This section contains both of my portfolio reflections. I placed this section as the last tab because i felt it was appropriate to reflect on my work after i presented everything i had. Doing the reflections allowed to me analyze myself as a writer, a researcher, and interpreter. Looking at my two reflection one can see that i have improved these three skills. But i also know that i have a lot to work on, and I am long way from being a good writer.
WR 150 I2
January 20, 2009
Reflecting on my portfolio, I am socked. I have very little. This is not good. I need to start gathering more information and more sources. Although I feel that I am heading in the right direction with my paper there is still a lot more that I need to do. I simply don’t know what a good portfolio looks like. I am not concerned with organization because I like dividing the sections into the novels that I am using. This is very efficient because easy to find things if I need to, as well as adds a lot of ease when deciding were to filing things. The main page serves as an introduction to my portfolio. I think that this style of organization is simple yet effective. I think the biggest challenge is finding a scanner so that I could upload more things that I have done on paper. This is very problematic for me because I have a few outlines for my paper as well as images from novels that I would like to upload. If I could find a scanner then my portfolio will improve exponentially. But I am glad I chose to do an online portfolio because it is fun, and organized. When I get over this road bump and find a scanner I feel that my portfolio will blossom into something out of a Robert Frost poem, in other words beautiful. I think that my topic is not to small, it is a little broad, but now that I have written my prospectus I feel that I have a better grasp on the direction I am heading with my paper. As far as strengths and weaknesses go I know I am a bad writer with grammar skills on the same level as a ten year old, but I do think I am slowly improving in my writing skills. I am a mediocre researcher and interpreter. Lets just say a lot of room for improvement, and leave it at that.
At the beginning of the semester I had no clue what I wanted to do for my final paper. But as the year progressed and we started doing journal entries and assignments using the F.E.A.T. system, I began to get a good idea of what I wanted to do. The exhibit source assignment in particular pushed me to start researching the American counterculture of the 1950’s to the 1970’s. For that assignment I interpreted an illustration from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, this made me realize that by the 1970’s both the “American Dream” and the American counterculture were inexistent. At first I wanted to find out how the American counterculture came to existence in the 1950’s, and why it flourished in the 1960’s, and how it eventually fizzled out by the 1970’s. I had already read On the Road by Jack Kerouac which focused on the birth of the counterculture in the 1950’s, and Hell’s Angels by Thompson which gave me an example of a countercultural group that existed in the 1960’s, and I was in the process of reading The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe which gave me yet another 1960’s countercultural group: the Merry Pranksters. I saw a connection between those three books, and thought I had a good idea of the birth and death of the counterculture. You can see this in my first proposal and prospectus. But by the time I wrote my revised proposal, I had done more research and decided to narrow my topic and focus on Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Two article’s in particular made narrow my topic: the first is an article about tourists and drug trafficking in the Fear and Loathing, the second is about how the Hell’s Angels were not truly part of the counterculture. Another factor that made me narrow my topic was the two movies that I watched, which were directly related to Fear and Loathing and Thompson. The first movie was the Fear and Loathing movie that did an excellent job in interpreting the book and the second was Gonzo, which is about Thompson’s life, a great fact source. Now that the majority of my sources were directly related to Thompson’s Fear and Loathing, it was a natural transition to focus on that novel. My revised proposal reflects this. The last and one of the most important sources that I found was a book that gave a great definition of what counterculture is, and in turn a much needed theory source. In the forward of this book Tim Leary used the metaphor of a wave to define counterculture, just like Thompson did in his novel. The thesis that I came to is as follows: Hunter S. Thompson saw the 1960's in California as a symbol of hope and freedom, but even as early as the mid-1960’s, Thompson saw that the failure of the counterculture to unite would cause its collapse and lead to fear and loathing in the 1970's.
I organized my portfolio to show how my project gradually grew. In the beginning I introduce my topic. The next tab includes the F.E.A.T. assignments and the journal entries. These are the basic tools that helped me with my writing and developing my ideas. The F.E.A.T. system allowed me to improve my writing, as well as organize my sources into four categories. The journal entries also helped me improve my writing, as well as develop my ideas by vocalizing them to the professor who gave me feedback. As I did research I found argument source articles about my main exhibit sources. The articles that I found are all under one tab in my portfolio. Looking for these articles greatly improve my research skills. Because I needed fact sources I watched two movies that were directly related to Thompson. Watching and interpreting these two movies improved my analytic skills. The annotated bibliography also helped improve my analytic skills. After I found 9 sources I had to read and analyze them to see how they could help me write my final paper. The next section of my portfolio has my proposals and prospectus in it. These were all written after I had done a lot of research, so I placed this tab right before my final paper. Doing the proposals and prospectus allowed me to organize my thoughts as well as with time management. After writing them I was able to identify what I needed to do to get me to the next stage of my project. Having feedback on these assignments also helped direct me in the right direction, as well as helped with improving my grammar, and developing my writing style. I wrote my final paper in a span of four days, I was never rushed and having all of the ground work done before hand made it a painless process of simply putting it all together. The last section of my portfolio contains my reflections. The reflections allowed me to speak freely about my project, and vent. Writing and doing research all semester made me a much better writer all together. Every assignment in class directly related to the final paper and portfolio. As the proposals and prospectus due dates came around you were forced to have something done, so by the time it came time to write the final paper you were fully prepared. I feel that this is a great approach in improving ones writing, research, and analytic skills.