Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reflexive Essay

Literature has the mysterious power of transforming one into a more analytical and confident reader and writer. At the beginning of my senior year, I considered myself to be a reporter, who reports the fact on the things I see. Now, near the end of the year, I consider myself an analytical writer. Throughout the year, we were asked to analyze and to explicate on whatever pieces of literature we were assigned. At first, everything about the pieces seemed so simple that I felt like there is not much to write about. However, as time pass by, I am able to see more than the images on the picture or the words on the writing. I am able to see beyond what is on the piece of literature.
The most memorable moment was when I have to write an explicative essay for the first time. This was difficult, as I have never done it before. I was assigned to explicate William Carlos Williams’ The Parable of the Blind. He wrote this poem based on Pieter Brueghel’s painting. With the painting and poem, I started my journey on analyzing it. I also attempted to create meaning and relationships between the poem and the painting. In the end, I found a relationship and the purpose and main idea of William Carlos Williams’ poem. Therefore, I wrote about my findings and reported each detail with specific care.
I thought that this was the best analytical piece I’ve done. However, when I received my grade for this assignment, I was shock. I got a low grade and I was disappointed. This is because I was not doing what the assignment asked for. I was supposed to explicate the poem, not analyze it. I asked myself the question: What is the difference between explicating and analyzing? Later, I realize, with the help of fellow students and Mr. Gallagher, the difference between them. When one analyzes, he or she is trying to create meaning out of what they see. And when one explicates, he or she is attempting to tell other people how the artist conveys his idea and main idea. Once I realize their distinction, I am able to write better essays.
This assignment is also interesting because I was asked to choose two pieces of writing, written by fellow students, that I considered the most well written and that are able to explicate the poem really well. I must choose the A’s and the B’s paper. After reading everyone’s writing, I am able to choose two that I believed are the best. The good thing about this is that I was able to gather new ideas about writing from other people and that I could be exposed to various writing techniques and structures.
Another memorable moment is when I wrote a poem that is similar to the Red Shift written by Ted Berrigan. The Red Shift poem is nearly the same as my poem. The only distinction is some of the wordings. I was asked to write a poem by filling in the blanks that were in the Red Shift. Mr. Gallagher created these blanks. I used my creative ideas and simply created a poem based on my experience and thought. It was fun and it sounded nice. It was the only time when I felt proud about writing a poem.
There are other impressive moments in his class. The time we spent in acting out Hamlet is unforgettable. It was fun and entertaining. It helped us in understanding the reading better. Memorizing a twenty-four-lines poem is also a superb memory to me. I will never forget the preparation I had before entering Mr. Gallagher’s classroom at the day of the presentation. However, at the presentation, I did not do well. I stuttered and did not remember the lines, so I walked around the room and created a show-like presentation. This was awkward and was considered funny by fellow students.
I believe that literature can really impact my life. Everything about literature helps me learn and grow and to become who I am today. I take history class because it provides stories of disasters that have occurred in the past due to some mistakes of our ancestor, which will help me in not repeating their mistakes. Similar to the reason in taking history, reading a book, knowing about assorted characters, and understanding the different events can help in making us grow, to take precautions about various activities, and to learn about different writing techniques and skills. This is the basis for me in believing that I have grown plenty during this school year. As a side note, I have never thought about writing a thirteen-page paper. This year, aside from the long research paper and the long research that I did, everything seems inspirational. Writing a three-page paper is no longer a difficult assignment for me.


Ping L 6 said...

Having a chance to reflect on the past events that happened this year is a great experience. I hope to carry what I learn this year with me to wherever I will be. Thank You Mr. Gallagher for such a great year. Thank you for everything.

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