My first week of community engagement was quite basic. I was introduced to some of the teachers I would be working with and I met some other students from ACU that have also chosen this school for their placement. The first week consisted of an induction. This included the values, vision and expectation of the school and training in their course MULILIT. A handout was provided to us with all the information we needed to know about the school. This included their mission and vision, school timetable, outline of the day, duties, staff list and expectations. MULTILIT training consisted of a PowerPoint slide that instructed us on how to properly go through these designated worksheets with the students. As this was the first week and there was no contact with any students just yet, there were no any challenges to be endured, despite form the new environment with fresh faces to recognise and new names to learn.
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!
Your blog this week was moving to read. As someone who has lost a pet themselves, I can understand the indescribable feeling associated with the event. You articulated my feelings, and im sure your own, perfectly in questioning how something you have been reliant on for so long is suddenly gone. The comparison between your fifth birthday present, to your boyfriend helping in the search for him shows how much of your life you had this puppy. That isn’t an easy experience to journey through. Thank you for sharing.
I particularly enjoyed the structure to your writing. It started off with me reading every word quickly, feeling the same excitement as your five-year-old self, anticipating the present. Then taking part in your excitement to discover it was a puppy – more than anything you thought of that day in school. And obviously, the sadness that followed with reading the ending. That wasn’t how I anticipated your story to turn out. Your added photo also contributed to your emotive language.
If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to consider this sentence, “How could something that has been with me for the nearly my whole life, suddenly be gone?” The word “the” is better left out.
Overall, my favourite blog post this semester!
In a short letter tell a friend why you really like someone’s name and how that has helped you decide who will be your long-term partner.
This week I have decided to focus on the importance of names and how they can shape one’s entire future. A bit of back ground knowledge about a true story before I begin the letter: My aunty and uncle have been married for over ten years now. Not too long ago, my aunty discovered that her husband was almost named ‘Toufik” at birth. Laughably, she exclaimed that she never would have pursued him if this were his name. She much preferred his name ‘John’ .
My letter this week will address Toufik.
It has been a long time coming that I write you this letter. You may remember me from your younger life as the girl you had interest in that never showed a positive response. For you, that was ten years ago and you’re probably married now with a happy home and family. For me, on the other hand, it was much longer. The years have dragged as you are on my mind with each day that passes. If I could go back, I would not let something so little as a name affect something so big as my life. I hope you are happy. I hope you found the life that you searched for with us.
Always, every day, every year,
This letter should show my perspective on the topic of ‘names’. Whilst at face value some names can take us by surprise as they are out of the ordinary, I find that there is so much more to a person than the noise we make to grasp their attention. In this scenario, a whole life was set on a different path simply because of a name. In my opinion, names hold power but we can make them powerless by looking within a person.
You showed in-depth knowledge in your blog post this week. I admire the use of critical analysis on a blog that is allowed to be relaxed. This shows your knowledge of the text and the differences that each author brings with their writing. I particularly liked that although you wrote about their difference in writing, you remained constant with the theme. You addressed their view on society, that is, Dicken’s perspective on all of society, Austen’s perspective majoring in the upper class and Elliot, who focuses on humanity. You contrasted these three authors in a clear manner; “Elliot serves as middle ground between the works of Dickens and Austen”.
Well done on constructing a clear analysis of the authors and their perspectives.
You are stuck in a snow storm (or a sand storm), or you are lost in the bush. Describe your last moments. How will you react?
This week I have decided to mentally take myself down the path of what it would be like to be trapped in a snow storm. I will try to encapsulate the journey and the last thoughts of this unfortunate event.
I’ll just go for a walk. I said to myself, as I left the cabin, the fire, the food, and the company. Nothing excited me more than seeing what this world had to offer. Whether it is a city, a beach, an abandoned building or where I was then, in the snow. I’ll be back by the time dinner has begun! That’s just enough time to see what’s on the other side of this snow-filled hill. Maybe a city itself? Or a frozen lake? Perhaps more campers? The unknown was thrilling. Was I about to see something my mind could never fathom?
I began hiking up the slippery yet stiff ice. It struck me how the snow on the hill was much harder than the snow back at the cabin. Maybe it will be a frozen lake, I thought. As the snow began to fall I didn’t want to pinch myself just incase all this was but a dream.
Alas, the top of the hill I am. Well aware that I only have a few moments with this scenery before I need to head back for dinner. I use these precious moments to sit and enjoy the view of the many snowy hills that sit in my sight. The mountains remind me of the hills back home – although they are filled with trees, birds, flowers, and wildlife. These mountains are filled with snow, a waterfall here and there, stretching as far as I could see in the distance. Why, I have never seen anything so untouched by man.
I turn my back to the sight and begin to head down for dinner. What struck me next was more shocking as the view up here. The down hill slope I was yet to encounter was gone. Flat ground lay before me with snow cascading from above. My cabin, my family… gone! But… how? I was here for only a moment. Surely not enough time for a snow storm to arrive without any notice?
The heartache I felt trying to fathom my family’s last moments was colder than any piece of earth that had now surrounded me. The storm has already taken everything from me, what harm could it possibly do to take me, too? You were so forceful, so consuming, so eye-catching and breathtaking. If only I knew the power of these words when I gazed upon your beauty.
I let it take my body, for it had already taken my soul.
This is the first time I have peer reviewed your page and I must say, I was not disappointed with what you put in front of me to read. I particularly liked the structure of this letter and how you first acknowledged him as a person, and then his actions. You appreciated the way he carried himself first and then the way he encouraged Eppie to make her own choice. You beautifully put to words how the best way to take care and nurture the one’s you love first begins with taking care of yourself.
I think when you write a letter to someone, it is always smart to honour the person you are writing to. You did this perfectly with the words, “you let her make her own choice even though you wanted her to choose you”. The acknowledgement of his self-desire of Eppie choosing him was clearly overruled by his desire of Eppie’s best interest. You then took this a step further by highlighting the wrongdoing of Godfrey to promote the goodness of Silas’ action.
If I could give you only one piece of advice for your next letter, it would be to end it with, “Yours Sincerely” and then your name. The words in a letter hold so much more credibility when the reader can match it with a face.
Overall, you clearly have a thorough understanding of the text. Well done!