Visual Critique Reflection

Please note before reading that this post was written for a class, and the topic was assigned.


I had to write a visual critique essay for my English class. The directions were pretty strait forward but some aspects of the paper were difficult. At times, it was difficult to write the required amount of pages needed for the paper. It was also difficult to write a paper about what an image looks like since I was looking at the image and it was hard for me to determine whether or not someone who was not looking at the image would be able to visualize it. It was also difficult to talk about what the image was stating without inserting my opinion into the paragraph.
We were given three images and had to choose one to write about. I decided to write about an image that talked about gun rights. I choose the image that I choose because I grew up in a very conservative home and my dad has always believed that Americans should be allowed to utilize their second amendment right to own a gun. This image was also interesting to me because of the children in the image. I have worked with children in many capacities, including multiple camp settings and teaching Sunday school. Children interest me and I wanted to look at the image closer since children were involved.
We had to do a peer review process on other students’ papers during one of our class hours. I found the peer review process to be helpful. It was interesting to find out what other students noticed that I hadn’t. I think that it’s good to have a peer review papers before turning them in so that you do not make careless mistakes that a new set of eyes would have caught.
The visual critique was different from papers that I have done in the past because it was about an image. The papers that I have written in the past were about a specific topic rather than an image. Having an image made the subject less narrow since while writing, I could not begin to discuss another related topic as in the case with topical papers.

Freedom of Speech


Please note before reading that this post was written for a class, and the topic was assigned.

“It is a peculiar but immutable feature of our American system of free speech that we expend so much of our speech trying to silence other speakers.” -Adam Weinstein

In this quote, Weinstein is saying that Americans take their freedom of speech too far.
As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said: “One person’s rights end when another’s begin.”
This quote summarizes a basic American belief, in which one American’s rights cannot be intruded on by another American. Americans are given no right to restrict another American from utilizing their constitutional rights.
In my opinion, the situation described in this quote is due to ignorance. Most Americans believe that a person’s freedom of speech is being violated when a private organization stops one of their employees from speaking on a particular topic. Let’s evaluate this a little more. As a private organization, separate from the government, the organization has the right to not be associated with things one of their employees says. However, as an American, that employee has the constitutional right of free speech. So where do we go from here? The thing that most people don’t realize is that the rights granted to Americans in the bill of rights only protects that person from the government taking that right. Since most Americans do not work for the government, their employers can limit how their employees act while representing that company. The company cannot limit what that employee says and does in their personal time, but they can limit their speech and behavior while that individual is representing that organization.
When Americans lash out and accuse others of violating their constitutional rights, it sends a broader picture to the world. This sends a message to other countries that these freedoms don’t work. It tells any countries who may be considering instituting freedoms to their citizens that these freedoms are taken too seriously.
At this point, I would like to pause to clarify. I am not saying that anyone should not utilize their rights. What I mean by saying that people take their rights too seriously is that people are abusing their rights by intruding on other people’s rights.
Anyway, this issue is big in America and it is important for Americans to know when their freedom of speech is allowed and when it’s not. I will link an educational youtube video by crash course at the bottom of this post for anyone who is interested in learning more about their freedom of speech.


The Fourth State of Matter

Please note before reading that this post was written for a class, and the topic was assigned.

The Fourth State of Matter is an article that appeared in the New Yorker Magazine in January of 2015. This article begins with a lady named Jo Ann who is consumed by her own life’s struggles. Her dogs want to go out a few times a night, there are squirrels in the attic, and her husband has left her. She works at a magazine company where they write about physics. She is consumed by her own life until, one day when she decided to take off of work, there is a shooting. One of the employees has decided to kill some of his colleagues. When she hears the news she is startled and does not believe the news. She becomes very sad when she discovers that her best friends have been killed, but realizes that life must go on. At the end of the article, she has decided that while she will have to deal with the sadness of her passing colleagues, that at this time, it is best for her to simply be still and allow time to help her to heal. To anyone who thinks that this article is about science, it’s not. The reason this article is named what it’s named is because the magazine the writer works at is called ‘The Fourth State of Matter’. The states of matter (liquid, gas, solid, and plasma) are mentioned, but in short, unimportant snip-its. The science portions that are mentioned in the article don’t really have anything to do with the story and are honestly just there for context. I personally think these portions should have been excluded from the passage.
The article uses elementary vocabulary. The structure of the article is good, but is very long.
I personally enjoyed reading this essay, but it seemed kind of strange. It takes a while for the author to get to the action part of the story. At the beginning, it sounds like a story that a third grader would read rather than one which has to do with a shooting. This story is a good read, but turns dark very unexpectedly. I do encourage everyone to read it. It is a long read (23 pages) but it’s easy to get so caught up in the story that you won’t even realize how far you’ve already read.