October, 2016

When a childhood game becomes a college paper strategy.

Mark Gaipa’s 8 Strategies for Critically Engaging Secondary Sources is the list that should be handed out at the start of any class that has a student conduct a research paper. Gaipa’s visual aids and different perspectives to consider can guide a student on what to look out for when reading other scholarly articles when thinking about ideas relating to their topic of interest.

We can see Stuart Murray use “Strategy 4: Leapfrogging, or Biting the Hand that Feeds You – Agree with a scholar (i.e., kiss ass), then identify and solve a problem in the scholar’s work – for example, an oversight, inconsistency, or contradiction” in his book Representing Autism.

After discussing Mitchell and Snyder’s ideas in their book Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse, Murray agrees and finds some of their findings to be  ‘understandable’ and sees ‘relations’ to his book’s subject. Praising them for a couple of other instances later, Murray suddenly stops (Leapfrog moment) to write a contradictory statement, “At the same time, however,” and then write what it is he’s disagreeing with, “it would be wrong to say that imaginative accounts of autism are regularly ‘productively parasitic.”  Murray then states that the increase in autism narratives “has arguably not led to a profitable revision of public knowledge about what autism is. Rather, we might feel that such narratives have overlaid the condition not with understanding but with the complex desires of a society that wishes to be fascinated with a topic that seems precisely to elude comprehension.”

Murray uses this technique as a rhetorical style that is a good transition technique that leads up to his claim. He first acknowledges Mitchell and Synder’s points and then leapfrogs over to a contradiction about how their claim can be argued against. He follows up the argument by saying ‘rather’ and stating ‘we,’ the public, ‘might feel’ and then lays out his (or speaking for the public) stance on how their claims can be argued against and then gets to his claims that will be discussed in his book (since it’s the introduction). This strategy develops a certain chronological order: Introduce source; share their ideas; agree with their perspectives on some ideas; then disagree with an idea; have that disagreement lead up to your own claim. I don’t see the leapfrogging strategy as too much of a derogatory stance towards other scholars because it allows and opens up a deeper understanding of the overall topic.

The chronology reminds me of how I’m writing this post. If I were to put my 3rd paragraph where my 4th paragraph was, what kind of effect would that have on my blog? The way you design your paragraphs can be the kick start to a stream-of-consciousness that will keep your reader engaged.

Curious Geo…Charlie and the mysterious circular eye protectors

Flashing back to our readings of Damasio, he explained that the relationship between the organism and object develop consciousness. This theory can branch with socio-culturalism whose factors are a major aspect to We Love You, Charlie Freeman.

In Charlie Freeman, we are first introduced to Charlie in his room which “was full of plants–house ferns…” because Dr. Paulsen believed they were able to “simulate the natural world” (20). But, like Charlotte says, “Charlie had never known any forests and yet Dr. Paulsen assumed some essential part of him pined for them” (20). This example sits beside Damasio’s claim of the interaction between organism and object. We see his reactions towards plants when Max and Charlie are playing and Charlie “[shakes] his head at the leaves but stayed doggedly focused on tonguing Max’s glasses” (21). The organism is Charlie and the two objects are the house ferns and Max’s glasses. Charlie has no preconceived experience with nature so his reaction to the leaves is dull but, being around Max a majority of his time, Charlie looks at Max’s eyes, the area which animals first notice one another, and sees the glasses and becomes more fascinated with them. This part of the novel is allegorical to an animal’s environment and the effects it has on what it’s known for and how it can be altered. Grabbing Max’s glasses is a representation of  how Charlie was raised and how it affects his choices – to decide on the material world rather than nature.


Another sociocultural instance is Callie’s relationship with Charlie. Callie notices that she and her sister Charlotte are drifting apart ever since Charlotte met Adia. Charlotte apologizes for having a friend, then a controversial argument rises when Callie says “I have friends, too. . .Charlie is my friend.” (150-151). Charlotte doesn’t think Charlie counts as a friend because he’s not human, but Callie calls him a “hominid,”  a Homosapien humans derived from if following Darwinism (151). We later see Callie’s attempts to befriend Charlie by purchasing the Magick book that is supposed to help the relationship between the two. At the end of the book, Callie tells us she decided to go to Africa to volunteer with an ape sanctuary. These events seem chronological if only looking at the relationship between Callie and Charlie: they meet one another, Callie tries to befriend him, studies on how to build the relationship, and then goes to Africa to study his species. This ties in a bit with Damasio’s organism and object theory, but I felt like throwing this bit into my blog to put some extra juice on socio-culturalism.


Here are some questions that are floating in my head:

If Charlie was given a natural environment with trees and a grass field etc, do you think the sign language test could’ve been more efficient or a complete failure?

Do you believe that Callie was affected more by Charlie because she’s a younger age than Charlotte? Does this critical/sensitive learning juxtaposition exist?

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