This week, I worked on preparing for the character profile assignment. I like how we were given small steps to help us with completing the entire assignment. The topic proposal helped me understand what exactly I wanted to do and which direction I should take. The research update made me do some research and set up the foundation for my writing. Without these steps, I would be lost and I would dive headfirst into the assignment without putting as much thought in. This would make it harder for me to make something that is well composed.
I can’t wait to get started on reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.
This week, we read “Stone Boy” by Gina Berriault. I liked this read because it leaves me with a lot of questions. It is also frustrating for that same reason. I want to know if Arnold actually has feelings and what exactly he was thinking after his brother’s death. He dealt with it in an unusual way and that doesn’t necessarily mean he felt no remorse or grief. I am curious to see what a psychiatrist or any other mental health professional would have to say about his behavior. I feel like they would have an explanation for why he reacted the way he did. I don’t think Arnold is malicious or apathetic. I feel like he was in shock and he continued to suppress his pain and guilt. He was only nine years old. He was quite young and he might not have known how to handle a situation as insane as killing your sibling.
We also continued working on our character profiles. I think I’m going to use Seymour from ‘Bananafish’ because the text is interesting I want to unpack everything. I would enjoy taking apart the story and analyzing its meaning.
Last week, we finished up our personal narratives and read “The Swimmer” by John Cheever. The personal narrative assignment was quite difficult because I was having trouble trying to find a story from my life that connected with what we have read. I tried to make the story as interesting as possible. Most of my life is boring and I felt like my stories were not worthy to be incorporated into a narrative. I overcame that challenge and managed to complete the assignment to the best of my abilities. The past couple of weeks were a hard time for me and I am proud that I put in the work.
“The Swimmer” was an interesting read. The main character behaved like a child and behaved peculiarly. I was not able to figure out what was going on in his head. The author made it so that his actions speak for him rather than his thoughts. The class discussion helped me understand what went on in the story and why Neddy acted the way he did. There was a lot about him to unpack and it showed me the complexity of the issues he faced.
Last week, we discussed the two stories by Shirley Jackson and the new story we read titled “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” by J.D Salinger. I found Tuesday’s discussion the most interesting because I was introduced to a wide range of takes on the prompt. I felt satisfied after reading the stories and participating in the discussion because all of my questions were answered and I truly feel like I understand the stories. The message I got from these stories is very similar to the impressions I got from “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Both of the authors wrote about women not being taken seriously in their times of need. They both reflect upon the phenomenon of women being labeled or interpreted as dramatic and people overlooking the underlying issue. Salinger’s story got straight to the point and highlighted the stigma and lack of knowledge of PTSD at the time. We have gotten better as a society with recognizing these issues before they cause any harm.
Last week, I read two short stories for our class discussions. They were “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins and “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allen Poe. “Usher” was a nice story to read because it was unique. It was mysterious and it had a lot of hidden details to unpack. It wasn’t the easiest story to read, but, taking it one part at a time helped me tremendously. It was different than other short stories I’ve read. A lot of the time, writers give away all of the elements of the story on a platter. “Usher” used symbols and imagery to convey the inner conflicts of the characters. The ending is also inconclusive. The narrator runs out and the house collapses, but there are still a lot of questions left unanswered. I wonder what the narrator did afterward. Did he just return to his normal life as if nothing happened? Did the house staff die as the house collapsed? Were they there at the time? “The Yellow Wallpaper” was also a great piece, with a strong message about sexism and how women’s issues and mental health, in general, are overlooked by society. My one comment on it is that while reading it, I wanted the narrator to just rip the wallpaper and get it over with. I know it was more complicated than that, but the urge was still there.
This is my first journal entry and I am excited to start sharing my thoughts. I feel important because this is my own personal site where I control everything. I want to reflect on my first week of classes in this post.
A few weeks ago, I was terrified of what college might be like. I was expecting a stressful transition back to school life. I was pleasantly surprised with how understanding and supportive most of my professors have been.
So far, I am satisfied with my experience in this class. I like the discussions and the clarity of what is expected of me. I got to have fruitful interactions with some of my classmates. I made a friend in the process and I am really happy about that. I learned some key terms that can be useful to know when you have to analyze a piece of writing.
I am looking forward to seeing what this course has to bring, it has been engaging so far.