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

Onwueme, Shakara: Dance Hall Queen: Race

KEICHI: I don’t hate her. I’m just ashamed of…! Go on, say it! Sha-ka-ra, Dance Hall Queen! I don’t hate her. I’m just ashamed of…Nonsense! Cut off your wide “w” nose then. Is that why you’re always bleaching and scrubbing your skin? You self-hater! Go buy yourself some love!

It’s interesting to compare how western civilization tackle race compared to actual people of color writers. For example, we saw in the Merchant of Venice how the Prince of Morocco was chastised for his dark skin by Portia, who hopes that no one of his complexion comes to seek her hand in marriage again. There we see a white woman who criticizes a black man for being black. However, in Shakara: Dance Hall Queen, racism isn’t white-skinned vs. dark-skinned, it’s the struggle of wanting to adhere to what the ideal image of beauty is. It’s dark-skinned vs. society. Through this confrontation, we see that Shakara wants to be lighter skinned and has internal racism. It’s her self hate that drives her self destruction. While western plays tend to show simplified versions of racism, I personally think POC writers are able to dive into the effects of a racist society and how that affects the mentality and insecurities of those with darker tones.

Source: Onwueme, Shakara: Dance Hall Queen

Miller, Resurrection Blues

JEANINE:—Let’s be honest, Felix; this man is full of love—I think you realize that now, don’t you; all he is is love. But we aren’t. I’m not and neither are you. You’ve killed too many of us to forget so quickly.

In this story, Jack, or Charley, is implied to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. However, Jeanine and Felix believe in this stranger only when they realize that he is “full of love.” This is parallel to Jesus and God, often depicted as the epitome of love and caring. Although Jack and Charley remain ambiguous throughout the story and it never confirmed that this stranger is God/Jesus, Jeanine finds hope in her life through her love for him. However, in the end, she too accepts his crucifixion, putting her devotion in question.

Source: Miller, Resurrection Blues

Academic Article (Your Choice): The Moon and Rain in Our Town

In “”Quite a Moon!”: The Archetypal Feminine in Our Town,” Min Shen examines the feminine archetypes in the story of Our Town, such as the moon and rain. This play is organized into three sections: Daily Life, Love and Marriage, and Death and Rebirth. These three sections represent the waning and waxing periods of the moon. Just like the phases of the moon, the human race cycles through these three sections. Similarly, rain is repetitively used in the story. In the first act, the townspeople wonder if it is going to rain, while in the second act is has poured. However, the rain is a blessing as “Mrs. Gibbs’s and Mrs. Webb’s gardens enjoy prosperous growth of corn, peas, beans, hollyhocks, burdock, and sunflowers.” Lastly, during the funeral scene, Emily notices that it is raining and that the people are under umbrellas. However, I do not believe that these themes do not represent femininity. Rain and the moon represent change and rebirth. The rain waters the plants, creating new life. The moon cycles from full to completely hidden. If anything, these symbols represent romanticism, as the idea of life going through cycles is beautiful and simple.

Source: Academic Article (Your Choice)

Our Town

I remember reading this play in 11th grade, and there was a single quote that spoke to me. In fact, when I went to college, this quote was placed above my dorm wall:

Emily: Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? every, every minute?


I think this question shows the purpose of this play, to reflect upon what happens in front of us. This play is quite ordinary in that it’s about simply town people. The play begins with a long description of the set up of the town and it’s history. While this seems like rather long and unnecessary exposition, it shows how the play values small details. As the story continues, we learn about Emily’s wedding and death. While these are monumental moments of life, the pacing of the play makes it appear how fast life goes by. This quote shows Emily’s lament as she stares at her younger self, but also gives a warning to the reading to be aware of their life while they live it. This is a message I hope to keep remembering as I go through my days of college.

Source: Our Town

Waiting for Godot: Lucky’s Speech

After reading Waiting for Godot, I still enjoy the value of Lucky’s speech. At first glance, it parodies the scholarly essays that we are meant to analyze. However, it’s also riddled with confusing and nonsensical words. However, here are the most important sections of the speech:

“Given the existence…of a personal God… with white beard… outside time without extension who from the heights of divine… loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown…are plunged in torment plunged in fire whose fire flames if that continues and who can doubt it will fire the firmament that is to say blast hell to heaven so blue still and calm so calm with a calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing.”

In this quote, Lucky describes how God is outside of time and loves us for “reasons unknown.” He describes hell and heaven, and that even though both are “intermittent,” both are better than nothing.

“considering what is more that as a result of the labors left unfinished…that man in short that man in brief in spite of the strides of alimentation and defecation wastes and pines wastes and pines…tennis football running cycling swimming flying floating riding gliding conating camogie skating tennis of all kinds dying flying sports of all sorts autumn summer winter winter tennis of all kinds hockey of all sorts penicillin and succedanea…for reasons unknown no matter what matter the facts are there.”

In this section of the speech, we see that man “wastes and pines” for this God. We also see a jumble of sports such as “tennis, football, running,” and so forth. These are all ways that we distract ourselves while we waste and pine away. The last line shows how we still don’t know why we exist, “no matter what matter the facts are there.”

“…considering what is more much more grave that in the light of the labors lost…the skull fading fading fading…Labors abandoned left unfinished graver still abode of stones in a word I resume alas alas abandoned unfinished the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the skull”

The quote ends with a description of death, as skull is repeated. However, it says “labors abandoned left unfinished.” These bleak words show the absurdist aspect of this play; there is no meaning in our actions. While we may play sports and distract ourselves, we are still unfinished and abandoned with no given purpose in life.

Source: Waiting for Godot

Academic Article (Your Choice): Waiting for Godot

In “The Concept of Nihilism and Torment in Samuel Barclay Beckett’s Waiting for Godot,” Azam discusses the intrinsic values of Nihilism. Azam defines Nihilism can be defined as “is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated.” A person who practices nihilism believes in “nothingness, have no loyalties, and no purpose.” In the play Waiting for Godot, two men are waiting for a person to appear who will never appear.

After reading about the tenets of Nihilism, it is evident that this play displays the common themes of “nothingness.” One of the first quotes said in Waiting for Godot is said by Estragon, “Nothing to be done.” This is the doctrine of Nihilism, that there is nothing that can be done because there is no purpose or value to any of our actions. Later in the first act, Estragon also exclaims “Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful!” This extreme sense of pessimism that Estragon and Vladimir’s lives will not change reflects how Nihilists view every action in the world. While Estragon and Vladimir wait for Godot, there is no purpose to their waiting and no reason to hope because Godot (or God) has no loyalty to Estragon and Vladimir. While Waiting for Godot is an absurd play, its dark and hopeless tones reflects the values of Nihilism.

Source: Academic Article (Your Choice)

Collier, “On Translating ‘Medea’”

In “On Translating Medea,” Collier shows the difficulties of translating such a powerful text without simplify the story into one of revenge and rage. In the heart of the story, the dynamic between Medea and Jason is both loving and abusive. One way he avoids draining the audience from all of the emotional energy is through changing the pacing and diction of the play into sounding like dramatic poetry. Suddenly, Jason and Medea are not simply screaming at each other, but rather the audience can focus on the words.

Source: Collier, “On Translating ‘Medea’”

The Irony of Medea

In “In This Way Lies the Greatest Safety: Irony, Euphemism, and Gnomic Utterance,” Helaine Smith discusses the dramatic irony used in Medea. This is best seen through the nurse, who demonstrates in the beginning of the show that she is aware of what is going to come to be. In fact, she informs the children, “come now, withdraw indoors, as quickly as you can,” as a way to foreshadow their ultimate peril (Smith 134). The nurse also warns the children to guard themselves from their mother’s “savage temper, and the hate-filled nature of her self-willed mind.” This is what ultimately is the major flaw of Medea, that her anger and temper towards Jason has no mercy. However, this dramatic irony does lead to question whether or not what happened could have been prevented had it been so obvious from the nurse’s perspective of Medea’s wrath.

Smith, Helaine L. “In This Way Lies the Greatest Safety:” Irony, Euphemism and Gnomic Utterance in Medea 1 -203.” Classical Journal, vol. 107, no. 2, Dec2011/Jan2012, pp. 129-141. EBSCOhost, setonhill.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aft&AN=71100478&site=ehost-live.


Source: Academic Article of Your Choice