My first day of Women and Lit, I was so excited to read the novels that were assigned. I thought it would be so nice to be in a class where I could focus more on women authors and characters. In most lit classes I have taken up to this point, I have read novels, short stories, and other forms of literature that were almost solely by male authors. I feel like I came into this class not very knowledgeable on how to analyze novels written by women in a scholarly way.
Now, at the end of the semester, I feel like that has changed, and I feel like it has shown in the writing I have done.
During this semester of Women and Literature, I have learned so much. It is hard to talk about all of it because that would take an obnoxious amount of time. The thing I have learned most, is how to take interesting and new perspectives on books I have already read.
When we read The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins, I decided to read it from a point of view where I find aspects of fear control within it. Not only did I find these aspects within the text, but I took the novel a step further and related it to our own United States government. It was nice to be able to read the book for a second time from this perspective because I feel like I expanded my literature analysis skills. I also feel like I had a stronger connection to the author and her reasoning for writing the book because of deeper analysis.
For another one of my classes, I also wrote an analysis paper comparing Katniss to Jesus Christ. I had so much fun writing that paper because I was able to combine my interest in Religious Studies with my love for literature. I hope I will be able to do something like this again in the future.
Another novel I read from a deeper perspective was Emma by Jane Austen. This novel I did not go into as deep of an analysis on, but I focused on trying to better understand Austen’s language. For many, Austen’s writing is something they find too hard to tackle. My first time reading Austen I stumbled through. This time I focused on finding ways to better handle her writing. When I sat down to read her novel, I made sure it was at a time where I could be focused. I then read through the novel, and used all of the details she writes in order to put together a bigger picture. This helped me better understand what was going on in Emma.
I also have taken a look Emma from a more modern perspective, like I did with The Hunger Games. I decided to take a look at the social conventions in this novel for my final research assignment. I got kind of bored because for the duration of the time we read Emma, we usually talked about social conventions in some way. To spice up my research, I decided to start looking at social conventions used by celebrities. I decided to do this because Emma was a celebrity in her little town of Highbury.
I have learned that it is so fun to take a modern approach on literature when doing analysis. I hope that in the future I will be able to do a longer analysis on a novel that I am really interested in. I feel like digging into a novel from a historical perspective would deepen my literary analysis skills.
The only time I have really dug into literature from a historical perspective is when doing an Exegesis assignment on the Bible. This was fun, but I think I would learn more if I used a novel instead. If I went in depth with a novel, I could also dig into the author’s background, and find out historical events they lived through that could have inspired their novel.
Another type of analysis that I would like to look at is psychoanalysis. This would be an interesting perspective to use on Lutie from The Street. I feel like if I went into this type of analysis, it would strengthen my abilities to be able to learn how to more effectively analyze characters.
Aside from my writing and analysis abilities, I feel like I have strengthened my confidence when discussing in class. My first year at Morningside, I barely spoke in my classes. I was too nervous to participate in discussions. During Women and Lit, I was really able to gain confidence because I was so interested in the things that we were talking about. I was more focused on being able to talk about what I was interested in, instead of my lack of confidence. I am really grateful that I was able to gain this confidence this semester because it carried into my other classes as well. I hope to keep strengthening these abilities as my years at Morningside go on.
I would like to thank Amber for a fantastic semester! I can’t wait to have Minorities Lit with her. I hope to grow even more from the literature I will read in that class, and hopefully have my eyes opened to issues I have not yet experienced!