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Sullivan University Capturing Reader Attention Discussion Responses

Sullivan University Capturing Reader Attention Discussion Responses


1.Respond to Jason B

The author, Amy Krose Rosenthal composed this essay in such a manner that it would be hard not to connect with her. I was able to connect primarily due to her style of writing. Using her “prose prowess” (Rosenthal, 2017), she was able to create a light atmosphere, despite the somber situation. This ‘laugh through tears’ landscape can reach many readers due to a large spectrum of emotions. A quote I once heard reads along the line of, “People won’t always remember what you said or did, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel”. Though the words of that saying are not mine, the original source is unknown to me, it is something I have always found to ring true, even in a situation such as this.

My favorite part of Rosenthal’s essay was that she left the empty space at the end. I especially liked this as, I envision the husband reflecting back after years have passed, and not only remembering his wife Rosenthal, but with a responding in such a manner that would trigger the emotions the reader felt originally. I think this may also have been Rosenthal’s intent. This essay invoked many different emotions, although saddened at the loss of life I was hopeful for future in that the husband may again find love.

It is important as an author to be able to connect with the reader. “A wise editor once observed that the easiest decision a reader can make is to stop reading” (Stephens, 2017). If the author does not connect with the reader it is much more likely the reader may simply, stop reading. The way Rosenthal connects with the reader is is through her emotion. I would like to connect with my readers in similiar fashion. I would strive to paint a picture and orchestrate a symphony to such an extent the reader will see what I see and hear what I hear, in doing so my hope would be that the reader will also feel what I feel , at that point, they would hardly choose to “stop reading”.

Krouse Rosenthal, A. (2017, March 3). You May Want to Marry My Husband. New York Times. Retrieved from

Stephens, B. (2017, August 25). Tips for Aspiring Op-Ed Writers. New York Times. Retrieved from


You want to marry my husband was short but very breath-taking. As a human being, I felt a connection with Amy because everyone has that moment in their life where they have to be strong even in the midst of hurt, anger, or just plain disappointment. My favorite part of the essay was the way she described her husband in a way that lets the reader know that she loves her husband and will miss everything thing about him. Although she did not say those exact words, you could feel the love through the words that she used to descibe Jason (the love of her life).

During the time that I was reading the essay I felt a couple of different emotions. I felt sad because she knew that she would be dying and would have to leave her family behind. I also felt anger because this is just a simple reminder that “time” waits for no one and does not care about who you love or how your love ones will feel if they loss you.

I am a very avid reader and I would say that it is very important to feel a connection with the author of any book or essay. Once you find that connection, it is at that moment that the material has grabbed your absolute full attention and keeps you wanting to hear more about the character(s). If I were a writer, I would do just as Amy did and describe my characters with great detail so that my readers can visualize each one and maybe assert yourself into the material as one of the characters. After all, why just read when you can read by looking forward to excitement, twist and turns, as well as a bit of reality for yourself.

Krouse Rosenthal, A. (2017, March 3). You May Want to Marry My Husband. New York Times. Retrieved from


What do you think of Lamott’s use of the word “shitty” in her title and in the essay itself?

The use of the word “shitty” in this essay is an intelligent way to grab a reader’s attention right out of the gate. Word usage like this helps to indicate what type of reading you are getting prepared to do (or not do if you are at all bothered by the word used). The title here had me interested immediately because I felt as if I was going to read a relaxed but brazen type of essay and that is my preferred read.

Is it in keeping with her tone?

The word “shitty” in the title sets the tone for the entire essay and it is maintained well throughout. I felt the purpose of this tone was to also demonstrate what Lamott was trying to explain when she says “Just get it all down on paper” (p.63) No matter what you write, however, you want to say it, think it, or feel it, just write it down. It is the first draft that you can always go back and work on later. This type of tone is also less formal. It speaks more to a normal person who may not be that great at writing (me) and is scared of what everyone else may think. I appreciated this tone because not only did it draw me into the essay but it carried a sense of relatability with it as well.

Are you offended by the word? Why?

I am not easily offended. The word “shitty” is a word that I am very familiar with in my vocabulary. Not to say that I am proud of that, but by no means does it offend me. I think it is much more commonplace and acceptable in our society today to use words like this than it may have been just a decade or two ago.

What would be lost or gained if she used a different word?

Depending on what the word was changed to it could run the risk of losing tone or audience. Perhaps the word is changed from “shitty” to “crappy.” Same thing, slightly less vulgar. I think the tone remains the same and the audience would remain as well, in this case not much lost to changing it up. If, however, the word was flipped from “shitty” to “great” you have now lost the focus of the essay, the tone, and the audience would most likely be a different target as well. The entirety of the essay would have to be refocused and rewritten to fit the title. This is why tying the title of your essay and your thesis together is important.


Lamott’s use of the word “shitty” helps to set the tone of the essay. I believe this helps capture the interest of the reader in the first place. It is not common to see words such as that in general writings, so the title alone sets apart from other articles even of a similiar topic. The use of the word in no way offends me, although others may find it inappropriate. In further reading the essay it is entirely fitting and helps to illustrate the authors point of the article in the first place. I also find that a writer experiencing some of the issues discussed, such as writer’s block, may find a sense of encouragement in this essay.

I think by using the word “shitty”, the writer generates more initial interest than had she used another similiar, less shocking adjective. So it is entirely possible she may not have captured quite as many readers had she titled the essay “Bad First Drafts”.

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