Participation Portfolio 1


This portfolio exemplifies what I have learned when doing the readings for this class and my experiences when going into my own thoughts on our readings. 



When writing these blog posts, I usually have trouble coming up with something to write about. I also struggle with going deep into what I want to say, to go past surface level thinking. 

So when I wrote my post on Rossum’s Universal Robots Acts 1 and 2, I was surprised at how far I went in describing my thinking. I am familiar with quite a few disaster movies that use animals as a sort of foreshadowing for what may be about to come. After writing about seeing this behavior in movies, I wondered if it is possible that animals could sense a natural disaster before humans can in real life. For this post I did a small amount of research on animals’ “sixth sense” when a natural disaster is about to strike. This is a real life event that can be compared to what happens in RUR. I did find quite a few claims that this is true in some online articles, but I could not find a true academic study that confirmed it. 

I was also proud of my post on chapter 1 of Foster’s book. His mention of “looking beyond” the plot, characters, and drama reminded me of my own interest: painting. Understandably, as a student who is new to a college level literature class, it is difficult to see beyond the surface level of a story. However, as a painter, I have to see beyond my subject and place it into a context in order to create a good painting. I thought that my comparison of background in literature and background in painting showed a willingness to go into depth. As I said in my post, “the background is the thing tying the entire piece together.” This can both be said in the context of painting, or in the context of analyzing literature. Even if one does not look at or notice the background of a painting or a work of literature, it will tie the work together. 



I thought it would be a bit risky to compare video games to literature, since video games do still have a bit of a stigma around them, but I figured if I made a compelling enough argument and explained my meaning in my posts, it would make sense. 

My post on chapters 5 through 7 of Foster is an example of this risk. Foster mentioned the four horsemen of the apocalypse in his chapter on literary tropes being taken from the Bible; this triggered a memory of the video game Red Dead Redemption, where the four horses make an appearance in Undead Nightmare. Their coming in this game makes me believe that it is drawing a parallel from the story from Revelations, where the horsemen signify the end of days. This comparison may be considered odd or may not make much sense to the average person who has not played the game or understands the story of the game, so I feel that it exemplifies taking a risk with what I am writing about. 

I have made not one but two blog posts making a comparison to video games. The other is my post on act three and the epilogue on Rossum’s Universal Robots. Upon reading the quote cited in the post, specifically,  “They’ve ceased to be machines,” reminded me of the plot of the game, Detroit: Become Human. I decided to write about this game since I had done a project on it in my Composition and Culture course a few semesters back and was aware of the plot. I was a bit nervous going into creating these posts since I had no idea if my point would be understood with this somewhat niche subject. 



Making connections between the assigned readings and what I have already read in Foster’s book has become a bit easier as I understand what he is discussing. 

In my post on Rossum’s Universal Robots act three and the epilogue, I compared the robot uprising to the game Detroit: Become Human, as discussed above. However, I also included a quote from Foster’s chapter five to get my point across that Detroit may have taken inspiration from this play. 



One discussion I can think of happened in class when we talked about Trifles. Grace and I discussed the post I had made about the play and what I had mentioned about the passage I quoted. We talked about our understanding of the passage and what it had meant to us. I remember stating in our conversation, “I wish that people were more sensitive to others’ issues, at least as sensitive as my friends are to mine. They usually would show this amount of regret when I would come out about my problems, and slowly they realized what they could do to help me.”



I was never unusually early with a submission, but my goal for the next unit is to be as early as possible. 

I did however go back to one of my early blog posts and edit it, for it was only one sentence and I wished to expand my thoughts on the passage I quoted. I had written this post on Trifles towards the beginning of the semester when I was unsure of how blog posts should be set up. The sentence I wrote originally was merely a summary so I wanted to add on my own thoughts as well to bring the quality of the post to the expectations of the class. 

I also went back and edited another post from the beginning of the semester that I thought had little substance as well. My post on Catholic Social Teaching contained only a short summary of what I had read within the articles on CST. I expanded my thoughts and included that I do not carry the same beliefs as Catholics, but we can still agree on caring for the Earth and its inhabitants in the same ways. 



Due to work, commuting to school, personal issues, and doing work for other classes, getting my blog posts done on time was a challenge. At one point during this unit I did fall behind considerably due to my own lack of managing time. However, I took a day or two just getting all of the readings and posts done that I could and managed to catch up fairly quickly. My goal is to manage my time and possibly start getting my blog posts done early for the next unit, so that I am not constantly worrying about them and trying to get them done as quickly as my typing speed will allow me. 



I feel that this portfolio exemplifies some progress towards the course goal of deeply and critically analyzing our assigned readings. It gives links to some of my best work on my course reading blog and my thought process when writing each one. I would like to work more towards the course goal of intellectual engagement since my discussions were limited in the beginning of the semester. I can do this by completing my blogs on time and knowing the content before coming to class, and being ready to discuss what I interpreted from what I read. I do think, however, that I have made significant progress towards interpreting the texts in my own way, rather than summarizing it.

Source: Participation Portfolio 1

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