Hello all,

I am a new college student, and I have been assigned by my english teacher to write a journal about different short stories that she has given us to read. I have not studied writing and grammar in many years. I am very afraid that I've lost all the skills I had, and I would like to get some experts, such as yourselves, to proof read my entries and help me pin point my weakiness.

The format she request is three paragraphs. The first paragraph will be facts about the story and author. The second paragraph is my response and thoughts on the story. The third paragraph is to be any emotional response or memory that the story provoked.

Thank you in advice for your assistance,
Michael Anderson

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My English Comp 1 class was given a newspaper article titled, “Devoted to her children – all 20” to read today as a follow up to the last assignment we had. Eric Sullivan wrote the story, the Photographer was Mike Maple, and the piece was published in the Commercial Appeal, a local newspaper for the Memphis and surrounding area. The newspaper article is focused on a woman by the name of Samella Carraway. Mrs. Carraway and her husband Leroy Carraway were sharecroppers living outside of the city of Millington. The story is really a brief synopsis of her life told by her surviving children. It tells of the type of activities she preformed to properly raise her children, such as being in the kitchen by 5a.m. to cook breakfast, and scrubbing the clothes and diapers on an old fashion washing board until her hands was cracked and brittle. The story went on to tell us that she would work in the cotton fields, even being 9 months pregnant, so she could help provide money to support her family. Mrs. Carraway died on Sunday, January 16th 2005. She was 82 years old. In a quote from the story, “I have no regrets, Mama would say. None at all.”

I was very amused when my teacher showed me this article. Some would say that amused would be a very odd reaction to have, but I have always delighted at the little ironic turns that life can take. The classes had just finished reading, “My Mother Never Worked” by Bonnie Smith-Yackel. My teacher had just recently been discussing with us the need for more human-interest stories in newspaper. Needless to say I was quite amused to see that she had found a human-interest story; one that closely resembled the story we had just finished reading. The article states that Leroy Junior was the first-born child, in fact he married and moved to Illinois. Along with the article was a picture showing Lou Ethel Hull as the eldest surviving child. What it failed to state was what happened to Leroy Junior. I e-mailed the reporter explaining that our class was doing a paper on her story, and asked if she could please explain what happened to him. Mrs. Sullivan, the reporter, replied to my e-mail and was delighted to hear that we were doing this paper. She explained to me that Leroy Junior had died two years ago; she went on to explain to me that the information was included in the story but must have been removed to save space. Since I was able to close that one remaining gap left in the story. I found myself quite fulfilled.

I was apprehensive when I found out that we would be doing a journal entry about this piece of writing. I felt that I used most of my recollections that this story provoked in my last journal entry, but that is when I read about how Mrs. Sullivan packed up her bags a few weeks before her death. When she was asked why she was packing her bags she explained that she was going on a trip, she did not know where, and she didn’t know when, but she know she was going. This isn’t the first time that I have heard of someone having a premonition of his or her death. My mother told me a story about my great-grandfather and how he had an intuition also. She told me that about a week before his death he went into town, and came back with about three times the amount of groceries that they regularly used. My great-grandmother asked him why he had bought all this food. He explained to her that all his kids would be home this weekend. My great-grandmother did not understand him at the time, and she tired to explain to him that none of their children was suppose to come home that weekend. My great-grandfather died the next day in a bad car wreck, and they buried him on the following Saturday in front of all his children. The similarity between the two stories cannot be ignored, and left me feeling vaguely spooked.
Hello Ashon, welcome to English Forums,

It was a pleasure to read your piece – thank you!

There really is very little that needs changing. Here are a few comments:


The newspaper article is focused on] focuses on

a brief synopsis] probably tautological

It tells of the type of activities she preformed] performed

to properly raise her children] this doesn't quite follow; I wonder whether you mean something like 'it tells of the kinds of things she had to do to bring up her children in a decent fashion...'

on an old fashion washing board] 'old-fashioned'; also, I'm more used to hearing 'washboard', though 'washing board' may be correct in some places.

until her hands was cracked] were cracked

even being 9 months pregnant, ]even when nine months pregnant

In a quote from the story,] To quote from the story

I have always delighted at ] delighted in

My teacher had just recently been ] remove either 'just' or 'recently'

more human-interest stories in newspaper. ] the newspaper

The article states that Leroy Junior was the first-born child, in fact he married and moved to Illinois. ] these two clauses don't seem to have a connection.

Along with the article was a picture showing Lou Ethel Hull as the eldest surviving child. ]showing Lou Ethel Hull, the eldest surviving child

Since I was able to close that one remaining gap left in the story. I found myself quite fulfilled. ] This doesn't quite follow; the 'since' in the first sentence requires another clause.

I felt that I used most of my recollections ] ?I felt that I had used up most of the reflections

but that is when I read about how Mrs. Sullivan packed up her bags a few weeks before her death. ] ?but at that point I read about

tired to explain to him that none of their children was suppose] tried, supposed



Thanks again!

MrP
Thank you very much for the feedback, Its far worse than I feared Emotion: sad

Would it be to presumptuous of me to post the other 3 that I have? I would not want to come across as trying to have others do my work for me, but at the same time I do want to use every resource I have to get the best grade.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Its far worse than I feared

It wasn't bad at all, in my opinion. I found it genuinely interesting.

It's usually best to post things one by one – if you post the next one, I'll be happy to take a look. Or perhaps someone else will comment.

MrP