In reviewing my previous blog posts, one aspect that stood out to me was that each post contained some sort of commentary on gender. In particular, one theme I see that is implied by my posts is an interest in addressing the normalized violence against women in these plays. The first blog post I submitted about A Midsummer Night’s Dream concluded by addressing the reversal of a forced marriage between Helena and the bewitched Demetrius, as well as addressing and condemning the theme of love and coercion exhibited by Theseus in his wooing of Hippolyta by his sword and Hermia’s father giving her the choice of forced marriage, Coventry, or death. I further hinted at the prevalent violence toward women of the period in my second blog post, when I suggest that Viola dons her disguise as a safety precaution as a young, single woman in an unfamiliar country. Looking back on my third post, concerning the perceptions of romance and masculinity held by Benedick and Beatrice, I could have delved further into the implications of Beatrice associating romantic love with a willingness for violence. As a woman living in the Victorian era, Beatrice has been conditioned by society to accept violence as a necessary part of love and lust, a concept that has frightening implications on a wider scale. I’m not sure if I focused on these issues because the plays I wrote on dealt with gender issues, as many of Shakespeare’s plays do, or because as a modern reader the barbarism of this social structure is jarring. In danger of being the cisgendered white male patting himself on the back for being progressive enough to recognize women as people, I am nonetheless pleased to find that in each of my blog posts I paid attention to the fundamental inequality of gender presented in each of these plays.
In terms of structure and content, my blog posts vary greatly in length and depth. The energy and enthusiasm of the September student is obvious in my first blog post. The longest of the posts, it’s structured more like an essay than any of the others. This was because I had the time and energy to really create a good, in depth post, as well as not being entirely sure as to what a blog post ought to look like, and wanting to make sure I got a good grade on it. In contrast, I admit I phoned in the second blog post. Being the shortest and least in depth of my posts, I say in my defense that at the time I was working on another, more time consuming assignment for another class, and that Twelfth Night is by far my least favorite play we’ve read in this class. The plot is jumbled and borderline nonsensical, with everyone falling in love with everyone else almost instantaneously, it has a pointlessly cruel, unrelated, and unresolved subplot, and in general the play’s ending seems sloppily written to me. I didn’t write much in that post because in my opinion there wasn’t much to say about that play. My third post I’m satisfied with. I think it was an appropriate length, discussed an issue that interested me, and I didn’t rush it like I did my second post. The relationship between Benedick and Beatrice is the most realistic, vivid, and best fleshed out of any of the characters we’ve read this semester, and I was happy to get a chance to write about them.
In general I enjoy the concept of the blogging assignment. Serialized, short, open ended writing assignments allow me to write on a variety of issues of interest within the texts, as opposed to the traditional essay format where I focus on relatively less material over which I have less freedom of focus. In this post in particular, it was nice to try to find a common theme among my posts, as well as to give a chance to explain the discrepancies in my work.