Weblog Portfolio (Comprehensive)

This is my blog used to express my various viewpoints and insightful observations about the texts read in the SEL 263 01 Topics: World Drama class. In this class, different plays and musicals have been read from around the world from different time periods. My objectives of this class were to expose yourself to a broad range of dramatic literature and gain experience recognizing and interpreting basic dramatic elements. Through my blog posts, it is evident that I achieved these goals through engaging with the text and supported my claims with evidence.

  • Depth: In this class, writing with “depth” is critical when learning to write on a collegiate level. This means that all claims are supported with textual evidence and with a more complex argument. Earlier in the semester, one of my blog posts that demonstrate depth was “Close Reading: the Language used in Trifles.” In my close reading of Trifles, I discuss how the language change from using the individual identity of “I” to a collectivist identity of “we” signifies that the women in Trifles believe that there is a joint womankind experience. As the class continued, my deeper writing focused on character motive and analyzing specific passages of text. For example, in Oedipus the Fortune Hunter, I discussed how Oedipus was motivated to marry Jocasta based on her status rather than out of love. If Jocasta was not royalty, Oedipus may not have been as interested in her. The textual evidence that I discuss to support this claim is when the Chorus describes Oedipus as “a fortune hunter” and how he “looked at the Queen, like a man who might choose the fruit from a market stall.” Through these lines, the audience can see that Oedipus sees Jocasta as a possession rather than a love interest. She is the key to his status. In Waiting for Godot, I dissect Lucky’s speech section by section to show the purpose and message of this conglomerate of a monologue. However, I do admit that I have written routine posts as well in this class. For example, while I enjoyed She Kills Monsters, my blog post describes how Agnes’s monologue about her distress over her lack of knowledge about her sister Tilly reminds me of my own sister, and my own longingness to know her more. Overall, through the use of analyzing specific lines in a play and creating claims based on textual evidence, I was able to show depth in my writing.
  • Riskiness: A “safe” post demonstrates that I read and understood the text. It is the bare minimum for a reading and demonstrates only comprehension. For example, my post on Greed in Oedipus Rex demonstrates that Jocasta is suffering from her selfish desire of wanting to save her baby instead of killing her child to avoid the gods’ punishment. However, a post with “riskiness” shows that I can create theses with evidence and analyze texts beyond the basic meaning. However, a riskier post that I made described how in Shakara Dance Hall, the author discusses about colorism rather than just black/white racism as seen in other plays, such as The Merchant of Venice. As the first story that we read all year by a POC woman, her distinct background and experience allows her to explore characters with internal racism, such as Shakara. In addition, when I wrote about Lucky’s Speech, my dissection of his speech was risky because the important lines of monologue was hidden amongst nonsensical language. In addition, I took a risk in my post about Nine. The play had reminded me about a quote about how women can be categorized in four ways: mothers, virgins, sluts, and bitches. Through using a simplified lense and examining all of the women in Guido’s life, I was able to see how this play objectifies these women into simple roles and how when they go against their mold, they become dynamic characters. This blog post demonstrates riskiness because it uses intertextuality between a film quote and a musical to show how women are dumbed down in the musical. Likewise, another risky post that I made was about the American Dream and Lopakhin. In the post, I discuss how Lopakhin’s drive to buy the very property that his father and grandfather were practically slaves on is the embodiment of the American Dream, to reach farther in life than one’s parents did.
  • Intertextuality: Intertextuality is the ability to compare and contrast ideas across different texts, whether it be between plays, articles, between different people’s blog posts. When I responded to an academic article about the true murder that inspired Trifles, I compared the characteristics of the actual killer to the characteristics of Mrs. Wright. Through doing so and reading in the article that this woman may have been a model for Mrs. Wright, I was able to conclude that both woman coldly were aware of their actions when they killed their husbands. The article provided great insight into the background of the play. In addition, I was able to compare ideas between plays of the same author when I examined women in Chekhov plays and saw how their relationship with marriage was similar. Through comparing texts, common themes and messages become evident. As the semester continued, I used intertextuality to show how the plays of She Kills Monsters and Our Town are similar in that they both spread the message of how precious life and your relationships are while you are alive. When I read about Nihilism, I discussed how after reading a scholarly article on Nihilism, I was able to see its common themes within Waiting for Godot. Overall, I was able to use intertextuality to compare the plays to essays and other plays in order to find common characteristics amongst literature.  
  • Discussion: When I first read Nine, I saw Guido as a selfish womanizer, who simply categorized women. This is seen through my post about Nine that showed how Guido saw men. However, after reading and listening to Josh Reardon discuss about how Guido isn’t just selfish but is fighting for his films, I gained perspective on the difficulties of being a suffering artist. When I saw Nine, I began to actually sympathize with the charismatic Guido. Luisa’s song “My Husband makes Movies,” is her lament over his strong passion. In my reaction post to Nine, I wrote about how Josh’s commentary on Guido made him less of a jerk and more of a honest artist. In class, when we were discussing “She Kills Monsters,” Rebecca and I were the only students who had previous experience role playing and being in a game of Dungeons and Dragons. When I read and replied to her post, it was interesting to see how our experiences were similar and how we identified more with Tilly than Agnes. For us, it was as if someone was entering and learning about our own nerd culture and love for escapism rather than identifying as Agnes, who was popular and normal. However, most of the discussions I admit were taken place in class. For example, I debated Josh again on Medea, who sided more with Jason as being justified. However, I sympathized with Medea’s anguish and empowerment through killing her children. I personally believe that our different genders play a role in how we see each character as his support for Jason reminded me of his support for Guido.
  • Timeliness: Overall, I attempted to write within the deadline. When reading The Merchant of Venice, I blogged about how Portia represents how “all that glitters is not gold” because while she is rich, she is a racist judgmental character. However, I came back to this moment in another post after she finally ends up with Bassiano and she is happy that he can see her for who she is. This moment was rather ironic because she cannot get past Morocco’s complexion or Shylock’s Jewish background. In addition, I wrote about American Dream and Lopakhin after our class discussion of how the Cherry Orchard could have taken place during the Southern Belle time period. After our class discussion on Medea, I wrote about my admiration of the story’s discussion about how women can be as wicked as men. I wrote timely blog posts after class discussions because they inspired me. However, near the end of the class, I do believe that I began slipping with my blog entry timing. If there was one area that I could have improved upon if I could repeat this class is the ability to post about each play before the 10 AM Thursday deadline. Nevertheless, I did always attempt to post about each and every play. 
  • Coverage: I have blogged consistently and on time. Although there were times that I did not blog with much length, especially on plays that did not intrigue me such as Resurrection Blues. However, I believe that I participated in all of the discussions in class and expanded on my blog posts verbally. I always attempted to share some deep thought with evidence on the stories that intrigued me, such as Oedipus Rex, The Merchant of Venice, and Trifles.

Overall, this class has taught me how to engage with various plays with a scholarly mindset. This class is not about explaining your favorite sections of a play, but rather how can you interpret and analyze the various literature. I believe that I was able to write with depth, risk, and make connections. Although I have never written a blog before, I believe that my blog demonstrates my ability to craft collegiate claims and support them with textual evidence.

 

Nguyen, She Kills Monsters

AGNES. My memories? My memories are shit. Do you want to know what my memories of Tilly are? They’re of this little nerdy girl who I never talked to, who I ignored, who I didn’t understand because she didn’t live in the same world as I did. Her world was filled with evil jello molds and lesbian demon queens and slacker Gods while mine…had George Michaels and leg-warmers. I didn’t get her. I assumed I would one day – that she’d grow out of all this, – that I’d be able to sit around and ask her about normal things like clothes and tv shows and boys…and as it turns out, I didn’t even know she didn’t even like boys until my DM told me so.

Something about this play seemed so personal and far more realistic compared to the others. Perhaps it’s the sisterly dynamic that hasn’t been explored yet in the literature and Agnes’s longings to learn more about who her sister was as an actual person. In many ways it reminds me of my own two sisters and how although we know each other, there’s so much that we don’t know. The way that Agnes interacts with the D&D game is how I lurked through my sister’s tumblr in order to see how she’s feeling. Her despair in wishing she knew more about her sister is heartbreaking to read through, but reminds me of the line in Our Town: “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?” By the end of both plays, we are reminded about how precious our relationships are while we still have them and encourage us to learn more about one another.

Source: Nguyen, She Kills Monsters