The Mistaken Perfectionist

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My name is Lauren Miller and I am a freshman at Seton Hill University.  I am currently taking EL150: Introduction to Literary Study.  Being a Creative Writing minor, it is important for me to attain the skills of analyzing literature and forming an opinion based off of evidence in the text.  One essential ability that I am learning is how to argue.

Now that I have gotten all of that generic stuff out of the way, let me tell you who I really am.  I am a person who loves knowledge, but there is only one problem: by nature, I am a perfectionist.  I am not the kind of crazy perfectionist who obsesses over her hair or her makeup or whether or not her socks match her clothes; no.  I am a perfectionist when it comes to knowledge.  Sound crazy?  It probably is.  But I obsess over it.  Its grasp is loosening on me though; I am only human and upon arriving at the university I realized that I was going to make mistakes.  Some of the things that I learned about English in high school do not apply to analyzing literature at the college level.  For a perfectionist, this was frustrating.  I had to learn a whole new set of rules.  Literature analysis is not easy and it was hard for me to accept that I was not going to master it on my first try.  I am still trying to develop that skill through my blog entries.  Perfectionists also do not like to admit that they make mistakes; but, I have grown a lot through these 18 blog entries and I hope that you can see my progression in literary analysis.  Despite the pain, all perfectionists must face the past and reflect on what they have done...whether it is perfect or not.

  Coverage

  • In Knot Exactly A Happy Ending, I offer my perception on the last line of the play Trifles but also give the readers the link back to the course website so they can read the blogs of my fellow classmates.
  • Let's Talk About Overlap demonstrates my frustration and confusion over the categories of poetry, drama, and prose (hey, nobody's perfect, right?).  It also includes a direct quote, a source, and a link.
  • I originally thought that I'm Foreshadowing...A Blog Entry was a good entry.  I then came to the realization that I was not making a point.  Who is going to argue with foreshadowing?  It is just an example of me being caught between the transition of high school English (where you got a gold star for picking those kinds of things out) and university English (where they want you to argue a point).
  • A Love Song With A Cup Of Joe shows my ability to blog as well as drink coffee.
  • I ponder the difference between Death and Immortality in Stop and Smell the Dead Roses.
  • Nothing Good Comes Out Of Closets is a belief that I have held since childhood.
  • Will You Or Won't You Woo Me? reflects on how Shakespeare portrays the males in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Blogging Resolution for Coverage:  Come up with more creative ways to link back to the course website, though I doubt I will ever be able to beat Maddie's.

Timeliness

Blogging Resolution for Timeliness:  Yikes!  Only two entries were on time?!  I will be completely honest with you--I forgot about the 24 hour rule.  Maybe that is why I did not receive as many comments as other people did.  From now on, I will force myself to remember to post a blog entry before 11:00 a.m. strikes on the day before class.  Wow my memory is awful.

Interaction

  • Stopping By This Entry On A Rainy Evening received quite a few comments.  My fellow classmates seemed to enjoy how I related the reading assignment to a Robert Frost poem.
  • In Imagine A World Of...Imagination, most students could identify with my emphasis on the most important reading ability of all...the ability to imagine.
  • Damnation and Starvation was the first blog entry where I really received some opposition to my point of view.  I was actually pretty excited about this, because Maddie wrote that I made a very forceful argument (Hooray!  I finally learned how to argue!) but that she disagreed with me.  She then made me promise not to offer her any poisoned apples, but I reassured her that was not going to happen.
  • These Are NOT Love Songs sparked some interest.  I gave the entry that title because I knew it would attract attention and I did receive five comments on it.  It was also discussed in class (Yay!) so I felt that I did a pretty decent job with arguing there as well.

Blogging Resolution for Interaction:  This goes along with my resolution for Timeliness, but I am going to start posting my entries earlier so that I have an opportunity to receive more comments.  I will also reply to the comments on my entries more often.

Depth

Blogging Resolution for Depth:  I want to spend more time when I write my blog entries.  I need to really consider my point of view and what I want to argue.  Each entry should serve as a mini informal essay that makes a point, provides evidence, and shows some kind of organization.

 Discussion

  • In Angela Palumbo's You Don't Need to Hear About the Bead, she wrote about how it is unnecessary to include every detail about the characters in your story.  I chose the same quote that she analyzed although I looked at it more as an opportunity to develop our characters fully to make them come alive in the story.
  • In Angelica Guzzo's Unpopularity on the Dance Floor, I commented on how the way people present themselves affects how society perceives them.

Blogging Resolution for Discussion:  I need to keep better track of on which entries I comment.  That way, when I compile my next portfolio, I will not have to go on a blog-wide scavenger hunt. 

Now that you have gotten through my beast of a portfolio, maybe you should go tackle some others.

1 Comments

Lauren, if you are committed to improving yourself through practice, I'd say you're not a perfectionist -- you're a proceduralist. Writing and learning are both processes. I'm never actually finished with anything that I write -- either the deadline arrives and I have to submit it, or I abandon it because something else grabs my attention. If you think of your education as a process that develops over time, rather than the frantic memorization of "correct answers," then you're in good shape. Keep up the good work.

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