First Post

January 21, 2007

I will begin with a short story.  I have already taken literary criticism and theory as a freshman.  It was a few days before the start of the second semester my freshman year and I received a call from the college telling me that one of the classes I was scheduled for was cancelled.  So I frantically looked for another class to put myself in and literary criticism and theory was the first class I could get.  At the time I had no idea what the class involved and that I had absolutely no business being in the class as a freshman. I discovered that the first day when I didn’t understand anything the professor said, a trend which continued for the duration of the class.  Needless to say, I did not do so well in the class.  So here’s hoping I do a little better the second time around.

I had decided that I wanted to become a teacher fairly early in my senior year of high school.  The next step was to pick which subject I would focus on.  Math and science were immediately out, as was Spanish, leaving English and history.  I had always enjoyed my English classes and did well in them, and plus I couldn’t see myself memorizing a bunch of names, places, and dates.  So English it was.  My high school English experience was probably similar to everybody else’s.  Readings included Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men, The Scarlet Letter, Lord of the Flies, with a heavy dose of Shakespeare mixed in as well.  In college, I’ve noticed that those works and their authors aren’t as emphasized and classes include the works of many different authors. 

I admit that I may not have the best critical mind.  When reading a work I pretty much take the story for what it is without much consideration as to why it was written that way.  Hopefully this class will help me in analyzing literature a little more deeply which in turn will give me a deeper understanding of literature.


7 Responses to “First Post”

  1. carawhalen said

    I feel that I can relate to what appears to be your layed back point of view regarding literature. Personally, I am interested, like yourself, to learn much more regarding critically analyzing and focusing on the theories “hidden” or displayed throughout multiple authors works. However, I am not as educated as I would like to be regarding the historical background and analytical aspects. It seems that this class will present the material needed to help develop these tools in a manner in which will attract to everyone, no matter what their past experiences have been with literature. In regards to how you came about choosing English as your major, I felt that I could relate in some aspects. After examining my other options it didn’t look so bad.

  2. kelliem said

    First of all, I’d like to say that was a great story–I can’t imagine taking this class as a freshman. My 112 class was enough to scare me, ha. I agree with you in regards to reading critically. Sometimes it’s very frustrating, and sometimes I feel like I’m not reading into the text enough, but I think part of analyzing literature is what you yourself bring to it. I think (I hope, anyway) that a lot of authors write to try and connect to as wide of an audience as possible, and because of this, they write pieces that many different individuals can relate to and interpret in their own customized ways. On the other side of the coin are pieces of literature that are pretty straightforward and don’t require in-depth analysis. I like these because they’re so honest and there’s rarely any bullshit. Take Dorothy Parker, for example. Her poems don’t have much imagery or symbolism but her point is clear and powerful. I remember one of my teachers once telling me a story about Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Critics kept asking Hemingway what everything meant: Does the old man symbolize Christ? Does the sea represent anything? And he replied, “The old man is just an old man, the sea is just a sea, the fish are just fish…” I think this is a part of English that a lot of people underestimate and overlook.

  3. I probably would have died in literary theory and criticism as a freshman, because my thoughts back then were more spastic than they are now. I think I give a lot of credit to those that are going to become teachers because I know I couldn’t be a teacher. I have patience but not enough of it. I’m also a weak critical reader. If I read a text and I can’t understand or follow what is going on, I tend to give up. I hope that by taking this course I’ll become more confident in anayzing a piece of theory and relating it to my own thoughts since I have that wonderful English Senior Writing Sample looming over my head.

  4. caramarie said

    I agree with Keva. I think I probably would have freaked out if I had to take a 300 level lit my freshman year. Since we had only had our English knowledge from highschool, I would think it would be nearly impossible to complete this course. This course still scares me and I have taken a number of other English courses, including a few that are higher than this one. Also, I don’t think that I’m much of a critical reader either, so hopefully this class will help us out. I feel like I’ve gained at least some knowledge over the past 3 years on critical reading, but I couldn’t even imagine trying to take this course when I practically had none in my freshman year. You were very brave! I think you’ll be alright this time!

  5. brownm011 said

    I probably would have dropped out of school or been so discouraged taking this as a feshman that I would have changed my major, so Kudos to you. This course has me stressed out now so I think things would have been much worse if it was two years ago. I like to read and I am a very analytical person but not with the two together. Im hoping that this class will really help me to put them together.

  6. ju1522 said

    I’m kind of in the same boat you are in with analyzing literature because I have that same tendency to take a story for what it is. I stepped out of that a little bit last semester but I still catch myself sometimes. Sometimes I still need that little push and I’m hoping this class gives it to me. I was also the same way with deciding a subject, English just seemed to fit better then memorizing dates and facts and formulas.

  7. brett glasser said

    Its obvious that we think the same way when it comes to analyzing new pieces of literature. After taking a lit study class last semesterI was able to gain a better understanding of what to look for while reading a new piece. Yet, it is very hard to break old habits and to really look for that “deeper meaning”.

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