Throughout our course this semester we have read different works of literature and learned how to comprehend them on our own. At the beginning of the semester, we had help understanding what we were reading. By the end of the course, we were able to work through understanding the texts on our own. We were given course epigraphs when we started the semester and we were asked to write about one. The same epigraph that I chose in the beginning of the year still speaks to me. It reads “ Thank you,” I said. “I came back to this place to find something, to connect with something lost, to reunite, if not with my whole self, then with a piece of it. What I’ve discovered is that this thing is not here. In fact, it is nowhere. I have learned that my name is not my name. It seems you all know me and nothing could be further from the truth and yet you know me better than I know myself, perhaps better than I can know myself. My mother is buried not far from this auditorium, and there are no words on her headstone. As I glance out now, as I feel the weight of this trophy in my hands, as I stand like a specimen before these strangely unstrange faces, I know finally what should be written on that stone. It should say what mine will say: I AM NOT MYSELF TODAY.” This epigraph still stands out to me because it talks about reconnecting with something that you have lost. I felt that I lost my ability to learn in school after freshman year, but this year and this course has helped me to gain it back. After reading I Am Not Sydeny Poitier this semester I have realized that the whole novel is about connecting with himself and not just this quote. This novel as a whole has stood out to me because I can relate to it.
Starting our course was a little difficult for me because I felt uncomfortable sharing my thoughts with my group mates because I was afraid to be wrong. We were reading texts that I thought were hard such as The Bacchae. I was afraid of having a wrong interpretation of the text and I was scared to share my thoughts. As the semester went on, I got very comfortable working in our groups and started sharing my specific ideas. This has helped me to reconnect with my education. Before joining this class I felt as though I was going through an identity crisis. In high school, I was very good at math but that did not reign true in college. I did not know what subject I could excel in. This is why I connect with this epigraph so much. It talks about connecting with a piece of yourself if you cannot connect with your whole self. That is exactly what this course did for me. It allowed me to be able to connect with my writing and be able to think more in depth about literature. For example, learning about identity crisis this semester has helped me to overcome my own. I Am Not Sydeny Poitier by Percival Everett has a theme identity crisis. Not Sydney struggles with his identity being a rich boy with a very odd name and he has no mother. There is an important quote in the novel about being yourself. It reads: And be yourself” “Who else would I be?” “I don’t know. You might decide all of a sudden that you’re Sidney Poitier. You’re not, you know. Though you do look alarmingly like him. Tell me, whom do I look like?” This quote talks about how Not Sydney is his own person and he should act that way. This is how I feel after taking this course. I have realized that reading and being able to think about literature is something that I can see myself doing for the rest of my life as an English teacher. Not Sydney’s identity crisis is the reason I chose this epigraph because I feel it represents my journey in my education.
This epigraph also connects to other texts that we have read throughout the course as well. For example, in The Bacchae Dionysus struggles with an identity crisis as well. In the text he changes into different forms symbolizing that he does not know who he is. This relates to the epigraph because it talks about not knowing your name which also symbolizes not knowing who you are. The epigraph says at the end “I know finally what should be written on that stone. It should say what mine will say: I AM NOT MYSELF TODAY.” This quote reflects how I feel after taking this course. I have enjoyed working in groups and listening to other people’s ideas. Along with that, I feel as though I found my own voice this semester. I am comfortable talking in groups now and I feel that I am a better writer than I was when I started the semester.
Being able to reflect on my work this semester is something that is very important. Reflecting on work helps you to improve on things that you didn’t do as well as you could have. I set goals for myself in the beginning of the semester and it is important that I reflect on if I achieve them or not. In the first essay that we wrote, I wrote about finding my voice in writing. My goal was to do well as an English major and be able to enjoy writing. Over the course of this semester I feel like I accomplished my goal. I am able to relate different works to each other and think about a deeper meaning behind each work that I read. The course epigraph helped me a lot throughout the semester. I reread the epigraph multiple times throughout these last few months. I related the epigraph to each work of literature we have read and thought about how I can use it to improve my thinking and writing skills. This course was all about finding my motivation to do school work again. I struggled immensely freshman year of college and needed to find a passion. This epigraph embodies me finding my passion as well as the other works we have read this year.