During this semester I have learned a lot about myself and my writing. I learned that even when analyzing work, there is a place for creativity. As humans we can not help but to relate things to our personal experiences. Literature as an art form comes from a deep personal place that must be acknowledged when discussing it. Through the assignments this semester I learned to look at works of literature from many different points of view. I have become more confident in my opinions as well as my writing.
An assignment that I personally found memorable was the eraser poem. I found it interesting how everyone approached it in different ways. The endless amount of outcomes that could be achieved using a technique such as blackout poetry was fascinating to think about. It was a good example of writing as a creative outlet. I also enjoyed researching aspects of feminist history for the research paper I chose to write about The Thirteenth Night. It was challenging but also fulfilling.
This semester has been challenging for me in a few ways. I found the condensed schedule of multiple classes in the express session difficult at times, but still manageable. This was my first semester back to school after taking some time to explore different options. I enjoyed the experience and hope to continue taking fulfilling classes in the future.
Receiving feedback from my peers was a highlight of this semester. I engaged with other students in this way during multiple classes. It is reassuring to hear that your work has been noticed. It is also interesting to see others opinions and ways of looking at things that might be different from yours. Overall, I had a good experience learning about new things, as well as myself.
Increasingly, in the new age of social media, marriage proposals have become more about the people watching the couple than the couple themselves. People have become hyper-fixated on getting the perfect photo to share to all their friends and family. The pressures that have been placed on people by social media may make people feel as though their lives must look “perfect” at all times. This translates to all aspects of like, including relationships. As Kitchener mentions, many times couples will have conversations about marriage prior to engagement to retain the element of surprise needed to execute a perfect romantic moment worthy of a proposal in today’s day and age. This begs the question of wether or not the proposal is even necessary.
“Symbolic gendering”, mentioned by Kitchener, also plays a large role in why heterosexual couples feel the need to plan elaborate proposals. The ideas Kitchener discusses in her article directly translate to Chekov’s play. The couple in the play are very obviously not well suited to each other, yet end up engaged to be married by the end of the story. Their adversity is ultimately overshadowed by Natalya’s excitement at being proposed to. One can image the expectations that are placed in young women’s minds about a such an event from the time they are children. This prompts Natalya to beg her father to make Ivan return to the house to ask for her hand, regardless of the hurtful things that had been said prior. The drama of the perfect proposal is seemingly more important to the couple than the reality of what it will mean to be married.
“Mine Eyes Have Seen” holds a mirror up to the injustices that minority groups have faced through history. It, however, shows characters reacting to these injustices in a virtuous way. The reaction of the characters to the news of Chris’ draft is meant to uplift society and encourage citizens to look toward a brighter future instead of the dark past.
After finding out that his number was called, Chris laments at the past hardships that he and his people have faced in his country. He feels that he should not have to put his life on the line to defend a country that has never defended him or his family, as explained by Dan in the beginning of the play. The other characters explain that he has a duty to serve his country, regardless of if his country is serving him. Those around Chris who have been especially persecuted, Dan, Jake, and Ms. O’Neill, seem to be the loudest proponents of him fulfilling his duty to his country. I believe that, in Plato’s view, this story and its lessons would be in favor of his republic.
In this story, Oseki struggles to find happiness in her life. Her parents praise her for how successful she is because of the amazing match she has made with her husband. Like so many woman before and after her, her achievements in life are boiled down to how well she married and the children she produced. She feels trapped in her unhappy marriage because of the social status her husband has been able to bring to her family. Even so, she seeks a way out. The only thing that stops her from leaving Isamu, is her son, whom she can not imagine being away from. Oseki is forced to choose between happiness or her family. Ultimately she chooses to be with her son and remain in her unloving marriage for the good of her family.
Two very different economic classes are shown in “The Thirteenth Night.” These classes are represented by Isamu and Roku. Isamu and Roku seemingly live very different lives. Roku’s marriage has failed and he is living in destitution without a family. From an outside perspective, Isamu’s life looks much more successful. Under the surface however, Isamu’s and Oseki’s marriage is failing just as Roku’s. The story begins with Oseki’s parents explaining how happy they are of her marriage and the good it has done for her and the family. Oseki’s run in with Roku shows her that it truly does not matter what social or economic class you belong to if you are not happy. Roku and Oseki were happier when they were young, regardless of their families’ economic standing. Now, separated by circumstance and living very different lives, they are both unhappy. From this interaction, it is clear that financial success does not equal happiness.
In “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” Victor and Thomas touch on their feelings towards the American government a few times. During a Fourth of July party, Thomas mentions how strange is is that they celebrate the holiday because “it ain’t like it was [their] independence everybody was fighting for.” With this statement, Thomas expresses the disconnect he feels between his community and American society. This idea is brought up again when Thomas and Victor are speaking with the gymnast on the plane. The woman complains to the boys about her feelings towards the government in regards to the boycotting of the Olympic Games she would have been apart of. Thomas responds to the woman by saying, “sounds like you all got a lot in common with Indians.” This statement reinforces Thomas’ feelings of contempt towards the American government. The Olympic team was forgotten and forced to abandon all they had worked for in a similar way Native American communities have been repeatedly overlooked and displaced by the government.
To children, their parents and loved ones are their whole world. They know of nothing else. The words that are spoken by those around them are taken as fact because they do not have reason to think otherwise. The things that are said to children in the early years of their lives will potentially shape them into who they become as adults. Parents should not tease and lie to their children without reason. This could result in trust issues when moving into later years of their lives. There are obviously some occasions where small lies might be unavoidable if a subject is too mature for a child or if a parent wishes to spare the child’s feelings.
Children are like sponges in early years of their lives. They will hold on to every word that an adult around them says. Children can learn upwards of three-thousand new words per year, so it is important for parents to teach them how important these words are, and how to best use them moving forward in life. Words can inflict joy, pain, or anger and have lasting impacts on people they are spoken to. Children are no different than adults in this respect, and should be taught by the adults around them that words hold weight.
“The job of the writer is to make revolution irresistible.”
Profound words have always been an important source of inspiration for marginalized groups. Toni Cade Bambara was one of many writers who used her gift for words to inspire change in her community. Today, words can, and do, still have the same influence on the world. Writing may come in many different forms such as poetry, song, film, and television. With the invention of modern media, writing is no longer limited to traditional publishing. Music and other forms of entertainment are constantly being used to empower those who have often been left behind by society. Writing is also present in informational, and often inspirational, posts on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. Writing is needed for protests and speeches. As long as there is a need for activism, there is a need for writing. Wether it is 1971 or 2022, words will always find a way to touch the hearts of those who most need it.
I am from school uniforms,
from maple syrup mornings and paper bag lunches.
I am from grass covered feet and swimming pool days.
I am from the front yard dandelions,
the back yard weeds.
I am from Dr. Seuss stories
and green eyes,
from Tracy and John and Ella.
I am from big brothers
and piano serenades.
From car seat karaoke
and cousin talent shows.
I am from Wednesday ashes
and face washes.
I’m from fields of green I’ve not seen.
from St. Patrick’s day feasts and chocolate cupcakes.
From summer fires on the beach,
the sand crabs, the sunburns, and long drives home.
I am from bookshelf photo albums and birthday wishes of happy returns.