Old 04-7-2012, 05:35 PM   #1
25thhour
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Default So you may have seen my thread before....

... about me failing my English Provincial.

Well, I am rewriting it on Thursday and I would like some feedback on my writing.

This was the question:
Discuss the jump in "Prelude to Jumping in the River" as a metaphor for making important decisions. Use paragraph form and support your response with specific references to the text.

Here is the poem
He unpeels himself, lays his light shirt, glasses, straw hat
and shoes on the sea-monster
driftwood, where they rest as easily
as they do on him. The mental preparation
5 takes some time. I have also stood
on that rock, feet cupping
the low, flat lip. The decision is not yet made.

What goes on at the edge of the bank
could last years, centuries. The bottom will shift or

10 vanish entirely, will prod
from the muck we can barely toe
deeply rooted lilies, suckling
bladderwort2. Its weight separating it
from the air, the water seeks

15 itself and stays there, closing
without fuss over whole worlds. It has swallowed
countless resolves to jump or retreat
and kept no record of either. Yet —
the pizzicato3 of the crickets, the stream — this is at stake,

20 and it remains enough to give us pause.

The exit, too, will be graceless. There are no footholds
among the reeds and we can barely heave
the body up. We are hopelessly terrestrial, and vaguely,
mnemonically4 aquatic, but never both at once. In the end,

25 I catch the aftermath: the slowing ripples, the dogs
rushing down the hill, the surprised head bobbling
above the water. Waiting, I have missed the jump,
the perfect, reckless moment when we cannot turn back.


Here is my response:
The jump in the poem "Prelude to Jumping in the River", by Katia Grubisic, is adequately used as a metaphor for making important decisions. Grubisic uses a sense of detail so vivid: "The pizzicato of the crickets" (19). and "deeply rooted lilies, suckling bladderwort" (12-13); this abundance of complex words and description places emphasis on how great of a challenge the boy was facing when he came face to face with his dire decision. Grubisic also describes every moment of his jump, from his very first action, to the final, "reckless moment when [he] cannot turn back" (28). This description, along with all of the other description, allows the reader the knowledge that assessing the situation before making a drastic decision is a great idea, because once the "leap of faith" into an unknown is taken, there is no turning back. Finally, Grubisic uses the situation of a boy jumping off a cliff because of the great "mental preparation" (4) it takes to get oneself ready for the leap, and because of the immense danger in actually attempting the jump. The same is said for decision making; every decision has its' pros and cons and there is always a state of mental preparation before the decision is made. In essence, thinking before acting, even though it is hard to do sometimes, will always make the outcome better.


Please critique... This is a rough draft and I wrote in 15 minutes. I usually don't post my writing on the net because I am self-conscious but I need your guys' help.
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Old 04-7-2012, 05:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: So you may have seen my thread before....

i didnt read the poem because no. also i dont know what a provincial is but i trust in you that you know what length your writeup has to be. it looks a little short to me, but that's just compared with my experience in poetry writeups, prompts, etc.

"The jump in the poem "Prelude to Jumping in the River", by Katia Grubisic, "

nothing is wrong here but i would add "titular jump" instead of just "jump" because it sounds good. i think.

"is adequately used"

"adequately"? adequate means, like, "good enough". is that what you want to convey? maybe it is, but, if so, you'll probably have to show how it's only a "pretty good" metaphor rather than a solidly good or great one.

"Grubisic uses a sense of detail so vivid:"

how about just "uses a vivid sense of detail". "a sense of detail so vivid" is just sorta cumbersome and considering you don't follow it up with anything (e.g. "so vivid that it blah blah blah") i think it fits better

""The pizzicato of the crickets" (19)."

what's with the period? the next word is an undercase "and"

"this abundance of complex words and description places emphasis on how great of a challenge the boy was facing when he came face to face with his dire decision."

there's nothing technically wrong with this, but I don't read the line "deeply rooted lilies, sucking bladderwort" and see how it conveys the difficulty of the challenge. do you? if so, explain more as to WHY, exactly, because right now I don't see it, and neither will your teacher or whatever. probably.

"Grubisic also describes every moment of his jump, from his very first action, to the final"

once again, technically, this is ok, but...c'mon. "from his very first -action-"? doesn't that seem a bit, for want a better word, lame? i would suggest replacing the word "action" with the action itself (whatever that may be; like "from the first tensing of the knees" or whatever)

"This description, along with all of the other description,"

once again: LAME. clean it up, change it a little bit. make it sound less like you just scrambled to write this up in a quick fifteen minutes. don't use "description" twice, specifically.

"allows the reader the knowledge that assessing the situation before making a drastic decision,"

is there a missing verb here? read this sentence again; doesn't sound right to me. "allows the reader the knowledge that assessing the situation before making a drastic decision -is important-," or something, would work.

"every decision has its' pros and cons"

just its*, no apostrophe

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Old 04-7-2012, 05:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: So you may have seen my thread before....

uhh in case that's hard to read which it totally is

i quoted something and then tried to help out below in italics

a lot of it is subjective and i won't take it too personally if you disagree haha

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Old 04-7-2012, 06:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: So you may have seen my thread before....

Thank you so much Robertsona! For some of them I knew it was wrong but I had a strict time limit. I am really bad at picking different and unique words, as you can see. :P

About the lilies I was just talking about Grubisic's language. I see now how it doesn't really fit in though.

EDIT: A provincial is a giant test worth 40% of my mark in English. We get 3 hours max to complete and have to write three different compositions. This one, was 150 words minimum
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Old 04-7-2012, 06:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: So you may have seen my thread before....

oh yeah if you had a time limit this makes more sense
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Old 04-7-2012, 06:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: So you may have seen my thread before....

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertsona View Post
oh yeah if you had a time limit this makes more sense
Yeah, I set out 15 minutes. Which is the time limit they say it should take. In the provincial I would come back to it and proofread near the end.

What do you think of the overall quality considering it is a rough draft.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:51 AM   #7
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Default Re: So you may have seen my thread before....

eeeeeee, I know that's just a draft, but I can see why you may not have done well on your previous test :-/ Note that I don't know how to format anything properly.

"The jump in the poem "Prelude to Jumping in the River", by Katia Grubisic, is adequately used as a metaphor for making important decisions. "

I know the assignment is to discuss the "jump" but there is, alas, no actual jump in the poem, but only the moments before the decision to jump once one's already chosen to stand on the precipice. The jump itself would be better compared to the moment the decision is made (or not made as the case may be), not all the things leading up to the decision.

"Grubisic uses a sense of detail so vivid: "The pizzicato of the crickets" (19). and "deeply rooted lilies, suckling bladderwort" (12-13); this abundance of complex words and description places emphasis on how great of a challenge the boy was facing when he came face to face with his dire decision."

-So vivid that what?? You leave it hanging. We use the word 'so' in everyday language almost as a synonym to 'very'. However, the proper use of so must have an addition. 'so good that I wanted more' is acceptable. 'It was so vivid' is a sentence fragment.
-Are you saying that the abundance of complex words and descriptions emphasizes the great challenge of decision making as well as the boy's jump? Because you only say that it emphasizes the jump without tying it into actual decision-making.
-I'm not sure 'complex words and descriptions' is really a good enough reason to say that the poem represents decision-making. Lots of things are complex and have lengthy descriptions, but that doesn't mean they're all metaphors for decision-making.
-In the same point as previously talked about, if you are simply pulling a couple of lines as exemplars of something that the poem uses throughout, you don't want to start off with quoting those because it implies that only those lines you quoted represent your point, even if you specifically say that is not the case. Rather, put the quotations at the end of the idea as examples.
-I think most people will disagree that even if the kid were nervous as hell, I'm not sure 'dire' is the right word. If you feel that dire is the right word, then explain how (which would likely also tie into the idea that in life, decisions are often important or may be dire)


"Grubisic also describes every moment of his jump, from his very first action, to the final, "reckless moment when [he] cannot turn back" (28). This description, along with all of the other description, allows the reader the knowledge that assessing the situation before making a drastic decision is a great idea, because once the "leap of faith" into an unknown is taken, there is no turning back."
-Seems fine except that you say 'along with all of the other description'...that's far too vague...if you mean the rest of the poem in its entirety, then say the that

"In essence, thinking before acting, even though it is hard to do sometimes, will always make the outcome better."
-Not sure if better or worse is represented at all in the poem, and if it is, you haven't made a case for it. I agree with the thought immediately before this sentence, but this line definitely doesn't follow from that.



Overall, I think your writing is good. But I think where you're lacking is in the actual excersise. It took you 15 minutes to write this you say, but how much time did you spend thinking about it though? Because you seem to be missing some pretty obvious things. Just for example, from like line 8 to 20 is a simile to how long-lasting and far-reaching a decision can be.
During your test I would strongly recommend you mull over the question and give it a little more thought than you appear to have done with this excersise. And I don't mean it to come off as if I'm telling you you're lazy, a lazy person wouldn't even bother doing a redo of the test. I mean it so that you don't rush. You're a smart person and you can write just fine, but honestly, this little piece of writing conveys that you don't have a good grasp of the concept of metaphor. It reads like you don't understand the question and you're just grasping at straws as to what it actually represents, and hoping that in saying random, semi-pertinent things, you're going to hit the mark. Which is a shame because I'm pretty sure you understand the question just fine, and you probably also have good points in what you've written, however you just haven't expanded them enough in order for them to actually BE good.

Last edited by Cavernio; 04-10-2012 at 11:54 AM..
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: So you may have seen my thread before....

Err, time suggestion of 15 minutes for 3 hours of 3 writing components...?

I take it this is merely a subsection of one of those components to have them only suggest 15 minutes? I can't write shit in 15 minutes.
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: So you may have seen my thread before....

Honestly, if I were grading that, I'd give it a very low score. It seems to be a very surface-level analysis of the poem and doesn't really say much (and seems to miss the mark entirely with stuff like "complex language" which is a throwaway). There are all sorts of facets/parallels to draw from and virtually none of it was mentioned.

There's no mention of the driftwood, or the metaphoric nature of the water with respect to decisions, or the purpose of the crickets, or the point being hammered home by the dogs jumping into the water, etc.

It seems like you really, really rushed in your response without taking the time to peel the poem apart first. You'd have a lot more to write about that way, and it'd help make your analysis a little more thorough/cohesive.

I'd simply ask you, at this point, to try again and focus more on understanding the poem first before you write. I think it helps to get the basic idea first and then figure out the point each stanza/whatever tries to make.

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Old 04-10-2012, 01:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: So you may have seen my thread before....

So I took some time to analyze some lines and here are some thoughts regarding important decisions:


"The mental preparation takes some time"
(Decisions should not be done on impulse; it requires some thought)

"What goes on at the edge of the bank could last years, centuries"
(Take time, as it definitely will)

"The bottom will shift or vanish entirely"
(You cannot always get what you expected)

"Yet... this is at stake, and it remains enough to give us pause"
(Emphasizes the pressure of making an important decision)

"We are hopelessly terrestrial, and vaguely, mnemonically aquatic, but never both at once."
(Some people are all talk while others commit to actions)

"Waiting, I have missed the jump, the perfect, reckless moment when we cannot turn back"
(Missing the perfect opportunity because of hesitation)


Re-reading it, I could refer to the nature of things but that seems like total bs so I skipped out on that.

So basically some repeated points of what you wrote + others.
I think you're missing some key lines when you're analyzing this poem.
You have some solid points that cover the general gist of the poem but it only covers what's written. Need moar reading between the lines.
Analyze the question carefully and answer accordingly.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:00 AM   #11
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Default Re: So you may have seen my thread before....

How did your test go?
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