The Pathway of Writing

The Pathway of Writing

Throughout recent months this semester, as a class we have read and many writing samples. After completing each piece of work, we were instructed to write an analysis. This course has helped my writing improve and develop slowly. This course also has helped me learn a lot about the writing process.

My writing has improved but, it still needs more attention. I still struggle to get my thoughts to flow on the page. I believe that if I ask for help more often and focus my writing will improve. My writing skills are not at the level I would like. I know that my skills will only continue to slowly improve as continue my studies.

This course has helped me learn about the process of writing an analytical essay. Before this class, I would just put down words on the page to reach the word count. I now know that doing things such as: writing multiple drafts, looking at sources other than just the book, and asking others for help is a must. I also used to shy away from writing longhand. My former teachers would require it. I still wrote as little as I could on actual paper to try and put words down on the word document. In the end writing longhand would help me get an idea of what I want to say for the final draft.

It took me awhile to learn what the actual process of writing is for my first two essays this semester. My first few works were not that impressive by any means. My strongest essay was the one I wrote on for Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. In this analysis I compare the play Our Town to the film It’s a Wonderful Life. I start off by briefly summarizing the two works. I then describe the similarities that the main characters have. Throughout the essay I show how Emily Webb felt once she made it to the afterlife “No…I should have listened to you”(page 109). Following this, I state how George also felt in his own situation. Later on in my essay I explain how Emily sees the humans she left behind “Do human beings ever realize life while they live it”(page 108). This showed how much of a tragedy Our Town was. I feel this essay was my strongest because it had the best grade and I spent the most time on it. I wrote the best longhand draft out of the four essays. I spent the most time preparing for my final draft compared to the others. I will take this experience to improve my essays I write in the future.

This course really benefited me for multiple reasons: I learned more about the writing process, I learned it takes time to construct a strong essay, I also feel like I have gained the experience needed to advance my writing skills. This class was not the only class I needed to write essays in this semester. The skills I have learned in this course can help my other classes.


Works Cited


Wilder, Thornton. Our Town.  1938 Harper Perennial, 2003


Annotated Bibliography


Larson, Erik. The Devil in The White City. Vintage, 2004

Erik Larson’s The Devil in The White City has two stories following an architect Daniel Hudson Burnham and a serial killer H.H Holmes. In this book we see the arrival of the Chicago World’s Fair and the series of murders by Holmes committed during the Fair. As the fair is being built, to then finally inviting guests to attend the fair we follow the Holmes’s murder spree. Burnham ended up being successful with the fair and Holmes was finally caught by the end of the fair. Larson’s dual perspective of these two stories creates an interesting narrative to nonfiction. Larson’s attention to detail throughout the book also plays a large part in the progression of the characters and events.

Lucas, Jane. Peeling Away Dressing of History. WordPress, 2017 Accessed 30 November 2017.

The blog post Peeling Away Dressing History offers insight to the history behind The Underground Railroad. Whitehead’s work is a work of fiction but, the history behind the book is still evident. Lucas’s main point of focus would be where Cora was in South Carolina at the Museum. Lucas shows how historical truths stand behind this work of fiction. She explains that well in her post by saying “Cora is not a historical figure, but her plight parallels the harrowing experiences of real-life fugitive slaves, a truth that Whitehead underscores by prefacing his state-titles chapters with runaway slave advertisements”. This offered a good look into the book.

Lucas, Jane. Saint Wannabe’s Spiritual Journey. WordPress 2017  .  Accessed 30 November 2017            
In Saint Wannabe’s Spiritual Journey Lucas talks about Margery Kempe’s journey after she claims to have seen Jesus in purple robes. No one really knows much about Margery. For example throughout the play her sins keep getting mentioned but never explained. We still take a close look at her journey in spite of this. In this story faith is a major topic that gets tossed around. Yet this play also shows us how important humor is. Lucas explains this when she states “But Shreck’s play also reminds us of the vital role of humor in our lives”.


Lucas, Jane Through a Glass Darkly: “Girl at the Mirror” and Grover’s Corners. WordPress, 2017 Accessed 30 November, 2017

In this blog post Lucas compares Wilder’s Our Town and Rockwell’s Girl at the Mirror. She explains similarities between Emily and the girl in the mirror both are enduring their early adulthood and are confused. Lucas also compares how Emily’s mother never really talked to her about sex. Lucas shows how the wedding and the doll relate to each other. “Mrs. Webb monologue turns the scene of her daughter’s wedding into a reminder of the vulnerability and pain that come as a consequence of a lack of sexual knowledge. The same darkness at the edge of a seemingly quaint picture appears in Girl at the Mirror.” She then explains how the doll has a sexual submissiveness to it.


Shrek, Heidi. Creature. Samuel French, 2011.

Creature by Heidi Shrek, takes a look into the life of Margery Kempe. In the play it shows her internal and external struggles that she constantly undergoes throughout the play. She struggles to find what is truly right in her own way. In the beginning we see Asmodeus tormenting her. The script allows the reader to see Margery’s world and also how the world was at that time.


Whitehead, Colson. Underground Railroad. Sphere, 2017.

Underground Railroad follows the life of a slave girl from Africa named Cora. Cora eventually finds the will to run away after suffering on the plantation. She runs away with her friend Caesar. They both use an alias to get by and live as normal of a life as they can. Not too long after that Ridgeway is hired to bring them both back to Randall. Finally after a long time of running and escaping Ridgeway Cora reaches freedom.


Wilder, Thornton. Our Town. 1983, Harper Perennial, 2003

In Our Town we get a look into American small town life. We see two childhood friends grow close and as they grow up they get married. Emily Later dies during childbirth leaving George to care for their baby and mourn her death. We then get to see Emily in the afterlife and how she feels about life.


Our Wonderful Life


Our Wonderful Life

The two works It’s a Wonderful Life and Our Town have similarities. They both are about American small town life in the 1940’s. They also relay a similar message.

It’s a Wonderful Life and Our Town’s main characters undergo a similar path throughout both of their stories. Emily starts out as a young girl in highschool in a small town called Grover’s Corners Massachusetts. She grows close to a boy named George who attends high school with her. Their families the Webbs and the Gibbs are close. Similarly George Bailey in marries his high school sweetheart in It’s a Wonderful Life. Both stories have characters with a lot of History with each other. Both stories take place in the 1930s-1940s.

Later on in the play Emily and George get married and, they have a child. Emily later dies during childbirth of their second child. The dead in the cemetery including Mrs. Gibbs, Mrs. Soames, Simon Stimson, and Wally Webb are waiting as Emily comes to join them.  She then is a dead soul. Emily feels regret as she is saying goodbye to the world she once lived in. She even mentions how she should have listened. “No… I should have listen to you.”(page 109). In the movie, George Bailey also experiences an event that is to the audience supernatural. George as he is about to commit suicide on the bridge saves another man who pretends to commit suicide. The man reveals himself to be George’s guardian angel, Clarence Odbody. Due to George wishing he was never born, Clarence decided to show him what a world without George would look like.  George begs to return to living and, his prayer is answered.

Our Town definitely influenced It’s a Wonderful Life. The supernatural elements and the wish to live by the main characters is similar. They both realize what they have missed in the real world. Emily states how humans don’t see exactly what they’re doing. “Do human beings ever realize life while they live it?”(page 108). Emily and George Bailey both realize how important their one life is. Emily going through a that phase of regret and reflection is the main influence on George Bailey’s character.IMG_20171120_0234526

The play and the film both achieve a message that is very powerful. They both take a look at the average everyday lives of characters in small towns. They both show how ordinary life may seem like a big mess, but in the end they show how the main characters treasure it so much. The regret that Emily feels as well as the will George Bailey feels to live are the driving force. These stories are a message to remind the audience just how special each and every moment is. Each work is a classic that has stood the test of time. Truly that would point out just how meaningful the message of both works is. The small-town American life is precious and peaceful for the most part. It has its conflict and difficulty as life would in any place. Even with the struggles the characters still yearn to live.

The similarity and the message are what show the influence the play had on the film. The characters interactions with a view set apart from earthly life shows that also. The reaction that both main characters had also plays a large part of, the message that these two works set out to relay.


Works Cited


Wilder, Thornton. Our Town.  1938 Harper Perennial, 2003

The Critical Cold-Blooded Fact


The chapter “The Cold-Blooded Fact” was a short yet important chapter to the book The Devil in the White City. This Chapter goes into detail about how difficult the project for the what is now known as the Ferris Wheel.

The initial concern for Ferris was if he could acquire enough steel for such a large project these architects and engineers were working on. That problem was soon fixed when they got many many steel firms to help them with certain jobs in producing the steel. “No one shop could begin to do all the work, therefore contracts were let to a dozen different firms, each being chosen because of some peculiar fitness for the work entrusted to it”(193). This was a good start but would not be all of the trouble that they would have to face. The terrible freezing cold conditions were another problem which made it difficult for the workers to even put down the foundation. “Just digging and installing the foundation, however, had proven more difficult than Ferris and Rice expected, and they knew that  far greater hurdles lay ahead, foremost among them the challenge of raising that huge axle to its mount atop the eight towers. Together with its fittings, the axle weighed 142,031 pounds”(194). The greatest problem of all was the death of Harry Codman.

This chapter was a depressing sad chapter as well as a difficult chapter. Everyone on all fronts suffered in some way. Olmsted lost his friend after surgery and lost faith in the project altogether. This chapter was describing the huge barrier that the workers and the Architects needed to overcome as time dwindled for them to complete the giant steel buildings on time. The weather even damaged one of the buildings. “Men working at the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building heard the shriek of failed steel and ran for cover”(196). This was a huge setback for the workers which made it seem impossible for them to complete the project on time in just two months.

This chapter is a crucial part in the book. This poses a huge problem for the characters in the story of Burnham. The whole project was in jeopardy during the cold months that winter. Nearing the end of the chapter it mentions how they only have one building finished which is where it gets its title from. “Still the cold-blooded fact stares one in the face that only the Woman’s building is anywhere near completion inside and out”(197).  At this point the situation was not looking good and they needed to act quickly to even partially finish the project. It is no wonder that Olmsted fell from the pressure and stress of this.

This basically shows how close yet how far things can be. They finally agreed on plans and what to build and the weather and health fail them. This chapter also makes the Burnham story a lot more interesting. Rather than have them just smoothly build everything. Without this chapter The Devil in The White City would not be the same.


Works Cited

Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City. Vintage, 2004

Creature’s Conflict

The characters in Creature deal and endure many conflicts throughout the play. Two characters in particular have conflicts that affect each other. Father Thomas is not well known and is new to town so he is brought in to see Margery when she is “sick”. Father Thomas in the text appears to be a normal priest who tries to get through to Margery.

Margery in the beginning has a conversation with a devil which not only spooks her but everyone else in the house. John wants someone, or anyone really to come see her to try and help her. All the priests refuse to see her saying that she will go to hell. Miraculously the nurse finds Father Thomas.She rambles and disrupts him as he tries to get through to her with as much patience as a man could possibly have. Eventually as he says a prayer she begins to fall asleep.

Later on in the play she seeks him out so he can be her teacher on being closer to God. She eventually insists on doing certain things such as wearing white even when she is not a virgin or weeping during the liturgies at Church. A short while later she eventually persuades Father Thomas to read to her from an English Bible. Eventually Margery while dealing with her conflicts with the devil and her temptations of Jacob she discovers the word Lollard. In reality Father Thomas is Lollard and Margery brings out a lot struggle and conflict in him.She makes him question himself and  what he really knows. This is quite evident later in the play where she asks him to hear her sins so she can confess. He refuses and tells her to go to someone with more authority. The confusion and pain Father Thomas feels is a lot as he has to admit to himself that he is not a legitimate priest. Margery was the trigger of Thomas’s conflict and John only reinforced it when he came to visit him. He somewhat pushed the question of whether he was a real priest or just someone who loved the poor. Father Thomas was not heard from much near the end of the play which focuses back to Margery’s conflict. Her temptation with Jacob and lack of self control get her branded as a Lollard as well.This all stresses John more than anyone however. All John wants is to have Margery back and safe. Margery really wants to be closer to God and to go to heaven. In the end both Margery and Thomas end up giving in to their conflicts in one way or another as they as they both end up fleeing town.

Creature. By Heidi Shrek

blackberry pics 694 (The back page of my rough draft)


Swimming for Gold

swim picI am on the swim at Lenoir-Rhyne University. I’ve been swimming competitively since I was seven years old. I have struggled a lot with this sport throughout my career. It is very difficult to have the motivation sometimes because of how much it wears you down. However, swimming is a very valuable investment not only for your physical health but for your mind as well. It has taught me to have a better attitude towards difficult tasks that are in my path. Swimming also keeps me in relatively good shape considering all of the calories I burn. Swimming has helped me on my journey become stronger as a person.