May 2009 Archives

Term Presentations

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On Thursday, as you all know, we had our last day of class.  I'm going to take some time to comment on each presentation.

Erica's and Jenna's group did an excellent job presenting on Pride and Prejustice.  The historical background was very helpful in understanding why Jane Austen set up the love story that she did.  My favorite part was the intertextual relationship they did on Pride and Prejustice and Zombies.  The slide show kept us all laughing and the background music was a wonderful touch.  I can tell that they really researched their stuff and worked hard.  And kudos to you for your creativity.

Bethany's and Ellen's presentation on "The Three Little Pigs" and variations was really cool.  The way they debated about which version was the original actually reminded me of the debates we read about in class pertaining to the variations on "The Yellow Wallpaper."  The youtube clips were a great addition.  They caught the interest of their audience and kept it by showing fun and exciting, but still pertinent, clips.  My favorite had to be the end clip.  I thought that you guys would also appreciate this clip of Christopher Walken reading (kind of) "The Three Little Pigs."  (His sweater is priceless.  I would have to describe it as unicorn puke.)

Kayley's and Mara's presentation was really interesting.  I never knew that The Boxcar Children was written by Gertrude Chanoller Warner and then, after she died, varioius anonymous authors.  Their presentation was an interesting comparison between authors.  It was kind of an interauthorial criticism.  The way you guys noticed the differences in language, roles and responsibilities, and illustrations was very astute.

Michelle's and James' presentation was also very good.   Being a fan of rap music, it was fun to see some of my coursemates criticize it.  By looking at "Gin and Juice" we really see the objectification on women.  As much as I enjoy it, it is a shame how rap continues to perpetuate negative views of women.  What I think is interesting is how rap's influence has seeped into other forms of music.  For example, listen to the song "Moneymaker" by Ludacris and then listen to "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" by Trace Atkins.  They are practically the same song and the second song is country (what many believe to be rap's arch nemesis!).  Great job of picking apart this song!

Of course, as I mentioned in my portfolio, Greta and Katie did a wonderful job presenting what they did.  I know they worked hard and it showed by the way the students demonstrated their knowledge.  Also, Quinn and Sue did a great job talking about Salinger.  I loved the dialogue.  It was so funny!

Overall, I think that everyone did fabulous!  There was not one presentation I did not like.  I could tell that everyone worked really hard and each presentation was unique.  I also want to say that I enjoyed everyone in class.  I feel like we had a tight group.  I learned a lot from everyone.  I appreciate all the feedback on my blogs and the input everyone put into the class.  It was truly a pleasure.

Check out my blogging portfolio!

Click here for the course website

Portfolio 3- What I've Done (Thank you Linkin Park!)

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     Well I guess this is the end.  This will be my last portfolio for Literary Criticism.  By taking this class and blogging about my readings I have learned many things.  The blogging helped me understand the articles better.  Sometimes I would read a particularly insightful article and write about it.  By writing, I learned even more about the article than I realized I knew.  Also, there were of course times where I had no idea what the author of the article was trying to say.  The blogs were a nice way for me to interact with my peers to find out if they were having the same problems.  I also used my blog entries and comments to ask my peers questions, particularly if it seemed that he/she seemed to understand something that I didn't.  Lastly, the blogs gave me the opportunity to become familiar with the different writing styles of my peers.  I got a chance to see how others use language differently than I do.  I definately took note of that and filed it away, keeping certain phrases and ideas in my memory to use at a later date.

     This class in general has taught me a lot about myself.  I would venture to say that it is as much a content course as it is a challenge to a person's character.  I had to work harder in this class than I had to work in almost all of my other classes combined.  The content was a lot more difficult and the written work was demanding.  However, through this I learned that I can handle a lot more than I give myself credit for.  I was expecting to crack a long time ago but I am still chugging (ok, at this point dragging a little) along.  I have learned better time-management as well.  This means, unfortunately, some nights meant turning down a friend's offer to go see a movie or watching TV (which has become a pretty much foreign object to me).  When I was a child, I had a very difficult time managing my time.  I am proud to say that I found time to do everything I needed to do and I even did it well.  I, as Dr. Jerz noted at one point during the semester, have also grown a lot.  I can synthesize better questions and answers.  All around I am thinking on a higher level.  This has even seeped into doiing things like watching movies, see Derek's and my webpage on the main characters in The Dark Knight.  

     Lastly, I learned the real importance of learning several techniques to dissect literature with.  Yes, this is the obvious point but it also has impacts on life.  I know many people who only look at one side of an issue.  They find one that they think works for them and stop there.  This class has encouraged me to not be one of those people.  I think that it is extremely important to learn all of the different perspectives, and then and only then make a decision. Even once the decision is made other factors (like the different types of criticisms) leak into that decision.  It is ok to not stick to only one perspective.  (This is why I personally cannot see declaring oneself as strictly a Democrat of Republican.  I agree with multiple points on each side.  Who's to say that I'm one or the other?  By the way, there is your political criticism of our culture right there.)

But who says that all of the learning is over?  I'm really looking forward to seeing all of the presentations on Thursday (with the exception of the two that we already saw).  I have to commend Greta and Katie's group for all of the hard work.  I'm not just saying this because I'm friends with them but I know that they spent countless hours working to make their project good.  (And boy was it good!)  I'd also like to pat them on the back for having the guts to teach literary criticism to high schoolers.  They seemed like they would have been an intelligent, but intimidating group. 

Quinn and Sue's group did an great job with their presentation about Catcher in the Rye.  The dialogue was hilarious and incorporated the book into Salinger's life perfectly.  Man, you guys really killed me. 

I'm also interested to see what Kayley and Mara are going to do with The Boxcar Children.  A little known fact about me is that all throughout my schooling and up to my first year of college, I did not like to read.  I almost never did it for fun.  A few of the books from The Boxcar Children series are a few of the only books that I did read.  I have a feeling that their presentation will be enlightening.

To see what I thought about the presentations on Thurday, click here.   

Derek and I did our project on the main characters of The Dark Knight i.e. Batman, the Joker, and Harvey Dent.  If you get a chance to check it out please do.  We spent a lot of time and put a lot of effort into researching and doing it.  It also really makes you think about how hard all the different creators of Batman and his rivals worked on making them seem so human-like.  Maybe the Joker and Dent are even in our class (ahem! foreshadowing).

I'm honestly looking forward to seeing what everyone did for their projects because the subject matter is so different for everyone!

Lastly, I would like to mention my term paper.  I did it on the film The Prestige.  I used psychoanalysis, a little deconstruction, some author intent and reader response, as well as a little historical criticism in order to demonstrate how the director fools us, pulling off a magic trick of a movie right before our eyes without our knowing.  The peer editing Erica did on my paper was VERY helpful.  She caught a lot of mistakes that I'm sure I would not have seen on my own.  Thanks Erica! 


Below I have attached my first two portfolios for this class.  Also, I wrote an extra blog entry for fun pertaining to a movie I went to see.

  • Portfolio 1- Gosh...Are We a Third of the Way Done Already?  I feel that this portfolio is a pretty good display of my efforts for the course.  I had more time here to write long entries about the subjects because I had no papers to write.  However, looking at a few of the entries I have seen that I was still in the first phase of this class.  I would call it the "I don't like it" phase.  This is before I learned that in order to make an informed decision about how I want to critique literature I need to see all sides of the argument.  I think that you will see forward progress looking at...
  • Two Down, One to Go! Portfolio 2  In this portfolio, some of my entries are shorter but have greater depth.  I'm beginnning to have a lot of the "AHA!" moments that Dr. Jerz said we would have.  Instead of saying I don't like something, I delved into why I don't like it, deconstructing why I don't agree. 

Just to show that I've kept up the hard work at the end of the semester, I've also included some extra blog entries that would fit into the more demanding of the normal categories of a portfolio.  This is an abbreviated portfolio in which I only picked my favorite entries that I have done since the last portfolio.


  • What is the Story Behind that Urn!? covers the information well presented in Marjorie Garson's "Bodily Harm: Keats's Figures in the 'Ode on a Grecian Urn'".  I picked a few quotes as opposed to the usual one because I think that it was well written.




  • In addition to the Portfolios, I wrote some other blogs.  My last blog is a fun one, reviewing the movie Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.  Even though it is more of a journalism style critique, you can see a little intertextualness leaking in.  The whole playing off of Dickens' A Christmas Carol really worked for the movie, taking it from stupid chick flick to slightly more intelligent chick flick.  This blog is also evidence that I actually secretly enjoy blogging.  It's sad but true.  I honestly walked out of the movie theater and was like "I liked that movie so much I think I want to blog about it!"  Don't judge.


Look at some other portfolios.

Reviewing Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

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Yesterday, I went to see Ghosts of Girlfriends Past with my boyfriend.  I wanted, as a little extra thing for my blogging portfolio to comment on the movie, review it if you will.  If you are thinking about seeing the movie, read this and you can decide if it is truly for you and I'll try to keep those spoilers out of it!  :)

The movie opens up with Matthew McConaughey (as Connor Mead, the great photographer of the barely clothed).  He has to go to his brother's wedding, something that he is strictly opposed to, especially when it interferes with his sleeping-around schedule.  When he gets to the wedding, he shares his skepticism for getting married with everyone he sees, including the bride and groom (his brother,Paul).  The audience is then taken through Connor's past, present, and future by ghosts (lead by Michael Douglass as Uncle Wayne) so Connor can see the error of his ways.

I would basically discribe this movie as yet another, perfect chick flick.  It begins when a character is missing something and by the end he has that and, the girl.  (I know I said no spoilers but when you go to see a chick flick you know you know the outcome.) 

As a person who has read and briefly studied A Christmas Carol, I actually really like what the movie did with the old classic.  Dickens' famous story was preserved well enough to not be offensive to the fan, but also separated enough to not be just a cheesy remake.  My favorite part happened to be when Mead threw open the doors on a snowy morning, after seeing all the ghosts (and his won grave) and asked a boy shoveling snow if it was Christmas morning.  The boy said, "No.  It's Saturday" and then Mead praises being alive some more.

Overall, I really liked the movie.  It has enough comedy to get a man through the movie without wanting to kill himself.  My boyfriend actually said that he liked the movie, although he though how all the women were crying in the theater was weird.  I would suggest, as a person who enjoys the occasional chick flick and loves romantic comedies, to go see this movie.  If you are anything like me, you'll laugh and cry.

Here is a link to another reviewer.

This will link you to IMDB so you can find out a little more about the movie.

Course webpage

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