Discourse Map Essay

Karl Freitas
Professor Gibbs
English H1204
12 September 2013
Discourse Map Reflection
There are many different types of discourse communities that I have been a member of during the course of my life. The general definition of a discourse community is a term used to describe a group of people with shared social values, beliefs, and power structures. Discourse communities can be anything from a sports team to your own family to a high school or university. Five discourse communities that I am a member of are My Home, Church, Church Choir, Roanoke Catholic School, and Virginia Tech. These communities have greatly influenced and shaped my life for the past eighteen years and the many more to come.
My discourse map reveals many things about me. They show that I am a student, a Catholic, and a member of the Freitas family household. Being a member of the Virginia Tech discourse community shows that I am a member of the Hokie family. I must use my talents and abilities to serve the Virginia Tech community. I have been a member of the Roanoke Catholic discourse community since seventh grade. This shows that I am a loyal student. My talents are also showcased in these communities, particularly in the community of Church Choir. I showcase my musical, most specifically my guitar talents in this community.
These communities require many things from me. Being a member of the Catholic Church discourse community means that I must go to mass regularly and be an active member of the Church. In order to be a member of the Church Choir community I must show up to practice on time and be on time to mass. I must also practice guitar regularly at home in order to maintain my talents and stay a part of the choir. My behavior between these communities also varies. When I am at communities such as Church, My Home, and Roanoke Catholic School, I must always show respect and be reverent. I am not saying that I don’t do this at other communities, but at others the rules will be more relaxed. At places like Virginia Tech, there is more freedom to do what you want. I must still study and keep my grades up to par, but I can study on my own time and on my own schedule. When I am at home I feel like I must study on my parent’s and family’s schedule. When I am at home or at school I must obey the orders of my parents and teachers all the time. However, because my behavior between these discourse communities changes, someone who reads this essay may ask whether or not I am being authentic or whether I am performing. I always feel like my behavior and the way I act in these communities is authentic. I can tell that I am being authentic through the effort and the time that I have put into these groups. This includes my grades in high school and college, showing up on time for choir practice and mass each Sunday, and helping my parents out with chores around the house.
These discourse communities have influenced me and my life in many different ways. I have made countless friends over the course of my life due to being a participant in these discourse communities. These friendships will last for many years to come. An example of these friendships can be seen here at Virginia Tech. I have been here for less than three weeks, and I have already made friendships that I will keep the rest of my life. I came to Virginia Tech knowing just four people from high school, and I think I know ten times that many now that I am here. I will also never forget my first day at Roanoke Catholic when I didn’t know anyone either. I made many friends during high school that I still keep today. I think it is very safe to say that without these discourse communities actively playing a role in my life, I would have no friends and probably sit at home and be bored all day. I am very thankful for the opportunities that I have been given.
The discourse map that I have created reveals many things about where I am from and my understanding of my home. This discourse map reveals that although I come from a small town of Roanoke, Virginia, I am very actively involved in my community through church and school activities. This map reveals that my home and the people who live in my home are very close together. My sister and I both take part in many of the same discourse communities and my mother and father do as well. The map reveals that many places in my home are connected in many ways that at first glance, someone would probably not think that they are connected. Communities such as the Church and Church Choir are joined together with Roanoke Catholic School and Virginia Tech.
Overall, I have been and I am currently a member of many different discourse communities throughout my community and my home. However, five of these discourse communities stand out above the rest. They are my home, Church, Church Choir, Roanoke Catholic School, and Virginia Tech. These communities have shaped me and made me the person I am today. Discourse communities are very important in people’s lives. They overlap in many different ways. These ways can be seen in the discourse map. Ani DiFranco once said, “I know there is strength in the differences between us, but there is also comfort where we overlap.” This quote accurately describes many different discourse communities. While they are different in many ways. They can also overlap in many ways. For example, the Church and Virginia Tech are completely different from each other. However, they share the same language, and many members and insiders of the Hokie family are also members of the Church. Finally, discourse communities make people more actively involved in their communities by connecting us and bringing us together. I think we can all agree that this is most important. Discourse communities make the world and our community better for all.

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