Finding the Right Words for Critical Writing

Jack Kerouac once stated “one day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” As Jack may have found his day, I have not. Critical writing is a challenge for me. Throughout the course of English 131 in college I learned the hard way on how to become a critical writer. Throughout this course and previous AP courses I took in high school I have slowly transformed me into a better writer. Over the course of critical writing the best work I have written is the most recent work on the play, Our Town.

As a critical writer  by far my best work is shown through the essay of Our Town. Not only do my grades exemplify the fact that I have improved, but the fact that I also felt confident in this essay. From my first essay of the semester receiving a C on the critical essay on the first novel, The Underground Railroad read in class to making an A on the last essay about the play Our Town. What I learned from class is how to analyze my reading differently, whether it be an article, a novel, or even a play. What made my essay on the play Our Town a simple analysis, was the fact that I could compare the production of the play and the script. What I appreciate from this class is that Professor Lucas chose readings that were active on campus, whether it be a visiting author or a production by the Lenoir Rhyne Playmakers. For example I found a critique in the script itself that the production did a good job at expressing the play with the minimal props required and asked of. In the script of Our Town, “sets imaginary glasses before them” (68) was a point in the play that made sure there were no props used. As for the end of the play production there was usage of props which was not explicitly stated in the script that they had to be imaginary. This is just one of the critical points that I have grown to make while writing critical essays in class.

Overall the course for critical writing has given me many opportunities to become a much better writer in general but also made me more critical in reading. I can analyze techniques authors use that are different than others because of the variety of writing and reading that we did in class from blog post,articles, and novels. I became a critical writer that lead me to compare what I read and analyze to real life situations. Like the article from Esquire about “The Falling Man”, it critically analyzed a situation in the current world through an image at “9:41 a.m. EST”.  

Past works

Work Cited

Wilder, Thornton. Our Town. 1938. Harper Perennial, 2003.

Junod, Tom. “The Falling Man.” Esquire, Sept. 2003,, accessed 8 Sept. 2017.

Annotated Bibliography

“The Falling Man”

Junod, Tom. “The Falling Man.” Esquire, Sept. 2003,, accessed 8 Sept. 2017.

The article by the name of “The Falling Man” by Tom Junod is a piece written about a photograph that was taken on 9/11. Junod describes the man in the photograph as he has thrown himself off of one of the twin tower as 9:41 am. Junod describes the young male as relaxed and ready to embrace his fate that was not expected. With a great use of imagery and similes Junod compares the man falling to his death in a beautiful way.

The Devil in the White City

Larson, Eric. The Devil in the White City. Vintage, 2004.

Eric Larson’s work of nonfiction, The Devil in the White City is a piece written about the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, and a murderer by the name H.H Holmes. Larson provides an insightful details to how the 1893 World’s fair came to be while, following the murderous Mudgett also know as Holmes, who was an active serial killer in the 1890’s.

Loss of Unwelcome Burden Devastates Me

Lucas, Guy. “Loss of Unwelcome Burden Devastates Me.”, 5

Oct. 2017. Accessed 6 Oct. 2017.

Guy Lucas wrote a piece in the format of Associated Press about the loss of one of his pet cats in “The Loss of Unwelcome Burden Devastates Me.”

Blogs vs. Term Papers

Richtel, Matt. “Blogs vs. Term Papers.” The New York Times, 22 January 2012.

The article “Blogs vs. Term Papers” by Matt Richtel is an argumentative piece on whether high school and college students should write for an audience or write long papers just for a grade. Richtel conducts in depth research by getting teacher opinions and comparing the work by students who create a blog post and those who write papers. The student is living in an age where technology is very prevalent in their everyday lives and therefore the argument is made on whether having an audience like posting a blog will improve a student’s writing skills and make it interesting.


Schreck, Heidi. Creature. Samuel French, 2011.

Creature by Heidi Schreck is a play set in the 1400’s about a woman who wants to become a saint. The play was written based off a true story about Margery Kempe, who is the main character in script. The story of Margery Kempe is about how she so greatly believed that she was destined to become a saint, but she faced adversity in her journey. In the 1400’s the religious beliefs were a mix of christianity and protestantism. Mrs. Kempe was married and had kids, therefore she was ineligible to be a saint because she was not longer pure, was one of the many reasons people frowned upon her.

The Underground Railroad

Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad. Doubleday, 2016.

The novel The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead is a fictional story about runaway slaves and the underground railroad in the 1800’s. The main character, Cora, grew up on a plantation with motherly figures who left her at a young age. Cora’s mother ran away from the plantation and no one really knows where she is, or if she survived, but Cora being her daughter has captured Caesar’s attention by being a “good luck charm” to runaway with. Throughout the novel there are  historical facts that are exaggerated. It incorporates ideas like the underground railroad which were real in a fictional way, the railroad in the novel is literal, as for in the 1800’s it was just a name given to the idea of getting slaves out of southern plantations.

Our Town

Wilder, Thornton. Our Town. 1938. Harper Perennial, 2003.

Our Town, by Thornton Wilder is a play about a small town called Grover’s Corner. In that town the main character Emily Webb grew up, got married, had a family, and passed away. As the plot follows the life of Emily Webb there is a theme that the script expresses, which is the fact that life is too short to take for granted. Once Emily is dead she asks to go back to her twelfth birthday to reflect and keep a happy memory only to realize that human are so oblivious to the things that they should pay attention too.

Standing Ovation


Our Town, by Thornton Wilder is a play about the life of the main character Emily Webb who lived in the small town of Grover’s Corner. Emily falls in love with a town boy, gets married, has kids, and dies. In her death she is brought back to the past to reflect on how her human life was and how naïve humans are to the life they are living. The play was presented by the Lenoir Rhyne playmakers, and had many similarities which revealed a visual point of view for the audience although it was performed with minimal props.

The production of the play was very similar to the script if not exact. Therefore, what the production revealed to me that was not apparent during my own reading of the script was the vivid imagery, and distinction of characters. Although the production of the play was performed with minimal props the actions the characters performed were obvious. While reading the play the Stage Manager had such an extended performance role being other characters. Watching the play made it easier to identify the different characters and know what was going on during the scenes. For example in the scene were Emily was dead and revisiting her younger life it was not explicit in the script to have props but, it did not specify like in parts of the play as it did when Emily and George went to grab a drink together and the stage manager “sets imaginary glasses before them” (68). That is where I believe that the script had some weaknesses but the production did a great job of giving a visual representation of what Emily was “seeing” in her past.

The Playmakers production of Our Town had many strength and some weaknesses. As previously mentioned the play was very similar to the script by Wilder if not almost exact. For example in the script a “Professor” from the audience takes stage and gives the statics of the population in the town “the population, at the moment is 2,642” as for in the production the “professor” was sitting in the audience and took stage and gave the same exact number (23). The actors were a dedicated cast according to their performance, but I felt as if the play was drawn out to be too long for three acts. I found myself and others around me dozing off during the play, many left after act one. Overall, assuming the objective was to make the performance as close to the script as possible, it was excellent.

The objective that Wilder was trying to do with this play is to give a view on the lifestyle in 1900’s. The life of Emily Webb was just an insight on an ideal life style in a small rural town. Compared to society today that lifestyle is very different. No one’s life is that simple anymore, but it was well performed by the Lr playmakers with the script and usage of minimal props, and imagination.


Works Cited

Our Town.  By Thornton Wilder. Dir Lindsay Weitkamp. Perf. Rev. Andrew Weisner as the Stage Manager. Jack Verner as George Gibbs. Callie Cope as Emily Webb. LR Playmakers, Lenoir- Rhyne U., Hickory, NC. 12 November. 2017.

Thornton, Wilder. Our Town. 1938. Harper Perennial, 2003.


Mode of Operating


The book The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson is a work of nonfiction about the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 and an intriguing story about a murderer H. H Holmes. The chapter Modus Operandi delivers a short sum of how people go missing around Mr. Holmes. Larson’s technique of cross cutting throughout the work is summed in the chapter by detailing how Holmes likes to see his victims panic as he kills them.  

The chapter Modus Oprandi is interesting, because it reveals Holmes’ sadistic behavior. Throughout the book it is revealed how Holmes takes advantage of his hotel that brings in many guest, who soon become his victims. Holmes’ character can not be a killer compared to someone like to someone like Jack the Ripper because, “[h]olmes did not kill face to face, as Jack the Ripper had… He liked being near enough to hear the approach of death in the rising panic of his victims” (256). Jack the Ripper was a serial killer in the 1880’s in impoverished London. Who killed people who would not be missed in such a poor city.

On October 26th, 2017 I attended the visiting writers series with Erik Larson to listen to him briefly discuss why and how he chose to write The Devil in the White City. Larson made the statement that he “loved libraries” which is how he came about doing research on a mystery-murder story to write about. At first he mentioned that they story of Mudgett or also known as H. H Holmes did not appeal to him. It wasn’t until he was encyclopedia reading about the the World’s Columbian Exposition that captured his attention and Larson went back to the story of Holmes because it was in the same time period. For that reason Larson chose to contrast the “devil” as in Holmes and the “white city” as in Chicago throughout the book and how he intertwines the two stories into one as a work of nonfiction.

The chapter Modus Operandi is a chapter that ties together the story of Holmes and reveals how he kills his victims just naming off three of them. Holmes’ sadistic ways are slowly implied throughout the book until it was formally revealed by this chapter.

Works Cited

Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City. Vintage, 2004.

“An Evening with Erik Larson.” LR VIsiting Writers Series. 26 Oct. 2017, P.E Monroe

Auditorium, Lenoir Rhyne U., Hickory, NC.

The Story of Margery Kempe

The play Creature by Heidi Schreck is a piece set in 1400’s England. The

mcreatureain character Margery Kempe is a well-recognized lady, her father is the mayor if the town, and her husband owns a brewery, but other towns people see her as a crazy lollard who wants to become a saint. Margery believed that she was approached by God, therefore she believed her new calling was to become a saint. Creature conveys a story about a real woman named Margery who desired to become a saint, but experienced many conflicts and devil intended temptations that that are fictionalized throughout the plot for the play.

In the play Margery’s desire to become a saint created conflicts not only for herself but for all those who offered help. No one in town believed that Margery of all people was approached by God; therefore, no priest wanted to hear her confession. The town was frightened, and called Margery a lollard. Jacob, one of Margery’s “temptations,” or also known as the Devil, told her that “some people think you’re a lollard. And they are arresting lollards now” (33). As further explained in the play, lollards are people who do not believe in going to church to worship God, which creates conflict for Mar

gery because she believed she could pray and worship anywhere she wished, whereas Catholics in the 1400’s believed greatly in going to church to worship the lord. An obvious conflict that arose with Margery’s path to sainthood is that she is a married woman, with a child. A child of her own blood, meaning she is no longer a virgin. People believed that saints are to be pure, and Margery was not. Constantly reminded of her status, the Devil appears to Margery as a man named Asmodeus. Asmodeus reads to Margery from his book, “[i]n the year 1401, the witch and lollard Margery Kempe…was denied strangulation and burned at the stake for falsely wearing white when she was clearly not a virgin, proclaiming herself a saint, and reading from an English Bible” (47).  The play is a continuous cycle of conflicting situations for Margery Kempe’s desire to become a saint.


Creature is a fictionalized story around the main character, who was a real woman named, Margery Kempe, who wanted to become a saint.  The play conveys Margery’s difficulties accurately. She lived during the 1400’s and was never named a saint by the catholic church due to her lack of education and unusual actions.


Work Cited

Schreck, Heidi. Creature. Samuel French, 2011.

Run, Forest, Run!!!

Hello my name is Autum, like the season, but without the “n”. I am a freshmen at Lenoir Rhyne University, and I live on campus in Morgan. I am planning to double major in Spanish and exercise science to become a Physical Ed teacher and/or translator.

A little to know about me,  I was a five sport athlete at East Wilkes High. I played softball, soccer, ran cross country, track and field, indoor track, and was on the swim team. My experiences initiated my desire to pursue a career in coaching and teaching people about exercise and health.

I am an awarded runner and was honored with the Steve Mastin Female Athlete of the Year for my graduating class. I have experienced running the Spartan Sprint Obstacle course in the spring of 2016, which involved, a five mile run with 20+ obstacles within the five miles. I love to run. My motivation to stay in shape is to be able to continue running 5k’s and signing up for more obstacle races. I would like to complete a Spartan trifecta while in college.

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