I stepped into the class this year as someone who hated reading and thought brevity was the soul of wit. I didn’t really think that reading could be that rewarding of an experience. That has completely changed this year. The books we read really made me think and opened my mind to a lot of different ways of thinking. My problem was that I didn’t find authors and books that made me think.
I really got into the concepts of nihilism because of Camus “The Stranger.” It really made me rethink what was important in the world. It was really interesting to see who I associated with the characters in the book. It is a book I will have to go back to once I am older and can look at it again. It was a book I actually enjoyed, which led me to look for different sort of books outside of English class. The book was really deep and had levels that I could get into and enjoy.
Mersault was a really interesting character that showed me how not to be care free. I try to keep in mind that sometimes people get wrapped up in things that really don’t matter. I don’t really care or want much in the world. Mersault showed me a stunning example of how that can make a messy situation. So the story and content gave me a reason to look into nihilism, but the main character let me see the possible downfalls behind it. I’ve sort of melded nihilism into a view that nothing matters, except for what you want to matter.
The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was an interesting read for me. It really was a style of book I didn’t encounter before, and I missed a lot of the point of it at first. A lot of what I got out of it came from the discussion. It is a book that I will need to reread to understand what I could really get out of it. The fact that I feel a need to reread a book is really new for me, because I never wanted to take the time to find deeper meaning in a book.
My most solid piece of writing came from The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It was the highest point for my writing, in many senses. It was by far the longest English essay I had ever written, and will probably remain that way. It really made me keep getting more and more specific until my ideas went from one sentence, into a paragraph being needed to convey that same idea in the best way. It was also one of the most original pieces I think I’ve written, from a thesis stand point, and it was down with some very interesting points and evidence.
Hamlet was the most rewarding read I’ve ever encountered. It has to many philosophical conversations that could derive from it and brings new light on the human mind. I’ve also never related to any character is literature more than Hamlet. It really help me deal with some stuff, and showed me how to not be in emotional lunatic about the situation. There is more to life than wit and justice, but that means you have to keep yourself real.
These books have spawned huge papers that I couldn’t have thought were useful or possible before. I have a more mathematical mind that like quick one answer problems. This class really expanded my mind to how to write a paper, and why length becomes important. It has really taught me how to develop an idea and how to make it clearer. My paper have been getting more and more focused since the beginning of the year. I missed the point of explication.
My appreciation for literature has grown so much. I really though reading was a waste of time. I really couldn’t get into words, words, words. It didn’t make my mind dance like math did, and seemed too unspecific to really explain anything. I’ve learned that you can’t judge a book by its cover, it a literal sense, as well as from reading a story and picking out meaning. There are so many layers in good authors that you need to take time and think about what is happening and what is really trying to be said.