“Below Zero”

When I read your essay, I thought it connected to a video that I had watched recently about how little time we have to do what we want in our life. I think this video will complicate what you began to discuss in your essay. Although there were some nice moments of description, I felt like your run outside was lacking an overarching purpose. For the next draft, I would try to address why running is important to you, what you think about when you are running, and why, with the short amount of time we have in our lives, you choose to run.

The video really emphasizes what little time there is in life, and I think you could connect the idea of purpose and not wasting time to your essay. Was the change from running in the gym to running outside liberating? Is it something you would do again? How does running make you feel? I think really analyzing the purpose behind your running will make it clearer to the reader why you chose to write about running, and how the experience affected you on a personal level.

“Journey For What?”

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173536
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
When I read the essay, “Journey For What?”, I immediately thought of the poem by Robert Frost. It seems that you do not really understand why you are on the path you are on right now, and I think that writing this essay will help you begin to understand yourself better. I think this poem questions some ideas you pose in your rough draft. You write that, “The two places are really similar” but I would like you to describe how they are different in as much detail as possible. I think the parks can serve as metaphors for the two different countries, so how does the U.S. differ form China? Are there different customs you have had to get used to that affect your everyday life? What do you miss about China, and what do you like about the U.S.?
Furthermore, I would like to challenge you to imagine what you life would have been like if you had taken a different path. I think you definitely chose the road less traveled by by coming to the U.S., so what would have happened if you stayed in China? Do you ever wish you did? I think exploring these feelings and the doubts you may have about your choice will make your essay stronger and give a better sense of direction and purpose.

“Reservation for One”



I think that the quote above complicates some aspects of the essay, “Reservation for One”. Although the feelings of awkwardness and anonymity were addressed, I think what would make this essay more powerful would be to explore the difference between loneliness and solitude that was felt. Was there a part of the night where you felt embarrassed? Was there a moment of empowerment that was felt when you were paying for the check or when you observed that most people were not even paying attention to the people they were with? If not, what was felt instead? If there was, I would describe the feeling as much as possible.

I think you could also explore what it felt like to see people you knew at the restaurant, and how maybe you worried about what they thought of you. How did other people besides the waitress react to you? What was it like not having your phone? Did you people watch instead? Did you hear parts of some conversations? The more description you have, the more then reader will be put in the scene and will understand what you were feeling.

Healing in “Detroit Arcadia”


Rebecca Solnit’s “Detroit Arcadia” provides the reader with a unique historical perspective of Detroit and reveals that racial conflicts began between the Native Americans and colonial settlers and have remained not only in Detroit, but throughout the United States. The quote by Rose Kennedy expands upon the hopeful conclusion Solnit has at the end of her piece:

“This is the most extreme and long-term hope Detroit offers us: the hope that we  can reclaim what we paved over and poisoned, that nature will not punish us, that it will welcome us home-not with the landscape that was here before we arrived, perhaps, but with land that is alive, lush, and varied all the same.” (Solnit 82)

Solnit’s historical narration of Detroit reveals the importance time plays in creating scars. Time does not heal all wounds. Healing is an active process, not a passive one, and the healing of Detroit begins with the exploration of the past. Because many of the events that occurred in Detroit happened long ago, they have become scars. However, this does not mean the city has been healed. Time cannot erase what has happened in Detroit, and the scars of injustice, racism, violence, and abandonment serve as a reminder of what has occurred. Though, as Solnit refers to indirectly and as Kennedy suggests, time can decrease the pain, the scars are a constant reminder of what happened. If the source of the wound is not addressed, the pain will continue. Therefore, the inhabitants of Detroit must confront the root causes of racism and violence to ensure they will not take place in the city they wish to create. The scars have become a part of Detroit and are proof of the city’s survival. Though some wounds are still fresh and racism is still prominent, the inhabitants and survivors of Detroit can begin to transform the city to actively engage with the past. The city will not be the same as it was before and cannot be given a new start, but Detroit can become a new version of itself, and try to prevent new injuries.