Editing by organizing according to professor comments

Congratulations on finishing Essay 4! You are fast approaching completion of all course requirements, so we are in the final stretch. A few aspects of your essay stood out. First, you uncovered a number of similarities and differences, which demonstrates your powers of observation. Observation is a critical skill for both writers and doctors. Second, you worked inductively from the texts to identify important patterns in both texts. Finally, your writing pattern of (1) observation, (2) evidence, and (3) interpretation was quite appropriate to the assignment. I would like you to focus your revision on organization. Your essay seemed weighted toward the film, which is entirely appropriate, as it offers some interesting divergences from Goffman’s characterization of stigma. But for this reason, the a-a, b-b, c-c, comparative model (the back and forth) doesn’t work as well. I want you to focus instead on describing both Goffman and the film individually, then focusing on their similarities, then spending a few paragraphs describing how the film differs from Goffman. Below I summarized your various findings, which can easily be thematized (grouped under a common heading), and offer a preliminary outline: Similarities Both texts define stigma as a relationship with community. Both texts show different types of stigma. Both texts define “normals” as those with bodies that function. Both texts deal with negative responses from the community toward the stigmatized individual. Both texts characterize people with disabilities as realizing the negative attitudes normal people have toward them… they are viewed as self-aware. Differences Focus on Individual Experience Film focuses on an individual, book focuses on general patterns and anecdote. Film focuses on love interest as a type of “normalness” the main character desires, and demonstrates that one can use talents to influence one’s position in society. Film gives a more complete picture of one life, book focses on snapshots. Film is more about personal experience. Leaves Viewer with Hopeful, Positive Impression Film is more hopeful, and shows that stigmatized people can manage their lives, and the community will recognize their worth as individuals. This relates to the film’s focus on support, and how the character receives support from parents and family. Film deals with secondary gains (being recognized as a “disabled” artist), but this kind of gain is rejected by the main character – which implies that he achieves his goal of acceptance to some extent (likewise the marriage). Paragraph Outline Intro with working thesis Describe how Goffman characterizes stigma Describe how the film characterizes stigma Demonstrate where the two texts converge Describe how although they converge, the film offers two main differences Describe the focus on individual experience, with presenting evidence Interpret the evidence and show why it’s important – what do we learn about stigma and the experience of stigmatized people? Describe how the film leaves the viewer with a hopeful, positive impression, present evidence. Interpret the evidence and show why it’s important – what do we learn about stigma and the experience of stigmatized people? Conclusion – Evolve the thesis. Although stigma seems to be about X, after exploring how the film diverges, we find that it can also be about Y or Z. Make an appointment to meet with me sometime next week, and we can discuss these comments. This revision will largely entail rearranging your text, and then smoothing out the rough edges to create a unified whole… it’s kind of like textual surgery 🙂

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