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Portfolio

Portfolio

Jacqueline Redrovan

English 1100/A

Intro to Composition

Professor I. Bodre

November 15, 2018

 

Dear Professor I. Bodre,

 

Here I explain and reflect on the development of my papers and the overall growth I have seen in myself after taking English 101. Through these assignments, I show the progress in my grammar, vocabulary, and general writing skills. I have chosen to display, An Addition to My Family, Plus-Size, and The Little Red Lighthouse. Not limited to these papers, I have also learned from class lectures, peer reviews, and appointments at the writing center. These were all fundamental when writing my papers.

 

In the beginning of the semester, I was embarrassed of my writing. Being in a high school where I was not pushed to write and English class was not a priority, I began English 101 incredibly fearful that my writing was unprofessional, and that I had no idea how to write in general. Although this worried me, I used that to push me into learning  the writing structures for my assignments, practice my writing and reach out for help.

 

The in class lectures and reading The Norton Field Guide to Writing were a key tool in helping me grow as a writer. I learned the basic structure of several types of writing and formats, like MLA style, which allowed me to finally feel like was writing professionally.The structures gave me an outline of what to write and my job was to fill it out. This gave me reassurance that my writing was correct, even if it still had grammar mistakes or my vocabulary was juvenile, I had finally felt like I was writing correctly. Not only that, having multiple peer reviews were incredibly useful in the improvement of my writing. Creating drafts and outlines of my work made it more clear on what I needed to improve and the notes I got back from my peers gave me a different perspective on my writing that allowed me to fix things that went unnoticed. My journey did not stop there, I wanted to improve my grammar, something I had always had trouble with. So, I scheduled appointments at the writing center where I got feedback on my revised drafts. The one-on-one sessions I had with the tutors helped me figure out my biggest weaknesses in writing, and taught me how to improve on them. I had issues with run on sentences, fragments, appositives and punctuating dialogue. Fortunately, with the help of the tutors I have improved in those grammatical mistakes. Overall, I bega very unconfident in my writing and had many weaknesses, but throughout this semester I managed to improve in a little bit of everything.

In my first paper, I wrote a narrative titled, An Addition to My Family which talks about the journey of adopting my cat, and how if had affected my home life and myself through the process. This topic was not my first choice, in my first draft i write about just picking up my cat. However, the topic did not do a good job at executing the point of the assignment so, I changed it by making the story less about picking up my cat and more about the effect picking up my cat took on my life. I came to this decision based on my peer review where I was told to focus more of the topic on the impact and I completely went with that advice because I felt it made much more sense, and it felt more like a real narrative after changing it. I do not regret taking that advice, but I do regret not using more sensory in my story. Narratives rely on sensory details and if I could change something about my paper if would definitely be that I should have added more. Altogether I am proud of this paper even though it was not my strongest, I feel like I tried my best in terms of using advice given to me and the knowledge I had at the time.

 

The second assignment chose to present is my analysis paper called, Plus-Size where I discuss a Nike campaign that represents plus size women in their gym attire. I came across this campaign on instagram and chose it as my topic because I admired the diversity not only in body figure, but also in race. It was a campaign that appealed to everyone and that made me feel motivated to learn more, and eventually write about it. In my analysis I take apart and describe an image of a plus size model. This particular part of my paper was written very carefully as I had to create and find meaning in the picture from my own perspective. This resulted in being my favorite part of my piece and I feel shows my strength as a writer. During the time of writing my paper I visited the writing center and the tutor checked all my grammatical errors. Grammar being my strongest weakness, I fixed everything that they recommended to change and it made my paper more understandable. However, I did not do a requirement that was a part of this assignment which I had not realized until after. This mistake is one that I regret but have learned from. I believe this paper was my strongest because I worked my hardest on it, revised it countless times, and used my resources to improve it.

 

Finally, the third assignment is my final research paper titled, The Little Red Lighthouse where I collected information about this historical landmark and wrote about its significance to  the community of Washington Heights. I chose this topic because I had visited the lighthouse prior to the assignment and felt inspired by its story. In my draft of this paper I changed a significant amount of work I had done because I was not satisfied with the writing. I had to revise my paper many times and do more research on the lighthouse to create a better version of my previous paper. Thus, I went to the writing center in order to get feedback on my revised version. The tutor one helped me with my grammatical errors and pushed me to do more research. Following their suggestions I did more research and made my paper stronger. However, looking back I should have written more about the book itself since it was a crucial part of paper. Overall,I did put a significant amount of effort in this paper, but it required more.

 

Reflecting on my past semesters work I have learned many things about writing and myself. I have issues with grammar but working with a tutor and revising my work has helped me improve that. Also, writing requires a lot of attention and constant updating, so creating drafts and revising is necessary. Not only that, but allowing myself to receive feedback and using it can help my writing improve. To conclude, English 101 taught me my strengths and weaknesses and helped me improve as a writer.

 

Regards,

 

Jacqueline Redrovan

 

Enclosure:

An Addition to My Family

Plus-Size

The Little Red Lighthouse

 

Jacqueline Redrovan

English 1100/A

Intro to Composition

Prof. I. Bodre

9/21/18

 

An Addition to My Family

I was always closer to my dad growing up. We went out to eat every Sunday, took karate classes together, and despite what my sister believed, I was his favorite. He was the first real friend I had. When he left the family, I was devastated. I didn’t realize how close I was to him until he was gone, and how much of a stranger my mom felt. As time went by after the incident I distanced myself from my family. Battling with social anxiety made matters worse, I completely closed myself off from everyone. Although my family tried to bond with me, I wouldn’t budge. I avoided small talk and kept myself busy. Denial made me think I was just independent and loved “alone time”. Clearly this wasn’t the case, I was dealing with social issues and anxiety. This made me into an uncaring, selfish person. I never stopped to ask my mom about her day or my siblings about theirs. Nobody else mattered to me, I only ever focused on my life and problems.

I was alone and bitter, until I adopted my first brown tabby kitten. My household and my compassion for others had completely changed.

Ever since I was a little girl I wanted a pet. We never got to have one since me and my two siblings were never responsible or old enough. Once I turned 16 I knew it was the perfect age to convince my mom I was mature enough to adopt a kitten. I had done research and read cats love solitude and independence. So, who better but me to have a cat? I only had one obstacle, my mom. I knew trying to persuade her could end in dismissal, so I had to make sure she was in the best mood that day.

I began rehearsing, in front of my mirror, the speech I would give my mom about adopting a kitten. I was more scared than nervous about the talk. I felt nauseous in the pit of my stomach just thinking about her saying no. For reasons unclear to me at that moment, it felt like not getting this kitten would be the end of the world. I began to pace. My heart began to beat fast as I heard the jingling of keys at the door.

As soon as my mom stepped inside I greeted her with a smile and hug. I waited for her to settle down and lay in her bed, where she is always in her best mood. I poked my head in her room and gave that same smile with a following “Heyyy ma” Her face looked puzzled for a second until she realized I wanted something. “What is it Jacqui?”. I stepped inside and plopped next to her in bed keep the smile on my face. My hands began to twitch, I felt myself getting sweaty. The practicing I did had no use, I began to blurt out all my thoughts and feelings all at once. “I know it’s a lot to ask but I have always wanted a cat and it’s my birthday so I’m mature enough, I promise I will take care of him all the time and you won’t have to buy or do any cleaning, he will be my response-”. My mom cuts me off as I go on and on about the kitten. She nods her head and says, “fine”.  I was in complete shock. As much as I wanted to question it, I didn’t want to risk changing her mind. Getting up from her bed I give her another smile and leave, practically skipping away.

On December 27, 2017, I finally took my kitten home. I picked him up at Queens and carried him to Manhattan. He was covered in blankets to keep him warm during such a cold night. When we finally got inside I wanted to immediately take him out and meet him. I took off my coat and opened his cage. He refused to get out for the first 5 minutes. I sat on the floor in front the cage. As I waited, I rubbed my hands together trying to get rid of the burning cold I felt from outside. I started to think of the name I picked out for him. I chose a silly name from a cartoon I loved when I was a kid. “Pepe Le Pew” I wasn’t sure if it was the right name for him. While distracting myself with this though I noticed the cage move. He was poking his little head out. Slowly he revealed himself and finally stepped outside. His body was tiny, and he walked so awkwardly towards me. All I could think was how silly he looked. That’s when I made the decision that “Pepe Le Pew” was the perfect name. A funny name for funny kitten.

While Pepe walked towards me, I laid down flat on the floor to reach his eye level. He was so beautiful. I wanted to pick him up and hold him against my chest, but I didn’t want to scare him off. I kept to myself and watched him sniff around. When 20 minutes had gone by, I picked up the courage to hold him. Pepe didn’t hesitate or struggle in my arms. He was calm and began licking my hand. I felt so warm and happy just being there with him. It was the first time in so long that I felt safe to let my guard down. I wanted to cry from being so overpowered with joy. All I could think was how much I wanted to protect him from everything.  I cared about him more than myself. I looked at him and realized why I was so scared asking my mom for a kitten. The idea of her saying no would have hurt me. I needed Pepe, even before I knew I did. He helped me realize what love was again. I wanted something to care about again, I was tired of being alone and depressed, that’s why I was so determined to adopt him. I wanted to feel true happiness again and Pepe made that happen.

By 8pm my brother, sister and mom had finally come home after visiting my grandma. They were so excited to meet Pepe. They circled around him and my siblings began to play with him. My mom just watched them with me as we both sat on my bed. It was sweet, me and my family being brought together. I looked at my mom and she seemed so happy. I finally got the kitten, so I felt it was a good time ask why she said yes in the first place. She told me she wanted me to be happy. “We all knew you wanted this kitten, Jenny and Johnny convinced me Pepe would help your depression, I didn’t want you to be alone anymore. It can be hard for us to connect with you because you tend to pull away, so we decided it was a good time to adopt a kitten. We hoped it could help you.” My eyes began to tear up and my face and ears started heating up. I didn’t want to cry in front of my family. They all looked at me and my siblings got up to sit on the bed with us. I felt so safe around them. It was such a foreign feeling. I didn’t want to let my guard down but for the first time in years I felt such a deep connection with my family. I wiped away my snot and tears and told them how much I appreciated them. I didn’t know how to apologize for distancing myself from them all this time. I looked at my mom and she gave me that same smile. My brother got up and poked my head. “Let’s stop being corny and tell us why you would name the cat something so dumb.” I got up and pushed him, as walked over to Pepe. I felt like my family was complete again, and I found a part of me I lost a long time ago.

Bringing Pepe home was the day I discovered so much about my family and myself. I learned how much my family cares about me and a new perspective on love. That day I learned how to really care for someone other than myself. Not only that but he brought my family so much closer together. Before Pepe, I didn’t know I could trust, care or love again. Having him in my family really impacted my way of life and how I treat others. My home never feels lonely and I never feel alone. There is so much happiness in my life now. My mom and I are so much closer, I finally realized I can’t take her for granted. Pepe changed my life and I couldn’t love him more for it.

 

Jacqueline Redrovan

English 1100/A

Intro to Composition

Professor I. Bodre

November 23, 2018

Plus-Size

 

It has been a conflict in modern day and in history of women having to deal with body shaming, due to media advertising body ideals to women in their everyday lives. Walking home, taking the subway, or even taking a taxi, we see posters of unrealistic models posing in lingerie with their hips, stomach, arms, and legs photoshopped to look like the size 0 so many women shame themselves for not being.  Not only does society push women to change their bodies but in doing so, women are also looked down upon for not having the “perfect body” that, by definition, is impossible to acquire. Women live their lives in shame, scared and embarrassed to show their bodies due to so much negativity that surrounds the reality that everybody’s figure is different, whether that may be big or small. Not only that, but as well as body shaming, there are also clothing lines that exclude sizing for bigger women. Large companies like Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie and Fitch, American Apparel, and others are known for having sizing preferences for smaller and skinnier women which puts plus-size women in the uncomfortable position of not feeling universally accepted due to their body shape. In efforts to change that and provide positivity for all bodies Nike, a company widely known for shoes and gym attire, are expanding their sizes to include plus size customers and spread the message of body positivity. The Nike Plus Size campaign displays women of all shapes and sizes showing confidence through the  gym clothes they are advertising. The message is clear; Nike wants women to wear their plus size line with boldness.

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Fig. 1. Nike ad has a model posing confidently (“The Nike Plus Size Collection.”)

 

One of Nike’s ads shows a model proudly posing in the new plus size clothes they released. Paloma Elsesser, the model shown, wears a basic Nike sports bra and a pair of sport leggings that have pink streaks on each leg.  The model is in focus, whereas the background is blurred so as the consumer is directed to the product. Paloma stands on an old black metal staircase with dirty grey building walls surrounding her, giving the picture an urban atmosphere. The clothing is very simple and basic but carries a bit of boldness in the color pink and the contrast of the black and white in the bra. Paloma raises her arms and pushes one behind her head, arching her back just enough to expose her stomach towards the camera. With an unbothered look, she glances away from the camera, giving the image a relaxed mood. She wears a bold dark red lip color and natural makeup, with her hair tied low and parted in the middle, which matches the theme of clothing she advertises as simple yet bold.

The photograph taken, one of many advertisements from the campaign, exudes confidence from the model and shows fierceness from the way she is unapologetic about showing off her body. With her stomach, arms, and chest revealed, she sends a message of body positivity through the image. The skin tight leggings put the model’s figure on display, which represents a power move as well as exposing her stomach and wearing just a sports bra without cover up. Plus size women are fat shamed for wearing skin tight clothing, crop tops and especially revealing gym attire. Thus, Paloma wearing this Nike outfit shows empowerment against criticism plus size women receive for wearing apparel that society dictates is not for their body type.

Body-shaming is a part of everyday life for countless people. There are so many women shamed for what they wear, and embarrassed to go out in clothes they like due to negativity being thrown at them through daily situations and the media. The “perfect body” lie that has been told to little girls everywhere has affected how women grown up to be. Girls’ desire for the idealized body can push them to self-hatred, eating disorders, and self-harm. The big issue of body shaming should not be taken lightly; it can hurt and affect so many people. Spreading positivity and preaching self-love can change the issue and help women be confident and love their bodies as they are. The Nike campaign is just one of many movements that are using their platform to spread awareness about body positivity. The expansion of their gym attire for plus size women has shown the public their support for the confidence women should have in the clothes they wear and the figure they have. The images in their campaign have women of all sizes showing off their bodies in the clothes they advertise. Whether it’s gym clothes or any clothes, there is progress in getting plus sizes in bigger companies, which can lead to women becoming more accepting and loving towards themselves.


 

Citations

 

Capon, Laura. “Nike Have Just Launched a plus Size Range.” Cosmopolitan, Cosmopolitan. 27

Mar. 2018. Accessed 27 Nov. 2018. www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/fashion/news/a50166/nik e-launch-plus-size-range/. Web.

 

Lawrence, Shammara. “The Year in Plus-Size Fashion: 11 Body-Positive Moments That Made

Headlines.” Teen Vogue, TeenVogue.com. 20 Dec. 2017. Accessed 27 Nov. 2018.

www.teenvogue.com/gallery/plus-size-fashion-body-positive-2017-highlights. Web.

 

“The Nike Plus Size Collection.” Nike News. news.nike.com/news/the-nike-plus-size-collection.

Accessed 27 Nov. 2018. Web.

 

Shayon, Sheila. “Nike Plus Sizes for Women: The Shape of Things To Come.” Brandchannel. 8

Mar. 2017.Accessed 27 Nov. 2018. https://www.brandchannel.com/2017/03/06/nike-plus- sizes-0 30617/ Web.

 

Jacqueline Redrovan

English 1100/A

Intro to Composition

Professor I. Bodre

November 15, 2018

The Little Red Lighthouse

 

The historical landmark, “The Little Red Lighthouse”, had a tremendous effect on the parents and children who fought for its place on Jeffrey’s Hook. Not only did the lighthouse have a children’s book written about it, but it’s story inspires many people to this day. This lighthouse symbolizes strength and significance for many people, especially the community of Washington Heights.

In 1880, the little red lighthouse was constructed on Sandy Hook in New Jersey. The lighthouse’s purpose was to shine a light for travelers to avoid danger caused by the boat traffic on the river. Due to increasing traffic, the river needed a stronger beacon of light. Thus, the lighthouse was dismantled in 1917. Although the lighthouse became obsolete, the U.S. Coast Guard rebuilt it on Jeffrey’s Hook, an edge of land by the Hudson river, in Fort Washington Park because boats were in need of navigational aids (“Fort Washington Park”). Based on the lighthouse’s new location, it was officially named Jeffrey’s Hook Light.

Fort Washington Park is always filled with adults and children running around, having picnics or just taking walks. The community would begin to not only get used to passing the little red lighthouse while visiting the park, but also admiring it. The lighthouse became a part of the park and after some time became well known as a place to visit.

In 1931, the George Washington Bridge was built right above the little red lighthouse. The bridge contains very strong 148 mercury vapor lights, also famously known as the “diamond necklace” (George Washington Bridge 80th Anniversary). The lighthouse, on the other hand, produced a 10 candle-power light that, although at the time helped navigate, seemed futile after the construction of the bridge.

The comparison of the lighthouse and bridge became an issue due to the lighthouse not having a function anymore to the travelers, since the bridge did a significantly better job at lighting the way. This inspired a children’s book to be created called The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge which personified both the lighthouse and the bridge. In the story, Hildegard Swift writes that the lighthouse has been replaced by the gray bridge due to its overwhelmingly stronger and bigger lights. Not only was the lighthouse overshadowed by light, but also by height. The George Washington Bridge has a height of 604 feet whereas the lighthouse has a height of 40 feet. This gave the lighthouse an overwhelming sense of disappointment in himself and self-doubt. But by the end of the book, the little red lighthouse realizes the power it has and the purpose it holds to help those around him. He ends up feeling “VERY, VERY, PROUD” of himself (Swift).

This children’s book became increasingly popular and inspired children to believe in themselves and be proud of their accomplishments and goals. Parent’s cherished this book as much as their children did. Thus, the lighthouse had become progressively more iconic for many as the book became more popular. However, despite the lighthouse becoming well known and serving a purpose in the book, its light was pointless to actual travelers. So, in 1948, the lighthouse was shut down and its light was turned off by the U.S. Coast Guard.

In 1951, The U.S. Coast Guard planned to auction off the lighthouse. Once this became public news, however, there was a massive uproar of families wanting to fight for the lighthouse’s rightful spot on Jeffrey’s Hook. Not only did more people begin to acknowledge the lighthouse as a part of Fort Washington Park but after the popular children’s book it became a symbol of strength for the children who admired the lighthouse. The attachment that grew between the community and the lighthouse was an incredibly strong force. Families sent letters, signed petitions, and expressed their passion to the public to conserve the lighthouse (Daley). Once the children and parents set their heart out to save the little red lighthouse, their support grew stronger from the community. After so much effort from the people of Washington Heights, the Coast Guard finally gave the lighthouse to NYC Parks and Recreation.

In 1979, the little red lighthouse was officially named a historic landmark. This brought more attention to the lighthouse since it now became more of an attraction to visit. Although the community managed to maintain the lighthouse on Jeffrey’s Hook, after years of being decommissioned, the lighthouse was covered in graffiti, rusty, and closed off to the public. Commissioner Gordon J. Davis from Parks and Recreation wanted to change that in order to honor the lighthouse and its historical background. $1.4 million of the city’s capital budget was used in order to restore its cracked concrete foundation, chipped red paint, rusty steel doors, and to add park benches around the lighthouse for people to sit and enjoy their time visiting it (Daley).

Although the lighthouse was reconstructed it rarely opens its doors to the public. However, there are tours that are occasionally open once a month in the fall, spring and summer (Saraniero). Even after many years, the lighthouse still receives visitors who admire it for the historical background. Many people sit by the rock on the river next to it, have picnics by it, and even take tours to go up the spiral staircase to the top. Not only that, but the lighthouse’s story lives on. A blog created by a mother and daughter talks about their interpretation of the story of the lighthouse. The mother and daughter have even created a musical performance in its honor (Winchester).

People to this day are still inspired by the little red lighthouse. Children and parents who fought for the lighthouse out of pure love for the book and structure carry with them the proud accomplishment of keeping it in Fort Washington Park. Now everyone can enjoy the sight of it on Jeffrey’s Hook, right under the George Washington Bridge. The little red lighthouse’s significance and story taught a community to not only work together but to believe in themselves and the value of their voice.

 

Citations

Daley Suzanne, “CITY PLANNING TO MAKE THE LITTLE RED LIGHTHOUSE ‘VERY

PROUD AGAIN’.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Aug. 1982.

Accessed 13 Oct. 2018. Print.

 

Popova, Maria. “How a Vintage Children’s Book Illustrated by Lynd Ward Saved New York’s

Iconic Little Red Lighthouse.” Brain Pickings, 13 Aug. 2017. Accessed 13 Oct. 2018. https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/07/23/little-red-lighthouse/. Web.

 

“Fort Washington Park.Central Park. Accessed 13 Oct. 2018.https://www.nycgovparks.org/par

ks/fort-washington-park/highlights/11044. Web.

 

George Washington Bridge 80th Anniversary”, Dining Car | Amtrak. Accessed 15 Nov. 2018.

http://m.amtrak.com/mt/www.panynj.gov/bridges-tunnels/gwb-80.html. Web.

 

Lodge, Sally. “A Lighthouse Shines Again.” Publishers Weekly, 21 Oct. 2002. Accessed 13 Oct.

2018.https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/print/20021021/17902-a-lighthouse-shines-again.html. Web.

 

Saraniero, Nicole. “Register for a Tour of NYC’s ‘Little Red Lighthouse.’” Untapped Cities,

12 Oct. 2018. Accessed 15 Nov. 2018. https://untappedcities.com/2018/10/12/register-for-a-free-tour-of-nycs-little-red-lighthouse/. Web.

 

Spelling, Simon. “Little Red Lighthouse.” Daily Intelligencer, Intelligencer. Accessed 15 Nov.

  1. http://nymag.com/listings/attraction/little_red_lighthouse/. Web.

 

Swift, Hildegarde Hoyt., Lynd Ward. The Little Red Lighthouse and The Great Gray Bridge.

Harcourt Brace & Co., 1942. Accessed 13 Oct. 2018. Print.

 

Ugc. “Jeffrey’s Hook Light.” Atlas Obscura, Atlas Obscura, 29 Mar. 2011. Accessed 15 Nov.

  1. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/jeffrey-hook-s-light. Web.

 

Winchester, Denise. “You’re Never Too Big For The Little Red Lighthouse!” Kids’ News NYC,

12 Aug. 2017. Accessed 15 Nov. 2018. http://kidsnewsnyc.com/youre-never-big-little-red -lighthouse/. Web.

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