American Literature, Summative, Uncategorized

Summative Entry

American Literature helps me to expand the boundaries of my own experiences.

American literature has helped me to expand the boundaries of my own experiences as it has allowed me to explore the different styles and perspectives of American writers, influencing my ability to read and portray a range of different experiences. During this unit, the works that have stood out to me most have been that of Robert Frost, Mary Oliver, Allen Ginsberg, and William Faulkner. Not only have each of these authors held what I feel to be ‘different’ ways of looking at life, but they have each had a different style that they use in order to portray these different perspectives.

William Faulkner’s ‘As I Lay Dying‘ amazes me in the ways in which Faulker is able to take such a large number of characters and portray them as diverse individuals in order to demonstrate the ways in which one event can impact and affect everyone differently. On top of this, it goes even further to portray the ways in which these different individuals connect and communicate with one another. The emotion and complexity within the text inspires me to learn more about the ways this is achieved within writing and leads me to give this style a try within my own writings.

Allen Ginsberg’s work is another that has stuck out to me within this American Literature unit. Having only previously studied (and loved) ‘Howl’, I was interested to read some of Ginsberg’s other works. His creativity and individuality within his writing stood out to me as he stood aside from traditional structures and challenged society with his lack of censorship and conformity. These works of Ginsberg’s has inspired me to focus on my own individual views of the world rather than conforming to tradition and expectation. They have also taught me of what society was like during those times in America and the ways publications could affect and impact society.

The final works of this unit that have so far left a strong impact on me are the works of Mary Oliver and Robert Frost, and more specifically, their outlook and portrayal of nature. To me, nature has always been something I surround myself in but until reading the depth and emotion found within their poems, I did not realise the true importance of nature within today’s world. Not only is nature a sanctuary to turn to for a break from today’s media-driven world, it is literally life; an important vessel which thrives and allows us to thrive too.

I feel that this unit as a whole has allowed me to delve further into my own personal thoughts and feelings, and see the ways in which these individual views can be expressed and also often used to challenge the thoughts and opinions of those around me. I have learnt to focus more on my own life experiences and use these to not only learn from them, but to inspire and teach those around me too.

American Literature, Peer Reviews

Peer Review #6


I really enjoyed reading your interpretation of the ways in which Marianne Moore’s poem spoke to you. You show a strong ability to analysis this poem in depth and to further analysis and critique this analysis as it links in with your own experiences. Good work!

American Literature, Best Critical, Uncategorized

Week 9 Blog Post Topic

Using tutorial work from this week as a starting point, choose any passage from As I Lay Dying and analyse how the language shows the distinctiveness of the character and reveals the purpose of Faulkner’s writing.

Throughout As I lay Dying, Faulkner uses a range of voices and styles in order to show distinctiveness of the character, successfully portraying each character as uniquely individual. In doing this, Faulkner is able to bring his characters to life, showing the story in a range of viewpoints and ensuring that almost everyone is able to be drawn to a character within the story.

This differentiation between characters stood out to me most when looking at Cash and Vardaman. This differentiation is most clearly seen when Cash is making his mothers coffin. “I made it on the bevel. 1. There is more surface for the nails to grip. 2. There is twice the gripping surface to each seam. 3. The water will seep into it on a slant. Water moves easiest up and down or straight across.” This portrayal of Cash is methodical and mathematical. It portrays him to be structured and organised while Vardaman is portrayed to be the opposite; simplistic and often illogical; “my mother is a fish”.

Tull is also portrayed differently to that of Cash and Vardaman. Tull tells the story in past-tense, with a lot of repetition of what everyone else says. “It was ten oclock when I got back, with Peabody’s team hitched to the back of the wagon”… “‘He better go on and bury her at New Hope’ Armstid said. ‘That bridge is old, I wouldn’t monkey with it.’ ‘His mind is set on taking her to Jefferson’ Quick said. ‘Then he better get at it as soon as he can’ Armstid said.” This demonstrates that Tull has more of a personality that leads him to sit back and reflect on what everyone else is saying rather than playing his own part.

This different way of speaking and looking at the situation at hand varies with each personality, allowing Faulkner to create a number of different characters with individual personalities. In doing this, Faulkner is successfully able to portray human connection between different characters and the ways in which they interact with one another.


American Literature, Peer Reviews, Uncategorized

Peer Review #5


This was not a topic I myself was willing to attempt, but you did it great justice! I love the rhyme within your poem and it’s deep connection with nature. The only advice I could give would maybe be providing some context with your poem as well as stating which poet (Lowell or Frost) has inspired this piece. Good work!

American Literature, Best Creative, Uncategorized

Week 8 Blog Post Topic

Select the one modernist poem or text that you found spoke to you most directly. Quote the text and tell us how the text moved you.

One modernist poem or text that I found spoke to me the most directly was Mina Loy’s ‘Feminist Manifesto’. This text stood out to me as it portrayed a different side of feminism to that of what I currently see within today’s social media. When I come across texts about feminism, I see that men and women are equal, or should be deemed so. Loy’s work not only focussed on women’s sexuality, and more specifically, maternity “as both a responsibility and an aspect of their own sexual development”, but it blatantly stated that men and women are not friends.

“Men and women are enemies, with the enmity of the exploited for the parasite, the parasite for the exploited – at present they are at the mercy of the advantage that each can take of the others sexual dependence –. The only point a which the interests of the sexes merge – is in the sexual embrace.”

Loy speaks of the ways in which men and women are enemies who take advantage of the opposite sex, their only mutual point of interest being “the sexual embrace”. This piece spoke to me, as not only did the bold and underlined fonts stand out, but the message was something I wished to argue against, while also, in part, agree with. What I do agree with is that we must demolish this idea of women fitting into two classes; “the mistress and the mother”. Over time we are seeing more and more women choosing careers over motherhood, women who are not limiting themselves to these two lifestyle options. This is crucial in this idea of feminism as we are able to see women “seek within themselves” to discover who they are and what they wish to do with their lives, rather than “looking to men to find out what they are not”.



American Literature, Uncategorized

Week 7 Blog Post Topics

4/ Write a letter to either Robert Frost or Robert Lowell and tell them about one of their poems that has had a real impact on you.

Robert Frost,

I am writing to tell you that your poem, ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ has caught my eye and had a deep impact on me. Your poem caught my eye as you describe perfectly a beautiful scenery I wish that I myself could visit. You speak of peace and serenity, found within the woods as they “fill up with snow”. This space “between the woods and frozen lake” drew me in as you spoke of “the darkest evening of the year”. You describe a love for the landscape which I myself can see and feel as I read your poem. I wonder who the man is and as I continue to read I begin to wonder what promises he has to keep. Where is he going? What is he off to do?

He states that he has “miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep”. This part is what catches me and intrigues me the most. The snowy, secluded woods on the darkest evening of the year sounds like a secluded place to take a life. A peaceful place to die. But he still has miles to go before he sleeps. Does the man have a whole life ahead of him? Is he coming near the end, ready to sleep yet not yet able?

The poem speaks of beauty in nature and life, yet to me also speaks of death or a sad loneliness. We need more poems like this that speak of this nature and that are fuelled by emotion.