Thursday, April 18, 2013

Last Blog

This is the last blog I have to write for English 102. Although I was really dreading this assignment when it first began, I am happy to say it was easier and more gratifying than I originally expected. I enjoyed being able to express my opinions and thoughts and I ended up not being as nervous about other people reading my posts as I was at first. I also enjoyed reading about what others had to say and learning from them. I believe blogging did benefit my writing ability because it gave me a lot of practice. I also believe my ability to analyze stories greatly improved throughout this experience since I had to do a great deal of analyzing in order to make posts on some of the stories. Even though I'm glad I had this chance to blog, I must admit I am also glad it is over. I feel this way mainly because our semester is quickly approaching it's end and I am ready for the break. However, I'm glad blogging could give me extra confidence in my writing ability for when I do start school back up in the fall and as I continue my college career.

Class Games- Jeopardy

In my blog "Classroom Environment" I commented on how sometimes, in my English 102 class, we play games to help learn about, and better understand stories we have read. I always try my best to participate in games because if I do I have a better shot of learning more and receiving more extra credit points on our essays. So far, the games I remember the most are taboo, an unnamed (at least I don't remember a name) discussion game, and Jeopardy. For me, the most beneficial game we have played is Jeopardy.  It is set up so each category is a different story we have read. It is really nice because if there were aspects from something we read that I did not quite understand, I usually understood it after we played Jeopardy. What I also enjoy about playing Jeopardy is that more often than not, the questions asked are not just simple questions that require one or two word answers. They are usually thought provoking, discussion questions that I can really learn from.

Classroom Environment

I believe classroom environment is very important to the success of students. I am not a big fan of the type of classes when there is little to no interaction between professors and their students. If a professor just stands and talks for an entire class I find it very easy to get distracted and lose focus, meaning I will not learn much. I think it is very important to keep students engaged in class. If students are involved in classroom discussion more it is easier for them to pay attention, learn, and feel comfortable. This is the benefit of the class I am writing this blog for, English 102. The classroom environment is conducive to learning. My professor actively gets us involved by asking many questions, and getting us to share our thoughts and opinions. He also splits the class up into small groups to discuss the rough drafts of essays we write for the class. This peer review process really helps because we get insight on how to improve on our essays before we have to turn them in. Another beneficial  thing we do in class is play games that help us learn more about the literature we have read.  Overall, I really feel like I have benefited from taking this course.

The Cask of Amontillado

Many of Edgar Allan Poe's works are known for being disturbing and horrific. The way in which he writes probably stems from all the tragedies he suffered through in his life. His works are something special in the literary world because of how much they differ from the works of other authors. The short story "The Cask of Amontillado" is a particularly interesting piece from Poe. In this story, the narrator, Montresor, felt insulted by Fortunato and therefore wanted revenge. He planned on getting the revenge by murdering Fortunato. The eerie descriptions given and Poe's ability to create suspense added  to the spine-chilling nature of the story. However, the most interesting, and somewhat unsettling, thing about this story is that plot is told through the eyes of the murderer. This gives the reader direct access to the sick and twisted mind of Montresor. The story is told like the murder is completely justified. Montresor does not believe he is doing anything wrong and has no remorse. It is hard to believe, however, that any insult could deserve murder. Even though "The Cask of Amontillado" is somewhat unnerving, I enjoyed reading it because of how unique it was.

Hills Like White Elephants

I felt "Hills Like White Elephants", by Ernest Hemingway, was primarily about communication and choices, which are two aspects of life people cannot avoid. We will always have to deal with other people which makes communication necessary and life is full of choices we must make. The American and the girl in "Hills Like White Elephants" were attempting to communicate with each other and make a couple difficult decisions concerning their future, but seem to have a difficult time doing so.I believe that they were trying to decide whether or not the girl should have an abortion and if the two should stay together. This story is a great example of how important listening is and how just talking and expressing one's own views doesn't lead to true communication. The girl and the american both talk and try to express their own opinions, but to me, neither actually listens and understands the other, making it impossible to get anything accomplished.  Because of the lack of good communication, both seemed reluctant to make a decision, however, it is impossible to avoid making choices. In the end, I think the two decided to stay together and that the girl will have the operation.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Yellow Wallpaper

I believe "The Yellow Wallpaper", by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is used to represent how women are trapped and controlled by the men in their lives. This piece was written in 1890 which was a time period where women had less rights and males dominated society. The emphasis of a male dominated society is shown by the narrator believing she was sick, but everyone else trusting her husband and brother who said nothing was really wrong with her. The expectation that she was to do whatever her husband said also shows an example of a male dominated society.To me, the fact the narrator goes crazy could suggest that women were getting fed up with their lack of control in society.  I also believe that "The Yellow Wallpaper" is used to emphasize how overlooked and misunderstood mental illness was. This point is shown by two "physicians of high standing" dismissing the idea that the narrator could be sick and passing it off as nothing. I feel that the room the narrator was locked in with the yellow wallpaper represents being trapped, whether it is because of being a women or because of mental illness. All in all, I felt it was an interesting story to analyze.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Good Man is Hard to Find

 "A Good Man is Hard to Find", by Flannery O'Connor, basically attempts to define what being a good person really means. After reading the story, it is difficult to decide if either of the two central characters are really "good" . At first glance it is easy to say that the Grandmother is a good person, especially in comparison to the Misfit. After all, the Misfit is a wanted murderer and is responsible for the death of the grandmother  and her family. However, by the end of the story, the Misfit has the grandmother herself questioning whether or not she is truly a good person. She is revealed to be nothing more than a hypocrite. She only saw the flaws of others, but never seemed to take a look at herself and realize she too is not perfect.The Misfit knew he was not perfect, understanding he, like everybody else, has faults.  I believe that O'Connor was trying to point out that being a good person takes more than just thinking you're a good person .In the end, neither character is really "good" even if the faults of the misfit can be considered far worse than that of the grandmother. My understanding is, a good man is hard to find is more than just the story's title, but also it's lesson.