This week I achieved my goal of being in class for the whole week, but beyond that we did not do very much. The two main things we did were look at art as a window into literature as well as analyzing a part of the poem "Elegy in X Parts" by Matt Rasmussen. I’m not going to sugarcoat it - looking at art as a window into literature was not very interesting to me. I already do not particularly enjoy analyzing literature, even with the steps taken in this class, but adding analyzing art into the mix just makes it even less bearable. I do not think that I gained anything from the art, but I suppose that the best lessons might be the ones that you do not even realize you learned. I am open to looking at more art and literature, but I would prefer if it was only one day rather than being spread throughout the week. The poetic analysis was once again okay given the TPCASTT tool, but it seemed a bit dry. The poem was interesting enough and the logical analysis was fine, but I seemed to find myself sort of “faking” the subjective stuff (the “what does this poem mean to you” sort of stuff). I don’t mean this in the sense that my ideas were not my own, but I did not put nearly as much time into my thoughts as I had tried to let on. I think if I would have tried more at the subjective stuff my analysis could have been even better. One suggestion I have for the future of the class is to perhaps try analyzing some music instead of paintings. There’s a webpage about it here.
This week was another week that I was not present in class for some time. I missed Wednesday for a quizbowl tournament, at which we did very well, and Thursday for a homecoming court meeting. Once again, despite my absence from the class, I was able to glean some information from the week. I learned to look at literature in a slightly different way. The use of metaphors to connect works of literature had already been introduced to me before, but the activity this week of actually coming up with a metaphor helped me to apply it in a real situation. My group's metaphor was not that impressive, but it got the job done. We drew a building with the foundation being reading, and each successive level being a new level of understanding through discussion. This played really well into our quote which was something similar to “Discussion of reading might be more important than the solitary act of reading.” We struggled with connecting it to the chapter from How to Read Literature Like a Professor, but managed to do so, albeit loosely. I missed the day that our metaphor was supposed to be presented, so I have no idea how my group did. I did, however, find a list of tips that can be used to make visual metaphors. You can find it here. I am hoping to be in class more next week so I can have more to write about.
This week in class was interesting. I missed the end of class on Wednesday and there was a senior meeting on Thursday. In the time that I was actually in class, however, I still managed to learn a few things. One such thing is that poetic analysis does not always have to be dull and lacking in structure. I discovered this through the tool that is TPCASTT. For those of you reading this that have never had Andy Schoenborn as a teacher, TPCASTT stands for Title, Paraphrase, Connotation, Attitude, Shifts, Title, and Theme. You might be wondering, "Why is title listed twice?" This originally confused me as well since I did not realize that there were instructions on the page and descriptions of each piece. The first title is simply your first impression of the poem and any assumptions you make based on the title. The second title is revisiting the title to look for new insight into the poem. This tool really helped me because it provides a structured, logical way to analyze a poem and learn about it deeper than simply reading it. The TPCASTT tool led me on a quest to find other structured, logical ways to analyze poetry. Most devices that I found use similar or even the same information as TPCASTT, however it is usually in a different format. One such device can be found here. I am looking forward to seeing more logical analysis of items in the class to help reduce the stress I feel about unstructured analysis.
I haven't exactly kept track of what I've learned this week very well, but looking back I can identify a few things. One of the things I learned, or rather had confirmation of, was that reading does not have to be fast to be effective. To me, this means that even though I might only read a few pages in a session, I can still glean useful information from the text. The activity with the reading rates also showed me that I can read more than I think. I have never been particularly diligent about finishing books that I start, even if I am interested in them. Realizing that I could finish a book every week and a half or so without much extra effort says to me that I must have been making up excuses not to read in the past. From now on, I probably will find myself finishing more books than I have previously. Another thing I learned this week is how much I dislike writing about myself in third person. My third person writing seems to me to be so detached and disconnected when compared to my first person pieces. This is different, of course, when it comes to writing stories in the third person. I think my story works are certainly more alive and connected. I think this AP class seriously has the chance to challenge my views of English class, reading for more than just information, and possibly the world. I am looking forward to the rest of the year and I am also excited to see what I can learn next!