This is a test.
I just transferred to SUNY Geneseo at the beginning of the semester from a community college in my hometown. I found my classes at Corning Community College to be at the same difficulty level as the ones I took in high school. In particular, my English classes were introduction levels and the books that were on the syllabus I had already read in high school. Therefore, I didn’t have to push myself to learn new things because I had previously learned them. As a result, I was a little nervous to transfer to Geneseo because I had heard the reputation of their academics and I knew it was going to be challenging. During orientation I was so excited to be put into English 203 because at home I loved to go to our local theater with my Grandma and watch Broadway shows. Back in high school we always had to read old literature, such as Shakespeare, which wouldn’t be my first choice when choosing a play to read. So when I read that this class would consist of reading contemporary plays that I had already heard of, I couldn’t wait to get started. As promised, we read so many great contemporary plays during my time in this course. Reading the plays was my favorite part because it let me use my imagination to create a picture of what was happening in my head. I love watching plays, but it’s like when reading a novel is better than the movie itself. However, I did enjoy watching some of the plays after reading them to confirm that what I had imagined was correct. In high school and at my community college I was never forced to analyze a text too deeply because of the time limit set for each book. For the first time in this course I was challenged to examine the texts and relate them to modern issues in America, such as race, immigration, and gender identity. This was also one of my favorite parts of the course because we could relate it to what is happening in the world around us now. I’d say the least interesting part of the course for myself would be writing the reviews. Never before in any course I have taken did I have to use my opinion to analyze a text. Since this was my first time writing reviews it wasn’t one of my strengths and I think that is why I didn’t enjoy it as much. I have been used to thriving without really challenging myself, but I appreciate the fact that this course got me out of my comfort zone and taught me a new skill. I didn’t get the grade I expected on my first review, but as I kept writing and learning new things about how to write I got better and that makes me excited to continue in the English concentration and improve my writing skills.
In the documentary, The Topdog Diaries, Suzan-Lori Parks states that while writing Topdog/Underdog she did not strategize to form a theme based on race. Many people have asked her “What’s [the play] about?” and “What are the issues you’re trying to defend?” She opposes with “Black people when they hang out is it an exploration of race, just two black people in a room together?” Though I concede that Parks did not intend to write a play on racial issues, I still insist that Topdog/Underdog portrays exemplary examples of discrimination in America today. To kickoff this theme, the characters, Lincoln and Booth, are named after two historical white men and are played by two black actors. This is an ironic start to the play and automatically delves into the social history of the United States and slavery. Booth, the underdog, does not have a job, is striving to be the best hustler in three card monte, and boosts every item that he owns. These actions contribute to the African American stereotypes in large cities today. On the other hand, Lincoln actually has a job that supports both him and his brother. However, the only way Link could get this job was to put on white face and it consisted of dressing as Abraham Lincoln and getting “assassinated” daily by paying customers.
The black man playing the Great Emancipator just adds to the racial satire in the play. I believe the title, Topdog/Underdog, is also tied to the act of reversing black and white characters and all of the undertones on race. It could be interpreted as the white population being the topdogs and African Americans being the underdogs. Unfortunately, we live in a dog-eat-dog world and our nation’s history has contributed largely to discrimination among African Americans. Although Parks did not intentionally write this play based on the explorations of race, I argue that these issues are what embody the play most.
In the class I have learned that people are allowed and able to make a story. In a Christmas carol there was a part where his flashbacks added to detail in the story. I learned that there is no right way of looking at something because of the way that people were raised and their background may impact their beliefs. A fluid reader needs to have an open mind that is good at interpreting through not only the eyes of a reader but as well as the eyes of the author. When there is an issue in the Alice books sometimes becoming real isn’t always something that comes easy to Alice. For example when the red king was asleep Alice was told by the Tweedledee that she was only there because the king had a dream of her but Alice sees that her crying is actually proving that she was real. In a Christmas carol scrooge tries to interact with the people around him but since he was apart of Christmas past and future he was not able to talk to them physically but he knew that he was real.
12:37pm: an eclectic, butter-haired girl stumbles into the paradox classroom of Fluid Reader and Texts; The grainy wood floors, and off-white walls imply that the room is aged. Countering this, Neon blue lights reflect on the elevated parts of each individual’s face; noses, cheeks, and foreheads. In front of each student is a mechanical notebook, that when students habitually tickle, giggle in response with clicks and clacks. The footsteps of the chronically belated girl contribute to this oxymoron. In the quiet room, the embrace of each foot with the floor is an intentional tip-toe, yet inevitably a stomp. She sits and fumbles with her backpack for a minute, searching for necessities, in this case, caffeine and a computer. The song of the day slowly eases her half-asleep brain, oozing with soft-blanket temptations of her bed, into an awakened state. It is difficult to be punctual, and to conform to conventional time standards, with an unconventional internal clock. In all of my past blog posts, I explored the idea of identity, especially those that are seemingly contradictory. Continue reading “Tiny Desk Conclusion”
What exactly have I learned over the course of the semester? Seems like a simple enough question. I learned about why Henry David Thoreau went into the woods, I learned about two different concepts of liberty, and I learned about the cool new task of writing blogposts. I also learned that Professor Schacht has a soft spot for Christmas films. That’s cool and all, but what has this class really been about? Continue reading “Expanding My Literary Universe”
Honestly, trying to sit down and write this blog post has been a lot more challenging than I anticipated. All of my other final assignments have just been a regurgitation of facts, so switching gears to form my own opinions has been weird. I can tell you why Pluto is no longer considered a planet and trace the path of Alcibiades’ capricious loyalties all through Ancient Greece. My brain physically ached for a while from so much cramming, although that’s not even possible since the brain has no pain receptors. But, a broad question like “What has the point of this semester been?” is a whole different playing field. I drew a mental blank for three days before I even tried to sit down and write. Continue reading “A Step Back From The Semester”
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”