Esther’s Space- journey through my life

January 19, 2007

Week One-Introduction

Filed under: Uncategorized — estherspace @ 5:24 pm

    I chose English as my major primarily because it was the one subject that I both enjoyed and was good at. I was a capable math, science, and history student, but found it much easier to relate to literature. Through further pursuing the topic, I am (was?) hoping to develop a greater understanding of why people choose to write, how literature is both a product of society and a means of legitimizing it, and how this form of expression can continue to be embraced by everyone and not simply forgotten as an antiquated medium. Thus far I have been excited and inspired by the studies I have done in English. Throughout my courses we have focused on the historical events and cultures that surround every author and writing, which helps to put everything in a certain perspective, and it helps me to recognize the different lenses that authors are using, as well as those I am employing in reaction to different topics and styles. As for the idea that literature is being forgotten as an antiquated form of entertainment, I am putting all of my hope into the primary school system. I work at the public library and see patrons every day that check out five DVDs each visit (sometimes more than once per day) and never lay a finger on a book.

My English studies have been largely focused on classic authors such as Jane Austen, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Henry Fielding. The common denominator of these authors and their works is that have all been accepted as a part of the literary canon, and share the characteristic of universal recognition of their merit as works of literature.

Often, newer authors are given less consideration in studies of English literature. Authors such as Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy, or Zora Neale Hurston.

Through formally studying literature, as well as the theory and criticism that is used to bind it, I have been able to further develop my own attitudes and approaches towards particular styles or ideas. I especially appreciate being able to apply a title to my own views and ideas, because then, once I feel that they have been defined, I have the freedom to go further into my investigations. Before having a clear idea of how to approach literature or what lenses I was using, I often felt as though I was travelling blindly into criticism and had no idea where to begin. Now that I feel like I have an established foundation, I am more confident about analyzing literature.

I’m not sure that I’ve articulated my thoughts very well, but I’m hoping that at least someone else has an idea of what I’m talking about and can relate.

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5 Comments »

  1. Hi Esther,

    It’s amazing how much our first two sentences echo one another for this assignment. We are also like minded about enjoying the development of our individual thoughts on literature through critical theory. I used to think it had all been said and that my ideas couldn’t possibly be scholarly enough to contribute something new. I now know better. Now, when I sit down to write a paper, I no longer struggle with the synthesis of a topic. Instead, I am wading through multiple topics in search of the best. Lit has come alive through new lights, filters and lenses for me and I can’t seem to turn it off. I particularly like your comment on how “literature is both a product of society and a means of legitimizing it.” Well said!

    I too feel your despair about the traditional cannon, but would like to offer some hope. I can attest to the field opening up to once marginalized writers. My recent time at Saint Rose after a 10 year hiatus from the major is proving to address authors and issues I’ve never heard spoken of before. I suppose I must agree with T. S. Eliot’s assessment in the week’s reading assignment. There is value in art and literature that stands the test of time, lending credence to the traditional canon. I also agree with his assessment that new literature also has value without confining itself to the old structures and boundaries. It is this idea that creates space for acceptance of new texts in our studies. I don’t believe the door can remain shut any longer. The winds of change are finally beginning to blow it open.

    Comment by atticfox — January 19, 2007 @ 8:32 pm

  2. Hi Esther,
    First of all, I really like how you wrote this blog. As I read it, I felt that we have a lot of similar views between our posts. We are both hoping to gain an understanding of writing as a whole, including the idea of “understanding of why people choose to write”. Another part of this that I found very interesting when I read it, was the section based on your previous English studies. I think it’s neat that you read such different literature by such different authors than what I read because I felt that mine would relate to a lot of other people in the English field. All in all, I really enjoyed reading your post, great job!

    Comment by elizabeth0509 — January 21, 2007 @ 8:27 pm

  3. For starters, I thought that your thoughts were well articulated, so you don’t have to worry about that. Also, on your comment on how you see more people take dvd’s than books, that’s a little discouraging to anyone who enjoys literature.

    Comment by ryancallander — January 21, 2007 @ 10:48 pm

  4. Ms. Esther,

    You certainly have enough passion for literature to become a teacher (if that’s what you so choose to do). I still find literary criticism a bit daunting, but there is hope that someday I’ll find it more comfortable to deal and work with.

    You mentioned that as you’ve come to understand the workings of different theories you’ve become abler to identify your own (hopefully I’m understanding you or this passage can be disregarded). So, through starting off with a base knowledge of how others think you’ve created a unique sense of perspective for yourself to interpret literature. Have you found a name for your ism’? I am a strong advocate of independence and admire your ability to find a steady path. Wading through the mire of past research to come out with an original train of thought (or one that coincides in the manner by which your eyes interpret) is more than difficult. Do you feel that your ideas will evolve? I would imagine you are an open minded person. Or, do you find yourself identifying with one or more critical lense now? I cannot categorize my ideas to fall in one realm or the other. I don’t believe the decision is proper to administer the coin toss.

    Enjoy your Sunday. Relax before the week of work.

    Peace,

    Michael

    Comment by Michael Bastian — January 22, 2007 @ 3:11 am

  5. Your last statement about how you were not sure if you articulated what you wanted held true for me as well! I had the same problem, the words just seemed to flow out once I started writing, but I’m not sure how coherent my blog really was. I think its a testament to how little we actually reflect on our reasons for having an interest in literature and when we actually think about it, it ignites our initial interest in the subject that we have chosen to persue for the rest of our lives!

    Comment by sherrig12 — January 22, 2007 @ 5:03 am


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