Final Reflection

What have we been doing all semester? A simple answer would be that we, the readers, have read and analyzed numerous pieces of literature and through that we have discussed our findings. But what exactly have we been doing? Yes, we discuss and interpret material as any English class does, but I think what’s specific to this class is we do it in a way that the language in which we interpret the material is analyzed along with it. For instance, an example of this would be the term “identity.” In conventional English settings, the word can be used to analyze how a character identifies or what the character identify as. However, in this class I looked at the term itself. Specifically in my second blogpost, I wrote of the meaning of identity in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Furthermore, I focused on the interpretation of identity in the real world in contrast to Wonderland. I wrote of Alice being convinced one characteristic made her a certain way, but I suggested that identity encompasses an abundance of characteristics, so her fixation on one was rather silly. Through this, I made the assertion that it is possible, or rather more likely, that the term “identity” embodies multiple attributes a person may possess. Adding to this, in my critical essay I did the same thing, but with the terms “sense” and “nonsense.” Again, with analyzing the Alice books, I evaluated the meaning of both the terms. Along with that, I evaluated the difference in the conflicting worlds of reality and Wonderland. I argued sense is what is conventional in our society, specifics can be interpreted individually, and nonsense is what is sensical for those in Wonderland. Overall, I learned that it’s beneficial when evaluating literature to consider the meaning of the term you’re using to further understand the piece of writing. Those terms also can be interpreted differently, which will cause the very piece of writing you’re evaluating to have a varied meaning. Continue reading “Final Reflection”

Can I Identify As More Than One Thing?

The passage I chose was from “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland,” by Lewis Carroll. I chose this because I thought the interaction between Alice and the Pigeon provided a lot of interesting ideas about identity. A question the passage raises is, “Is it possible to identify as more than one, singular thing?” At first, Alice was strongly arguing that she’s a little girl and the Pigeon was strongly arguing that she’s a serpent. Both were maybe right, but she clearly wasn’t fully either. The word, “identity,” means “sameness, oneness, state of being the same.” This is what identity means in the real world, but everything in Wonderland always the opposite, so she’s not used to the idea that her identity could change. Alice was arguing that she was still a little girl, even with the number of changes she had gone through that day. Hence, it is important to her that her identity stays the same; she is still holding onto the idea of being a little girl. This reflects her opposition to change, as she completely denies that she may be a serpent. She’s unwilling to look at the new facts presented to her, her appearance, and adjust to those new changes. 

This question comes to be because the serpent suggests that she may be a little girl, but she’s definitely a type of serpent. When Alice argues that little girls also eat eggs, he responds, “if they do, why they’re a kind of serpent, that’s all I can say.” With the Pigeon characterizing her as both a little girl and a type of serpent, that can help to answer the question that has been raised here because the Pigeon is suggesting that she can be a little girl and a type of serpent at the same time. Alice ponders on this idea for a few minutes. This is significant because it has her questioning if she can be more than one thing and fit into other categories than she previously thought. At the beginning of the passage, she was denying completely that she was a serpent of any kind, but by the end she was considering it to be a possibility. Both can enjoy an egg, and based on her appearance, it’s a possibility that she became a hybrid of the two. The passage attempts to answer this question with Alice considering that she can possibly be more than one thing. Since she’s supposed to be seen as one of the only rational characters in the story, the fact that she’s actually considering it proves that it could be possible to be more than one thing, contrary to what she originally thought.

I also find it interesting how this passage also incorporates the idea that people are obsessed with labels, which I think is very relevant in today’s time. At first, both the Pigeon and Alice were very close-minded, arguing strongly for each of their views on what Alice should be labeled as. Since in Wonderland there are no rules as to what can happen, it’s very possible to identify as more than one thing, as it happened to Alice. This can also pertain to real life because as people, we are all trying to find who we are in our identity and express that to the world. However, there are many characteristics that make up a person, and to just focus on one is rather silly. For instance, the Pigeon stated that Alice had to be a serpent because she likes eggs. This is problematic because of the close-minded thinking. As Alice points out, that quality also applies to little girls, as they too enjoy eating eggs. Thus, I think the passage raised very compelling ideas as to how a person identifies himself or herself and explains that it’s a lot more complicated than pointing out one attribute, while ignoring all other qualities a person may have.

Thoreau’s Idea of Loneliness

In paragraph 12 of “Solitude,” Thoreau describes his experience of being alone, as at this point of his life he is still living by himself in the woods. He does this in a very intriguing way; he starts with his experience and from that, moves up one level of abstraction and into theory. He does this by him stating his opinion first, which is that he loves the idea of being by himself and doesn’t really seem to enjoy other’s company. Then, he takes what he has experienced for himself, being alone, and turns it into a general claim on what loneliness really means. He shifts his language and instead of using the word, “I,” changes it to “we,” to encompass all of society in his generalization. Continue reading “Thoreau’s Idea of Loneliness”