Take A Step Back

As my English 203 class comes to an end, it’s time for me to look back on my progress over the semester. Going back to the first day of classes when we started talking about one of the epigraphs, the suspicious pants, it seems to be that the picture sums up my first semester. I remember walking into the classroom on the first day not knowing what to expect. This was my first semester of college and my first English class. My nerves were all over the place, I did what I was assigned for the first day which was to look at the picture of suspicious pants. I can say now that I didn’t think the pants were going to be something I reflected on today. Going back to my first day of class I was confused and just didn’t see what these pants meant. Now at this moment I see much more in the picture than the pants, I see the pants looking at something or someone, like the pants were trying to speak. 

As a class, we were put into small groups and discussed what we saw in the pants. I remember everyone having a different viewpoint Some people thought the pants looked like one thing but others thought they looked like something else. Back on that first day, all I saw in the pants were what looked like a face staring at me like something was happening that I didn’t know. Now I see something completely different, which to me is what happened over the semester.  I would look at something and interpret it like I am taking the easy way out. For example, it might of seemed like I was taking the easy way out with the pants because all I saw was the face. Now I see that now the pants could be staring at something else, something not being shown in the picture itself. I feel that now, I don’t try taking the easy way out of things but instead looking for a way to challenge myself, seeing the bigger picture. 

When just starting the class, I saw everything differently, including the pants. I was more wary about what I was doing and felt as though I was never improving on what I was writing. It wasn’t until we started the novel I Am Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everett that I saw a change in my work academically. As I wrote in one of my previous blog posts, That Was Deep, at first I thought the novel was going to be dry and bland. Professor McCoy warned me that I was going to be surprised when it was done if I thought that. When we finished the novel, I have to agree with professor McCoy because that novel was deep. As I stated in the blog post one of the deepest things about the novel to me was the title. The title sets the stage for the readers and portrays what is going to happen before it actually happens. Before reading the novel the title kind of told me there would be someone who was Not Sidney Poitier. Little did I know there was much more about the name than I had even imagined. The main character, Not Sidney Poitier, identity’s changed over one certain event but it wasn’t just about the identity. He experienced himself looking at a human body who was dead that looked exactly like him, which suggested to the readers that it was the famous Sidney Poitier. Like I said in the blog post, after seeing what he saw Not Sidney was shocked. Not Sidney started describing what he saw in this man that he was looking at. For instance, “He was just like me. He looked exactly like me, a fact that was apparently lost on Donald and the Chief. I wanted to say, ‘That’s me.’” (211). In this quote it just shows how all the sudden Not Sidney switched lives due to just looking at someone who looks like him. Since his identity changed to the famous Sidney Poitier it was like his whole life changed and his identity was the reason for it all. This novel wasn’t just about identity or how it changed from one thing to another but was about Not Sidney’s life and how he seemed powerless at times. However, when his identity changed his whole world became so different and Not Sidney became powerful in his own way. 

Just like the pants after a second analysis, you take a different look at things and see something you didn’t see before. After I took a look at the novel, I saw something from the beginning that I didn’t know was there. The last sentence in the novel had the most meaning to me, I didn’t realize how much meaning it really had until I wrote my blog post about it. Percival Everett ended his novel with Not Sidney saying, “…I AM NOT MYSELF TODAY” (234). Like I said in my blog post, at first, I laughed at this sentence. It wasn’t until I was writing the blog that I realized the significance and meaning that the quote had to it. Changing one thing about Not Sidney, which at that moment was his identity and how others saw him changed everything about him. He was looked at as the person who looked like the famous Sidney Poitier and now, he was being looked at as the Sidney Poitier. 

 It might not have seemed like much, but the speech Not Sidney told was him looking at his life from a different point of view. Within the speech, he was doing a reflection on his life and looking back on everything he experienced. In the short span that he announced his speech, he came up with the fact that he wasn’t who he should be at that moment. In so many different ways I can relate to his actions or even his words in general. I haven’t started reflecting on my own life until very recently and even now when I am looking back I have realized, that for me it all started on my very first blog post, Interpretation. When I wrote that blog post I was still in the process of learning how to write a post, I was also a nervous freshman that was filled with every emotion possible. When I was finished with that post, I knew it was going to be only the beginning of it all, I just had to tell myself that whatever happened, it was only the beginning. When I started writing these blog posts, I felt like I was thinking like Professor Everett in the novel, I Am Not Sidney, when he was teaching his class about nonsense. He said ‘“I suppose what we’re talking about in this class is art. If it’s not, then I’m lost, but of course, I’m lost anyway… Let’s consider art as a kind of desacralization, perhaps a sport of epistemological discontinuity…”’ (100) It just seems like Everett started talking about one thing and moves on to something different, and even if it doesn’t make sense, he knows that what he was saying might as well be nonsense. When I first started that’s what my mind was doing, trying to figure out what I was saying and how to put it.

When I got my first set of feedback on my post I was sort of discouraged in a way, I know the comments were supposed to help me improve and I knew that I was going to get a bunch since it was my first one but in a way it made me feel unenthusiastic to continue writing them. I reread them not letting them get the best of me and was determined to keep improving.

Little did I know the improvement wasn’t only in this class but my others also. In my INTD 105 writing seminar class, I had to have a completely different writing style. Our first major assignment was a multimodal essay where we had to write a book review on a novel called, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I enjoyed the book very much, so I was very passionate about what I was writing when I was writing, I didn’t realize all the connections I was making to little things throughout the book. I was able to pick apart certain parts of the book and connect them to what we were learning which was coming of age themes. 

With all the connections I have made they brought up another line in the novel, that was told by Not Sidney Potier. It read, “It seems you all know me and nothing could be further from the truth and let you know me better than I know myself, perhaps better than I can know myself” (234). Writing so many different posts, I sense that my writing knows me better than I know myself. As confusing as it sounds, it makes sense to me only because I haven’t seen the improvement until I was informed to write this reflective blog post. When I look back at the posts, I see how my mind not only wanders but makes connections.

This class has taught me that the little things add up more than I imagine. With making the connections I have made I never realized how much of an impact the they made on my writing. In high school we were just given an assignment, it had a prompt of what to write and what materials to use. In this class, it’s like a different world, instead of getting everything handed to us we are taught to use the skills we have and the ones we didn’t know we had. We are taught to think of everything that is connecting together. As crazy as it seems it makes so much sense! For me personally, I didn’t know I could do any of this. I was so used to writing about this one novel we read in class; or just an argument about this one topic I did using the research I have done. 

When I look back at not only how my semester has gone in and outside of the class, I see progression, I see things I have never seen before. In this class, I have learned much more than how to write or how to improve my writing but how to stop for a second and look at things differently. It’s eye-opening to see really what you can do when you just take a second to look at something from a different view. Going back to the pants one more time, I look at them and see so much more than just a face. I see the world ahead of me just like how my semester in English 203 has taught me to take a step back and think about what really might be happening.

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