GSU’s National Day on Writing

A more wonderful day couldn’t have been host to this event that took place in the Library Plaza at Georgia State University. The sun was shining down to counteract the cool air as our FLC explored the many tables set up to discuss literacy and promote programs. The University Library hosted a table which first attracted me; they had an activity set up to engage the crowd where a person could make their own poem out of magnetic word strips. After making a haiku I discussed the purpose that the library has on campus. I was told that “We’re all about connecting the students with resources and information,” within the world of literacy this function is most vital to educate and spread art throughout the masses.

The Underground Literary Journal was giving away free issues to the students so I thought I would go over to collect one and talk to them about their function. They told me that publishing student work is one of their main priorities, and the idea of sharing literacy is very important to them. Related to their purpose, they were running a submission contest to publish a student piece. This kind of exposure is import within literacy as it helps encourage people to participate to the ever evolving subject.

The next table I visited was the Newsouth stand, and I was impressed with what they’re doing. Their main goal within the world of literacy is to give graduate students the opportunity to explore jobs within the field that they study, in this case, through the publishing of a literary journal. They were running a station where you could create some blackout poetry through pages of random literature they had printed. This activity showed me how literature can be created into something entirely new, and that as an art form it is fluid.

Before leaving I visited the Playfest table. The organization was focused on gathering people together every week to discuss all kinds of games from video games to board games. Set up for us to play was Jenga, and it was definitely a good time. Even though this is just playing games with people it still has a hand in literacy. The function of gathering a group of people to discuss different ideas and purposes of games in itself is a show of how literacy is interactive with the community through different forms of art, creations, and even games.

Charlie, the Murderer

In Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, we see a lot of discussion about identity and what it means. However, while it’s a factor that tells us a lot about a person and how they act or will act, identity can also be forced upon you. Stereotyping is a serious issue that brings about forced identities and takes away from who a person really is or who they can be. In on of the most emotional recollections from Just Mercy, Stevenson tells the readers about a fourteen year old boy named Charlie.  The young boy has been in jail for about two days for the crime he committed. Charlie killed his mother’s boyfriend. While that sounds very condemning Stevenson reminds us that we cannot forget that Charlie is a young boy of only 14, the concepts of right and wrong are not concrete within his brain, and Charlie suffered abuse prior to that. The mom’s boyfriend would often come home extremely drunk and beat Charlie’s mom. Charlie, who loved his mother dearly, had enough after a night where the beating was so severe that she was left on the floor completely unconscious bleeding from the head. Charlie finds the boyfriend’s gun and shoots him in the head in a fit of emotional rage due to the trauma. We later learn that the boyfriend is a well respected cop within the community named George. The local justice system felt compelled to bring to justice who killed George, and it happened to be a scrawny young boy riddled with trauma. Unfairly, Charlie is labeled as a cold blooded murderer at the age of 14. The only life he was able to live, kept down by his mother’s abuser, and it ends in his identity changing to a murderer. Luckily Stevenson can get Charlie out of this situation and we learn that an elderly couple takes Charlie in as one of their own so that his identity can become something else, and he isn’t left living the rest of his days as just a kid-murderer.

How Villeneuve Advances Story with Sound

Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival uses sound design to shape the atmosphere and mood of its scenes. The scene begins within the alien ship as Amy Adams is trying to communicate with them. The only sounds we can really hear are the hazard suit rubbing together and her heavy breathing. A dampening effect is over the sounds however, and it displays a lot of the character’s feelings at that time within the movie. The humans feel closed off, their survival is being threatened as they are backed further into this corner of mystery. The muffled sounds display the theme that the characters are feeling sort of claustrophobic; that they are trapped and have no way out of this predicament. Amy Adam’s character, Louise, has a different idea and in a moment of symbolism takes off her suit, the sound of her voice is immediately clearer as if she has had a breakthrough. The background is full of hurried voices within the team about whether to let her continue; the alien’s low tones are heard rumbling through the room as well. As Louise begins walking toward the “glass” barrier separating the aliens and the humans, no footsteps are heard, only the sounds of the alien rumblings gaining in volume. Villeneuve draws our attention away from something like footsteps to completely immerse us in the moment which is a tactic he reuses multiple times through sound and cinematography throughout the film. As Louise reaches out and touches the glass the low roar stops momentarily, cluing us that some action is about to happen, but an anticlimax is reached instead. The sound of the alien’s “hand” hitting the barrier is very quiet and not very shocking. Villenueve is clearly showing the audience that the language barrier is close to being deconstructed. The softness of the hit and the slight echo are almost peaceful and Louise believes as well that the gesture is more of an introduction and nothing close to a violent reaction.

Arrival Scene: The Introduction

The Spatial Disaster

Exploring bad website design is an enjoyably tragic experience; I stumbled across a new favorite in “High Calling Cockers” which is apparently a website for a Cocker Spaniel breeder…maybe?

  This is the home page you arrive at when clicking on the link. It isn’t that horrible, but the aesthetic is clearly poor and bland. A checkered background plagues the page drawing our eyes away from anything of “substance” with the lines.

Spatially the home page is very narrow, and there is weird awkward space between everything, fluidity is definitely an issue with how it is all broken up. The menu is where the layout begins to get confusing, looking at it you might see forty percent of it relating to the dogs themselves, but surprise they contain no information about selling these Cocker Spaniels or how to get a hold of one.  
Instead these new pages take you to an entirely different looking page with poems. The layout itself changes squishing everything on the page to the left leaving a distracting piece of empty space. In addition to the changing space that confuses the reader, every time you enter a new page a church hymn is automatically downloaded to your computer. I’m sure Sue, who created the page, had good intentions with this but it appears like it is some sort of spam-ware, and lowers her credibility with whatever it is that she does. While the design elements are extremely simple multicolored boxes of text next to a menu, the constant changing hinders the readers ability to take anything away from the website.

The one major thing that needs changing is the random unrelated pages attached to the menu. Sue even includes a “special pages” page that includes more poems, and a “Patriotic Page” with a poem about 9/11 and a background song. Try to tell me that these relate to her former job as a puppy breeder, or her new business selling quilts.


Works Cited:

Martin, Susan. High Calling Cockers.                                                Accessed October 7th.

“Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, Hold on.”

A.) Is the thesis explicitly stated? What is it?

In the TED talk Bryan Stevenson directly states the thesis, once through a story, and a second time repeating it for emphasis. “Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on.” Stevenson chooses for this main idea to be manifested toward the end of the talk for more dramatic effect. He gives supporting evidence throughout the speech, talking about identity and how we all depend on each other in order to fight for a greater good.

B.) How does he construct his argument?

Stevenson uses the main three devices: ethos, pathos, and logos in order to construct his argument. He is a successful lawyer that has a history of social justice and his influence is well noticed throughout the law community, this gives him a credibility that demands our attention. He also references meeting with Rosa Parks who is a very notable public figure who had a great historical impact in reference to his work. Emotionally Stevenson uses anecdotes to draw us in and feel connected to the cause, referencing his childhood and telling of times that had great influence on him. Stevenson uses an interesting method to deliver to us his message of working hard and keeping your eyes on the prize. The story starts when he was young and builds chronologically with his life, paralleling a speech with growing up and realizing your identity and values. Logically the argument and tactic he uses to tell it further push his agenda upon the audience and make us believe it.

C.) Does he speak to Kairos and Exigence?

Stevenson does speak to both throughout his TED talk, in reference to Kairos he mentions that the time to act is always now, and that doing right has no time limit or hindrances. To the audience in the Q&A section of the talk he is asked how people could act now and he mentions in appeal to exigence that they could do it right now and help California in a referendum vote.

D.) Does he succeed at his purpose?

Stevenson does very well to convince the audience of his message. They respond very positively in an uproar of applause and Stevenson is even asked how they could help in other way than just give money which was one of his points. His well constructed argument and direct appeal to emotion and his rock solid credibility only further demonstrate how this argument is masterfully pieced together and successfully proves his point and inspires others.

Works Cited:

Stevenson, Bryan. “We Need to Talk About Injustice.” TED
Conference Session: The Courtroom, March 1, 2012, Long
Beach, California.

Spend Less, Gain More

In this 1972 Honda advertisement we can see the clear use of visual rhetoric. The price of the vehicle is not shown in text that much larger than the regular descriptive text. 1972 was a year where economic stability still existed within middle class families which would last until 1973 with the oil crisis, but playing to the time period we can see how the price itself was not highlighted but instead what could be done with the money you save. The advertisement makes a bold statement here implying that by saving money on a car you could use the money to get women. Obviously the 1970s were not the height of female equality, and the direct objectification of women is prevalent here. In the center of the advertisement we have the Honda Coupe itself, looking shiny and new, which is appealing in its own right but it is not what the advertisement is aiming for. Eight women surround the car all dressed in different sporty outfits which are all slightly revealing and our eyes are drawn there. The company might claim that the money you save is to be spent on the different activities that the women are participating in like tennis, skiing, and going to the rodeo, but the text tells us otherwise. It states the difference between the Honda Coupe and a nice muscle car, and the asks what “you” would rather have, the nice car “or Michelle and Tammy and Alison?” Traditionally the community that loves cars and buying and customizing them has been men, and we can see that men are definitely the target demographic for this advertisement. The advertisement also pulls the stereotypical male advertisement guise, playing to their ego. The Honda Coupe is labeled as the smart man’s car, why pick a big noisy car when you can be smart and choose something fuel efficient? While you’re at it you can use that money to get girls that the other guys cannot because they did not make the right choice. The color choice is also rhetorical as red is usually a color representing sex, speed, and ambition, things all men are expected to value. The sexual nature and competitive stance the advertisement takes creates a visual rhetoric that definitely worked for the time.

Image source:

Images for Considered Analysis

Flawless Feminism

In Beyonce’s “***Flawless ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie” the empowerment of women is pushed to the audience. She shows her mastery of literacy through the video and in the use of her choice feature, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who is also a feminist icon in the community.  Beyonce uses knowledge of her audience, powerful lyrics, her feature,visual symbolism, and anecdotal evidence to support the agenda she is displaying, feminism and why it should matter to all of us.

Beyonce knows who her main audience is, women, but that does not stop her from speaking to multiple audiences throughout her song and more notably in the first line, “I know when you were little girls you dreamt of being in my world…” She then shifts her focus to the more general audience of “haters” and the press singing, “Don’t forget it, don’t forget it respect that, bow down bitches I took some time to live my life but don’t think I’m just his little wife don’t get it twisted, get it twisted this my shit, bow down bitches.” This first verse serves as Beyonce’s launchpad for the feel of the song. She uses these aggressive first lines to set up the main message of the song which is empowering women.

The second verse in the song is preceded by the Adichie feature. The sampled audio is weaved into the song as the significant moment where we as an audience understand the general message. “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller…You should aim to be successful, but not too successful otherwise, you will threaten the man.” This parallels with the lyrics earlier in the song talking about how people call her by “Jay Z’s wife” instead of who she really is, which she claims in the song saying “I’m so crown,” or the queen. This gives us extra meaning to what we were listening to before and clearly demonstrates that Beyonce is trying to push forward the feminist attitude.

The video for the song itself also serves its purpose of displaying Beyonce’s main argument. The setting of the video is an underground, grimy, punk-rock mosh pit, and Beyonce inserts herself into this group which is traditionally associated with violence, profanity, etc. Clearly this is on purpose and is to show that women are strong and can hold their own in whatever situation; she is surrounded by rough looking men and women in a sort of juxtaposition. Traditionally masculine shots like men sitting above women in a possessive manner are mimicked by Beyonce within the video as well which shows her belief that female dominance and ambition should not be frowned upon but in fact sought after. Instead of using a more elegant dance style Beyonce chooses an aggressive dance routine where she is constantly in the center frame up close to further reinforce the point.

To make the song hit home for more than just the female audience Beyonce includes anecdotal evidence to show a more direct example of what she is singing about throughout the song. In the opening of the video we get a glimpse of a battle between two groups, one all white-male rock group, and the other an all black-female group including Beyonce herself. When the video closes out we get to see that She and her group lost the competition, which Beyonce attests to the gender difference, otherwise she would not have included it to further prove her point.  In the lyrics, “Momma taught me good home training my Daddy taught me how to love my haters my sister told me I should speak my mind…” She uses family which is something we can all relate to, and how being told and taught things can be good influences, like how her sister told her she should speak for herself.

As a literary narrative the song could not do much more except tell you exactly the message it is pushing because Beyonce is a master at what she does. Using  audience, lyrics, a well placed feature, visuals, and personal stories Beyonce crafts a song and video that directly and artfully promote feminism to a large audience.

Works Cited

Knowles, Beyonce, performer. ***Flawless ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Youtube, uploaded by BeyonceVEVO, 24 Nov. 2014,  Accessed 14 Sept 2017.