Lecture 007

Liam Vigdor's peer review

1) What is the overarching interpretive claim/thesis of your peer’s paper?

"This ability to connect, through ‘ordinariness’, is not only achieved from the plot, but also from the almost ‘unrefined’ and ‘rough’ artistic drawings, as well as from the use of slang in the dialogue."

In my own word: The plot, routh artistic drawings, and slang increases let readers to connect on a personal level.

2) Is the thesis statement a strong interpretive claim? Identify any criterion that could be stronger.

• Reasonable? i.e., there could be other ways of viewing the text, debatable and not true

• Particular? i.e., the claim comes from findings based upon observations

• Resulting from slow reading? i.e., comes from re-reading and not a simple plot retelling

The thesis is not a evaluative claim, which is good. The thesis is opinionated and therefore reasonable. The thesis can be supported directly from the observations of the literary work. Two of the supports "'routh' artistic drawings" and "use of slang" has clear evidence that they come from re-reading and not plot retelling.

3) How does your peer use language to express the interpretive claims? Does the language seem too general or abstract? Too concrete and obvious?

The word "connect" might be too abstract. However, as "connect" is defined by previous sentence, I think the reader will understand the meaning. I am more concerned about the word "ordinariness" and "plot". Specifically, "ordinariness" (or ordinary as its original adjective), needs a more concrete noun to be specific, where as the word "plot" needs an adjective to be specific. If possible, you can combine them into "ordinary plot". Also, to a reader, it is obvious that "unrefined" and "rough" have the same meaning. If possible, you remove either of them. Other than the suggestions above, the thesis is a concrete thesis.

4) Read through the body paragraphs and identify statements that count as “evidence” for claims and reasons. Then identify statements that count as “explanation” for that evidence. Point out any areas in the paper where you would like to see additional explanation and say why it would help your reading to see more explanation.

Claim1: The webcomic “Fried Rice” centers on Min, a young artist who wishes to explore the field that she loves and the obstacles that her environment places in front of her to do this.

• 1:
• Evidence1: The young artist sees that none of the local schools in her small town offer life drawing classes and believes that the “art scene is also pretty dead.” She believes that her only escape for this would be by going to her dream school in New York. This leads to a conflict in the novel about young people leaving Malaysia and often migrating and not coming back, as well as the fact that she does not get into the only school that she applied to.
• Explanation1: This story of wanting to go to a dream school far away from home as well as ambition to do what you love, while at the same time being rejected to it brings the idea of an ordinary everyday person's life.
• 2:
• Subclaim2: The story's plot revolves around Min, but at the same time doesn’t make her feel like a protagonist by not allowing the reader into her thoughts. Furthermore, the comic is written in a way that does not allow Min any of the benefits of a main character, such as privileges or scenes to make them feel ‘cool’. If anything, this story is doing the exact opposite without trying.
• Evidence2: An example of this is proven when she gets rejected from her dream school. Min does not talk about it and the reader does not read her opinions and feelings, but rather sees her implied sadness. The reader sees how she, like everyone, does not want to talk about rejection, and thus doesn’t tell anyone about it and instead acts like everything is normal.
• Explanation2: The plot and way the author uses the main character by not allowing the reader to ‘hear’ her true thoughts and only showing what everyone else would show defines normalcy and ordinariness. The author, by restricting what the reader can ‘hear’, and only showing makes the readers feel like an observer of an ordinary life.

Claim2: The author of “Fried Rice” further defines her story as ordinary by drawing in an ‘unrefined’ and ‘rough’ way, compared to the hightech realistic imagery of most webcomics.

- 1:
- Evidence1: A picture implies perfectiveness of that picture, while life can not always be perfect and can’t always be seen through that picture. The drawings that Erica Eng draws bring the reader ordinariness by keeping the imagery and style unrefined.
- Explanation1: The artwork brings a sense of closeness and smallness that highly realistic artwork wouldn’t be able to bring. This causes an intimacy between the comic and the reader and this intimacy allows the reader to feel that they are the same as the character.


Claim3: This intimacy and sense of regularness is also created through the author's use of slang. Slang is a way of speaking that is more informal and is common in speech rather than writing.

- 1:
- Evidence1: The use of the word “Lit” (page 32 , bottom panel) by Mins cousins and the conversation of having to explain it to her mom who is both not american and not young...
- Explanation1: ... is a precious feeling of normalcy and intimacy that can’t be created anywhere else.
- 2:
- Evidence2: Furthermore, Min’s cousin's conversation with her friend using the slang “ang mohs” (page 37 , left panel) in a joking manner ...
- Explanation2: ... creates an atmosphere of closeness and feeling that anybody could be speaking.


In Claim1: I think explanation1 need to be more elaborate since the connection from "ambition" and "rejection" to "everyday life" is weak. One who sees CMU as their dream school might assume that rejection to one's dream school is considered ordinary. You can mention something like "since the chance of getting into dream school is low for common people".

Claim2: Claim2 only has one evidence (evidence1) to support it, which might not make claim2 strong enough. (eg. find evidence to support that "drawing is rough")

EVIDENCE / EXPLANATION SUFFICIENT

5) Where do you find places in the body paragraphs where evidence and explanation—the informational details—are sufficient? Where do you find places where evidence and explanation are not sufficient? Please mark these for your reader.

Claim1: evidence is sufficient. But it may need more explanation (see above)

Claim2: Evidence1 might not be sufficient since "imperfection" is an interpretation, not an observation directly from the literary work. Consider pointing out specific stroke that made you think the literary work is imperfect.

Claim3: both evidence and explanation are sufficient.

FIND TOPIC SENTENCES, CLAIM EVIDENCE EXPLANATION, ORDER STRUCTURE

6) To what extent are high priority statements located in visible places? Did your peer position key ideas in helpful ways so that you could find them where you expected them to be? Why or why not? (Expectation: Interpretive essays are typically thesis-driven essays with topic sentences, a claims-evidence-explanation argument structure, and a meaningful conclusion.)

The essay generally follows the structure of topic sentences, a claims-evidence-explanation argument structure, and a meaningful conclusion except for the following points:

In Claim1: In my opinion, subclaim2, evidence2, and explanation2 can be simplified by changing the order of sentences by putting all evidence first, and explanation after. In this way, a claims-evidence-explanation argument structure can be made. If you intended to include 3 explanations and I have failed to separate your 2nd and 3rd explanations, then consider adding a concrete example.

Claim2 and Claim3 are in the same paragraph, consider separating them so that the reader can find your topic sentence3 at the beginning of paragraph4. I highly encourage you to fix this.

QUOTATION EXPLANATION, CONNECTING SUROUNDING

7) Are quotations framed within the text, or is your peer guilty of committing a “hit & run” crime with quotations? Point out a quotation that could be framed a little better, and say why, in terms of connecting to the surrounding text.

The author makes good use of quotations and framed them in the text in a way that is connected to the surrounding text.

1. Having consistent structure allows the reader to quickly identify places to pay attention.
2. Transition sentences or phrases help the reader to understand essay structure.

Brianna Dulock's peer review

1) What is the overarching interpretive claim/thesis of your peer’s paper?

"Walker, Brown, and the artist – Sanford Greene – use personification through supernatural elements, overlapping composition, and brave characters to embody racism as something physical. This conveys the horrifying truth of racism to the reader and expresses how to defeat racism."

In my own word: The personification, composition, brave character settings -> racism is physical -> racism is true + ways to defeat them.

2) Is the thesis statement a strong interpretive claim? Identify any criterion that could be stronger.

• Reasonable? i.e., there could be other ways of viewing the text, debatable and not true

• Particular? i.e., the claim comes from findings based upon observations

• Resulting from slow reading? i.e., comes from re-reading and not a simple plot retelling

The thesis is not a evaluative claim, which is good. The thesis is opinionated and therefore reasonable. The thesis can be supported directly from the observations of the literary work. This is a very good thesis, but also an ambitious thesis because you have to explain two things: 1. racism is true, 2. the comics tells the reader how to defeat racism.

3) How does your peer use language to express the interpretive claims? Does the language seem too general or abstract? Too concrete and obvious?

The thesis is neither abstract and general, nor obvious.

4) Read through the body paragraphs and identify statements that count as “evidence” for claims and reasons. Then identify statements that count as “explanation” for that evidence. Point out any areas in the paper where you would like to see additional explanation and say why it would help your reading to see more explanation.

Claim1: By Walker, Chuck and Green bringing supernatural elements into the comic, they make physical and personify the disturbing qualities of racism – demonic, deadly, and difficult to overcome. - 1: - Subclaim1: Throughout the comic, we see neon purple and green colors – colors often used when describing witchcraft and other supernatural elements. - Evidence1: From the first panel the purple and teal neon colors are used to signify the night – a time where evil is notorious for lurking. Then, the authors and artist bring in suspense and tension to keep the reader on edge. - Explanation1: What is lurking in the darkness? Who, or what, is attacking innocent civilians? These are immediate questions the reader asks themselves based on what is happening in the comic. Those questions and the supernatural lighting incite the possibility of something more sinister than a human at work. This subtle insinuation of some dark force being a problem throughout the rest of the comic more clearly describes the true nature of racism to the reader. - 2: - Evidence2: Taking a look at the second panel, the year is marked in the top left corner – 1924 in New York. - Explanation2: The 1920s in America was an exceptionally dark time when it came to racism, and the dark colors help embody that.

Claim2: Further into the comic the assailant terrorizing civilians is revealed to be a demon, the personification of racism. - 1: - Evidence1: Focus is shifted to an African American family who is actively trying to subdue these creatures and return them to their human form. - Explanation1: By the authors and artist making these humans into demons, racism is personified. - Significance1: The use of personification is especially important in this comic as it puts in the reader’s mind a physical idea of racism so as not to mistake it for anything other than what it is – a demonic and unhuman problem in America. Throughout the comic, it is made apparent that these demonic creatures are difficult to subdue. By personifying racism, the reader is able to understand that dismantling racism requires a lot of effort – it will not be an easy feat and requires teamwork.

Claim3: The composition of the comic itself also contributes greatly to expressing how demonic racism is. - 1: - Evidence1: In the fifth panel, the demon is seen reaching out over the page to draw the eyes of the reader to its massive size and power. - Explanation1: Throughout the comic, the artist and authors try to focus the reader’s eyes to where the demon is. This is accomplished by the framing – the demon appears to be bursting out of every frame it is in. This characteristic displays how difficult the demon is to subdue. By the composition expressing the magnitude and how difficult the demon is to subdue, the reader then sees how difficult racism is to dismantle without hard work and collaboration. Even without words and a description of the demon, the composition of the comics tells the reader all they need to know about how large and powerful the demon (and racism) is.

Claim4: The brave actions of the characters draw the readers into the family and the qualities they have that are necessary to defeat the demons. - 1: - Evidence1: The bravery is depicted through the family’s stern and striking expressions as well as their forward leaning movements when fighting, indicating they are ready for the challenge. - Explanation1: This is the kind of mindset the authors and artist are trying to get across to the reader – racism will not be defeated unless people are brave enough to stand against the oppressive system in place and work hard to make that defeat happen. The demon (racism) is big and difficult to subdue, however the characters remain strong, brave and ready to get work done. - 2: - Evidence2: Even though Ma Etta is hesitant to let her granddaughter fight in the field, each member of the family does the job necessary to actively subdue the demon as best as they can. - Explanation2: This signifies how everyone is able to do their part in dismantling the strong and grotesque truth of racism and that there are many different ways to work towards ending racism.

Claim4: in evidence1, you might need to point out specific moment to support that characters are brave.

EVIDENCE / EXPLANATION SUFFICIENT

5) Where do you find places in the body paragraphs where evidence and explanation—the informational details—are sufficient? Where do you find places where evidence and explanation are not sufficient? Please mark these for your reader.

Claim1: Evidence2 doesn't seem to fit topic sentence. Consider removing the phrase that let the reader think this is an evidence such as "Taking a look at the second panel".

Claim2: Significance1 is not included in topic sentence, but well tied to the thesis. Consider indicate such significance in your thesis?

FIND TOPIC SENTENCES, CLAIM EVIDENCE EXPLANATION, ORDER STRUCTURE

6) To what extent are high priority statements located in visible places? Did your peer position key ideas in helpful ways so that you could find them where you expected them to be? Why or why not? (Expectation: Interpretive essays are typically thesis-driven essays with topic sentences, a claims-evidence-explanation argument structure, and a meaningful conclusion.)

The essay generally follows the structure of topic sentences, a claims-evidence-explanation argument structure, and a meaningful conclusion except for the following points:

In claim1: it is unclear to me whether the second sentence is the topic sentence or the first sentence. You might consider change the order or refine either or them.

QUOTATION EXPLANATION, CONNECTING SUROUNDING

7) Are quotations framed within the text, or is your peer guilty of committing a “hit & run” crime with quotations? Point out a quotation that could be framed a little better, and say why, in terms of connecting to the surrounding text.

The essay has no quotation. None of the evidence are cited by page number, which might be a bigger issue.