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.