Thursday, February 16, 2012

"The Art of Metacommentary"

    In Chapter Ten of They Say, I Say. the idea of metacommentary is introduced .Metacommentary is a type of writing that explains what has already been stated. It is used to summarize and put together the purpose and meaning of the previous passage to readers. Metacommentary is a way of  "commenting on your own claims and telling readers how- and how not- to think about them"(123). It's referred to as a  chorus in a Greek play, where the chorus is there to interpret what has just happened to the audience. They also may directly show the significance of the scene. Likewise, metacommentary is mostly beneficial to the readers. When a writer includes metacommentary, he or she is able to clarify any misconceptions and allow readers to catch up with what is going on or what's been said.
    Texts are therefore seen and written in two ways. One is the main point which "you make your argument" and the other in which you "'work' your ideas"(124). The second point would be the metacommentary. Here a writer is focused not on stating new points to his or her argument but by guiding readers through your main points and interpreting what you have stated. It allows for further clarification and may even add onto your argument. Using metacommentary can improve your argument and add various angles or perspectives to your purpose. In addition, metacomentary allows you to further your argument by providing more of your own personal views and possibly other views on that topic. Phrases like "In other words" or "My point is" emphasize your main point and conclude what you've said.
   Not only can your text include metacommentary, but your title can also include metacommentary. Titles can "stand apart from the text itself and tells readers the book's main point"(127). Titles are actually one of the most important forms of metacommentary. They explain what the book's sole purpose is before a reader even opens its pages. Creating titles like these will allow you to give readers a sense of your argument and reflect on what you're trying to say.
    Other methods of metacommentary include entertaining objections and "So what?" questions. With these moves you are able to come up with what another critic might say, therefore you are prepared to answer back at the critic. Answering "So what?" questions allows you to "look beyond your central argument and explain who cares about it and why?"(128).
   Using all of these techniques of metacommentary will add onto you argument while aiding your audience to an understanding of you writing. It is very important to maintain your audience's attention and full understanding. With these techniques you'll be able to "work" on your current claims and elaborate on your main points with greater depth.
    The progress of my Project One paper is still in the researching state. I'm having difficulty finding sources that actually deal with what I want to talk about. So far the Rereading America book has been very useful for my argument but finding scholarly journals that focus on social class and its effect in America is hard to find. I'm thinking about writing on the social injustice in America and its effect on Americans of all classes. I believe I can write a reasonable essay pertaining to that topic.

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