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AP Lang Assertion Journal

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Richard Kreinbring

on 6 December 2016

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Transcript of AP Lang Assertion Journal

AP English Language
Assertion Journal
The purpose of the Assertion Journal is to strengthen both your analysis skills and your critical thinking skills. I will distribute quotes, readings or visual materials. It will be your job to examine analyze the material and be prepared to write about it. I will check periodically check your journal and you will be required to regularly turn in finished polished pieces for evaluation. I encourage you to bring in material that you want to talk and write about. We will write and discuss your responses in class.
Guidelines

Using the quote, reading or visual image:

Clearly explain the author or artist’s assertion (claim). This means you will explain to your reader what the author/artist is really saying. This will be an exercise in analyzing the text and its arrangement so as to understand the overall meaning.

Once you have stated the claim, you must defend, challenge or qualify the assertion noting any complexities of the issue. This is the part where you include what you believe. You may use personal relevant examples, including historical/contemporary/pop culture/etc.

Then, identify any possible objections to the author or artist’s point of view.
“I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.”

–Truman Capote
Paragraph 1

Truman Capote seems to be talking about school supplies, but he is really talking about his writing process. He places the emphasis not on a pencil, which one might expect when talking about writing, but rather focuses on scissors. By saying he believes more in the scissors, Capote proclaims that for him, writing is as much an act of revision as it is an act of creation. Scissors are used for cutting, so he means that he writes a great deal and then slices out the bad parts. This leaves only the good writing, and apparently, for Capote, the most important way to get there is to cut, or revise a great deal.

Paragraph 2:


Capote is right. The writing process is not some mystical experience where a writer sits on a mountaintop and divines inspired writing directly from the muses. Most writers, myself included, have to get a draft on paper, however bad it may be, and then go about changing and honing it. I once rewrote a poem fifteen times in the course of one summer. The rewrites were all aimed at shortening the poem and compressing its ideas into as few words as possible. It was hard, but by the end it had gone from a page and a half to just under a half page. I had effectively cut it down and thus improved it. Rarely is any piece of creative art accomplished perfectly the first time. Some may say that artists do not work, they magically create.
Paragraph 3

But good art takes hard work and inspiration. Leonardo DaVinci did not simply sit down and paint the “Mona Lisa.” He extensively sketched all of his work in his sketchbook and revised extensively before ever putting brush to canvas. Excellent artists recognize that the corrective materials are just as necessary as the creative materials in developing good writing.
Paragraph 4

As with many other endeavors, writing can be about starting with a great deal of material and shaping and cutting it into something much more worthwhile. Ice sculptures, the rotors on your brakes, even paper dolls. They all start with a large amount of something and cut it down to something better. Writing is the same; often the most important tool is not the pencil, but the scissors.
Respond to the assertions made by the author of your comedy paragraph. Use your own knowledge as well as Sedaris and or Barry to support your claim.
Read the following prompt an respond to it in your WNB.
Here's an example of student work. It's not very good. Your work is much better.
Now try responding to a visual prompt.
Assertion Journal? Wassat?
Wassit for?
Again, here's some really weak student work.
In the cartoon by Cagle Cartoons printed in the October 26, 2006 edition of the Tri-City Herald, the claim is made that the adopting of orphan children from other countries by celebrities is nothing more than a fad. The artist points out the fashionable accessories that the woman is wearing along with the trendy designers of such items using dialogue-style boxes. This demonstrates the artist’s point of view that celebrities are nothing more than slaves to the current must have item.
In the recent times, many celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Madonna have chosen to adopt orphan children from third-world countries. The artist is showing that, like the fashionable clothing accessories, these children are examples of the new thing in trendiness that will quickly fade. Unfortunately, these celebrities are using innocent children that require a lifelong commitment as the medium for being the public’s eye. These Hollywood starlets cannot simply cast these children aside or abandon them when the new craze comes along; they are children who have already suffered so much. These celebrities, according to the artist, are looking for nothing more than the recognition that comes with an act that would usually be considered overwhelmingly generous.
Obviously, it can be said that these celebrities are really out for the best interest of these children and are trying to raise public awareness for the social struggles outside our country.

It is clear, however, that the artist does not subscribe to this point of view.
Homework-Yayyyy

Read Joan Didion's "On Keeping a Notebook".
It's in Fifty Essays.
Prompts
Read:
Everything's an Argument
Structuring Arguments

“Letter from the Birmingham Jail” Martin Luther King Jr,
"How it Feels to Be Colored Me" Zora Hurston

http://www.zonalibre.org/blog/rainbow/archives/iraq.jpg
Life... is like a box of chocolates - a cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that no one ever asks for, unreturnable because all you get back is another box of chocolates.  So, you're stuck with mostly undefinable whipped mint crap, mindlessly wolfed down when there's nothing else to eat while you're watching the game.  Sure, once is a while you get a peanut butter cup or an English toffee but it's gone too fast and the taste is fleeting.  In the end, you are left with nothing but broken bits filled with hardened jelly and teeth-shattering nuts, which, if you are desperate enough to eat, leaves nothing but an empty box of useless brown paper.  ~The X-Files
Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death. 
    Anais Nin
"People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character." 
    Emerson
Life... is like a box of chocolates - a cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that no one ever asks for, unreturnable because all you get back is another box of chocolates.  So, you're stuck with mostly undefinable whipped mint crap, mindlessly wolfed down when there's nothing else to eat while you're watching the game.  Sure, once is a while you get a peanut butter cup or an English toffee but it's gone too fast and the taste is fleeting.  In the end, you are left with nothing but broken bits filled with hardened jelly and teeth-shattering nuts, which, if you are desperate enough to eat, leaves nothing but an empty box of useless brown paper.  ~The X-Files
And it was at this moment, as I stood there with the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man's dominion in the East. Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd – seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib. For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life in trying to impress the "natives," and so in every crisis he has got to do what the "natives" expect of him. He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it. I had got to shoot the elephant. I had committed myself to doing it when I sent for the rifle. A sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mind and do definite things. 

Orwell, "Shooting an Elephant"
Find, highlight and comment on each of the following:
Explain the author or artist’s assertion (claim).
This should be clearly stated but need not be the first or last sentence of the first paragraph. If it's not there, sad face, or it's unclear note that.
Explain what the author/artist is really saying and how you know it. This is exercise in analyzing the text and its arrangement as it relates to the claim. This will have multiple elements that may include, rhetorical strategies, visual elements, organization.
Defend, challenge or qualify the assertion noting any complexities of the issue.
http://www.zonalibre.org/blog/rainbow/archives/iraq.jpg

"People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character." 
    Emerson


Life is...
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