December 23, 2010

I think this course should continue as it has been since its evolution has included the works of woman and foreign cultures. The current sociological movement is that of universalization; i.e., there is a greater interchange of thoughts and states of mind. This ease of communication is most probably do to the speed of which people can exchange information, due to the computer age.

Including works by women authors Maxine Hong Kingston and Marjane Satrapi served the dual purpose of presenting the view of the world from a woman’s point of view and from a different cultural perspective; Ms. Kingston gave us a powerful example of a women trying to come to terms with her Chinese past and to assimilate into America culture. It gave us a vivid picture of her ancestry as well as her hopes for her future in America. Marjane Satrapi, in Persepolis gave us a contemporary woman’s point of view of the total political change that occurred during the Islamic Revolution and how it affected her family.

The poets discussed in the class showed us how the moods created in the poetry changed over time. The work of William Yeats, for a example, changed from a Romanticism derived from Irish folk lore and political radicalism to a more mystical view of the world and art. Eliot’s work marked a big turning point in poetry. In The Waste Land and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, there was a huge change in the moods and feelings expressed. This was the first time that a sense of alienation was portrayed as a human condition.

Reading the novels by Conrad, Hemingway, and Faulkner showed us how the genre changed over time. Conrad’s novel was a description of an adventurous journey to find Kurtz. Even though it was an adventure it was very descriptive. It also raised the question of prejudice against Africans on the part of European colonists. This accusation was made clear in the work of China Achebe, An image of Africa: Racism in Heart of Darkness. Hemingway’s work The Sun Also Rises gave us a description of the social and psychological changes in the lives of people living in Europe during World War 1. The novel had many characters who were “wounded” either physically or emotionally. We got a sense of people being unhappy with life as it turned out. In The sound and the Fury by Faulkner, we got an example of a “stream of consciousness” novel. This was a major departure from the usual novel form. A lot of commentary fiction was influence by Faulkner.

Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama and Drown by Junot Diaz gave us examples of the autobiography genre. In these books characters told of personal experiences and how they effected them.

The blogs were very valuable because they offered easily accessible points of view of other students. One blogger might have a different point of view from another. That might enable the viewer to change his/her interpretation of the material presented. Also the ability to receive and offer comments was a great help.

Do to the way the course was structured, I was able to gain more since came to appreciate the fact that many different cultures offered works. If the course had been restricted to one period of time or to far countries, I would not have been able to appreciate the valuable contributions to literature.

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