I posted my draft essay for peer review and received valuable and diverse feedback.
The forum thread is available from: https://discuss.oca-student.com/t/draft-essay-for-uvc-assignment-3/5453?u=stefan513593
Some feedbacks were direct, some indirect, some did reflect themselves on the question, and some were inspired to read even Plato’s text. I very much appreciated having this opportunity and I am grateful for those people who took the time and efforts, to read my essay and to response either in the forum, on the blog, or per email.
The question to me now which aspects of critique I do see relevant to consider and which not in my edit.
I found the my own interaction on posed questions very helpful, as I could write my answers in a more reflective way. It felt as a more personal response from my side that I will consider in my edit.
I knew before that I have to edit my draft essay ruthlessly, as only minor tweaks will neither bring down the word count significantly, nor will it improve compelling argumentation and focus.
Some suggested even to rewrite the essay completely new, following my own flow of thoughts and add relevant reference later. Question would be here whether this reflects an academic approach of building up through pro and cons argumentation.
One consistent element that came across I need to improve is simplification (a theme quite consistent also in previous ‘practical’ units), to make it easier to read and be more critical, less descriptive in my argumentation, compelling, in third person, believable, and snappy. Which arguments I eventually chose, or not, my edit will be a reflection of my personal position.
To consider, as partly suggested, current political topics in US or UK, is a questions that need to seen in context of my argumentation stream. Would these support my own position on whether the Allegory is still valid today or not? There will be various ways to argument, still I need to find my own way. I am more concerned with the quality of our daily life, our attitude and anxiety in our own square mile. Certainly, we do not live in isolation and are exposed more than ever to extensive information (visual and verbal) flooding into our places. Some resonance with McLuhan’s notion of life in ‘an age of anxiety’ (McLuhan, 2008, pp.8-9).
Some details from feedback received:
- Diverse feedbacks from ‘over researched and relying on reading’ to ‘erudite and well constructed’
- Footnotes and appendices should be used carefully
- To check draft what is my own position versus what is descriptive reference
- Can the reader ‘connect my argumentation with their life? ‘more examples and illustrations’. Question whether and if yes whom I want to convince. Also a certain discrepancy could trigger more thoughts on the reader’s side. Not sure whether such intentions are scope of an academic essay though.
- My own position and answer to assignment question not that successful
- Make a ‘snappy’ and easy read
- ‘What is darkness of the cave for me’?
Thoughts from others that I didn’t look at but relevant for my position:
- Do we not ‘dare to look outside the cave, and not listen to wise guys’, not understand?
- ‘Reaction in the cave against wise guys’: kill or follow. A binary only? question of trust
- Do our ‘dominant post/modernist perceptions get in the way’?
- Does a dominant ideology conveys a delusion of security in the cave? can be seen political or economical, what drives our behaviour?
- Perception and apprehension as different aspects of understanding reality
- Cave life constructed our way of life and our knowledge
- ‘Darkness as inability to love themselves, others, and nature’
- ‘Sleepwalking and living in a walled garden’ (usually referred to internet restriction in school or families to deny access to rated material)
- ‘Living a passive life’
- Cave as prison – society as prison (this I relate to Foucault’s ‘Panopticon’)
My plan for edit:
- Start with my position statement to ensure that this get across crystal clear
- Rewrite conclusion to ensure that all my argumentation is resulting into that
- Less descriptive, focus is argumentation (few main arguments incl pro and cons for why Allegory is valid today)
- Write convincing and building-up stream of argumentation. Should the reader need to get a sense of urgency? What do I want to say?
- McLuhan, M., Agel, J. and Fiore, Q. (2008) The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects, Penguin Design Series, [reprint.] ed. London; New York: Penguin Books Ltd.