W3, #3: FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE A BIG DEAL

Set-Up: Last Wednesday, each of you took part in your first (of many!) in-class writing assignments. While Mr. Long knows that each of you will grow a great deal as a writer between now and the end of the year, it is vital that we begin to look at various strategies that will help our reader(s)/audience appreciate our best ideas.

Probably the most important thing that all of us can work on is understanding how vital the first paragraph — the introduction — is to the success of every essay. Figure out how to write these 3-5 sentences well, and the rest of the essay will fall into place over time.

To put it bluntly, if the reader is a) not intrigued/drawn into the paper in the opening sentences of the introduction and b) cannot identify a clear argument (a.k.a. thesis) that analyzes the story/text in a unique manner, the reader will not be confident about the rest of the paper — no matter how well written it may be.

Challenge:

  • Type your original introductory paragraph precisely as you hand-wrote it in class. That means, if there were spelling mistakes or missed punctuation in the original, include those exact mistakes in this typed version. Do not add or subtract anything. Keep it — in other words — just as it looks in the paper copy that Mr. Long still has in his possession. Making changes will make him nervous/suspicious.
  • Identify 3-5 major changes you would like to make if you were given a chance to re-write it for a better grade overall. Explain how each change would help your reader better appreciate your ideas/argument. Note: simply pointing out spelling or minor punctuation changes won’t alter the way a reader is trying to understand your argument. It would be best to focus on the specific text (not outside history), your language style, transitions between ideas/sentences, avoiding plot summary, setting up your argument in a logical way, the overall flow of ideas, your thesis statement, etc.
  • Optional: Feel free to then re-write your introduction after your list of 3-5 things. If you do so, keep an eye on making sure the reader will be interested enough to want to read the rest of the paper. While this is not mandatory, Mr. Long would be intrigued to see if you are already in a position to improve your first draft.

Hints:

  • Just enough, but not too much: 3-5 sentences is a good goal for an in-class essay introduction. In longer papers, you can add to this sentence count.
  • Avoid fluff: Every word counts. Cut out anything/everything that is not absolutely vital to helping your reader understand exactly what you are trying to say in this essay. Treading water helps you survive in the middle of the ocean; it has zero value as an essay writer.
  • Start universal; end specific: Allow your first sentence to introduce the text/author and to help the reader put things into perspective. Your middle sentence(s) should help narrow down the reader’s attention so that they are ready to read the heart of your argument. Your final sentence should be a unique argument that helps to understand the story/text in a unique way.
  • Answer the question: If your thesis does not state or imply an answer, it is not complete. Your reader will start your paper lost, confused, and possibly not interested. Do not save the answer for the end of your essay. It is not a surprise party. Your goal is to prove your argument, not keep it hidden.
  • Stay inside the story/text: Avoid (like the plague) any temptations to talk about history, the author’s childhood, how society works then/now, or to make bland generalizations about mankind. You have very few sentences to work with; do not waste a single one.
  • No lists: If you read it aloud and it ‘sounds’ like a list, think about transitions between sentences and altering how you start each sentence.
  • Ask yourself, “Who Cares?!” Seriously. Ask yourself this question at the end of your intro. If you honestly don’t believe that anyone would care about what you’ve written…re-write it. And if everything you’ve already said is pretty obvious or simply a generic plot summary…re-write it.
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29 responses to “W3, #3: FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE A BIG DEAL

  1. My original:

    In the story “The Veldt”, their are many possible messages. The one that that is true is, the story was produced to teach aduts or children that you cannot let technology rule your life. Also, parents should pay attention to their own kids regardless of the situation. Parents should never be to busy for their kids. There are many times in “The Veldt” that the parents are neglectful.

    Immediately after I typed my introduction paragraph, I soon realized a couple of changes I would love to change if I had the chance. First, I would like to edit my thesis statement to be clearer and more fluent. Also I might change the order of a couple of sentences. In addition to that, I don’t like how I said, “Their are many possible messages. The one that that is true is…” . First, I don’t think I would say there are many messages to this story. Because that might make the reader think that my opinion is one of many, and mine is not as important. Second, I don’t like how I said, “ The one that is true is, …”. I think it sounds overly confident and its not fluent. Also I would make a few grammatical changes. Now I am going to rewrite it.

    My revision:

    The Veldt has a couple hidden messages. This is important because adults and children can learn from something from this story. The Veldt was produced to teach or remind, that parents should never be neglectful or to busy to spend time with their kids. In addition to that , its important that children should be communicative with their parents regardless the situation. In this story, there are many times the parents are inattentive and the children are reticent.

    ***

    Mr. Long: Ah, nice point regarding not wanting to suggest to your reader that your thesis/argument isn’t worth paying attention to b/c it is simply one of many possibilities. While we know this is the case, you want to ensure that your reader(s) trust that your argument is the only one that they should focus on for the time being.

    My advice re: your updated revision:

    1) Get rid of the 1st 2 sentences entirely. They are general enough that they are not critical to this story and your ideas.
    2) The final sentence is an example, not a thesis. How can you rephrase it or add another sentence to it so that the reader knows precisely what is at stake for the rest of the paper? Remember, you’ll have the rest of the paper to come up with examples…but this is the one time you’ll be able to laser in your readers’ attention to a central argument.

    Nice work in your revision. Glad to see you started with this entry this week!

  2. I. My original first paragraph was written as follows:

    In Ray Bradbury s short story, The Veldt, one family deals with the effects of technology in a possible futuristic society. Specifically, the technology in the family’s house creates problems in the relationships between parents and their two children. One can argue that the hidden message in this short story, is to never let any piece of technology hinder any close relationship as being family. Ray Bradbury shows that if present society takes technology for granted, then relationships of any sort could possibly be destroyed.

    II. The major changes that I feel are needed are as follows:

    1) The first major change is the first sentence. While it does introduce the story and the author, it doesn’t grab attention of the reader.

    2) The second sentence starts with “Specifically,…” Yet the sentence is general and not specific. I need to mention the specific family’s name and specify their particular problem.

    3) The third sentence is awkward. I need to smooth out my thesis.

    4) The last sentence is also awkward. I need to work on wording of this sentence.

    III. A re-write should be something like this:

    In Ray Bradbury’s short story, “The Veldt,” a seemingly nice family deals with effects of technology in a futuristic society and meets a shocking and tragic end. The extremely advanced technology that creates a virtually real African veldt in the family nursery is the cause of tension and suspicion between parents and their two children. Ultimately, the technology completely destroys the family. It is easy to see that “The Veldt” warns the reader of the dangers of people allowing machines or technology to control them. Ray Bradbury shows in “The Veldt” that taking technology for granted may have grave consequences in our human lives.

    ***

    Mr. Long: Man, what a difference the first sentence in your revision makes. Your readers will be hooked right away! And you hint at the unexpected problems that will arise…and the darkness in the story, too. The end of the 2nd sentence is spot-on in terms of setting up your argument/thesis. Well done. Bravo on the “Ultimately…” transition. Short/sweet sentence packs a lot of punch.

    Personally, I’m not sure the last sentence does much by the time you get there. Seems like a ‘safe’ way to end, but it almost takes away some of the energy you had going on. Do you need it? Is it specific enough? What would happen if you ended with the sentence before it? Or just add something quick to the end of the previous sentence?

  3. Original:

    Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt” is set in a futuristic time where George Hadley and his family are coddled by their home which does everything for them. The children have a nursery, which is supposed to help them “work off their neuroses in a healthful way”, but there is something wrong with the nursery, and there is something wrong with the house. The hatred of technology and the lack of control there is over technology is the underlying message of “The Veldt”, the house controls their lives and George and Lydia have seemingly no control over it.

    Changes:

    I thought my first two sentences were okay, but I took too long to say what I was trying to say. A bold statement needs to be brief, it helps the message stand out and fluff in a sentence will distract the reader from my point.

    I have to admit, my thesis sounds a little dull after re-reading it. I think the argument is there, but it is said meekly. To the reader, it sounds prosaic and flat while it needs to be bold and risky.

    Also, the wording overall could be more original and interesting. I think it is important to state the author’s name and title, but they should be integrated into the sentences more, they need to add to the paragraph, not be there because they need to be there.

    Rewrite:

    Coddled by their home, the characters in “The Veldt” have forgotten how to act independently from technology. Dependent on the house and nursery, when there is something wrong with the supposedly subservient nursery and something wrong with the house, it is unrecognized. Ray Bradbury exhibits in “The Veldt” that control over technology is a necessity, and the lack of dominance over it can induce the ultimate annihilation of all.

    ***

    Mr. Long: You have no idea how proud I am to have a student string a self-reflective statement like this together to talk about their own writing: “To the reader, it sounds prosaic and flat while it needs to be bold and risky.” I don’t say that because you should overly criticize yourself, but because you make even a criticism seem bold and inviting to the ear. Well done.

    Great comments/ideas overall. You definitely have a good read on ways to improve your writing…and I think you’d be in a position to offer others useful advice to help them get the best out of their own drafts/writing process.

    BTW, an outstanding — truly — revision. Love how you wrapped Bradbury into the paragraph later on. A clever change that is effective. The last sentence is solid and strategic. But it is the 2nd sentence — that sets up the thesis — that ends up being so incredibly strategic. Well done. You should be pleased with the instincts you see here.

  4. Original paragraph:

    Authors use their books and stories to reveal hidden meanings and messages to the reader. In Ray Bradbury’s The Veldt children of the Hadley’s, Wendy and Peter, have a nursery that can change into whatever they imagine. The children resemble the machines in which they rely on because, like the machines they are cold and emotionless. Their home has always done everything for them, from tying their shoes to giving them baths. One element in particular the house took over was the role of Wendy and Peter’s parents, George and Lydia. Lydia even said “I feel like I don’t belong here. The house is wife and mother now. Can I compete with an African veldt?” George was also starting to feel some change in the wind a foot and new it had to be reverse. Although the story is about two children killing their parents, there is a hidden underlying message. Ray Bradbury questioned Technology when it first was coming out. Therefore he wrote this story to make people question how technology could affect their families and as a lesson not to let technology control their lives.

    The first thing I noticed you wrote was that “It is way too long.” I completely agree. Not only is it long, it doesn’t have to be.

    Most of these sentences I don’t even need. Heck, my first sentence has absolutely nothing to do with the story.

    Also my writing has no “punch”, it definetly would not capture the attention of the reader. Infact I believe the reader would read my first sentence and immedietly (not only stop reading the story) but also torch it.

    My thesis is muddy, honestly if I didnt underline it would you have been able to even find it? I was not specific at all. I also noticed that I used the same words over and over, which sounded uneducated. I can find so much more wrong, but those are the basics.

    My revision:

    In Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt” a futuristic family struggles with the deterioration of their relationships with each other, which eventually ends in the destruction of them all, due to technology. The children, Wendy and Peter, have access to an extremely advanced technology which allows their nursery to become a virtual, yet realistic Africal veldt. This nursery becomes the object of growing tension between the adolecents and their parents. In the end, the technology the children possesed became their adopted parents and prompted them to cut ties with their former guardians by destroying them. Bradbury’s story, although exagetrated, forces people to see that sole dependence on technology can begin to control lives and end in destruction.

    ***

    Mr. Long: I have to tell you: you already won me over in your comments reflecting back on your original paragraph. Even if you hadn’t provided a revision, I’d have been confident that you were well on your way to a definite improvement. Outstanding reflection! Truly — this is a great example of being honest and trusting your gut, all while thinking about how the reader will engage your ideas.

    Re: your revision, great opening sentence in comparison to what you did earlier. Minor change: look at the end; seems to be quickly added on. But the start is great! Also, a fantastic set-up sentence that follows as you talk about the nursery; just enough plot detail to paint a picture without going overboard. Sentence 3 is short/sweet…and hits like a punch. Nice transition. And can I tell you how much I appreciate about the last 2 sentences? Even though I want most of you to generally limit it to 4 sentences (for an in-class essay), you effectively make use of those last 2 lines. And there is no doubt that your readers will know precisely what your opinion is and why this paper will matter to them.

    You should be pleased with your revision. This is why we do this…and why our best ideas stay alive in the process.

  5. Student 4 (again)

    how do make things italisized?

    ***

    Mr. Long: Here’s the trick, but you have to make sure you follow this precisely or it’ll cause things to get screwy (although I’ll try to fix it on my end afterwards):

    Italics: When you have a word, phrase or sentence that you want to put into italics, add a before the word (etc) and then follow it with . The computer will automatically read this and turn the word (ec) into italics.

    Bold: If you want to put something in bold print, do this: before the word (etc) and after. There are other options, too, but I’ll leave you with these 2 tricks. Thanks for asking. I was wondering when someone would!

  6. My original intro:

    The children in “The Veldt” are spoiled by their parents. They have no real rules and are not disciplined. The story demonstrates how children, when spoiled, will gain power over their parents and kindle hatred for them as well.

    I hate timed writing because I have to know exactly what my entire essay is going to say the moment I start writing the intro. I wasn’t really sure what my main point is going to be. Throughout my essay I didn’t even mention anything about the advanced technology in the story, and that plays such a large role on the strongest theme. I did a lot of plot summary, too.

    I’m not really sure what to do, but here’s a try for a rewritten intro:

    The children in “The Veldt” are spoiled beyond belief. They have and do everything they want, all thanks to the wonderful house they’re living in. Gradually the advanced technology of the house replaces the care of their parents, and the story reveals how spoiled children will attain power over as well as hate for their parents.

    ***

    Mr. Long: You have much to be proud of here. While I understand the pressure of having to face timed writing assignments, it is obvious from your revision that you ‘get it’ in terms of how to a) self-correct and b) weave together new ideas/phrasing to help your reader fully grasp your idea(s).

    This is a huge improvement on the original (which had much of the same ideas, minus the tech issue). Language is more intentional and far more graceful. And you build momentum in subtle ways.

    The only change I’d offer now would be to rethink the last part of the last sentence. It feels a bit long and thus hard to keep track of. The idea makes sense, but the phrasing can use yet another revision.

    Again, great job!

  7. Student 6 (follow-up)

    Thanks, and yeah, that’s what I think, too, about that last sentence. How about:

    Gradually the advanced technology of the house replaces the parents’ care, and the story reveals how spoiled children will transpire to both manipulate and hate their parents.

    ***

    Mr. Long: Much better. My only suggestion would be to turn that into 2 sentences; start the 2nd sentence at “[T]he story reveals…”.

  8. Student response to Student #4's italicize question

    It seems your (Mr. Long’s) response for the italicize and bold was actually read into the blog and isn’t showing up.

    Here’s an example:
    [i] text you want italicized [/i]
    [b] text you want bolded [/b]
    ** Replace the square brackets with the angled/less-than-greater-than brackets (“shift + comma key” and “shift + period key”).

    ***

    Mr. Long: Man, do I love having thoughtful/bright students who help me save face before I realize that something didn’t go write.

    Of course the computer would have read my directions that way and just turned them words into italics or bold, rather than showing the actual code. Oy!

    Thanks!

  9. Original:

    The Velt is a very strange fictional story. It shows that sometimes science and technology can be bad. The Veldt shows the dangers in relying to much on technology.

    Okay what I could improve on. That would be a whole lot of things haha.

    1. So I definitely need help with my thesis statement. Heck I don’t even know where the thesis is in my intro! If I could get someone to explain a thesis to me and how to write one I bet it would improve my argument a whole lot better. Since your thesis I guess is like stating your argument obviously my essay would be better because I don’t think my original intro even gave an argument. If I got a better thesis it would make the reader better understand my point of view.

    2. Also I think if I made the intro longer that would be better. I know that you said only 1-4 sentences but mine barley looks like anything. I think I should have written more to state my argument. On my paper I noticed Mr. Long had circled something in my first paragraph saying that should have gone in my intro. I think I need to better learn how to organize the lay out of the paper first before I can even effectively write my argument down. If my paper was better organized it would probably be easier for the reader to go through and it would be more of a “joy” I guess to read it because it would be easier haha.

    3. Also I think In that intro I tended to write more plot summary…..even in the rest of my essay I think I sounded like a 7th grader writing plot summary. I don’t know how to get out of that HELP!

    4. Next thing I think I could improve on would be language style. In my opinion I seriously think I sound like a little 5th grader. All of my classmates use these big words that make them sound so smart and stuff and mine are like the simplest words man could think of! I think my essay would sound more interesting if I used a wider range of words and it would make the reader WANT to continue reader my paper. Personally if I had to read my current paper I would probably fall asleep its so boring……………….

    Revision:

    And re-writing is optional right?

    Well I’m not talented enough to do that so I think I will skip that hehe sorry.

  10. Original:

    “The Veldt” is a story portraying 2 parents dealing with their kids in the future. Their kids have been given everything they ever they wanted from their parents, yet they hate their parents. The underlying message in “The Veldt” states that as material possessions take over societies, ever one suddenly becomes useless.

    Changes:

    I know for sure I have to fix the first 2 sentences. My first sentence doesn’t draw a reader’s attention. My second sentence has nothing to do with my thesis. I know I need to fix my thesis but I don’t know how.

    Revision:

    “The Veldt” is a story portraying technology’s role and its devastating effect in the life of a family. The Hadley’s house does everything for them, running their lives.

    (Thesis? Sorry I didnt know how to italicize)

  11. Original:

    Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt” is a story about the receeding relationships between parents and children. Throughout the futuristic setting of this work tension can be felt between the characters as roles reverse. This tension implies the underlying message to the reader, that of the warning that technology can be dangerous when you allow it to consume your life. “The Veldt’s hidden message of the danger of surrounding yourself with technology can be felt through Bradbury’s imagery and themes of abandonment and addiction.

    Suggestions:

    The thing that definitely sticks out to me in my intro that I need to work on is wording, wording, wording!

    I do seem to be able to get my point across to my reader but, “underlying message to the reader, that of the warning that technology can be dangerous” is just sort of painful to read.

    Also I need to correct my word choice. I believe my writing would be much more effective if I changed “receeding” (which is misspelled! 😦 receding!!!) in my first sentence with withering or dying. After all I am not talking about hairlines I’m talking about failing relationships.

    I seem to also be “slowly unwrapping the package” as you explained in class. I do not address the prompt in any way until my third sentence and then in my thesis just shove it all out there.

    I thought my thesis did serve its purpose and was effective, but could stand to be a little more articulate.

    My new intro:

    Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt” is a story about how technology leads to a dramatic change in the relationship between two parents and their children. Throughout the works futuristic setting, the tension between the parents and their children increases as they rely more and more on technology finally leading to a reversal of roles. “The Veldt’s hidden message of the danger of surrounding your self with technology can be felt through Bradbury’s imagery and themes of abandonment and addiction.

  12. Original:

    The Veldt tells a story about two children who by having a machine to give them everything they need, lose touch with reality and kill their parents. At first the machines seem like a great thing because the parents don’t have to work that hard and the kids seem happy. Small oddities start showing up in the children. The machines that make the parents unnecessary and make the kids know they aren’t necessary.

    There is so much I would change:

    I didn’t realize it when I wrote it but some parts don’t even make sense.

    I like the beginning with the “losing touch with reality” and the “Kill their parents”, those phrases really catch the eye. But after that it really goes downhill.

    I would change the last sentence first, it’s embarassing that I turned that in. It’s ridiculous.

    i don’t like the wording of the sentence with “oddities”, I should have made that “Strange things start appearing” instead.

  13. My original, word for word:

    What will happen in the future? That’s the question that almost everyone is wanting to find the answer to. In the Veldt, the future society of man is basically what is has been expected to develop into. Machines are everywhere and the tasks that we used to do by ourselves are now being done for us by robots. But the price of the major advancement of technology is that we lose a little bit of our own self eventually with each step that we take forward. The Veldt, through its constant use and description of machines, shows that man will eventually become less of a person than he originally was and the entire society of their civilization will become slaves to their own advancements in technology.

    What I noticed was that my first few sentences of my introduction didn’t really make any sense at all and were basically just “fluff”. I also saw that I used “advancement” and technology” WAY too often. I also, like you said, I also need to put in some details and transitions to help my reader understand my point.

  14. The original:

    In the short story, “The Veldt,” the reader watches a family fall apart as their house seemingly lives. Their house seems to live because of the advanced technology in it. However, the technology is portrayed to destroy the family socially, and mentally, and will continue to do so in the future.

    1) The first sentence, I need to replace the last part, “as their house seemingly lives” with something else, because that just does not work, it’s awkward, and odd word choice.

    2) The second sentence needs to be completely reworked, because it does not flow from the first sentence, and into the third sentence. Instead of talking just about why the house seems to live, I need to say why this technology is important.

    3) My thesis needs to be more specific, and pointed, instead of just saying “the house destroyed the family socially and mentally”. Yeah, but how specifically was the family destroyed mentally?

    Revision:

    In the short story, “The Veldt,” the reader watches a futuristic family fall apart as their house takes control of their lives. The house and its technology dominate the family and every minute of their lives. However, while this technology was designed to help its users, it eventually leads to the emotional crisis, and obliterates the idea of ‘big happy family’, as the residents of the house turn on each other.

  15. Original Intro

    “The Veldt” uses many examples of how technology can spoil and corrupt people of all ages. Both the lives of the parents and the children are affected in negative ways by the nursery. The technological influence in the childrens’ lives from an early aged changed their outlook on life and their priorities. The technological influence in the parents’ lives made them paranoid and useless.

    Changes

    1. My thesis was not understandable at all. I read it and couldn’t believe that it made sense to me at one point and it was also two sentences-blech. I needed to prove my point in a way that was clear and written in one sentences without a lot of “and”s.
    2. My opinion didn’t really shine through in this introduction. It was there, but it wasn’t very interesting.
    3. I needed to be more straight-forward in my intro. For example, “negative ways”, i needed to either choose a different sentence or show what “negative ways”, without a plot summary of course.

    Final Intro

    Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt” depicts an perfect example of how technology can corrupt people of all ages, if used as a replacement for humanity. Both the children and the parents become dependant on the house for everything and their ethics disintegrate. “The Veldt” shows how technology can easily substitute for mankind and alter the sense of morality.

  16. My original Paragraph:

    In the story “The Veldt” the author, Ray Bradbury, has outlined the classic controversy and tension which exists between parents and children. However as the true meaning of this story is further examined one might realize that this was not written to simply portray one controversy. On the contrary Ray Bradbury filled his piece with multiple metaphors which all combine to form one large message hidden beneath the literal story. This message is one which conveys a deep concern from the author in relation to the curiosity, modernization, and most of all the lack of responsibility which plagues modern day society.

    My Revisions:

    1) In a rewrite I would definitely change my opening sentence because it truly has nothing to do with the argument and thesis of the paper. This sentence is completely irrelevant to the rest of not only the opening paragraph but really the whole paper. The opening sentence sets the tone for the paper and with my opening I have already steered the reader in the wrong direction.

    2) Also I would alter my thesis statement in a rewrite because I feel as though the original is just a list. A thesis needs to be filled with passion for your own unique argument and mine was too subtle.

    3) Throughout the whole paragraph I would like to get rid of the writing of facts that are not needed. As a writer I tend to just write and not worry about if the writing I am doing is meaningful or just fluff.

    4) And lastly I would like for my paragraph to actually convey my thoughts and answer the question. In re-reading this paragraph I realized that it truly was not easy to understand and a reader would not understand my point.

    My rewrite:

    Throughout the story The Veldt the author, Ray Bradbury, continuously illustrates the lack of responsibility present in a futuristic society. This lack of caring is a result of the multiple technological advances available to the characters. These various products of modernization are the true villains of the story and are comparable to advancements present in current day. This futuristic society is a representation of what current society has evolved into, an ignorant culture carrying the weight of their own advancements due to a lack of initiative and responsibility.

  17. Original:

    Learn to live your own life, that’s what many have said. A very prominent but yet hidden point in “The Veldt”, by Ray Bradbury. As this story progresses it is made clear that machines are doing most of the living for the people. An odd point is how it seems the adults don’t like this part of life, but the children do, the adults just want the old ways back. The setting is sometime in the future with a home that is ravaged by technology.

    Changes:

    I would definitely change the way the intro flowed.

    I would make sure that there is a noticeable ending, or a point where it is sure that the intro ends.

    I would also make the intro shorter by about one or two sentences, because there are too many unimportant, inconsistent things.

  18. Many students are saying what i am about to say when we wrote are in class essays we were so rushed for time a lot of it didn’t make sense but when i got to read over it it made me realize how just one skim over something can make the world of difference. My introduction was defiantly not what i wanted it to be and hope i can make the next one better.

    Original:

    Within all stories there is a hidden message that the reader has to look farther then the paper to find. Some meanings are found with one hard look others like “The Veldt” take a time a two to sum up. The message hidden inside “The Veldt” is covered by a mechanical meaning, lack of responsibility, and change , in which all leads up to or foreshadows the devastating ending.

    Reread:

    When i got to reread this and then looked at other students mine in honest opinion was not good at all it wasn’t even on topic and i think my biggest issue this year is defiantly going to be starting and ending paragraphs and writing thesis statements.

    I have struggled with thesis statements throughout all my life in writing i always know what i want to say and then either cant find a way to write it or i dont know exactly what i want it to consist of even if i know the story back and front.

    I really hope this year will be a turning point in my writing bc i have a passion for writing and love to do it in my spare time.

    So I am not sure how i would rewrite this but I would love to come talk to you this week and maybe I could rewrite it with you and get a feel of what it needs to consists of and whats important.

  19. Original:

    The short story The Veldt by Ray Bradbury uses starteling and powerful images to discuss the many topics within the story. Some people might just believe that this is a slightly disturbing story about a fake house. Others, though analyze the details and see several themes, all of which can be used to change the perspective of the story. One of those is how technology has a huge, and sometimes very negative impact on society.

    Issues:

    1. I rambled on way too long. The paragraph was forgettable, and if I was the reader, I wouldn’t even bother finishing the paper.
    2. There is a bunch of useless commentary when I should have just explained my not very clear thesis.
    3. My thesis is unclear and needs explanation.
    4. Basically this is one of the worst intros that could possibly be written. There are worlds of possibilities for excellent writing, but I felt hurried by the in class setting and didn’t take time to think the intro through.

  20. Original paragraph:

    In “The Veldt”, the underlying messege is some things are too good for children. Children don’t know nearly as much as their parents do, so it’s not good to spoil them to the point were they have lost respect for their parents. In Ray Bradbury’s story, the underlying messege can be found out easily, but it’s the way the reader looks at the story that’s hard.

    Changes:

     First I would change my last sentence because it’s more of a question instead of a supporting sentence to my thesis statement. The reader would appreciate this because he/she wouldn’t still be wondering about what the argument is.

     Next I would create a better thesis statement for my argument. I would do this so the reader can understand my argument in the first sentence. This is important because if the thesis statement is not of high quality then the rest of the paper won’t be of high quality either.

     To finish, at the start of line 3, I would change “In Ray Bradbury’s story” to something that flows better. The use of “In Ray Bradbury’s story” is unnecessary because the story itself has already been stated in the thesis sentence.

    Revised paragraph:

    In “The Veldt”, the generosity of the parents toward their spoiled children leads to their depressing, but necessary destruction. The knowledge of parents compared to children is superior, but when parents are blind sighted by their children’s pleasure and satisfaction the tables turn. This underlying message is important to the important lesson trying to be portrayed in the story.

  21. This is my intro paragraph:

    The story “The Veldt” is a story in a world loaded with high level technology. The message is that technology dehumanizes us and makes us less appreciative of the human touch.

    There are many things wrong with this intro.

    1. I would like to change the first sentence. I find the word choice to be bad. The use of the word “loaded” seems strange. It seems like I couldn’t think of any other word and it might make the the reader feel the reat of the essay is cheesy and written by some kid who is trying to be smart. I should have used something like surrounded instead.

    2. Another problem is the wording of the intro. The first sentence is poorly worded. “The story “The Veldt” is a story in a world loaded with high level technology. This sounds so stupid. I used story twice when it was completely unnecessary.
    I should have said ” “The Veldt” is a story in a world surrounded by high level technology.

    3. I should have added a sentence or two to my intro paragraph. My paragraph has nothing but a topic sentence and my thesis. There is no conclusion and I depend on my thesis to fill in as a thesis and a conclusion. This could make my reader think that the rest of the essay is terrible and is not worth reading. If this was a real world no one would have read any further.

  22. Original:

    In “The Veldt”, the author uses many types of imagery to explain to the reader what is really going on. The use of personification throughout this short story provides the reader with realistic images and reveals the underlying message. The author’s use of imagery and personification vividly shows the reader the hidden messages that the author portrays.

    My revisions:

    First of all I don’t think my thesis is strong enough and I don’t think I answered the question. I kind of bounced around the question that was asked.

    Also I kind of stayed safe with the way I structured my introduction paragraph.

    I think ion the future I should come pay you a visit to become a better writer and be a stronger writer.

  23. Intro:

    Houses that become life-like, cool or could become freightning? Spending half a million dollars on a house just to everything for you worth it? So that eventually it could destroy your family. Giving children everything they want and saying “Okay 5 more minutes” does not help them have any self-discipline. What happens when your kids become uncontrolable and when they control you!?

    Well thats embarrassing, now having to re-read and type what my introduction is. I just really need to work on introductions in general. I dont exactly know how to begin them or how to make them good.

    corrections:

    1. To not put anymore unanswered questions in the introduction.
    Next time instead of using questions to try to attract the reader, I will try to make statements. Change the questions into statements.

    2. Make a thesis
    I didn’t really know exactly how to write a thesis, but I think I have an idea now. The introduction needs to be purposeful not just a paragraph that needs to be written. I need to put important statements into this paragraph. My introduction is just there with no purpose.

    3. Make fewer sentances in the introduction.
    It was 7 to 8 sentances, it should be 3-4 sentances. Like you said, Mr.Long, only have a limited number of sentances use everyone with purpose no wasted words.

    I don’t think I could re-write this as well as I think I can, but like the person before me said maybe I could come to you and we can work on it. I could learn how to write a thesis and be a better writer overall.

  24. My Original:

    There are two hidden messages in This story. Sometimes you can’t believe everything you see because it might be able to hurt you, also, you can’t give anyone too much freedom if you want to have their obedience. Both of these are mistakes made in the story that seem to lead to a bad ending.

    Changes:

    If there is anything that really stands out to me and needs to be changed I would say it is the last sentence. It has too much generalizing and i think it would be better if I used it to reinforce my opinion.

    The first sentence is too short, I could have added something from the story or included one of the two hidden messages to allow for more room in the second sentence.

    In the second sentence I should have used stronger words to convey my opinions and I need to restructure that sentence so it has more meaning.

    Another thing is that I need to be more specific throughout the entire introduction.

    My Fixed Intro:

    There are two dominant messages in this story, one being don’t believe everything you see, and the other, don’t give anyone too much freedom if you want them to obey you. The parents believing that the lions were fake and allowing their children to do almost anything they wanted resulted in their gruesome deaths by the bloodthirsty lions. The horrendous decisions made the parents represent how these two messages came into play with this story.

  25. Original:

    “In Ray Bradbury’s story “The Veldt” there are many hidden messages. In “The Veldt” it is hinted that technology has taken over the responcibilities of the parents, by doing this it has become the childrens parents.”

    Changes:

    Rereading my introduction I realize that the first sentence is too broad. It would be better if it provided a more focused direction for the paper.

    My 2nd sentence points in a direction but I never state a thesis. Because I don’t state a thesis, my intro doesn’t foreshadow what is to come later in the paper.

    There are some spelling errors because I can’t spell.

    One of my big problems with in-class essays is that I get very nervous and my mind goes blank.

  26. Original:

    In Ray Bradbury’s, The Veldt, there are amazing hi-tech things that are before the authors time. There’s all this technology to help you with anything you need help with. But, with all of this technology who is the boss of who? Does the family control the house or the other way around. It could possibly be that the kids are running the show. There is an underlying message in the story that has the answers to these very questions.

    Changes:

    As I’m looking at this intro., I’m immediately embarrassed that I wrote this piece of garbage.

    I see that I’ve introduced people that the reader of this essay might not have known existed yet.

    Another thing I would change is that there are some spelling errors that I should have easily have been able to correct.

    My third thing that I would’ve changed is that I seem to be repeating my self over and over again.

    I blame myself for these dumb mistakes. It is just that when I have an essay or a test that I have to take, I just don’t know how to start it. I am horrible at introductory and conclusion paragraphs. I hope that over time, I will get better at them.

  27. My Original:

    In the short story, “The Veldt”, the author’s morale is to portray the greediness and spoildness of most people. The author shows that money and greed make people do crazy things, age doesn’t matter. The author also creates a sense of irony with the screaming throughout the story. The screams represent the greed and hatred inside people or in this case the children.

    Changes:

    I thought that my opening sentences were average but I’m wishing now that I could have used some catchier wording to draw the reader in.

    Another thing I can improve on with this particular introduction is, to get my thesis across to the reader more early on and clearer.

    I need also to have my opinions better thought out and support them with quotes that agree with my opinion 100%.

  28. Original:

    The Veldt, by Ray Bradbury, allows the reader to get a glimpse of the author’s thoughts behind the words. Through this short story, the image of death reoccurs multiple times. The traditional roles and characteristics of parent and child is inevident, which also implies a hidden message. Technology causes destruction and a lack of individual personality and thought which is ultimately pertrayed through The Veldt.

    Changes:

    1) I realize that the first sentence is totally useless and it took up my time writing it, and the reader’s time reading it. This sentence had no argument toward the prompt given.

    2) I chose a poor word choice when I was describing the parent and child roles when I said it is inevident, because I have looked it up, and its not even really a word. This may confuse the reader and take their focus off of the main point and place it on that one word.

    3) I feel that my ‘thesis’ or basically my last sentence needs a lot of revising. I talked about what my thesis was in the two sentences before, or at least tried to, so its sort of repetitive.

    Question:

    I have a question. You said during class when we were talking about essays, that we need to hit the facts right away. Does that mean we need to have our thesis as the first sentence?

    Revision:

    Evidence in “The Veldt” proves that death and weakness come when technology replaces the lives of human beings. No doubt the reader can understand the underlying themes that “The Veldt” proposes. Death and destruction were definitely inseparable and appeared every moment within the story. With the parents’ willingness to change and the children’s stubbornness, technology conformed and manipulated the traditional family roles thus leading to a total change in how they lived.

  29. Original:

    In Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt”, life is symbolically compared to a crazy nursery. Although the story starts off as a normal happy fairy tale, it quickly becomes a horror story. Life itself is the message being portrays as a crazy jungle; life is unpredictable, much like this story through foreshadowing and diction. Bradbury is able to capture the idea of an unpredictable world, constantly hinting at the dangers it throws at us.

    Changes:

    1. I didn’t really answer the question, I kind of just compared it to life. I want to work on getting straight to the point and not beating around the bush.

    2. My thesis was not very strong, and very vague. I want to work on developing a stronger thesis

    3. “much like this story through foreshadowing and diction” I didn’t really explain what I meant by these words, I kind of just threw them into my introductory paragraph. I really want to improve my writing to where I am able to write only the important things, and not fluff.

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