Portfolio 1: Riding the Roller Coaster of Literary Criticism

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Well this has been an interesting beginning of the semester.  I admittedly have felt quite overwhelmed at times.  I’ve spent hours blogging, doing the readings, and writing casebooks.  I have literally spent almost entire weekends doing nothing but literary criticism.  I’m not sure whether I really am getting things or not.  Sometimes I feel like I’m really getting things and other times I feel frustrated and like I don’t understand anything.  It is truly a roller coaster ride of ups and downs.  However, I really do think that I am learning to see things in a completely different way.  In EL150, I remember Dr. Jerz telling us that there was no big dusty book of answers, and I thought I understood it then, but now I think I really get it.  The non-existence of a “right” answer doesn’t just apply to what something symbolizes, it applies to what school of criticism one uses, and it even applies to what literature can be defined as.  Keeping all that in mind, I do think I am making progress, and there are even times I really like to blog.

Coverage and Timeliness:  I completed all assigned blogs and posted them all on or before the time that they were due.  So here is the list of all my blogs: 

Depth: For the most part, I consider all of my blog entries to be well-thought out.  I spend a lot of time on my blog entries.  However, there are still a few that really went above and beyond.
  • The Pattern on the Wallpaper Represented in Words.  In this entry, I show my mastery of formalism as I carefully analyze a passage from Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.” 
  • Happily Ever After…or Not.  Here, I argue that the ending of Shakespeare’s The Tempest does not have as happy an ending as some may believe.  I carefully analyze the implications of some of Shakespeare’s word choices.
  • Gender in Not the Only Factor.  In this entry, I both disagree and agree with Kolodny’s essay.  I argue that gender is not the only factor that affects a reader’s interpretation and is in fact no more important than any other of these factors.  However, I agree with her idea of “revisionism.”
  • The House of Mirrors: Finding the Reflections of Pride and Prejudice in Joyce’s “The Dead.”  This is probably my favorite blog entry and you’ll probably see it pop up again later on in my portfolio several times.  I examine the possible existence of an intertextual relationship between P&P and “The Dead.”  I also did outside research to set up the possibility of Joyce’s intention to allude to P&P.

Blog Carnival: Several of my classmates (Derek, Angela, Katie, Kayley, and I) all decided to apply a school of literary criticism to Joyce’s “The Dead.”  It instigated some amazing discussions and some thought-provoking entries.

Interaction: In these blogs, I either help my peers understand something or help to keep discussion going.

Discussion: These are blogs in which I participated in discussions with my peers.




  • French, Anyone?  I picked this blog mostly because I spent a while writing this blog and was proud of it.  I tried to make a connection between my two majors (French and English Literature), by observing an inordinate amount of French-based words in Melville’s “Benito Cereno.”  I also included questions to my peers to help facilitate discussion, but no one ever commented on it.  So I wanted to draw some attention to this ignored blog. 

Previous Portfolios:

Read my classmates' portfolios. 


Very impressive content, Greta! I really appreciate your candid, thoughtful, and timely contributions to the online discussions. You are always willing ready to test connections between things that you've learned in other classes, which leads you to many surprising and satisfying discoveries. Keep up the great work.

When I view your page in Internet Explorer, the bullets appear with extra characters:

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I think that's probably a result of composing the entry in MS-Word and then pasting into MT. You can actually add bullets and other formatting within the MT editing window.

Greta Carroll said:

Thanks for letting me know about the bullets, it looked ok on my computer, I'll fix that.

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