Today we will explore the processes of revising and editing and continue our study of Art Spiegelman’s Maus.
If you have already written your introductory blog post and published it on your blog, I recommend that you review it at least once more before the noon deadline on Friday. If you haven’t yet created your WordPress blog, please do so as soon as possible to give yourself ample time to troubleshoot. If you encounter issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Revising and Editing
The processes of revising and editing aren’t the same. As the authors of A Writer’s Reference note, when you revise “you focus on clarity and effectiveness; when you edit, you check for correctness” (29). Before the noon deadline on Friday, set aside some time–even if it’s only ten or fifteen minutes–to revise and edit your introduction.
Checklist for Revision
- Is the paragraph unified by a main point?
- If the introduction consists of more than one paragraph, is each paragraph unified by a main point?
- Have you presented ideas in a logical order?
A Writer’s Reference presents excellent advice on proofreading, which I am including verbatim below. Note that I have added the boldface for emphasis.
“Proofreading is a special kind of reading: a slow methodical search for misspellings, typographical mistakes, and missing words or word endings. Such errors can be difficult to spot in your own work because you may read what you intended to write, not what is actually on the page. To fight this tendency, try one or more of the following tips.
- Remove distractions and allow yourself ten to fifteen minutes of pure concentration–without your cell phone.
- Proofread out loud, articulating each word as it is actually written.
- Proofread your sentences in reverse order.
- Proofread hard copy pages; mistakes can be difficult to catch on-screen.
- Don’t rely too heavily on spell checkers and grammar checkers. Before automatically accepting their changes, consider accuracy and appropriateness.
- Ask a volunteer (a friend, roommate, or co-worker) to proofread after you. A second reader may catch something that you didn’t.” (31)
If you would like to receive feedback on your introductory blog post before Friday at noon, the Center for Academic Engagement offers a number of options for you. Those options are outlined on pages four and five of the syllabus.
Continuing Our Study of Maus
On Monday we examined the two-page comic that precedes Chapter 1. In my notes to you, I observed that “you might ask yourself why the first pages of the memoir are set in New York, thirteen years after the war” and that “[y]ou might also ask why those two pages precede Chapter 1. Why might Art Spiegelman have chosen to begin the memoir with the two-page story ‘Rego Park, NY c. 1958’?”
“Rego Park, NY c. 1958” serves as the epigraph for Maus. By definition, an epigraph is a short quotation that appears at the beginning of a book, one chosen by the author to convey one or more of the book’s themes.
Rather than offering a quotation as an epigraph, Spiegelman presents “Rego Park, NY c. 1958.” What story does the two-page comic tell, and what does it indicate to readers about the longer story that will unfold in Maus?
In the two paragraphs that follow, I offer a summary of the epigraph and a short analysis that examines what the epigraph conveys.
In Art Spiegelman’s epigraph for Maus I, “Rego Park, N.Y., c. 1958,” he recounts the events of a summer’s day when he was ten or eleven years old. He and two of his friends are racing together on roller skates until one of Artie’s skates comes loose and he falls. Rather than waiting for Artie, the other two boys skate away, leaving him behind to be the “Rotten egg” (5). After Artie returns home, his father asks why he is crying. When Artie tells his father what happened, his father questions his son’s use of the word “friend.” He replies, “If you lock them together in a room with no food for a week . . . / . . . Then you could see what is, friends! . . .” (6).
The cutting remark that Spiegelman’s father makes as he saws wood illustrates the communication breakdown between him and Artie. Spiegelman’s depiction of that gulf foreshadows the trials he will encounter: struggling to understand his father and himself as he aims to make meaning of their lives through his comics.
Notice how the first paragraph, the summary, does not express my opinion. By definition, summaries are objective. When you write a summary, you aim to convey a text’s main ideas in your own words but without offering your own opinion.
In the second paragraph, I turn to analysis. I connect the father’s cutting, or unkind, remark to the sawing of the wood, which is itself an act of separation—a detail that I might add to the paragraph if I choose to develop my analysis.
Summary and analysis are building blocks of both academic and professional writing. We summarize to increase our understanding of texts, and we analyze them to demonstrate our ability to think critically.
For more information on summary and analysis, see pages 63-64 of A Writer’s Reference.
Writing about Maus in Your Journal
After you complete each reading assignment in Maus, summarize it in your journal. You are not required to analyze each reading, but you should make note of any questions you have and points that you would like to address in class.
What to Focus on as You Read Maus
As I noted on Monday, because Maus is a memoir and your first essay assignment for English 111 is a literacy narrative, a form of memoir, focus on this question: How can Maus serve as a model for my own memoir, my literacy narrative?
Hacker, Diana, and Nancy Sommers. A Writer’s Reference. GTCC Custom 9th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2018.
Spiegelman, Art. Maus I. Pantheon, 1986.