THIS I BELIEVE (Check Point 3: Complete Script)

I believe that representation in literature is very important. I have read a lot of books in the past six years and I have only recently seen representation in books. It is important to many readers because they want to see themselves in the books that they read. Also, #ownvoices and diverse books are equally important because they have great representations. But first, I will talk more about my experience as an avid reader for the past six years.

I have always been a reader. Before I moved to America in 2006, I used to read a lot of comic books. But when I started to learn English after I moved to the United States, I hated reading. I had to read a lot to improve my English and it felt like a chore, not a fun hobby. But in March 2011, I decided to read a book called Beastly by Alex Flinn. I think I chose that book because the movie was coming out. I enjoyed it. But to be honest, looking back, it was not a good book. Now that I am older, I have recognized many problems with that book. But let’s move on to March 2012, when The Hunger Games movie came out. I asked my mom to buy the trilogy so I could read all of the books before seeing the movie. Did I do it because the series was popular? Maybe … Okay, yes. But I do not regret doing that because it was a series that I thoroughly enjoyed. After I finished the trilogy, I did not consistently read books until the summer of 2013. In the beginning of that year, I read a book called City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I liked it. I went out and bought the second book, but I did not read it until July. I remember bringing the sequel, City of Ashes, to Vietnam and finishing it in four days. I was obsessed with the series and I only read the first two books. It was very frustrating because I was in Vietnam at the time and the bookstores did not carry the third book of the series. When I came back to America, I bought all of the books in the series and read all of them in the span of two months. After that, I started reading more book series like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Lunar Chronicles, etc. That was when I really started reading for fun. I have read a lot of books since then.

After reading so many books, I noticed the lack of diversity in them. Whenever I tried to relate to certain characters, it was only based on personality. Other than that, I never saw myself in any of the books I read. In June 2016, I finally found a book that I can “sort of” relate to. I remember being very excited over a book called Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell. The main character in the short story is a Vietnamese girl. Although the author did not represent her well when it comes to her ethnicity, I still appreciated the effort to include a Vietnamese character in her work. After I read that book, I immediately looked up books that have Vietnamese main characters written by Vietnamese authors. I trust their work the most because they know what it is like to be Vietnamese.

After that revelation, I stumbled upon a book community of people recommending diverse books. Of course, that is very broad. But if you want to read a book that has a gay African-American teen as the main character, you can ask one of the people! Also, this community starts a discussion on the importance of representation in literature. Not everyone is white, heterosexual, cisgender, or able-bodied. Everyone is different and I am positive we all want to read a book that defines who we are. I want to read a well-represented book with a Vietnamese main character. I also want to read books that have characters of color, characters from the LGBTQUIA+ community, characters with mental illness, etc. It is so important to be recognized in literature because it helps the readers see that they are not alone.

In addition to the discussion of representation in literature, the topic of #ownvoices books is also brought up. They are books that feature marginalized characters that are written by an author from the same demographic. For example, a Vietnamese author writing a book that features a Vietnamese main character. That is why I said Rainbow Rowell did not do a good job representing the Vietnamese character. She is not Vietnamese. She does not know what it is like to be Vietnamese. I am adamant on finding the “perfect” book that has a Vietnamese main character written by a Vietnamese author because I want to be represented well. It is important to read diverse books but it is crucial to read them from authors who are in the same marginalization as the main character because they know what it is like to be marginalized. Also, it is always nice to support their work.

Literature has a huge impact on my life. It is the reason why I chose to be an English major. Now that I am older, I am very selective when it comes to the books I read. I won’t read books that are problematic or harmful to marginalized people. Also, I have become very passionate about diverse books because they are important. They are especially important to the young readers out there. I am sure there are many children who want to be represented in the books they read. I will make it my life mission to make sure every marginalized person is represented in literature. Including myself.

 

 

Summary and Synthesis Report #1

Trinh Lê

ENGL 300

19 February 2018

Summary and Synthesis Report #1

Summary:

In chapter three of What Writing Does and How It Does It, Ellen Barton introduces a method called discourse analysis. It is “a method for analyzing the ways that specific features of language contribute to the interpretation of texts in their various contexts” (Barton 57). In other words, it is how the language is organized and how we interpret it. Barton also discusses many theories and methods of discourse analysis, like the ethnography of communication. It “aims at describing how communication works within different cultures, draws from linguistic anthropology, and looks at issues such as language socialization” (Barton 61). The study of language is important because that is what we use to communicate with each other.

Synthesis:

In chapter ten of What Writing Does and How It Does It, Charles Jack Selzer explains the importance of rhetorical analysis, or rhetorical criticism. He says, “rhetorical analysis or rhetorical criticism can be understood as an effort to understand how people within specific social situations attempt to influence others through language” (Selzer 280-281). People communicate and understand each other better if they use rhetorical analysis, which can be seen as critical reading. It is important to read rhetorically to understand the message and to be aware of the reasons why the author deliver the message to the audience. Also, the usage of language plays a huge role because the author can manipulate the text to persuade the readers.

In the first chapter of What Writing Does and How It Does It, Thomas Huckin explains the definition of content analysis. It is “the identifying, quantifying, and analyzing of specific words, phrases, concepts, or other observable semantic data in a text or body of texts with the aim of uncovering some underlying thematic or rhetorical pattern running through these texts” (Huckin 14). Content analysis is important because it is about reading critically. For example, if a person is reading a story from a person who is different from him/her (based on race, gender, etc.), the reader must interpret the text carefully to comprehend what the author is trying to say. Also, content analysis has different methods: conceptual analysis, relational analysis, quantitative approach, and qualitative approach. This chapter goes in depth with different methods of content analysis, which shows how important it is to understand a text. Content analysis and discourse analysis are related to each other because they deal with language and the interpretation of the text.

In Defining Rhetorical Listening, Krista Ratcliffe focuses on the importance of rhetorical listening and how it is used for cross-cultural communication. She says, “rhetorical listening may foster understanding of intersecting gender and race identifications in ways that may promote cross-cultural communication on any number of topics” (Ratcliffe 34-35). Ratcliffe talks about listening to stories from people of color because she, a white woman, cannot relate to those people. Also, she observes the discussions around her to comprehend how her race and gender affect the world. Ratcliffe tells the audience to listen to autoethnography, academic research, and the stories of others to hear the intersections of gender and whiteness. Rhetorical listening is important because it is about listening to someone’s story and trying to understand where they are coming from.

In the first chapter of Do You Speak American?, the authors discuss how the American English language is changing over the years. John Simon thinks the language is getting worse due to the change. But Jesse Sheidlower sees the evolution of the language as a good thing. He says, “American English has always been very inclusive of new terms. We have a great deal of immigration from around the world … So terms from all the different cultures, or from different ethnic groups, or from different social groups, have a way of getting into the language in a way that you do not see because of the cultural mixing that we have here … I think American English is very exciting compared to other languages around the world” (MacNeil & Cran 26). In other words, the language is evolving due to people from different countries and cultures contributing to it. This is connected to discourse analysis because at the end, it goes back to the influence of language.

Questions:

How do people from different countries and cultures influence the American English language? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Explain.

How do rhetorical analysis, content analysis, and rhetorical listening relate to each other? Are they the same? Are they different? Explain.

How does the usage of language play a role on discourse analysis, rhetorical analysis, and content analysis? Explain.

Word Count: 904

 

Works Cited

Barton, Ellen. “Linguistic Discourse Analysis: How the Language in Texts Works.” Bazerman, Charles, and Paul Prior, editors. What Writing Does and How It Does It: An Introduction to Analyzing Texts and Textual Practices. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.

Huckin, Thomas. “Content Analysis: What Texts Talk About.” Bazerman, Charles, and Paul Prior, editors. What Writing Does and How It Does It: An Introduction to Analyzing Texts and Textual Practices. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.

MacNeil, Robert, and William Cran. “Do You Speak American?” 2005. PDF file.

Ratcliffe, Krista. “Rhetorical Listening.” 2005. PDF file.

Selzer, Jack. “Rhetorical Analysis: Understanding How Texts Persuade Readers.” Bazerman, Charles, and Paul Prior, editors. What Writing Does and How It Does It: An Introduction to Analyzing Texts and Textual Practices. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.

 

THIS I BELIEVE (Check Point 2: Gather Sources and Complete Research)

I believe diverse books are very important because representation matters to many people, especially marginalized people.

This article is about the writer, Sunili Govinnage, reading diverse books for a year. She did this after realizing how “white authors have dominated the literary world”:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/04/24/i-only-read-books-by-minority-authors-for-a-year-it-showed-me-just-how-white-our-reading-world-is/?utm_term=.4b917d4d14fc

This Buzzfeed article contains 26 Young Adult authors advocating for more diverse books:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/farrahpenn/ya-authors-on-diverse-representation-in-publishi?utm_term=.usAabBonQ#.dsV0doyWB

This article reveals that a majority of the people who work in the publishing company is white:

https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/08/09/483875698/diversity-in-book-publishing-isnt-just-about-writers-marketing-matters-too

 

 

THIS I BELIEVE (Check Point 1: Project Proposal)

As a Vietnamese woman, it’s always nice to read a book that includes Asian characters. To me, it’s important to see Vietnamese characters in the media because representation matters. When I was growing up, I didn’t see myself in a lot of the books I read. It wasn’t until I read a book called Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell that I truly felt recognized. The main character in the book is Vietnamese and she loves Star Wars. (But the author didn’t do a good job representing the main character because she’s not Vietnamese herself. But I still appreciated the effort.)

After I finished Kindred Spirits, I tried to read more books by Vietnamese authors. I felt like it was my duty to read and find myself in their work. It’s 2018 and I still haven’t found a book that truly represents me. But I still have hope that one day, I’ll find a book that represents me, a Vietnamese woman.

I mostly talk about representation in literature because I read a lot. Also, I realize how important representation is, especially for people who are marginalized. Whether that’s on race, gender, mental illness, religion, class, disability, etc., it’s important to be represented and recognized because that feeling is validating.

Timeline:

2/5/18: Check Point 1: Project Proposal

2/13/18: Search articles on diverse books and why representation is important in literature online. Gather at least three websites and post them on WordPress.

2/14/18: Check Point 2: Gather Sources and Complete Research

2/20/18: Write a script on why diverse books and representation in literature are important. Try to write 1000 to 1500 words. Finally, post the script on WordPress.

2/21/18: Check Point 3: Complete Script

2/24/18: Record the script for the podcast.

2/26/18: Check Point 4: Complete Recording

3/3/18: Edit the audio for the podcast. Post it on WordPress.

3/14/18: Complete Editing

3/17/18: Make sure everything is complete and ready before the due date.

3/26/18: This I Believe Project Due

Inspiration For This Topic:

A video of Whitney explaining why diverse books are important. She also explains #ownvoices books, which feature marginalized characters that are written by an author from the same demographic. For example, a Vietnamese author writing a book that features a Vietnamese main character.