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Participation Portfolio 1

Introduction

My participation skills have come a long way. These are some of my strengths and weaknesses that I noticed as I scroll through my blog.

Depth

This is likely the category that I need to focus on improving the most. However, as I reread some of my posts, I see potential for where I could have gone deeper.

First, in my post about Foster’s mention of vampirism in How to Read Literature Like a Professor I speak about the subject of depth itself. I explained that the passage taught me that “to read literature like a professor, one must probe for deeper meaning than what lies on the surface.” I think that I could have gone deeper by mentioning where I have seen vampirism in literature before, what I thought it represented at the time, and what I think it represents now given my knowledge about depth.

Secondly, I think that my best example of depth came in my group discussion about “The Proposal.” In the discussion, I raised the idea that the marriage proposal was more of a business transaction than anything, and I think that this could have been the start to some deeper close reading about why the proposal occurred in the first place, including Lomov’s age, marriage views at the time, etc.

Riskiness

A few of the posts that I have created have taken me out of my comfort zone, and this has caused my strengths as a reader and writer to accumulate.

This class has forced me to delve into a genre that I have never done so with before: science fiction. Other than a few of the works by Ray Bradbury, I have never delved into science fiction to the extent that I have in this class. The contextual lecture for Rossum’s Universal Robots sparked my interest in science fiction. I honestly believe that this is where I should have started, since the play seems to be the framework for robots in literature. I was apprehensive about this play before watching this lecture, but the lecture convinced me to leave my comfort zone and read science fiction.

I stuck to my comfort zone in my post about the first acts of the play, because I simply chose to write about the significance of God during this time, which really has nothing to do with science fiction. When responding to the final acts of Rossum’s Universal Robots, I left my comfort zone and chose to write about the significance of the robots’ faces in the story. While this is not a huge leap from my comfort zone, I am proud that I at least began to tread the territory.

Intertextuality

I think that I need to work on my intertextuality skills. I have mentioned other works of literature when responding to works in this class, but failed to quote them directly.

When I responded to a passage in How to Read Literature Like a Professor that showed Shakespeare’s involvement in a huge list of works of literature, I think that I did a good job of explaining my own experience with this topic, as the only prevalent connection that I knew about was Hamlet and The Lion King. To strengthen this connection and engage intertextuality, I should have quoted passages from both works to prove that they are connected. I also could have researched some of the works that were mentioned in the passage to see how they were connected to Shakespeare’s works.

Although it is not a blog post, I demonstrated intertextuality in my response to the literary close reading assignment. In this paper, I compared the marriage standards “The Proposal” to those presented in “Trifles” to prove the differences between the general view on marriage in Russia and the United States within the same decade. I think that this is the type of intertextuality that I need to start including in my blog post, and I am proud of myself for using it in the paper.

Discussion

My discussion skills have improved as a result of this class, as we have small group discussions during every meeting. These are beneficial to me because I feel more comfortable expressing my ideas in a small group setting rather than in front of the whole class.

When my group discussed “Rossum’s Universal Robots,” I raised the point of the robots’ faces as mentioned in my blog post about the final acts of Rossum’s Universal Robots, and it sparked a compelling discussion among our group members. We went into depth about the current state of robots, and why we think that humans sometimes fear them. Overall, it caused more of a response that I could have ever imagined, and I am glad that I mentioned it.

Timeliness

The more I read in this class, the more I am able to relate things to current events.

In my group discussion of “The Proposal,” I made a comment along the lines of the change in how marriage is viewed today, as well as how women are viewed today. The way this play was written in regards to Natalya as a character inspired me to make this connection, and I also thought of the progression of feminism as we read “Trifles.”

Coverage

Some of my blog posts are too short because I sometimes am unable to think of more to write, and other times I am low on time.

My post about Catholic Social Teaching proves that I posted something on my blog each time I was asked, because I really know very little about the subject. I was also unsure at the time as to what exactly I was supposed to write about the topic, but I was able to figure it out and explain some of the values.

Conclusion

While I am able to recognize my strengths in this class, I am also able to see that I have quite a few areas in need of improvement. I hope to gradually improve in these areas as the semester progresses, and excel in all of them at its conclusion.

Source: Participation Portfolio 1

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