“This is Water”- David Foster Wallace Response

After listening and reading “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace I was left with a variety of emotions. When I was reading the transcript of the speech the first thing that stood out to me was the fact that he didn’t bullshit anything he was saying, he didn’t beat around the bush. He said “speeches like this is that I’m supposed to talk about your liberal arts education’s meaning, to try to explain why the degree you are about to receive has actual human value instead of just a material payoff” (Wallace). This statement he provided set the tone for the whole entire speech for me, it allowed me to see what I was expected to experience later on in his speech. Another interesting story that stood out to me during this essay was the story he told about someone who is religious and someone who was atheist. This interested me because he went into detail about the atheist who tried the whole religious thing but didn’t believe it even after a major scary event.Wallace stated “And now, in the bar, the religious guy looks at the atheist all puzzled. “Well then you must believe now,” he says, “After all, here you are, alive.” The atheist just rolls his eyes. “No, man, all that was was a couple Eskimos happened to come wandering by and showed me the way back to camp” (Wallace). This relates to me because growing up all the kids and families  around me were religious and mine really wasn’t. We tried it. It just wasn’t for us but this doesn’t mean I didn’t believe it? This is related to what we did in english class because we take different perspectives and incorporate them into one idea.

The major topic that Wallace kept bringing up is the value of your Liberal arts degree and the idea of college. I agree with what he is saying, I do agree with the fact that there are grey areas within this controversy. Wallace said “And I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out” (Wallace). On the other hand, I don’t agree with this statement because this all really depends on what you do and how you go about it. This is all up to you.

Paper One Self Reflection

1.) My thesis was “Although Chen’s essay bears minor similarities to Konnikova’s piece, Chen’s essay challenges Konnikova’s argument due to the idea of relationships built online either benefits of faults a person. Social media is a very controversial topic in today’s society, my own view is that social media can complicate relationships but it can also build relationships depending on how you use it. In this case, the reader gets to see both sides of the arguments in these essays.” In my opinion, I think my thesis was pretty well developed but some weaknesses to the thesis could definitely be structured as well as being a little more specific rather than being so broad. Some strengths to my thesis I think is that it used more appropriate words and it also gets my point across as I needed it too.

2.) What I have learned from writing and constructing this essay was that there isnt just one way to outline and revise an essay. I have been using the same style of a outline since middle school and I always believed that it was the most efficient way to get started, boy was I wrong. This reminded me of my own writing process because it allowed my writing to grow. My writing process started off very childish but then changed into something more professional and essay friendly.

3.) The aspect I focused most on within Global Revision is the topic of voice. Ive always struggled adding my own voice into my essays not only because I dint think that my voice supported what I was saying correctly and efficiently, but also because I just didn’t know where to put it and how to make it sound good. After learning how to do so, I thought my essay sounded and flowed smoother. Some revision tools I used to make adjustments was definitely templates given to us through either “They say I say” or Professor Brod, they were very helpful, and the comments left by my peers. The templates provided allowed me to make my voice sound good when I added it into my paper, but my peers comments allowed me to fully construct what I wanted to say and how to get it across to the reader.

4.) In my opinion, what Id do differently for the next paper would definitely time manage better. I thought that played a huge role in my essay was time, and I know I could of done better in that area If I just allowed more time for my self. Another thing id like to do different this time would be going deeper into what I say in my claims and explaining them more thoroughly. This is important because it show the reader I understand what Im talking about when I write. The whole process of pre-reading to finishing with submitting the essay would long and tedious but it definitely was worth it because Ive learned many new tips and tricks that I can add into my writing for my next essay.

Between the World and Me Reading Response

Question one:

In my opinion the relationship between education and success is the strong bond they have the opportunity to hold together, depending on which path you take. The bond these two topics share are very controversial in today’s society. Some say you can only achieve success with a background in education and schooling but some also say they don’t need school to be successful. The idea of education is different for everyone according to Ta-Nehisi stated “ To be educated in my Baltimore mostly meant always packing an extra number two pencil and working quietly” (Coates 93). To Coates, school and him didn’t get along that well at first but he pointed out the relationship between failing in school as well as how race and class played into it. He pointed out “Fully 60 percent of all young black men who drop out of high school will go to jail” (Coastes 93). This just shows that the school and today’s society is failing not the students.

Question three:

To me after reading Coates essay the solution he used to fix education was the influence of a dream and the support of an outside source that gave him motivation. He states “ …that this fear was connected to this dream out there…” “(Coates 84). Later on in the essay, Coates went into how a grandmother gave him this simple knowledge of how to become a man and a basic understanding of education, this was his outside source of motivation. It states “ Your grandmother taught me how to read at the age of four. She also taught me how to write, by which I mean not simply organizing a set of sentences into a series of paragraphs, but organizing them as means as investigation” (Coates 94). Coates solutions relates to what I do in class because I use these two solutions everyday. I use my dream of making it big and getting a good job after college as a motivation to go to class everyday. I also have outside support and motivation from my friends and family back home that pushed me to do better in my academics.

Adichie, Summary and Paraphrasing

Cameron Capachietti


English 110

All though some may say paraphrasing and summarizing are basically the same thing , they actually have distinctive differences when you write. Paraphrasing involves taking something from other people’s writing and turning it into your own words but still referencing the author. It also should be shorter than the segment you are taking from the author. On the other hand, Summarizing is taking main points and ideas from the author and putting them into your own words, this is usually longer than paraphrasing. So in other words, Paraphrasing is different because it consists mainly of your words but the idea from the author rather than ideas and topic in a longer version which is summarizing. A good summary should consist of the main points of each paragraph within the essay as well as the main evidence given from the author. Another important key component to a good summary is that you should end with a message to the reader.

Paraphrasing is an important part of writing it allows multiple different things to happen within your writing , especially flow. Paraphrasing is important in academic writing because it shows the reader that you understand the source well enough to write it in your own words. Paraphrasing is better than quoting in your academic writing because it shows that you have fully grasped the concept of the writing and allows your work to become more original. In my opinion, paraphrasing looks more clean and professional in your academic writing rather than putting direct quotes in your essays because it shows that you put effort into your writing rather than just slapping other people’s words there.

After watching the TedTalk and listening to Adichie speak, the main take away from what she said to me was that stories are important and that they serve an important purpose, not only in your writing but life as well. She believes that stories can empower and humanize when written or spoken of correctly. Another important message taken away from what Adichie had said is that power is an important key that comes along with stories you either have it or you don’t. Stories can show self respect but it can also take away it at the same time either your writing or telling the story (“Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity (Adichie). ) Stories are an important part of life and it shows for all your life experiences and could even shape who you become in the future. (“All of these stories make me who I am” (Adichie). )

Morgelleon’s Summary

Throughout the essay Jamison talked about the phenomenon of the Morgellon disease. Morgellon disease is essentially an illness that is an unsettling feeling of the skin. The author went into detail about how she became frustrated and angry about her misdiagnosis over the years and decided to pursue a position as a nurse to turn her frustration into useful work. A nurse whose legs showed white patches and later found scabbed and lesions upon her skin. Dawn eventually diagnosed herself with Meorgellions (Jamison, 225). An important quote directly from the author that I believe plays an important role within this essay is when she stated “They didn’t know what this matter was, or where it came from, or why it was there, but they knew… that it was real.” After reading this it made me think that since morgellons disease was so unstudied and had little knowledge upon it , how did the author come upon diagnosing herself with morgellons? Also another thing that is important to think about when learning about Morgelleons is that only approximately 12,000 people suffer from Morgellons disease. On the other hand, since this disease was unheard of often it eventually became a controversy among the CDC ( Center for Disease Control).

Chen’s Reading Response

Cameron Capachietti


English 110


After reading the chapter “Unfollow” by Adrian Chen I was left shocked as well as bewildered. The girl in the chapter, Megan Phelps-Roper, went through a major transition from the beginning of the chapter to the end. At the beginning of the chapter Megan belonged to the Westboro Baptist Church and this church held some strong opinions on homophobia, anti- semitism ,etc. At the age of five Megan began protesting and then later started to speak out on social media, via Twitter, about speaking the word of the church. In the beginning of the chapter the church would stand outside of funerals with signs that said “ God hates f*gs” and many other hateful slogans that relate to similar topics. Later on in the chapter Megan started using Twitter as a platform to spread the word of the church. She continued to post hateful comments about gays,  dead soldiers, and other negative topics the church taught. The more and more post she would write the more followers that she gained. Megan then said “ its proof that people are seeing it and reacting to it.” Later on, in the chapter Megan began questioning her beliefs, and then later eventually leaving the church and becoming an activist. At the end it said “ Phelps-Roper no longer believes that the Bible is the world of God, she still reads it to try to find scriptural arguments that could encourage Westboro to take a more human approach on the world”.

Megan used Twitter as a platform and this embolden her initial message that was engraved into her brain from the church. This mostly embolden her message because it allowed thousands of people to see what she was preaching, it gave her the opportunity to have light be shed on what shes saying. This embolden her because it gave her the ability to say what she wanted without the face to face confrontation with the others, this gave her the confidence to behave the way she did on social media. Megan then said after receiving 7 thousand followers “ That explosion of activity, that was insane”. This just proved the exposure that she was getting during this time of preaching the church’s words. I believe social media affected Megan’s shift in personal beliefs because she eventually saw all the comments that people were commenting and confronting her with, all these people were arguing the other side of the argument. People that were commenting on things such as “Do you really want to ask God to ask to hurt people?”. This lead her to think more about what she was preaching and started finding cracks in the preachings and then started to question what she thought was right.

In the text It shows how Phelps-Roper had started to change her mind on her beliefs and in my opinion I believe message, tone, and perspective all play a part into this. I saw all examples on how each of these played a role in this , but the most prominent ones were mostly messages and perspective. Perspective played a role in this because there were so many people who found contradictions to her tweets and presented them to her via Twitter and by the flooding of all these different perspectives allowed Phelps-Roper open her mind just a little bit. Message also played a major part in this as well because she upheld conversation with multiple people about her teachings once she opened her mind up a little. I did a little more research on this topic and I found an interview that Phelps-Roper was in and she said that “I understood that we could be wrong about something. … That was the beginning of the end for me. I had this unshakable faith and it had been shaken.” I believe this quote pulls her transformation all together. Her transformation teaches us a lot about confronting hate speech because it shows how no matter how deep someone is set in their ways there is always a chance to open their mind to new ideas and perspectives. This also shows us a lot about redemption because you can’t change your past because you can always push forward and work on personal growth.

If I had the chance to meet Phelps-Roper and had the ability to ask her questions about her past it would be hard not only for me to ask but also hear. I am a big supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and this topic would be very raw and hard to talk about with someone who was raised to see them as less then and despicable in God’s eyes. If I had to ask her I would probably first start off with asking her what kept her going with the Baptist church once she was old enough to make her own choices? Also I’d like to ask her how she could read all these comments on her post and contradictions and still fully believe in what she believes in after seeing how hurtful these statements are? This story relates to me growing up till now with regards to social media because anyone has the ability to hate through a screen and be protected, but In all reality is this because they think its just “cool” or maybe it’s just what they think? Things like this have been going on for years and still seems to be occurring to this day and for me all I could say is I hope people like Phelps-Roper will see her story and follow in her footsteps.