Summative Entry 2017 Semester One

It is surreal to think that exactly this time last year, I was writing my very first summative entry! I had just completed my first semester at University and now I have just completed my third. It has gone fast and slow all at the same time. During this course I have had three art gallery visits. The important lesson I learnt from these visits was the power of literature; that emotion can express itself through essays, paintings, poems, songs, stories, plays, characters, pictures, colours, music and more that I am yet to unravel. Throughout the first year and a half of my literature degree, so many texts have been read that have opened my eyes to see the power of communication between each other, society and ourselves.

This semester, I had the privilege of exploring texts that varied from poems, short stories, essays, plays, novels and paintings. These diverse texts were deeply explored through blog entries every week. My insights into these texts were greatly widened by exploring my personal views on each text on a weekly basis, as well as peer reviewing those that are in my class. Seeing the same text analysed through various perspectives also contributed to my knowledge of the text as well as enhanced my marking skills. These weekly entries were helpful in expanding my knowledge and developing my analysis skills when critiquing a piece.

Over the course of the semester I submitted a total of nine blog entries and eight peer reviews. Throughout these nine blogs, I have expressed my opinions about poems by Wordsworth, characters in Jane Austen’s Emma and cities in the language of Charles Dickens included in his novel Hard Times. I have written about 19th Century art in the Australian Art Gallery, analysed Matthew Arnold’s poem Scholar Gypsy, written letters to characters in novels and even written from the perspective of being trapped in a snow storm. My last blog for this semester was written about the importance of names and the impact they can have on one’s life.

One of my favourite blog entries that I wrote, and the one I would title as my most creative blog was blog eight, titled Snow Storm. This week’s question was to picture yourself in a snowstorm and to describe your reaction. This entry took me about half an hour longer to write than any other of my blogs. I really wanted to challenge my mind to enter into the mindset of someone who was alone in a snowstorm.

In order to captivate emotions upon the reader, I set the story with a family camping trip. The persona of this story had an eye to travel and see the world but was utterly broken when the very thing he loved seeing – nature, took his family away from him. Additionally to this, another reason why I this was my favourite blog to write was because there were no rules! I created a story without any external pressure, only adhering to my personal goal of creating it to be emotive and moving to the reader. This blog challenged me as a literature student to put my ego to the side and encapsulate the emotions of someone else. I have never been in a snowstorm, nor is it likely that I will be considering I live in this heat we call Australia. It takes steady focus to truly become a different character. I enjoyed this challenge and I believe it will help me in my future literary studies to understand the text and author’s intent more deeply.

The blog I would describe to be most critical is my fifth blog, which details my visit to the Australian Art Gallery. The piece that stayed with me after I left the gallery was John Glover’s, ‘Natives on the Ouse River’. Not only was this my most critical piece, but also it was the painting that changed my perception on literature. I always thought literature was found in poems, stories, and essays… basically anything covered with words. Through the use of Glover’s painting I discovered that literature could be communicated through art, too. I have read many books that have educated me on European culture, but I never thought a deep analysis of a painting could educate me all the more. The meaning I found throughout this painting was the connection one has with the land. At first, I saw a crocodile in the water. When I had then gone home to study the painting further I came to the realisation that the crocodile was merely a human swimming. This communicated to me that although we live in a digitally run world, we can choose to be still and one with our natural land.

This blog was my favourite piece to critique for two reasons. Firstly, the face value compared to a deep analysis. At first I saw trees, fires and water. Later, I realised that the initial perception of the large tress dominating the civilians was actually the protection they received from the trees. The fire was the natural land keeping its people warm and the water provided enjoyment and hygiene. Critiquing this piece meant comparing and contrasting the perception of face value to the revelation of deep analysis. Secondly, this piece also critiqued my mindset. This is the piece that broadened my perception to see that literature can be found in almost everything. Literature is a powerful avenue that cements a foundation of our originality that is so easily camouflaged in today’s chaos.

If I had to finalise my literature experience this semester in a short paragraph, I would say that I am not the student that completes their assignments with ease. I struggle to understand texts, I often lack in motivation and I do not enjoy a lot of the tasks over any subject across my degree. But in all honesty, these blogs have been significantly helpful. I have enjoyed rather than endured this assignment. I appreciated the freedom to analyse texts in a relaxed environment that isn’t too severely critiqued, I have progressed from the feedback of other students and have discovered how to read a text through peer reviewing.

See you next semester!