Participation Portfolio 1

Introduction

In this World Literature: World Literature portfolio I demonstrate my ability to analyze the pieces of literature we have covered so far with depth and complexity. I provide evidence to the timing and length of my blog post assignments as well as my ability to take risk and draw from peer comments and discussion. Overall this class has started out quite difficult for me as I have no experience with drama works of literature and had no understanding of how to approach literary close reading on these texts. However, over the course of the semester so far, I’ve felt a certain level of improvement and have gained a larger understanding of dramatic literature than I ever expected to.

Depth

In my blog post about Rossum’s Universal Robots (Act 3, Epilogue) I demonstrated my ability to reveal the plays overarching echo of Christianity in the nature of the question of redemption vs. extinction. I was able to pull from various parts of the text to demonstrate my point such as recognizing Nana as the character who continuously brings this parallel to light amongst the dialogue. This was also one of my longer blog posts, I was able to pull a lot more information to demonstrate my idea because I could pull from personal knowledge as well as the text. I spent much more time hunting down the quotations I was referring to in my explanation, I think usually I personally try to explain as much as possible without quoting the text however with this post I really tried to pinpoint the dialogue that I thought was representing my analysis. I found that when I felt more engaged with the text I was able to demonstrate more depth in my analysis, so naturally the same evaluation reigns true in my blog post on RUR (Act 1, Act 2).

Riskiness

 The risks I feel I’ve taken in my blogging experience are mainly attributed to my little to no experience with analyzing drama literature. For me, trying to pull my own original analysis from the text and discuss it with confidence was the biggest risk because I do not easily recognize the common themes of this type of work. For example, in my post on The Proposal I discussed how I thought the arguments between the characters were arbitrary and how I didn’t exactly understand why they even trying to be married if all they did was argue. This was going out on a limb for me, I wasn’t so sure about my analysis of this play, rightfully so when I discovered in class that it was meant to be comedic which went right over my head. Now I feel I will try to take comedy, irony, satire, etc. into consideration when I read Drama because it seems to be a commonly used element of this type of work.

It also feels risky to analyze things I don’t necessarily agree with, I fear coming off too critical especially when for some people it is their way of life. When we blogged about Catholic Social Teaching I experienced this sense of risk. I’m not Catholic and in my personal life I don’t agree with many Catholic teachings. Therefore, when I read and analyzed CST and was critical of some elements of it I tried to tone down my bias when writing my blog post. Though I understand everyone’s individual criticisms are valid, I don’t support offending someone based on a teaching related to their faith. I felt like it was a risk to even blog about something I have personal and strong bias towards.

 Intertextuality

 One place I really drew from other pieces of text was the comments section of the blog. I’m sure some students just simply approve the comments but never really read them. Personally, as someone with little to no experience analyzing drama I found it helpful to be able to see what more experienced students thought about my posts. One comment in particular from Ashlynn Swauger on my post about The Proposal was very helpful to me. Another element I struggle with is making historical comparisons and understanding how the dynamics of the time influence the play. By sharing her knowledge on the views surrounding marriage at that time I was able to rethink my original point of analysis and draw from her response to gain a new understanding of the text.

Discussion

 In class we broke into small groups to discuss our understanding of the play The Proposal. This was the most helpful discussion I engaged in so far. I had an experienced drama student in my group and after sharing my difficulty understanding the dynamics of the play she was able to explain the comedic aspect. She also had a lot of experience with the author Chekov and she said that if I had never read him before it was normal to not pick up on the satire present, especially since his use of it is very dated. This not only made me feel better about my capabilities with analyzing unfamiliar works of drama but also prompted me to rethink my original analysis leading to my blog post The Proposal (Enlightened Understanding).

 Timelessness

 I have tried to be on top of my timing from the start. I completed our first assignment with the three intro scenarios before the first day of class. This really aided in my ability to keep up with the extremely past paced class activities that occur, especially the first day, If I had not completed those assignments early I would not have been able to keep up with the various other tasks completed during class time.

In the sense of relating these older works of drama to the present day times I was able to make this connection in my blog post Context for Rossum’s Universal Robots. Here I related the Robots longing for a soul to present day society’s longing for a more humane reality. Today much like back in the time period of the play the material world had taken over and we have become overwhelmed with selfish desires. In play when humanity becomes wicked the resolution was to destroy them. In today’s world we wrestle with that option versus our ability to reclaim our humanity and compassion.

 Coverage

I felt most engaged in my posts about Foster which I categorized as Literary Analysis readings. As I felt engaged with them I was able to blog about what I learned from Foster and how I can use it in the future. I was able to slowly increase my length and engagement with my posts on Drama Readings. At first, I found it difficult to have a lot to say but I’ve begun to increase my depth and overall coverage of these texts. Though I completed it I didn’t feel very connected with my post about Catholic Social Teaching however I was able to find something to discuss anyway.

Conclusion

 In my time in world literature: world drama so far, I have been able to build my literary analysis skills more than I imagined. I did not have much experience with drama forms of literature and I was anxious about being able to deeply and critically read a play. However, through the blogs I have been able to learn the common elements of a play such as the use of comedy. I have taken risks with my analysis by stepping outside my comfort zone with my response to each reading assignment and have used my peers’ comments to gain insight and revisit my understanding of the plays, now supporting my claims textually. I’m much more comfortable at this point in the semester then when it began with reading pieces of drama and being able to discern the meaning and create my own unique viewpoint on it and apply that view in the discussions on my drama blog. With each blog post I increase not only the length of my response but also the complexity of my argument. I feel confident these skills will only build as the semester continues and I will become better at achieving the learning goals of this course.

Source: Participation Portfolio 1

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