Friday, June 21, 2013

Oh, What I've Learned...

For the past two months, all of my school work has been focused literature and French as these were the two courses I was taking.  However, my learning in the past two months extends far past these two subjects, with them being great gateways into further and new found ideologies. Below are the learning outcomes I was expected to meet for my literary analysis class.

1.  Know basic literary terms and methods - Speaking of gateways, knowing literary terms and methods is THE gateway into formal literary analysis.  This does not go to say that without a knowledge of literary terms, one cannot have profound thoughts about literature, but a more accurate analysis is possible if you are aware of the techniques that authors use.  Starting this class, I was not familiar at all with basic literary terms, movements/eras, methods, etc.  I was able to recognize certain basic techniques, but would not have been able to put a name to them.  For example, I was able to recognize when authors spoke about historical pasts, but would never have thought of that as a literary method: allusion.  Authors speak about the past to show its relevance to what they are trying to say.  I think that it also acts as a way of connecting audiences who are aware of certain histories.  A term that I was aware of prior to the course is Tone.  I knew what it meant, but in exploring it on greater levels, I really started to understand it and the craftiness required by authors to create it.  I am now able to identify words, phrases, use of other literary techniques, etc. that are specifically used to create tone.  Tone does not always come naturally out of thought.  Diction is manipulated to establish certain tones. 

2.  Know basic literary genres and representative texts:  What I love about genre is its lack of a rule for what qualifies as genre.  Any two texts that have a similarity can form a new, very specific sub genre.  Genres act as a way of guiding people to works that they know they would enjoy or would like to explore further.  I wrote a post about a very specific sub genre that I named, "Krakauerism." The qualifications? Be a piece of literature written by Jon Krakauer.  Genre can be created on a very broad level, like Non-Fiction or poetry; it can be something a little more categorized, like epic poetry, or it can be created on something extremely specific, like Krakauerism, Head-over-heels-falling-in-love poetry

3.  Write literary arguments - The past three weeks have been devoted to writing a well thought out, researched, and agreeable/arguable literary argument through our final paper.  My topic originated in me writing my personal literary narrative and the comments that I received from others on it.  I can comfortably say that I am proud of my final product and of my topic choice, as I discuss here.  I feel that I created a literary claim that was both arguable by an educated audience as well as agreed with by an educated audience.  Prior attempts at literary arguments can be found here and here.

4.  Engage literature creatively and socially - This is what I enjoyed the most and least of the learning outcomes.  For one, I am a very internal person, and usually only feel comfortable sharing my beliefs with those who I know want to hear them.  One of my fundamental philosophies is to allow people to form their own opinions and DEFINITELY not trying to force mine on anyone else.  So, posting to Facebook was really scary for me.  In fact, I almost did not do it.  I like to keep my social media worlds and my academic worlds separate because I hate feeling "preachy." That said, I am in fact glad that I took my thoughts to Facebook to share with my friends.  Their comments really helped to shape my paper.  I also loved sharing my love and recommendation of Petrarch with other friends, prior to the conception of my Petrarch based topic. 

5.  Use emerging communication tools and pedagogical methods - For one, this entire blog fulfills this learning outcome.  I especially enjoyed the comments contributed on my personal literary narrative, as it really sparked my paper topic.  This post as well as this one also acts as a way of me documenting my learning process. 

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