All posts by E. Watson

Final Reflections

Professor Perry,

ENG 201 was by far one of my most interesting courses this semester, the literature I have read has taught me that beautiful stories are worth analyzing and most of all, worth enjoying. As the course has progressed, I’ve found it easier and easier to express my thoughts and ideas regarding the pieces we’ve all read together, and I feel more confident in my writing abilities!

I enjoyed reading “The Thirteenth Night” and I also loved analyzing “Frankenstein.” These were the stories that I liked the most and I feel that my work demonstrated that. This course allowed me to express myself creatively while also exploring the wonderful opinions and thoughts of my classmates. It was fun to interact with everyone’s work and witness different assessments. Writing a short play was incredibly interesting and I didn’t realize how fun it could be to write dialogue for characters, it was a nice and fun assignment to finish off the semester (and the year) with!

My biggest challenge this semester did not revolve around a particular course or its work, but instead my own motivation. I had to push through and find discipline beyond temporary inspiration. I know that many classmates can agree, especially as we approached the colder and darker months.

Thank you so much for making this class such a pleasure. I looked forward to all the assignments! This was my final ENG course, and now as all my upcoming courses will revolve around STEM, I feel sad.

The Marriage Proposal

Although written humorously, Chekhov’s play emphasized how most proposal’s have little to do with two people’s compatibility with one another and more to do with the grand “occasion.” Natalya and Ivan had little chemistry and did nothing but fight about their assets. During the beginning of the play we learn that Ivan was not marrying for true love, but instead for status. Nowadays, proposals have evolved to be more elaborate and must now be deemed “worthy” for social medias approval.

I think “The Marriage Proposal” was a fun jab created to mock those who marry only for the embellishment. In the United States, as gender quality comes more and more into fruition, women are finding ways to still feel like “women,” and proposals take on those gender expectations of man and woman. In Chekhov’s play we see that it was Ivan’s duty and his duty alone to find a woman to propose to. We also learn that while Natalya had feelings for him, she still did not take it upon herself to propose marriage since she was playing into her role of “woman.” Only she could be proposed to.

While Ivan had dressed for the occasion, his formal attire could not overcome the differences between him and Natalya. Meaning no matter how beautiful the event might be, it cannot overcome inconsolable difference.

Mine Eyes Have Never Seen

Alice Dunbar-Nelson’s play “Mine Eyes Have Never Seen” exemplifies corruption under the guise of “upliftment.” I believe that Nelson’s play was written to depict horrible and heartbreaking situations that end in grief and heartache. However, that grief and heartache is camouflaged by patriotism that the characters in the play do not owe to anyone. “Mine Eyes Have Seen” tells the story of a family torn apart by racism and corruption. What once was a complete and loving family consisting of father, mother, and 3 siblings, has become instead 3 siblings fighting to survive in a society that has failed them. Their father was a successful black man that was lynched, and their mother died soon after due to a mix of pneumonia and heartbreak. Chris, their son, soon learns that he has been drafted to the U.S. Army, and feels no obligation to serve a country that has failed him and his family. However, after speaking to his neighbor, he is convinced that his purpose is to serve with honor. The family has felt enough heartbreak and pain and now must endow themselves to more in order to save face in a society that does not care about them. What some people might consider “empowerment” at the end really only made me feel grief and sadness. I believe Nelson’s purpose was to show the two faces a play can portray. While some may feel proud of the character’s sacrifice and duty, other’s feel hopeless. A brother, who cares for his family after everything they’ve been through, must now succumb to more heartbreak and pain.

I believe Nelson’s play fits both under “corrupting” and “uplifting” in interchangeable ways. “Corrupting” in the sense that we see just how mournful life can be. “Uplifting” is the facade that Nelson played upon at the end of her play.