, it sounds good to me. Everyone writes in a different manner, which is why prose is so important in writing. Regardless of whether or not everyone likes how you write, you must be considerate of his or her writing style and understanding of your prose when allowing your work to be critiqued, or else you will never progress and will be unwilling to change your writing. Due to the fact that we had such a large array of students in the class with such different writing styles, the style intervention helped so much by allowing me to grasp how other people read and understand my writing. This is why I wish we started the style interventions earlier on in the year. I would have loved for people to read my other projects and give me feedback on them.

            This project aside, I had a great time in WRT 308. Not only was Professor Howard a wonderful, insightful teacher, but also she was always enthusiastic about what she was teaching and always provided wonderful materials to reference. The books we used in class were amazing because they dealt directly with rhetoric and prose, subjects vital to the class. The class dynamic was also amazing throughout the year; people felt as though they could argue, discuss and comment whenever they felt. By the end of the year the classroom did not feel like an academic setting, but rather one that was friendly and inviting. No one was scared to speak their mind by the end of the year.

            I find this incredible and something very vital to take away from this classroom experience. It was not only the students who facilitated this feeling, but also Professor Howard. Her ability to engage her audience while maintaining a professional persona was what got people to want to speak up. I remember in the beginning of the year it was just a select few of people, including me, who spoke. After a few class meetings as well as assignments, which made us engage with each of our classmates, everyone felt as though they were friends with each other. I have never been in a class with a teacher that was able to portray this persona to her students. Thus, WRT 308 and Professor Howard work in sync with each other to the point that students forget they are in a classroom.

            My overall experience in WRT 308 made me engage the texts that were readily available to us while also allowing me to constantly stay engaged with the class material. The tweeting that we had to do on a class-to-class basis helped not only facilitate conversations amongst students, but also helped our professor keep checks on us throughout the semester. The assignments we had were wonderful, in the sense that they challenged us but also encouraged us to become better writers. I have trouble finding something bad to say about WRT 308 and Professor Howard because it was just an overall wonderful experience.



Thank you everyone who gave me feedback on this project. I appreciate all of your recommendations and hope that, if you are re-reading this, I including your revision. Although I found it hard to change my writing I took what you all said to heart and did my best. The most I revised was structure, both in paragraphs and sentences, because that is what people told me to fix the most. Again, I thank you all and hope you enjoyed reading this essay –  Felipe Toso.




In our contemporary generation, we find ourselves living in a realm of contradictions. On one side, our world is expanding rapidly and we are graced with technological and medical advances that make our lives easier and should help us feel protected. At the same time, we also face a myriad of “public health issues” day to day, which may challenge our health and safety. For the sake of specificity, I will focus in on Tetanus immunization as a public health care topic in the United States.

Tetanus vaccinations (and vaccinations in general) spark great controversy and re-introduce the persistent theme of conflict. This theme of conflict is a central debate between the clashing interests of two essential powers: the first resides with the individual and his liberty to make his own decisions regarding vaccinations, a right which is naturally granted to him by the Constitution and disagreement ensues with the introduction of the second force, government, due to government’s right to intervene– even at a cost of infringing on individual autonomies—with the “interest” to protect the community.

Underlying this theme lay plenty of ammunition supporting or opposing mandating the Tetanus vaccine. This demands careful analysis before presenting the best possible approach to maximize benefits. What I will argue in this paper is that although the Tetanus vaccination is a public and collective good, since it provides immunization against a disease, it is not a public health issue. There a numerous reasons argued for this, but the main reason for this is that Tetanus is not contagious, so an individual’s choice to deny vaccination does not impinge on herd immunity and does not pose harm on anyone but himself. I stand against mandating the Tetanus vaccine. This is based on weighing the costs of legal obligation on the individual as well as the benefits of receiving the vaccination. The only exception, however, is that Tetanus should be mandatory in military service. This is due to the fact that if the individual got infected, it would have greater costs on the community and more importantly the rest of the military force.

Before delving into my reasoning, it is important to know that Tetanus is a non-contagious disease caused by the transmission of bacteria. Areas of contamination include saliva or through burns. However, the most common areas of contamination are deep wounds.[1] It is easily transferable through moist soil, making it more prevalent in countries near the equator because there is a surplus of soil in that fertile area. This implies that Tetanus is not as prevalent in the United States as in other countries, especially those close to the equator. In fact, Tetanus is among the least prevalent in the United Statestoday.This may be due to the fact that it is not contagious, so it does not spread to others in the community.

According to the Center of Disease Control, even if an individual does get infected, there is an incubation period up to three weeks. This is the time between the first exposure and the first set of symptoms, which are usually stiffness in the neck and difficulty swallowing[2]. The symptoms are clearly not detrimental at this stage, which allows time for vaccination, if desired. The Center of Disease Control provides global incidence rates of about 30%, and mortality rates of about 10-20%, which many claim are overestimates. As Geoffrey Rose explains in Sick Individuals and Sick Populations, “the determinants of incidence are not necessarily the same as the causes of cases” (Rose, 36). These incidence rates may not necessarily imply the prevalence of Tetanus at all, or even contribute to the mortality percentage; there may be other causes for death when cuts are exposed to moist soil or rusty nails. Interestingly enough, Tetanus came to the scene in the United States when the first case was tracked around the 1940’s; but as of 2000, there were only 41 reported cases of Tetanus in the United States[3]. Clearly, because of the constant advance in medicine and medical science since then, the numbers by now must be at a minimal level compared to the numbers in the past. Regardless, the nature of Tetanus itself is important in deciding whether mandating the vaccine would have more of a cost or benefit for the public.

So, who is the “public”? Who is affected by public health? The word “public” refers to the immediate population, and when introducing the word “health”, the definition extends to those that can be affected by the infectious disease or benefited by vaccination. In this sense, public health goods may be anything advantageous that is accessible, benefits, and provides pleasure to, the public. Collective health goods also fall into the broad category of “public health goods” but differ in that these “goods” require a collective effort to produce. For the most part, doctors or public health officials provide collective health goods to the community in creating Tetanus vaccinations against diseases. Therefore, Tetanus immunizations serve as both a public and collective health good. I recognize that as a public and collective good, the Tetanus vaccination does provide protection if an individual were to be exposed to certain high-risk conditions. Nevertheless, even if not getting immunized poses a potential risk, and receiving the vaccination would deter this chance, it must also be considered whether or not Tetanus is a public health issue. The benefit of protection does not imply that a lack of protection would be a risk. Compared to the emergence of other more life-threatening and contagious diseases such as HIV, Tetanus is not a very prominent health concern anymore in the United States. The reality that the peak of the Tetanus outbreak declined decades ago around the 1960’s, combined with the fact that Tetanus is not contagious, signifies that it does not pose a public or collective health problem.In fact, the harm is isolated to the individual, so the decision to refuse immunization does not jeopardize any hope for “herd immunity” against Tetanus.

The current government policy requires Tetanus immunization, especially to enter schools, but I believe it deserves a re-consideration. In comparison to the tentative risks of infection, the major cost in hindering autonomy would be greater. Mandating vaccines give the government permission to limit the liberties of those who oppose immunization, and deny them a right to make decisions. Ideally, the role of the government is to serve in the best interest of the people. When implementing public health policies, it is important to make decisions adhering to a best possible outcome for majority by reducing costs and maximizes benefits. Especially in matters regarding personal health, I believe that the government role should be controlled. Thus, intervention should only be warranted under certain circumstances. In his book, On Liberty, John Stuart Mill argues, “there is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence; and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs as protection against political despotism” (Mills, 5). I completely agree with Mills in that he highlights the importance of individual independence as separate from political decisions. His belief is crucial to maintain such autonomy. As such, I believe that the government should only exercise three essential duties regarding involvement in personal affairs. Beyond those boundaries, I support the power of the individual to decide on all areas of their private lives, as long as it does not harm others. The first role is that of a protector; in the case of contagiousoutbreaks or epidemics, where community is at risk, the government “power can rightfully [be] exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will… to prevent harm to others” (Mills, 9). I also agree with Mills on this mention of the “harm principle” (Beauchamp, 46) as a justified intervention of government in personal affairs to protect everyone else. In such circumstances, the benefits of mandating immediate immunization in protecting others and halting the spread of the disease would outweigh the costs of temporarily freezing rights. But, unlike other “vaccine-preventable diseases”, herd immunity will not protect others from Tetanus[4]. In addition, immunity is not imperative because the disease does not spread, and denying vaccination does not jeopardize the health of others. Therefore, the choice to get the Tetanus vaccination should be a personal decision.

A second role of the government is that of an educator. The government has a moral and societal duty to educate citizens on pertinent matters. Especially with health, the government and government-funded services are required to create, monitor, regulate, and reform public goods—such as the Tetanus vaccination. This being so, it is the government’s responsibility to provide objective and candid health information to the public. This includes critical information on how it can be contracted, what the symptoms are, how to get vaccinated and the potential consequences in not getting vaccinated. After learning this crucial information people themselves should be held accountable and decide where or not to get the Tetanus vaccine. This leads into the third job as that of a facilitator.

The government should also provide the Tetanus vaccination for everyone equally (either through public or private health care measures). This includes economically and socially disadvantaged individuals, as well as the mentally impaired members of society who cannot afford, or do not have the means to receive, vaccinations. Under a duty and an ideal to do what is best for the people, the government must attend to all in the same regard and no one should have to live in fear of contracting Tetanus just because they cannot afford to be protected from it. Under these functions, the Tetanus vaccine should be highly recommended and readily available. On the other hand, the government should not coerce individuals to consent to it if they are opposed. This way, both sides are satisfied; the government can appeal to the public equally and reduce costs. In mandating too many policies on vaccinations, the government – as a protector, educator and facilitator– would run the risk of crossing into private territory with no justification. It is important, therefore, for the government to “pick and choose” its battles especially in private health affairs.

Although I stand firm that the Tetanus vaccine should only be strongly recommended, I do believe that mandating immunization should be required in military service because the probability of injury and the costs for treatment are too high. This actually presents an interesting argument because mandating vaccination for soldiers is not technically an exception because it does not directly infringe on their autonomy. The reason for this is that Americans are fortunate enough in that enlisting in the military is a voluntary service. Attached to this commitment, there are many specific guidelines, including a mandatory Tetanus vaccination. Because individuals choose to enlist, hence they still exercise their right of liberty, they agree to comply with the rules of the game and accept vaccination. This policy is rational because traveling to third world countries expose the soldiers to all diseases and significantly increase their risks of contracting Tetanus. As a protector, the government is justified in mandating vaccinations for soldiers for two reasons. One is to ensure that the mortality rates of soldiers run low, in the case that they do contract Tetanus and do not receive treatment. The other is to protect the citizens from expenses in taxes in the case that soldiers do contract a disease, and require medical attention. Therefore, soldiers’ refusal to get vaccinated, especially under the conditions where they travel, would not only increase their own risk, but would also have an immense cost (literally) on the government who funds the military. This effect would trickle down to the taxpayers and they would also be penalized. Preventing an economic liability, vaccinating soldiers is more beneficial than not. But even from a practical perspective, soldiers enlisting in the military knowing the risk of death are probably not the individuals who would oppose extra protection anyway.

As goes for most public health concerns, there will always be cases supporting mandatory Tetanus vaccinations. Those who support mandatory vaccination, and even government intervention in public health, believe that health always has some affects on the community. Under this belief, it is in the best interest of the people that it be regulated on a government level. Dan Beauchamp in Community, elaborates on this point and claims that “public health and safety are community or group interests… that can transcend and take priority over private interests if the legislature chooses”(Beauchamp, 46). I disagree with Beauchamp’s opinion on this matter. The basic unit of our individualistic culture is the individual; this is exemplified through general independence as human beings, the goals we set for ourselves, and our freedom to decide how to live our lives. This is especially true in the United States, which values diversity of opinion and self-sufficiency to high regards and ideals. As compared to collectivist cultures, individuals in the United States live for themselves, which is why it is contradictory in nature for the American government to impose so much on private affairs. Beauchamp’s perception that public health is a collective duty is sound only in the case that a disease may directly place the community in harm. Tetanus, however, does not do this. Therefore, because it is not a public health issue that involves or affects the rest, government should not “take priority over private interests” under no means. Beauchamp elaborates his points of view and states; “creating, extending, or strengthening the practices of public health—and the collective goods principle that underlies it—ought to be the primary justification for our health and safety policy” (Beauchamp, 53). On this note I will also have to strongly disagree with Beauchamp. As I have mentioned previously, just because immunization against Tetanus provides a collective good, it does not imply that it is at all a public issue. Here, Beauchamp generalizes a vague principle to a controversial issue in the realm of public health. The “collective goods” argument in this case is certainly not enough justification to intervene on autonomy– especially if refusing vaccination does not impose any direct issue on the public.

I recognize the several benefits of immunization. The benefits of immunization are that it protects and prevents possible death, it is relatively cheap to administer, has few fatal side effects, eliminates school liability issues, and reduces the taxpayer duty to pay off hospital debts of unvaccinated individuals. I will first touch on the main worry that if an individual gets infected with the Tetanus bacteria, they may die unless they are treated. I believe that this is an extreme level of apprehension because it assumes that everyone who gets a cut and happens to be in a high- risk environment will get Tetanus. Although exposure to such infested environments (if unvaccinated) may increase one’s risk, it does not instantaneously lead to infection. The “cost” of death if one does not get the Tetanus immunization is not one that poses an imminent threat anymore.

This lack of immediate danger to the individual and the community is not enough to allow the government to require Tetanus immunization for everyone. On the other hand, because the vaccine is relatively low in cost, simple to administer, and does not have too many negative side effects, receiving the vaccine is also relatively safe for those who do desire immunization. But, the simple benefit that the Tetanus vaccine is inexpensive is just a perk; if anything, it only serves to make the vaccine more available and affordable for those who do choose to get it. This is not, however, in any way sufficient enough as a benefit to require immunization. The common side effects of soreness, headaches, and rare seizures, are also so minimal. This would only be another enticement, and is still not enough to convince me.

Another area where proponents for mandatory Tetanus vaccination could find my argument controversial is when dealing with children. For contracting the disease itself, the targets of concern are children who are “at higher risk” because of their carelessness on the playground. This is ironic because, according to the Center of Disease Control, more adults have actually been reported to die from Tetanus[5]. Furthermore, the irony extents to the fact that many adults do not even continue with booster immunizations, and still there has not been an increase in mortality rates! More debate in the area of children is centered on a minor’s inability to consent, and the “liability” it poses on schools if an un-vaccinated child contracts Tetanus. As a school entrance requirement–public or private—I do not believe that these institutions have a right to mandate the vaccine. But one may ask, how about the minor who does not have a right to consent and is not aware of the risks if he is not immunized? Legally, parents or guardians have the right to decide on their child’s key life decisions; as minors, they are dependent beings—financially, socially, and emotionally.

The decisions parents make regarding their child on where they are educated, how they are raised, and what approaches to take (or not take) in their child’s health, are all personal matters. The government should not have a position to instruct parents on what constitutes as being in the child’s best interest, unless they are in imminent danger– which is not the case with Tetanus. As Mill explains, the government should allow people to live their own lives (Mills, 61), and should have no right to assume what is good for a child, or generalize their subjective well-being in an objective manner that applies to all children. Mandating immunization, the government may interfere on parents’ decisions to deny the Tetanus vaccination to their children. This would undermine their rights as parents. So, I ask, who should assume the role as parents: the government or parents themselves?

Well, how about liability; what if parents sue a school in the case that their child contracts Tetanus on the playground? First of all, in private schools, this would be an insurance issue and not directly a government issue. In all private institutions, insurance is strictly a private matter, and is therefore a concern between the school and the insurance company that the school chooses for protection. Private schools should be able to determine whether or not they require Tetanus vaccinations, as part of enrollment and the government should respect the decision of the school authorities. There is a reason why private schools are called “private”—the government is kept separate from its matters. If the school decides upon mandatory Tetanus vaccination, then the parents of children should comply, but if parents refuse, attendance should not be denied. In this incidence, the school should require a consent form. This would outline and explain the risks if the child is not vaccinated for Tetanus, as well as an section where the adult agrees to the terms and conditions and sign off on personal responsibility of costs if their child gets infected and needs treatment. This would target the issue of liability and the parent’s choice to refuse vaccination for their child would not be the school’s “problem” anymore. The circumstance is different for public schools because the government has control. Therefore, if the government recommends vaccination, this regulation would apply to all public schools.

One may argue this on the principle that if a non-vaccinated child gets infected and needs medical attention, this may harm the taxpayers of the community who would pay. A likely solution would be that similar to private schools where the government should requires consent forms as well. Signing this allows parents to assume responsibility of paying medical costs if anything happens to their child. This provides mutual benefit; schools would not worry about liability and individual rights are still prevailing. If parents value their legal right to make their own decisions so much, then they should be held accountable for all outcomes, or costs—literally and figuratively.

On this note, another major reason for mandatory vaccination is that if an individual does not get immunized from Tetanus and contracted it, treatment would have a negative external cost for taxpayers who would have to pay for the medical care. If people value their autonomy enough, they must really hold weight to an idea of personal accountability for their decisions. If their mindsets are that they are the “rulers of their own life”, then they should also accept a liability in the case of infection. But the fact is simple; Tetanus has an isolated and direct harm on only the individual. Fearing this potential cost that does not harm others does not, and should not, be enough of a justification for the United States government to mandate immunization.

It is true that non-immunization combined with dirt exposed to an open wound, may increase a risk. But, it does not guarantee infection. Mandating the Tetanus immunization is too much of an imposing measure taken to lessen a possibility. These steps are usually followed too much out of a worry for the future events. It is true that all benefits to vaccination are important, but those for Tetanus would probably hold more weight if Tetanus was more prevalent. In relation, I do not believe that those stated benefits are grand enough to outweigh the immediate cost of limiting autonomy, especially for those who oppose vaccination. Recommending Tetanus immunization is more ideal because it does not coerce individuals who either oppose it, or do not consider the infection risky enough. But, it still presents the option for those who want to take the extra step to vaccinate themselves and their children. So, why not benefit both sides by maximizing liberties?

I am not trying to undermine the fatality of Tetanus, or immunizations in general. I am simply arguing that government intervention should be careful when entering private lives. Especially in decisions, government needs to weigh the interests of opposing sides equally. Mandating a vaccine that does not pose harm on the rest would not be serving in the “best interest” of those who do not want immunization. I will conclude my discussion by questioning government intervention from an ethical perspective. As Beauchamp states, “public health belongs to the realm of the political and the ethical” (Beauchamp, 52). Having touched on the political aspect, I do not think interfering on autonomy is ethical. Is it fair that currently mandatory Tetanus vaccination is exempted under religious grounds, but not for choices on personal lifestyle? Both the rights of liberty and to exercise religion are granted to every United States citizen by the Constitution. As Mills argues, “each is the proper guardian of his own heath, whether bodily or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves than by compelling each to live as seems god to the rest” (Mills, 12). I also believe that the individual himself, and not any external force, is the only one who knows what is best for him.

In allowing certain exceptions, the government does not equally respect the value of these rights. Because government generally avoids religious topics, it should also keep a distance with personal freedoms. Religion is indeed a choice of lifestyle, but isn’t health a lifestyle too? Perhaps discussions about controlling religion is not “socially acceptable”, but considerations in controlling freedoms should not be accepted either. If government does hinder anyone from practicing their religion, it should not deny anyone the freedom to make decisions that concern their private lives. Recommending the Tetanus vaccine would respect the rights of those who desire vaccination, and those who oppose it, equally. This being said, after weighing the costs of limiting autonomy and benefits of receiving the vaccine, I reiterate that Tetanus is not threatening enough to implement mandatory immunization.



“Tetanus (Lockjaw) Vaccination.” Center of Disease Control and Prevention. Department of Heath and Human Services. Department of Heath and Human Services. 29 September 2010. <;.

“Immunizations and Vaccines and Not Vaccinating.” PKIDs Online. 1996. Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases. Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases. 1 October 2010. <;.


[1] “Tetanus (Lockjaw) Vaccination”. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

[2] “Tetanus (Lockjaw) Vaccination”. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

[3] “Immunizations and Vaccines and Not Vaccinating.” PKIDs Online.

[4] “Immunizations and Vaccines and Not Vaccinating.” PKIDs Online.

[5] “Tetanus (Lockjaw) Vaccination.” Center of Disease Control and Prevention.


Review of Tori’s Work

I wish you did not say you didn’t like this piece. It makes me not want to read it! Just because you are relaying information does not mean you cant create a piece from your own mind!

I agree with you that social media makes people self-concious and competitive in the social world with others. I do not have a Facebook, but I used to. I also now have a LinkedIn, which is the “professional form of Facebook,” or so they say. I can tell after reading just the first few paragraphs that your prose style is medium – high, especially because you are talking about social media in which near everything is exaggerated- There are even filters for your pictures now, making everything that much more “fake.”

The fact that you are doing a study makes your writing more credible because it adds a “scientific” aspect to it. The fact that you went, interviewed, and recorded primary sources makes your information much more credible because it is actual personal accounts of how people feel towards social media. I do not think that race would matter much when dealing with social media, because when developing an online presence everyone is relatively on the same page. You use personal, first person stories too. This makes your study more credible because it is almost as if you also interviewed yourself. The style of writing / prose you are using is “medium” due to the fact that you are using adjectives and adverbs and other descriptive language.

Additionally, your voice comes across well in this writing even though it is very scientific / academic. It is important that you remained neutral during your interviews because the last thing you want form responses are bias. “Having large breasts, a large butt” is socially acceptable and attractive to a guy – I do not agree with this. One of the reasons why I deleted my social media account is because people make judgements of others, even before they actually get to know them / meet them in person. I find every girl attractive in her own way, not necessarily physically. Therefore, I think that social media skews the perceptions people have of others even before meeting them. I agree with you that social media websites, especially those that use pictures, portray the wrong image / model of how a girl should act and look like. (photoshop example)

Your 4th paragraph is extremely long, maybe try cutting it down to create better structure in your essay. It is almost drawn out to the point that upon looking at it the reader feels as if they don’t want to read it in fear of repetition / getting bored. Start a new paragraph at “Through this I was able to analyze…” I feel as though it will give more structure to your writing and space out your ideas a bit more. This is a relatively long piece of writing and since it is scientific / academic style writing it should be concise and to the point, with less run-on paragraphs. 

Your writing is credible because you use primary sources and logical reasoning. I like how you interviewed two different sexes because it shows you how each gender feels towards social media. However, I agree with you in your last paragraph that survey campus-wide would be very effective. There is a website called survey monkey that allows you to do this very easily and you can focus in on SU. Maybe for your final you should consider using survey monkey for more information / responses. Although I found glimpses of your voice in this writing I would like to see more of your voice. Perhaps you could do a sort of self-interview in which you can answer the questions you proposed to the other students. You are looking for “in depth answers,” however the most in depth answer you will find is a personal reflection on the topic. Maybe add a paragraph in which you answer each question and then take it a step further – do you think that this trend will continue, change, or completely end?

Since this is a study-type (academic) piece of writing, the more information in a concise structure is very important.

Overall, your prose is good for the style of writing you are going for and you use credible as well as logical information.


Review of Ben’s Work

I do not know what it means to be a “city” kid because I have never been one, although I was born in Manhattan and raised there for a month. I like the preface you give right off the bat. It tells us exactly what you are going to talk about, making your writing more credible to me – especially if you follow the path throughout the paper. It really is interesting how where you are from carries specific connotations. It is sad however how people generalize aspects of class, intelligence and personality from these specific connotations.

Even after reading the first few paragraphs I can tell that your style of writing / prose is “middle.” I can deduce this because you use descriptive language, but are not exaggerating. I like how you are talking about the late 19th and 20th century, for the construction of I-81 had a huge effect on the population. When the demolition of the 15th ward occurred in the mid 20th century many people were ousted from their homes. The less able to afford were forced into low-class suburbs or projects such as the Pioneer Homes. Those who were more affluent were able to move / had the luxury to move to nicer areas (like the ones you are describing). “Syracuse’s elite began leaving the city to escape to the suburbs in search of new ways to proclaim their power and success” – Just like the 15th ward / I-81 project. Maybe add this information in the 4th / 5th paragraph. I think that this would be good evidence to support your claim that much of the wealthy and even general population fled Syracuse.

The way you write is very structured but flows well. This makes you credible as a righter (ethos) because it allows the reader to stay engaged while still getting hit with crucial information. It is surprising how well you integrate your voice in this piece as well. You use the first person “I” which is also good in getting your voice across, because it creates a connection between the audience and the author. The way you also use yourself as the example of an “identity marker of being a city kid” also helps get your voice across because it tells the reader you are speaking from personal experience. This makes your writing even more credible because it attracts the reader into learning more about your personal life / how being a city kid has had an impact on you.

In addition to ethos you use a logical discussion to get your point across, which is very effective in this kind of paper. I see a sense of pathos in your writing, which is hard to do. The way you describe how being a townie has affected you makes me feel for you. It clearly has had an impact and makes me think of what I have heard about townies in the past. It makes me sad to hear that townies get such a bad rep – especially when there are great ones, just like you. The fact that you use the first person and refer to personal experiences makes your pathos even stronger, for we can tie exactly what you are saying to your person.

“To the majority of Syracuse students, the identity marker of townie is characterized by more than just laziness and level of education.” Unfortunately this claim is true. I do know a few townies in my fraternity who are anything but lazy, but there are numerous stereotypes that come with being a townie, in any city for that matter. People are always talking down when referring to townies, especially when they come onto campus. However, the truth is that they may belong here even more than we do, since they are from here. 

Review of Danielle’s Work

I know what you were trying to say in the first sentence, but the way it is written makes it sound as though The Wizard of Oz is a drawing. What you meant to say was “is known as a feminist classic, drawing from…” The use of a comma here makes your reader understand that the movie is not a literal drawing. I like your introductory paragraph because the topic is very interesting, It sounds as though you are going to make the argument that in children’s movies misogynist themes are quite prevalent.

After reading the first paragraph I can tell that you will have a “medium” style of writing, rather than a low or high style. I can tell that you will use descriptive words to declare your point, but you will not exaggerate or go over the top. Also, on the other hand you are not writing straight facts and information without the use of adjectives / adverbs. I like how you found a middle ground here because I enjoy reading writing that pertains to the “middle” style we talked about in class.

You say that there are misogynist themes in children’s books / movies, but in the second paragraph you combat your thesis. You say that “all (women) are strong, smart and have great leadership qualities” – something that shows women are empowered rather than being disrespected. This makes your argument less credible because you are contradicting yourself. I see the comparison you are making between the new and old movie. But it is quite a jump to say that these misogynistic traits are extremely common in children’s movies when the original form of the movie sounds / seems like quite the opposite.

In your 3rd paragraph, which is quite short, you have four quotations nearly back to back. I am personally worried about this in my writing because I feel as though it takes away from one’s voice. Using too many quotations repeatedly takes the reader away from the writer’s voice and delves them into the quotation’s voice. I feel as though your voice is disappearing slightly in this paragraph because you are using so many ideas that are not completely your own. The canons of rhetoric are of use here, especially the canon of style. Style is the way in which you write or explain something in your writing. Your style is very academic, do not get me wrong, but I feel as though your style / voice is almost not your own in this paragraph especially.

Another two canons of rhetoric that this paragraph pertains to is arrangement and delivery. The quotes you have are good, but I believe it would be better to arrange them in a way that makes them less “cloudy” or less grouped together. The structure of your text is good, but within the paragraphs the structure could be improved to get your own voice across even more. Delivery “refers to the management of voice.” Cicero claims that delivery “has the sole and supreme power in oratory (and also written work)”. Your delivery is good, because you offer good ideas and structure, however the manner in which you are voicing your opinions makes your delivery almost too structured.

On the top of page 4 you create strong sense of ethos (credibility) by providing facts of both women and men and then comparing them to each other. Although I was not struck emotionally while reading this text, I am sure that if I was a feminist or maybe even just simply a woman I would feel some sort of emotional connection whether it be anger, shock, or joy. Therefore, I think that pathos is evident in your paper even though it did not necessarily have an effect on me. Logos is evident in your writing too because you clearly use logic to explain your reasoning. An example of using logic here is with facts and stating your basic argument while backing it up.

I did not know about the undertones in children’s writings / movies so this paper was quite interesting to me. I have never seen the new Wizard of Oz but after reading this paper I would like to go watch it and see if I can find these misogynist themes.

Review of Akili’s Work

Having “AIDS” written as a separate, one-word sentence is not a credible form of prose. You should include the word in the following sentence and say “Aids is a worldwide…” Your argument in the first paragraph is also unclear. Are you arguing that Aids is a taboo topic, which no one knows about? I would strengthen your thesis / argument by making it more opinionated because what you have here is something that I think everyone would agree with.


The rhetorical appeals we have talked about in class are evident here. You use ethos when you support your claim with a primary source. The quotes from Fisher help further your point, making your writing that much more credible and convincing for the audience. The use of pathos in this writing is also evident, for you are talking about a serious, emotional subject (AIDS). Anyone who is affected by or knows someone affected by AIDS would be very emotionally moved by this writing, because it speaks directly to them. Although I do not have the disease and don’t know anyone with it, it is still powerful because the topic is so meaningful in today’s world. The words “the gay plague” also struck me rhetorically. During the time AIDS was extremely evident and growing in the public sphere this would have a huge impact emotionally on people. It also fits the kairotic moment that AIDS is prevalent in. Although not everyone who has AIDS is technically “gay,” it was during this time that homosexuality was frowned upon, making the disease even more hated by the white, conservative Republicans you talk about.


The style of writing here is not high or low, but medium. The content is low because there is not much description, just facts and information, especially in the form of quotations. You are not exaggerating anything in your writing; you are giving straight-up information in an academic setting. However, that does not mean the writing is “low” or bad. On the contrary, you use enough style that “stirs the motions and engages the heart as well as the head of the audience” (H & K, page. 78). Although AIDS is not a topic that necessarily interests me, I was engaged emotionally and mentally as I was reading this piece. You use synecdoche in a sense because you “describe the patterns of thinking of our culture used to organize and understand the world” (H & K, pg. 93). When you say “The gay disease” it is almost a form of synecdoche because you are pulling the strings on a topic that is so prevalent at the time. In other words, it captures the cultural and social mind state of Americans during this time.


The definition you have for the public sphere is somewhat odd. “A body of private person’s assembled to discuss matters of public concern or common interest” (Fraser, p. 58). To me, this is not what the public sphere is. The public sphere is a collective group of public person’s who have the choice to join in assembly when discussing common interests. Private sphere is found within the PRIVATE household, whereas the public sphere is found in common, public areas. Fisher’s public sphere of white, wealthy republicans is actually a niche group, making it private and pertaining to the “private sphere”.  A “Republican Convention,” if anything, is a private sphere. To me, this is private because not only do you need an invitation to attend, but Democrats and other people pertaining to the common, public sphere would not attend in the first place. Therefore, it restricts the type of people who are participating in the discussion, furthering it from the public and making it more privatized. If it was a “government convention” in which any political party was invited, then it would pertain to the public sphere.


Your voice is good and quite present in your writing. This is a formal piece of writing and the diction that accompanies your voice is perfect for the setting. I like your style of prose because it is academic but not dry whatsoever.  In Holcomb and Killingsworth, they declare: “style depends upon a writer’s decision making”. The way in which you decided to organize and include quotations adds greatly to your personal style, while also making your prose much more persuasive and effective in getting your point across. 

Analysis of Emily Fisk’s Post

Let me start off by saying I truly enjoyed reading this piece of writing. I really like how you are using rhetorical questions when you write, more specifically in your first paragraph. This gives the reader a good sense of what you are thinking at the time, but also allows us to relate to you and create a bond (ethos) since we have all looked for an internship. We also feel a sense of connection with you when you describe feeling overwhelmed, especially when walking to the building for the first time, getting all of your material together, and just experiencing Italy in general. The feeling of being overwhelmed is recurring for all students, creating a strong ethos for your audience, which is the class. I found this descriptive language to be very useful rhetorically but also very useful when describing your experience.

It is funny how you need to have experience to get experience in today’s cutthroat job market, right?

When reading the first couple paragraphs of your writing I felt as though we were being given an abstract of some sorts, since you tie everything together but allow for ample descriptive space. I enjoyed the entrance to the 3rd paragraph because it felt almost like a story whereas the first two were like an auto-biography (with less descriptive voice and tone). The section I focused on in class with my group (pages 48-55 in Holcomb and Killingsworth) dealt slightly with descriptive language and how it can be useful to a writer. I think you did a good job with that.

It was interesting when you wrote out what you said in large font for the ITalian students – it is helpful for them but also plays on the Font exercise I did for this class. Font is so important rhetorically, especially when you are teaching students who do not even know the language that well! Throughout the piece I see growth of your “person” and enthusiasm for what you do. This is great to see as a reader because it is engaging and makes it evident that you enjoyed writing the piece.

Good job!

Text for Review

Oops!! posted this to the wrong blog.. REPOSTING TO WRT308


Preface: I wrote this for a rhetoric/argument class my senior year of H.S. I chose this topic because it was interesting to me and I did not know much about it, so it forced me to read up and do research. I chose this paper for this assignment because I think that my classmates will find it interesting as well. Sorry for the way it is formatted in this post, when I copy and pasted the format changed completely. Obviously, you do not have to read the whole thing – just read as much as you’d like.


The Clash of Powers: Autonomy or Intervention 

Tetanus Immunization


In our contemporary generation, we find ourselves living in a realm of contradictions. On one side, our world is expanding rapidly and we are graced with technological and medical advances that make our lives easier and should help us feel protected. At…

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March 4th Assignment: Font Choices

“Font choices can make or break a message.”

I thought the introductory sentence to this article is very interesting because I rarely change my font style on essays, and give the matter even less attention when e-mailing. Font choice can play a large role rhetorically because not only can it attract a reader to read an article, but it can also set the mood. “Poor typeface choices negatively affect the message in the copy.” 

You must make sure that the font you choose matches the type of writing you are striving for or the genre you have decided to follow. For example, if writing a business memo I doubt that a playful, childish font would be used. On the contrary, a business man wants to come off as credible, well-educated and sophisticated, leading him to choose a font like Times New Roman. 

In reading all of the examples in the article I can clearly see how font affects the audiences’ perception of what they are reading. Some fonts are more playful than others while some are somewhat scary. However, all of these fonts grab my attention in a particular way. To me this is proof that font style is in fact rhetorical and can help build credibility in whichever style/genre you decide to write in. Everyone should browse this article and at least look at the different font styles. I am curious to see what others think. 

Comments on Classmates’ Blog Posts