I could tell without even looking passed the first sentence of each of my blog posts that my critical reading improved throughout the semester. The first post I wrote was on the Taming of the Shrew, and I mostly wrote about the similarities and differences between the play and the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. I still find this very interesting, but I think that I could have applied more textual analysis and brought up more thematic points about the play itself.
I was proud of myself to find that I accomplished this goal in my post about Romeo and Juliet. I was really into the language about nature and how the trees symbolized Romeo’s intense emotions both in and out of love. I still find this quite fascinating, and I wrote most of my research review paper on this idea (using the OED to look up nature terms in order to apply this new knowledge to the understanding of the emotions in the play).
However, in defense of my primary post, I have to say it has a lot of heart. I was really enthusiastic about school and reading a bunch again at the beginning of the semester. Also, writing a blog post about a play of which you have only read the first act can be difficult, as you have no idea where the plot will take you. This is evident in my closing statements of the first post when I say “I’m excited to see what the rest of the plot brings, which hopefully will be a somewhat happier ending for Sly than the Lord…” I was kind of grasping for straws in the middle of this post as well because I picked out my favorite line (“I smell sweet savors and I feel soft things” [induction ii, line 69]) and explained why I enjoyed it (i.e. the alliteration). I guess that’s a close enough reading for writing it the first week back after break … right?
Anyway, I am definitely most proud of my most recent post about Gaunt’s speech in Act II of King Richard II. I really began to think of cultural significances and the time period of Shakespeare. I tried to apply the language within the speech to the way people talked, acted, what values they held, etc. (Example: “The images [Gaunt] provides by using the words “inky blots” and “rotten parchment” made me think of England as a deteriorating, soggy map of a fallen nation”). I think I do best in writing when I focus on one aspect of the play, namely one single speech or defining moment, which is what I do in this post. Also in this post, I like that I shared my principal wonders about Richard’s character by writing the questions I was asking myself at the beginning of the play, showing the way my mind changes while sifting through the often complicated plots of Shakespeare, and I conclude with what I discovered. (Example: “I realized that falling victim to greed for power was his own fault, and he cannot change the entirety of a culture (in this case England) just to suit his own needs [i.e. by overtaxing to fund a war that arguably needn’t happen in the first place].) I provide ample evidence to support my thoughts, which I can’t say that I really did in my first (and far more simple) post.