After reading the first chapter of Jody Shipka’s Toward a Composition Made Whole, I began to think about the many questions she raised and the many questions I have as a result of her writing. How can you bridge the gap between curricular and extracurricular literary practices? What are the real dangers of using the term technology? How difficult is it to tell new stories about old pictures? Have people lost sight of true composition?
I cannot begin to adequately answer these questions but I can present some of my thoughts on what they mean to me and the role they play in life today.
It is mentioned that many students, other than English or Communication majors, feel as though English is “inflicted” upon them and that it is something they must endure. I have an entirely different take on this. As a Finance major, I am only required to take one English class and I have taken eight. I even decided to pursue an English minor. I believe English and communication are vital no matter what field you plan on entering. The best businessman will not live up to his full potential if he cannot effectively communicate, present, and convey his intentions to others around him. I find it funny that whenever I tell aunts, uncles, neighbors, or parents, that I am pursuing an English minor that they commend me and tell me what a great decision I have made. However, when I tell friends and other students, I often receive a quizzical look and they ask me why I would want to put myself through that. The generation gap between these two audiences is evidence of the fact that there is a new impression of literature.
I was also very intrigued by Shipka’s attention to the fact that things like eyeglasses and typewriters are no longer referred to as technology. What is the danger of only using the term technology to describe only the best and newest tool? It is important not to lose sight of the basics. New developments are great but we must remember the old developments that helped us get there. This goes back to new stories about old pictures. Just because they’re old doesn’t mean they are out. To take this to an extreme, there is not the same importance placed on the ability to spell as there once was. I have witnessed college students that struggle to spell relatively basic words. More and more developments are causing people to think less and less for themselves.
Composition has evolved considerably over time. One major thing that has changed is the research aspect of composition. Anyone can conduct a search online and have extensive results within seconds. There is no longer a need to spend hours paging through books in a library to conduct research. Additionally, the forums in which these ideas are presented have evolved. Does that make the time put into this research any less meaningful? How does that change our perception of compositions? I hope that I can better understand and answer some of these questions as I continue to read through Toward a Composition Made Whole.