PAC Plaza as Genre

In the article “On Genres as Ways of Being”, the author Paul Heliker discusses the importance of genres in writing. He includes some personal experiences, some field quotations and some analytic examples to illustrate his idea that “genre is a way of being” and that the good use of genre should make a real change in writer’s thinking, perception and behavior.

Heliker stated that, “I think we need to begin focusing more on how our writing instruction, how the genres we assign, form human beings rather than human doings”, meaning that genres mainly consider the existence of people and their present regarding a subject matter; however, genres less concentrate on the details of how people act or behave in their present.

Applying this idea in to my place which is PAC Plaza in Western Washington University, it seems that PAC Plaza could be a genre because people who visit it have a single response or a single way of existing (the “being part”) in common: they visit it because they want to enjoy the openness of the place and the view even though they express that in many different ways (the “doing” part).

After recognizing that PAC Plaza could be a genre which means that it is a “way of being”, this let me look at the place from a new view: more as a learning experience. That is because it puts its visitors in a kind of test that they are supposed to know what is the way that they should be in PAC Plaza and how are they going to respond to the “community of practice” in the place.

Having looking at PAC Plaza from this perspective, it urges what Heliker called “demands”, meaning that there are some figurative requirements for being in the place which visitors have to adapt themselves or accept these requirements. Consider the following examples:

· PAC Plaza doesn’t have any signs or directions that this is it, consequently, to use this genre of place, I have to be aware of where is it and how to get there without depending on sings.

· PAC Plaza is outdoor, has no shelter and open to any nature circumstances, so in order to use this genre of place, I have to accept being influenced by the environment and the weather under any condition.

· PAC Plaza is public; meaning that there is no privacy, so to use this genre of place, I have to agree to share the place with other people.

· PAC Plaza is located on campus, so to use this genre of place, I have to respect and abide campus rules and avoid preventions.

· PAC Plaza has only few benches available for visitors to sit on, so in order to use this genre of place, I have to put in my mind that I may not find a seat and be standing for a period of time there.

· PAC Plaza is kind of empty from any outdoor furniture except for the benches and the floor lamps, so to use this genre of place, I have to be fine with the ordinary style of the place.

· PAC Plaza is on the main bus line and close to one of the main entrances for campus, therefore, to use this genre of place, I have to expect that I will hear a lot of vehicles’ and buses’ noise.

· PAC Plaza has no facilities to do activities while being there, thus to use this genre of place, I have to acknowledge that either I don’t need to do any activates or I bring with me anything I want.

· PAC Plaza has no amenities like food and bathroom, therefore, to use this genre of place, I have to consider that I either don’t use any amenities while I’m there or I use other amenities on campus.

· PAC Plaza has a view to Bellingham Bay, so to use this genre of place, I have to approve that I’ll sense this scene at some point.

From the above instances, I assume that PAC Plaza values community because it offers a wide space for students to gather, it values nature because it minimizes manmade objects in order to not destroy the nature of the place and it values student’s comfort because of it is located on campus. In fact, students are the most visitors for this place and these values are important for them; consequently, PAC Plaza’ values as a genre seem to match Western students’ values.

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