As I look over my past blog posts and get all meta, I’m filled with positive thoughts, concerns, and questions. The process of rereading your own work, especially when considerable time has passed by since the submissions, is an experience filled with pleasure and dread. The pleasure comes from reading your work and finding out you made an effective (or affective, if you were aiming for pathos) point, which could have been supported using textual evidence, or connecting a literary term to your argument. The dread, well, we all know the dread: grammatical errors, underdeveloped argument, and an overall unsatisfactory engagement with the text. Many of us, including myself, tend to neglect editing our work because of the latter. I’m glad this midterm post is forcing me to look back and address what I’ve been writing about, and what made components of my arguments effective/ineffective.
In my first two responses, I focused primarily on language and common themes that permeate through Shakespearian texts, specifically tragic flaws. My first blog post, which I believe to be my best, focused on language in Taming of the Shrew. The Ngram tool gave me the opportunity to look deeply at the text, and provided a historical background of the period. Additionally, I liked that my first post was grounded in the text, and continually used textual evidence to support my argument. Moreover, my title, “Shrew or False,” was solid, at least in my opinion. I don’t know if I prepared more for this post, or was very interested in the comedy, Taming of the Shrew, but this is by far my best work, especially after reviewing my last two.
My second post focused on Shakespearean flaw within Richard II. This post definitely deviated from my first, as I did not focus much on specific diction; rather, I addressed the flaw-theme within the play. In blog posts, it’s important to capture the reader’s attention instantly, and my opening sentence, “Immediately, the readers discovers tragic flaws in Richard II’s reign, which will potentially result in the King’s demise,” did an adequate job grounding the focus of my post.
I posed questions throughout the second post, which I hoped would lead to more heat around my argument. Even though my hopes were shattered (only one response), I liked using questioning as a rhetorical advice, and found it effective in this post (albeit, it did not work in the last, which is where I’m headed).
I don’t know if I ate a bad box of Wheaties, or slept on the wrong side of the bed, but my last blog post flopped in a number of ways. Firstly, my title was a distraction (Hal, lay off the booze and debauchery-you’re embarrassing the fam), and automatically discredited my post. It’s one thing to capture readers’ attention with a witty title, but it’s another to detract the content. I tried to give this post a Buzzfeed feel, and that took away from my argument. The post was too emphatic, and definitely contained too many rhetorical questions. For next post, I want to root my argument back into the text and throw wittiness on the back burner.
I wanted to address the comments, which I thought ensured reader participation. For each comment, I first addressed the blogger and told them what they did well—I was happy to see positive feedback from most responders, as it created a safe space for discussion. Instead of just saying, “good job,” I pinpointed what was effective about their writing. I did my best in each comment to quickly build off their main idea, or respectfully disagree.
As we read Shakespeare and respond to his works, I’m beginning to understand how to make his texts modern, and that is through digital tools such as Ngram. My best writing is done when I look inwards towards the text, and the respond externally, relating the text to my own, 21st century environment. Collectively, the class has shown that Shakespeare can be modern, but it all starts with looking back within the text. I look forward to the remainder of the semester!