EN100 Portfolio


The Real Cost

A Social Woman In a Lonely Food Court

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

My Progress in EN100

The Real Cost

The Real Cost commercial has many smokers rethinking what the actual cost of a pack of cigarettes is with a very unsettling commercial. I’m sure that everyone is familiar with the “The Real Cost” commercial. There is two different, yet similar versions of this commercial: one in which a girl has to give up a patch of her skin to buy a pack of menthol cigarettes and the other a guy has to pull out his tooth in order to buy a pack of menthol cigarettes. This commercial shows the true affects of smoking cigarettes and tries to wean people away from smoking by showing them what they truly have to give up in order to purchase a pack of cigarettes.

The commercial first starts off with a woman who seems to be in her early twenties. She asks the cashier for a pack of menthol cigarettes and lays down a five-dollar bill. After she lays down the bill, the older woman who is at the cash register tells her that it’s going to cost her more than a five-dollar bill to buy a pack of menthol cigarettes. After the cashier tells the younger woman this, the younger woman then proceeds to pull off part of the skin on the side of her face. It seems to be a little dramatic for a commercial on prime time TV, however, it gets the point across of how bad smoking cigarettes is for someone, but also how much the value of a pack of cigarettes really is. In this case, it’s a patch of your skin and missing teeth. However, these are just the beginnings of what a person must give up when they are choosing to smoke cigarettes. At the end of the commercial, we are informed that not only do menthol cigarettes cost you money, but they also cause wrinkles and premature aging.

Throughout the commercial, you can see how the young woman buying the cigarette’s body language changes. When she first walks into the gas station, she seems fairly content. As she walks away from the counter after purchasing her menthol cigarettes, she almost has an ashamed look on her face, as if she knows that what she is putting into her body is harmful. This is the point in the commercial where we truly see “the real cost” of smoking. However, some may argue that this commercial is a little absurd, due to the fact that at age eighteen or nineteen, a smoker will most likely not develop the issues that arise in these commercials. But, this commercial more so shows the long term affects of smoking.

There are two “The Real Cost” commercials about smoking menthol cigarettes. The second commercial seems to be a little more dramatic than the first. In the second commercial, it is the same concept as the first one. This time, it is a younger male that walks into the gas station. He also asks for a pack of menthol cigarettes and lays his money down on the counter. Similarly to the other commercial, the cashier, who this time is an older man, tells the young man purchasing the cigarettes that his money is not enough. He then proceeds to pull out a pair of pliers from his pocket, reach them into his mouth, and pull out his entire tooth. During this portion of the commercial, it is fairly quiet and all that you can hear is the man and woman talking. But, when the man goes to pull his tooth out, the sounds that the view hears are very realistic and just horrible. Imagine being at the dentist and having a tooth pulled completely out. The sounds would not be very pleasant. It’s almost like a “crunch” and sucking noise combined. Watching this commercial has to be somewhat difficult for anyone, a smoker or non-smoker due to the graphics of this commercial .Yes, the viewers know that this is obviously not real, however just the thought of pulling out a whole tooth from your gum is enough to make anyone cringe.

After the young man lays his whole tooth on the counter near his money, the cashier gives him his pack of menthol cigarettes. The purpose of this commercial is to show what the effects of menthol cigarettes are on your teeth. From this commercial, we learn that no only are menthol cigarettes bad for your skin, but also can increase your chances of developing gum disease and losing your teeth. Which is why the man in this commercial pulls out his tooth with a pair of pliers.

Both of these commercials are very dramatic and informative as to what can happen to a person who smokes menthol cigarettes. I think that these commercials do a good job in almost “scaring” teens who might even consider smoking menthol cigarettes. Coincidentally, both of the customers who go in to buy these packs of menthol cigarettes both look fairly young and the cashiers are fairly older men and women. This makes me think that this commercial is targeting a specific crowd, that being, young teens. This could be because it seems that smokers in their early thirties or forties started smoking when they are younger, so by airing this commercial with younger people in them, they are trying to get a point across to the younger crowds about how bad smoking really is. People tend to start smoking in their high school years as apposed to developing the habit at age 30. So, by aiming this commercial towards a younger crowd, maybe they can veer teens and young adults away from smoking cigarettes.

Young adults and teens seem to be pressured into doing many different types of things, including smoking. Commercials like the “The Real Cost” are a good thing to have on TV, especially on channels and during times that the producers know that many of the viewers are going to be teens or young adults. When teens and young adults are being pressured into trying cigarettes, they don’t think about the after affects of smoking that these commercials point out. By not having a filter on who they may offend by these commercials and being very blunt, these types of commercials do a good job in trying to steer young adults and teens away from cigarette smoking.

 A Social Woman In a Lonely Food Court

As I enter the University Center at Southeast Missouri State University through the doors of Starbucks, I am suddenly overwhelmed with the smell of strong coffee and pastries. As usual in the morning hours, Starbucks is completely packed. I guess that’s how the brave college students conquer 8 A.M. classes. At least that’s how I do it. I exit through Starbucks to enter into the University Center. I look around me somewhat confused. I’m confused because I see very few people in the University Center, perhaps due to the fact that it is 8:30 in the morning and most smart college students (unlike procrastinators like myself), set up their schedule so they do not have 8 AM classes everyday.

I smell many different scents. I can smell pancakes and sausage biscuits being cooked at Grill Nation. I can smell the cinnamon flavored coffee that they serve that I’ve always been a little nervous to try just because I don’t like black coffee and prefer the five dollar, cavity inducing, sugar filled coffee at Starbucks. I go have a seat in the lounge area to observe my surroundings. I feel a tad awkward. I’m a very social person and love to talk, so I’m usually socializing with a crowd of people as I enter the University Center, so for me to not be talking to someone; it’s just a tad odd.

I step down a few stairs and sit in a firm, yet comfy chair. Around me I feel very welcomed. The colors around me are very warm and remind me of fall, which happens to be my favorite season. I am surrounded by deep oranges, purples, reds, and yellows. In front of ID Services, there’s very large, “A” shaped canvases that people refer to as “yard art” that the different sororities and fraternities have painted. I see Gamma Phi Beta’s Fourth of July themed canvas and boy does it look good! This holds a special place in my heart because I am a part of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. I enjoyed seeing the different varieties of the yard art. They were all very eye catching and I admired the work on them because I could never do something like that.

I find people watching very entertaining. I could honestly people watch all day long. As I’m looking around the University Center, I wonder why there is one, lonely, random balloon floating around the ceiling. I’m suddenly distracted by the loud, vulgar rap music escaping from someone’s headphones. I’ve always been unsure as to why people turn the volume on their headphones up so loud to where others can hear it. Doesn’t that hurt their ears? If I can hear it sitting five feet away, surely they can hear it. Maybe this has to do with the fact that they’re unsocial. Do they not want to talk to people? Makes me wonder why they’re really listening to their music so loudly.

The one thing that really grabs my attention in the University Center is the different group of people that reside in there. I look around and see a large co-ed group at a large, long table. There are about eight people at this table and I find it odd that only a few of them are talking to one another. Most of the people are sitting on their phones. What are they doing? Maybe Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or finishing up a last minute assignment? I guess it confuses me a little bit. Why go to breakfast with a large group of people if you’re not going to communicate with one another? Maybe they just want to have other friends to sit with instead of sitting by themselves, which is understandable. I don’t exactly enjoy going to get a meal by myself. It’s always nice to have someone to accompany you so that you don’t look like a “loner.” However, whenever I am sitting at a table with a group of people, I enjoy socializing because whatever I want to do on my phone can probably wait until I’m not around my friends. I guess that’s just me. I’m a sociable person and enjoy talking to others, even if it is someone I may not know very well.

Next to them I see a much smaller, round table with only four chairs. Two people are sitting there eating their breakfast and seem to be having a conversation. Along the wall, there is a taller table with a tall chair accompanying it. There sits one lonely person. I kind of want to go up and start a conversation with them, that’s just my friendly and outgoing personality I guess. Seeing someone sit alone, I can’t help but wonder: do they have very many friends? Why are they sitting along? Are they sitting by themselves on purpose? But why would someone actually want to sit by him or herself in the large cafeteria filled with large groups of people? Who knows? I guess some people actually do enjoy being by themselves in the cafeteria. This is understandable because for instance, if I have things to get done and maybe want to work on homework while I’m having lunch, I don’t need a group of friends there because then I’ll get distracted. Or they could possibly just be grabbing a quick bite to eat before class and don’t want to make a social event over a meal. Maybe one day I’ll go up to a person sitting by him or herself and get to know them. Like I said, I am a social person and love meeting and talking to new people. For now, though, I’ll stay in my comfy chair and continue to people watch.

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh 

             I first experienced Vincent Van Gogh’s paint, Starry Night, in second grade. We were supposed to recreate this painting using oil pastels, which was a pretty big task for a second grader. This painting by Van Gogh was perfected in June of 1889 in Arles, France. The style of this painting is post-impression. Impressionism is a style in which things look almost distorted, but you can still identify what the picture is depicting. Van Gogh used oil pastels on a canvas to create this painting. This original painting is currently located in New York, New York in the Museum of Modern Art.

I love the style and texture that is used in this painting. Each stroke of the oil pastel is unique and a different length, size and color. The color in this painting is incredible and I find it amazing how Van Gogh combined these different colors into a beautiful, famous painting. Van Gogh gives the sky almost a greenish color, which I find very interesting and unique. I would never imagine a sky to have a green tint to it, however Van Gogh certainly does make it work for him. I like the style and motions that Van Gogh seemed to use in this painting. The sky seems to have swirls in it, with a wide variation of color, giving the painting a very unique look.

Van Gogh depicts things very well and makes us see a deeper painting than just any ole’ regular oil pastel painting. Not only does he depict the sun and the different shades of it very uniquely, but also he shows us the reflection that the sun makes on the (wooden?) structure toward the left of the page. Not many artists can reach this kind of intensity in a painting, but Van Gogh sure did hit the nail on the head with this one.

My Progress In EN100

I have thoroughly enjoyed my EN100 class this semester. I think part of the reason for this is because I had an extremely educated, intelligent, and helpful teacher. Thanks to him, I have developed as a writer and think that I will excel in the next level of English, EN140.

I have always thought that I am not a very strong writer; English Composition has never been my strong subject. However, exercises that Dr. Dimock had us do in class seem to help me with the structure of my papers. One thing that I really enjoyed in this class was the peer editing writing workshops during class time. These helped me a lot because I was able to have two more sets of eyes on my paper and get some great input on my writing before I turned it in for a grade. Most of the time when I would change things in my paper that were mentioned during the peer editing, I would receive a higher grade. I know this because after each essay of mine was graded, Dr. Dimock would commentate on my strengths and my weaknesses in my essays, and almost always something that he mentioned in the strengths were things that I had added to my essay after the peer editing.

Overall, I think that the comments that Dr. Dimock wrote on the back of all of my essays were the most help during this semester. Each teacher is different and these comments helped me to reach an understanding of what Dr. Dimock was looking for in my essays. From my first essay to my last, I have most certainly grown in depicting details in my essays. I have learned to be more descriptive and to also create arguments in my essays. Seeing as EN140 is a class that revolves solely around argumentative essays, this has also helped me in my writing. I have learned that in order to compose a well-written essay, I need to have a thesis that is arguable and that is one area that I think I have also grown as a writer. When I first went into EN100, I wasn’t exactly comfortable with what a thesis really is. As I was revising my papers for my portfolio, I was able to create a well-written, arguable thesis. Dr. Dimock has taught me the importance of composing an argument in essays and as my writing has progressed, I have composed more arguable essays.

I’d like to think that my essays have progressed over the semester; however, I noticed somewhat of a decline in the grades that I received on my essays, which was somewhat discouraging. For example, I wrote an essay about the Real Cost commercial. I personally thought that I did very well on this essay and gave a great amount of detail and when I turned this essay in, I felt very confident. However, when I received the grade that I did, I was somewhat discouraged. Sometimes though, receiving a grade that I did not want is part of the process of becoming a better writer and that is the most valuable lesson that I believe I have learned this semester.

One concept that I still think that I need a little work on is the concept of creating a well-written, arguable thesis statement. Like I mentioned before, I have always had trouble coming up with thesis statements and I think the hardest part of writing a thesis is coming up with a counter argument. Although I still have trouble with this concept, I do believe that Dr. Dimock has cleared this up for me because I have slowly become better at writing thesis statements.

The essays that I have chosen to revise are, “A Social Woman in a Lonely Food Court” and “The Real Cost”. In both of these essays, I followed the comments and that Dr. Dimock made on my essays and added things to make my essay more descriptive and arguable and also took out unnecessary details.

In “A Social Woman in a Lonely Food Court”, one comment that stood out to me that was written multiple times, was the comment that I was not getting to my point quickly enough. So I changed my thesis statement around and also was sure to get my point across before the second page of my essay. There were some points in the essay where I was asked to expand an idea, so I did that as well as add some more important details.

I also revised my paper about the Real Cost commercial. After re-reading it and reading the comments that were left on my paper, I realized how much of a train wreck my paper really was and that yet again; I did not have a well-written, arguable thesis. My introduction into this paper was also not the greatest, so I rewrote my opening sentence to grab the audience’s attention better. I also composed a thesis that is arguable. Like my other essay, there were points in my essay that I made, but did not elaborate on them, so again I added more details that helped a reader to better understand my paper. I added more sensory details when talking about the commercials as Dr. Dimock had suggested. One specific example is on the second page of my paper where I am talking about the commercial of the man pulling out his tooth.

Lastly, the blog post that I revised is the blog post about my analysis of Van Gogh’s artwork, A Starry Night. However, I did not feel the need to change much about this blog post. I added a few extra sentences talking about the reflection of the sun on the structure toward the left of the painting as Dr. Dimock had suggested.

After revising these essays and blog post, I feel more confident about each of them. I have a better understanding of what Dr. Dimock is looking for in my essays and blogs and think that the revisions that I made to each of these pieces will result in a better grade.


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