Nineteenth Century Literature, Summative, Uncategorized

Summative Entry

The human and artistic concerns of both the Romantic and Victorian Ages are similar to our own concerns; the response to those concerns- given by poets, novelists, dramatists and artists- can help us live fuller, more meaningful and creative lives in our own times.

Human and Artistic concerns of the Romantic and Victorian ages are similar to our own concerns in today’s world. The responses provided by writers, poets, playwrights and artists of the time help us to live fuller and more meaningful lives within our today’s society.

A key concern portrayed through texts of this time was the way in which individuals were presented and the status which they held. Three individuals who portray this idea are Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde.

In Mary Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication to the Rights of Woman”, Wollstonecraft expresses her argument that women should have an equal right to education; a right which would allow them to pass knowledge down to their children and to grow wiser. She states that by not receiving an education, women will “stop the progress of knowledge and virtue”, implying that these are important skills and qualities to hold. While Wollstonecraft argues this, From Wollstonecraft’s ideas, we can see that she strongly believes that women hold an important place in the world. While Wollstonecraft is sharing these opinions, Austen uses marriage as a key theme within her novel in which she too comments on women moving up in society and making a name for themselves. Although Wollstonecraft does this through fighting for education and equal rights, Austen focused on the idea that women should show independence and a desire to move up in the world, but achieve this through marriage and/or wealth rather than education.

This suggestion of Austen’s starts to bring in materiality and focus on one’s possessions and wealth rather than their personal qualities such as knowledge, wisdom and virtue to name a few.

Oscar Wilde’s play “The Importance of Being Earnest” draws our attention to these materialistic ideas through the use of satire. Within the play, Lady Bracknell portrays an extremely exaggerated interest in these aspects such as one’s wealth and status in order to determine whether or not they measure up to society’s expectations. Ironically, Bracknell states ““We live, I regret to say, in an age of surfaces.” Not only is she commenting on this idea that people are judged by what is seen on the surface (wealth, status, etc.) rather than their true qualities such as character and virtue, she is also criticizing society for this idea without realising that she is portrayed to be the worst part of this society.

Although today’s world still values the ways in which they as individuals are presented, we are still very materialistic in terms of how much we earn, the size of the houses we buy, the types of cars we own, etc. At the same time though, we focus more on an individuals’ qualities and interests, and use our careers and educations to move ourselves up in the world rather than marriage. By writers, poets, playwrights and artists commenting on these concerns, we are able to judge the ridiculousness of the idea of favouring materialistic possessions over built-in human qualities such as love and emotion, and as a result, we are able to try to avoid doing this in order to allow ourselves to focus on qualities such as happiness and creativity instead in order to allow us to live our lives to the fullest.

Peer Reviews, Uncategorized

Peer Review 3

Maz, it’s really nice to see that you have a place so far away from the rest of the world to escape to when you want a peaceful place to think and that you can reflect on so it vividly; it’s almost as if you were sitting there while writing this.
I think that this is a great experience to write about as you can gain a sense of your awe of the place through the emotion in your writing and it is clearly a place that holds many memorable moments for you.
I love the image of the bushfires you included; I also remember these like they were yesterday but from where I live I only saw the dark browns, oranges and a dark purple-y coloured haze rather than the full view of the smoke meeting with blue sky. It just goes to show how such a place can provide a different perspective to the world around you.

Here are some images I took (on a dodgy quality camera) in Penrith during the bush fires:

Summative, Twentieth Century Literature, Uncategorized

Summative Entry

Do the interests, concerns and experiences of writers in the 20th Century assist 21st Century human beings in their understanding of the purpose of existence?

Yes. Many authors and artists of the 20th Century have helped to assist 21st Century human beings in not only their understanding of the purpose of existence, but also their ways in both exploring and expressing it.  They have also drawn attention to the ways past experiences shape not only themselves, but the view of these events later in life.

Two main authors who have stuck with me throughout everything I have learnt during this semester are Erich Maria Remarque and Wilfred Owen. Having previous knowledge of Wilfred Owen from my school years, I was able to build on this knowledge and further explore his work and the response it created on a much deeper level. These authors highlighted the horrors of the war as well as spoke about the opinions held on soldiers enlisting, both of which I focussed on strongly throughout my essay. While Remarque discussed these horrors along with the positive aspects such as creating bonds like no other and finding a sense of belonging while in the war, Owen focussed only on these negatives. It is due to these authors and poets of war – especially Remarque and Owen – that we understand the ways the war shaped the soldiers and the experiences they had. Not only did they teach us – a century later – of the experiences, but also helped to inform civilians that it was not a good experience to fight in the war and these men were not cowardly for not wanting to. It is due to this knowledge that people I know and have previously known did not want to leave their families behind in order to enlist in such things.

Another two authors that I believe helped people of the 21st Century to explore the purpose of existence and ways of expressing this are Gerard Manley Hopkins and Virginia Woolf. Through his poems, Hopkins not only explored the nature around him with incredibly vivid imagery, but also critically focussed and reflected on the inner self. Through this, he closely discovered and explored his emotions and despair and wrote them in a way that was both beautiful and inspiring. As I have discovered through personal observation, it is extremely common for poets – and authors – of the 21st century to explore their emotions openly through their works. This concept of sharing emotions and exploring the inner self is also clearly visible in Virginia Woolf’s style of writing. Through a ‘stream of consciousness’ truthful thoughts, ideas and interests often come about as it comes from the heart and what that person wishes to say, rather than carefully thought out and planned responses. I touch on this in further detail within my Week 8 blog post (

I believe that through the development of this idea of the inner self and the ways it is explored throughout 20th Century literature – as well as the exploration of experiences such as war and the impacts they have – people in the 21st century can explore these concepts further and use them in order to develop both their sense of self and their understanding of their existence in today’s world and the world of the past. Through further studying these concepts like we are currently doing, we are also able to gain a deeper understanding of how these concepts came about.