Depth: For depth, I feel like this is one of the categories that I do better in because from the beginning of the semester, I did not expand on the blogs that much, but now I always make it a point to expand on what I say and elaborate.
For example, I expanded on the idea of religious beliefs versus the idea of voodoo in Huck Finn (Notice-Ch. 2). I discuss that Huck believes in witches, bad luck, and ghosts. He does not even know that Widow Douglas is praying before dinner; he seems ignorant to the idea of religion. In this blog, not only do I go into depth, but I used more quotes than I usually did. It stands out from the other posts to me because it is backed up with textual evidence to make it stronger. In addition, The Jumping Frog post stands out with the depth aspect. This was a totally new piece of work and I felt it was easier to analyze than Huck Finn, even though I did not have any background information, because I could make interpretations without Dr. Jerz informing us of any clues as to what it meant. I close read the story and analyzed Smiley’s character, who seemed to have many meanings associated with him. The final post that represents the depth category is Huck Finn (Ch.34-Last), because I expanded on Tom’s part and Pap’s part in the story and I analyzed how the ‘civilized’ part at the end shows how morals can be learned without a family support system.
Timeliness: For the blogs, I usually complete them the day before they are due so that there is a better chance for my classmates to comment on what I have posted. However, this past week, I completed all of the assignments for this week on the weekend except for the portfolio. I found it helpful because some people, like Cecilia, Julie, and Jade commented on my blogs to start a discussion. One blog that I submitted early was Foster and I chose to read Chapter 24 and 25; they were about perspectives and symbols. Another one that I submitted early was the blog on Hildebrand’s essay. Submitting early helps me to add onto discussions, which is a goal that I set for myself on portfolio 2: responding to more comments.
On my blog about Foster, I asked if Huck’s ability to lie less throughout the book symbolizes something huge. Jade responded by saying maybe it shows he is conforming to society or that he is accepting himself. I responded by saying that I think it means he is accepting himself, because he chooses not to live with Aunt Sally at the end, which shows it cannot be that he is conforming to society. Huck does not want to be civilized; he has proven to be able to survive on his own and with that, he probably believes in himself more and accepts himself more despite his background. If I did not post this early, I might not have been able to have this discussion with Jade to dive further into the idea of symbolism in the book.
Riskiness: One safe post of mine is Huck Finn and the Interpretation of Death. I chose the scene of the dead man (who turns out to be Pap) in the house to analyze and I honestly did not see a deeper analysis of how Clemens was using death, so I talked about the surroundings of the house and what they could have meant in connection to the body.
One risky post of mine was Character Synthesis Essay. I disagreed with Wood on how he thought that by Huck separating from Jim, and being with either the King and the Duke or the Grangerfords or Tom or whoever, those two were loosing a connection. I felt that by Huck being with those people other than Jim helped their Huck and Jim’s relationship strengthen. Huck seemed to realize that those people were outrageous and not morally sound, whereas Jim was. Huck liked to watch the others perform their crazy antics, but he started to realize that he missed Jim. Wood’s essay did not seem accurate at all because their relationship strengthened as the book progressed; it did not decline like Wood says.
Another risky post was Huck Finn Chapters 14-19. I discussed how the feud between the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons correlate with the idea of slavery because the feud is continuing yet no one in the families know why it started. Slavery is taught to young generations and they get no chance to form their own opinion on the subject; so, in a way, they are blindly following a tradition as well. I did not think Clemens randomly put a family feud which involved murder without having a meaning to it, so I tried to find some hidden meaning or correlation.
Discussion: One good discussion was on my Character Synthesis with Jade. We both agreed that Wood is wrong when it came to Huck’s relationship with Jim. We believe their relationship strengthened when they separated. Jade allowed me to see that Wood gave a sense that Huck was not capable of forming relationships with black and white people. Another discussion that helped me further understand the book was on Julie’s page. Julie’s post on Huck Finn talked about how Huck lacks discipline and how being in a structured environment would benefit him. Although I disagreed with Julie, it allowed me to come up with the conclusion that Huck developed a lot more in the terms of morals compared to Tom. Huck did not need a family to teach him the morals he learned; he did that by himself; whereas, Tom had a structured family and had little morals. Julie’s post got me thinking that maybe Clemens was trying to say something that having a family may be important, but if you do not have a family that enforces morals, then you will never learn them. A family does not ensure a structured environment.
Intertextuality: One post that made me interested in researching further was The Jumping Frog post. Smiley, who made constant bets, made me search what the underlying cause for gambling was. Gamblers bet for the excitement, not usually the money. It led me to think that maybe Smiley was trying to escape reality, which maybe meant that Jim Smiley and Reverend Smiley is the same person. Without researching gambling, I would not have made that connection.
Coverage: Huck Finn Ch. 29-33 is not very impressive in terms of riskiness, but I did like how I explored Huck’s internal struggle to fight against conforming to society. In the time period where the book is set, it would have been dangerous to go against the ideals of slavery. I think we, as readers, underestimate the severity of Huck’s situation because the readers now do not live in the slavery period, and because the book is written for younger people. Also, I do not feel like my post on Hildebrand’s essay was extraordinary but I liked how I connected one of our class discussions to his essay. The idea of violence being showed to Clemens and him not putting it in Huck Finn allows it to be for younger readers. In class, Dr. Jerz asked when we read the book and what age should the book be read. Clemen’s act of not including violence opens up more options for what age the book could be read at.
Conclusion: This time around, I think I allotted more time to do the assignments which allowed for good discussion. To improve, I plan on making more comments on other people’s posts, because I realized not only do good discussions happen on my blog for me to put in my portfolio, but substantial discussions on other people’s blogs could happen as well. Julie’s blog and my response to it allowed me to see another way of looking at the end of the book. I think my posts for depth are continuing to be strong; however, I could try using more quotes to support my claims when its appropriate. They make my blogs more concise and stronger.
via Portfolio 3.