Reflection Paper - Sample
This sample reflection paper contains a direct quotation from the text, refers to peer agenda items, and and makes a non-obvious observation about the text. It's a little more developed than a typical "Reflection" needs to be (see "RRRR" in the glossary.)
The final statement ties several of these observations together and takes a stand.
Sample Reflection Paper
Prof. Dennis G. Jerz
31 Aug 2005
"Heart in the Ground"
Lee: I'm stuck! And so are you! And we can't do anything about it! Because I'm not the sheriff, your brother is. And I don't have the law in my hands—he does. Hell, I don't even have it on my side right now, thanks to you! So if you really care about this house and the farm and your family, you'll finish your supper, go upstairs, and stop the goddamn digging! (Hill, "Heart in the Ground")
How important are gender roles to this play? As grieving mother, housewife, former mental patient, and a nature-lover, Karen fits many roles that literary authors use to explore women's lives. Lee bosses her around in this scene... is he a male oppressor?
Is this scene setting up a feminist awakening? Do we long for Karen to stand up and give a speech, telling the sexist pigs in her life that she's her own woman and they can't take that away from her?
Actually, the play makes no sense unless Bill is a real threat to both characters. Lee is also earthy... he also grieves... and, as a former prisoner, he is also under the thumb of The Man. We can't expect Bill to suddenly go away if someone tells him he's a greedy, sexist pig.
Karen's vision of the moon seems to suggest salvation. In their comments, Katie Aikins and Katie Lambert both thought of the moon as a heavenly symbol, but in that scene Karen seems to sense power coming directly from the mooon -- that's more like nature worship than monotheistic faith. Courts and hospitals are mentioned as powerful institutions, but no churches are mentioned -- just a cemetery.
Lee and Karen are both only tenatively free from the threats of the institutions (correctional or medical) that had confined them. That fits in with the Christian concept of the fall from grace, though it's hardly an exclusively Christian concept. While Lee does try to assert his authority as head of the household, Karen is actually more violent than Lee (as when she slams the knife).
In "Heart in the Ground," the gender tension is secondary. Note that Lee is not introduced as "a famer" and Karen as "the farmer's wife". They are both spouses to each other and farmers in their own right. "Heart in the Ground" is not really about gender. It is, instead, a celebration of nature.