This course has been my second literature class. The first, Modern Literature, i took when i was a Freshman. In comparison, these both have been completely different. While i didn't take much from the Modern Literature class, i learned quite a few different things from thins class.
One of the first things i have taken form this course was the concept of why the author choose to write this and what to take from it. Through our lessons on close reading, we learned to ask what the purpose of writing something. This is vitally important in the concept of reading in literature. What was the author's purpose in writing this? For instance, if one were to read John Smith's narrative without really caring about it, they would soon discover a fantasy like story of the heroic adventures of John Smith. Furthermore, it would greatly affect the authenticity of narrative itself. With the idea of reading with a purpose, one would soon discover that attention to detail is needed. Questioning why John Smith wrote his passage, they would soon discover that John Smith wrote this as a way of spurring people to come to America or New World. With the idea of learning why the author wrote something, the text takes on a whole different meaning. Something that seems harmless at first could actually be calling for a revolt. This idea of questioning is of great importance for reading in the future for any text based class or job. In history, one would have to decipher the actual meaning behind an account. Not only that, one must also appreciate the text. Once the reader has discovered the reason for writing something, they can come to appreciate its value. Taking again John Smith's passage, one can appreciate the heroics he did display. While it has to be taken wit ha grain of salt, it is indeed a great tale of daring and dashing adventure. For a man to be held captive by Indians, to run a colony, be almost hanged twice, and to meet 3 different princesses, that is quite a life. With that appreciation of John Smith's story, one become to enjoy the adventure of John Smith. While it is indeed quite fictional, it has some aspects of truth. Even taking it with a grain of salt, it is still an adventure that has a great deal of interest to it.
Something that this Literature class has also helped with is taking the text and using it pt find the social and racial problems of the time. For instance, Jacobs account of her slavery showed the greatest amount of oppression and helplessness the slaves had, but also the ability to overcome as Jacobs did. Throughout the book, Jacobs is faced with one disadvantage after the other. In the beginning, she faces three people she holds dear to her die. Things only get worse. She is soon faced with sexual advances from her master. To make matters worse, the owner accuses her of having sex with the owner. This turns Jacobs life into a living hell. All this accommodates the lifestyle of the slaves. As stated in the book, Jacobs owner had 11 children with other slaves girls. This proves the idea of how helpless the slaves were in that matter. When Jacobs refused, she was threatened and bewilder by her master and the master's wife. Constantly things turn worse. For instance, the greatest threat that the master has is his ability to separate Jacobs from her family. This was a constant threat for the slaves. They only wanted to be happy with their families. Sadly, this was almost impossible with the masters ready to use their family against the slaves. Overall, the lifestyle of the slaves is most definitely grim. They are harassed and constantly threatened. This is shown through the literature. While Jacobs never actually stated that being a slave had a major disadvantage, it is shown clearly through her writings. This helps in life and in writings. Writings portray the things that we don't actually know about and bring awareness to different aspects known to people who may have no way of knowing. Jacobs broke a barrier set forth by her superiors and she did so to bring awareness to the people so that they would know what was going on right under their noses yet that had no idea.
Finally, another important thing i learned from this literature class was learning to enjoy the reading. While there was a few of the reading that i absolutely dreaded, there were others that i found surprisingly interesting. For example, i enjoyed the raven because i have always been a fan of edgar allan poe. But, one that was surprising, was Bartleby the Scrivener. Previously, i had tried to read Moby Dick,unsuccessfully. But, to my surprise, Bartleby was interesting and quite an enjoyable read. Furhtermore, Bradstreet's poem gave me new interest into the world of poetry. The messages and legacy she leaves to her children through the poems are meaningful and heartfelt as she tries to lead them through the grace of god and hope that their life is of that of a good puritan. Overall, this class as taught me many different aspects of Literature. Some i can use anytime, others i don't really remember, but overall it was a successful turn of literature from my previous class.