Thursday, April 19, 2012

This Semester

To be honest, I was not looking forward to this course coming into the semester. I figured an upper level 400 Lit class would be difficult and boring. This class has not been difficult in the sense I thought it would though. Too many classes are difficult only because the teacher is a difficult grader but the material covered is the same as other courses. This course has required me to think critically about what we have read and to come up with my own original Thesis' on the readings. It was one of those courses that gave me as much as I put in. The more I put into thinking about the work, the more I would ultimately get out of it. This class has actually been one of my favorites this semester which has been a pleasant surprise. The reading workloads were never too much to handle, and the assignments were evenly spaced throughout the semester. Weekly Blogs have forced me to think outside of what we have discussed in class and have given me insight into what other students think about the text. Reports gave us background info on the authors and cultural information to frame the texts. Each assignment has forced me to think about other aspects of the readings and to think creatively and critically on my own. Overall I have really enjoyed this course and have enjoyed reading blogs and getting the thoughts of others in the class. I have broadened my knowledge on literature and this course has inspired me to read more literature from the past. Thank you Dr. Campbell and the rest of the class for a good semester.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

F Scott Fitzgerald

I have enjoyed the Fitzgerald short stories we have read this week and I am wondering which were peoples favorites, and least favorites? This question goes out to Dr. Campbell as well. For me, my favorite was "A Diamond as Big as the Ritz". This is because how exciting the ending was. We had a spectacular battle scene at the end of the story with great images and quick pacing. The story took a dark turn for me once we found out that this family shot down fighter planes to defend their secret. Then we learn that pilots are actually held prisoner at the property. The whole family was very eerie and the story intrigued me very much. I enjoyed all of the stories but my least favorite would have to be "The Ice Palace". We had a dramatic scene at the end that was written very well, but in the end this wasn't enough for me. I didn't like Sally Carroll very much, she wanted such a change and when she got it, she didn't know what to do. She should have known things in the north would be completely different. I did enjoy this story, just not as much as the others I guess. So I'm wondering which ones others liked the most and the least.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Woman Characters this Semester

We have encountered a large number of female characters in the stories we have read so far this semester and I have thought about my favorite and my least favorite. My least favorite so far has been Charity Royall from the most recent book, Summer. To put it simply, I thought she was a short word that starts with the letter "B". After every event she would over analyze it in her mind and then get made about it. Anything Harvey did or said was twisted around in her mind and quickly changed her mood. She changed her mood swiftly without much reason at times. I don't mind Summer not having a happy ending because I really didn't like the protagonist. My favorite character has been Aunt Rachel in Twain's A True Story. The way she answered the question to why she had no trouble in her life was a big "F U" to who asked. The story spoke for itself and she really didn't have to say any more. She could have been angry about getting asked such a question, but the way she handled it was much classier.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Unhappy Endings

The readings we have had recently are certainly considered naturalistic in their writing and an un traditional ending that can be seen as unhappy comes along with that. Ethan Frome that we read today certainly did not end with the protagonist on top. To Build a Fire ended with the protagonist frozen stiff and alone. Roman Fever ended without the two friends making up and I don't see how they can really mend their relationship now. Today many popular books, shows, and movies end with the protagonist "winning", the lovers riding away in the sunset on the white stallion, the football team winning the big game, the nerdy kid getting the hot girl. All of these endings leave the audience feeling good but unfortunately not everything in life ends well. These readings have been a great change of pace to the traditional happy endings that we get so much today.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Will they become classic?

We had a discussion in class last week about which books that are popular now will be popular in the future. I agree very much with the books that we included as not-classic, like Twilight and The Davinci Code, but some that people think will be classics in the future I must disagree with. When I look at which books stand the test of time and are read by future generations, I feel the books must be able to be taught academically. Harry Potter was on the list of what would be classic in the future, but I question if it can be taught in a classroom. Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, EAP, have all stood the test of time because they are all literary and teach us something about the human nature and can be taught academically. Harry Potter I believe is much more like Twilight or The Hunger Games, purely for entertainment purposes. But the magical series has become so popular that I could see it becoming something like The Lord of the Rings, which is still fantasy, but has academic values to it as well. Lord of the Rings also does a great job of entertaining readers and being taught at a young age could inspire students to read. I do not see Harry Potter being taught in English 481 a hundred years from now, but perhaps in a High School English class.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ode to Naturalism

So, reading Jack London this week has been awesome. What I find to be the most "awesome" about it, is it's real. Fantasy stories like Harry Potter are entertaining, but it's absolutely not real. Even London's fiction is real in a way, believable, and  similar stories I'm sure have happened. London's writing could very easily be mistaken for non fiction. His first version of "To Build a Fire" could have easily been read as an article.
Naturalism is obviously very heavy on nature, which is one of my favorite things to read about. Nature is much more real than most anything else written about, and in that way, much more appealing to read. I know some people love reading because it takes them to different places, a fantasy world. Naturalism also takes me places, just those places happen to be real. Fantasy provides entertainment, but when it comes to literature, naturalism provides the mind to wonder and imagine foreign places, but also learn about life, death, and a lot between.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Importance of Teaching African American Literature

Racial equality has made great strides since the works we have read were written. It has been over one hundred and sixty years since the American civil war, fifty or so years since the civil rights movement, and African Americans find near equality in much of the country, we even have a half black president. Even with all of these strides, there is more to do, and as a society we can and shall advance even further when it comes to prejudices, and teaching African American literature in schools is an important way to continue this trend of moving towards social equality. It is important to discuss the things we have so far in class, such as the archetype of the "happy slave", a "loving" slave and master relationship, and understanding segregation within classes, like the Blue Vein Society. Reading literature allows us to understand the thoughts and philosophy of another human being, so by reading such literature, we are able to imagine ourselves in such horrible circumstances and how offensive a "happy" slave or nostalgic south is to an entire race of people. Mark Twain was not black, but we can learn from writings like "A True Story", which makes the point that the slaves and their families felt the way white people do. They loved each other and their children just as much as the white man, and for many white people at the time this was a crazy thing to think. It is by reading African American literature and literature such as Twain's "A True Story" that people can imagine themselves in others shoes. It is important to continue to teach these subjects in school, and remember that our history is in fact clouded in very horrible acts. It is important to realize this and learn from it, we can do nothing about the past but control the future.