This Paper is History!

I’m relieved to be done with the new historical essay–this paper is finally history! After another late night of writing (amidst a week of stress), my new historical essay is complete. While I still didn’t connect with the content of my paper, I was impressed with my own hidden ability to be flexible and figure out how to write the paper coherently as I went. I surprised myself with my impromptu analyses, which I was able to weave seamlessly through the stiff outline of historical facts that I had gathered. Aside from figuring out how to write the paper itself, I also struggled simply with finding time to write it. The paper turned out to be quite long, and I had an exceptionally busy and tiring week on top of that. However, I managed to pull through and get it done!

In addition to learning the new historical approach, I learned how to do research for an essay. Turns out that I was doing it right the whole time! (I apologize for my previous frantic post about not understanding how to do research.) My professor decided to show us in class how to use online databases and the campus library research resources to locate good sources. Apparently, my guesswork was correct! Although I wasn’t able to get to the library for this essay, I also learned that book sources are great evidence for a paper–I’ll have to use that strategy for my next essay!

However, despite my progress I am still not sure whether or not I had enough sources in my final paragraph. I’m not sure if my professor will want more information or primary sources about the feminist movement itself, although I provided plenty of connections and information throughout the rest of the essay. Hopefully the writing style I chose is sufficient!

In class we also dove deeper into the instructions and requirements for the blog we have been creating, since the end of the semester is drawing near (yes–it’s already Thanksgiving break!!!). Today I have been editing the finalized formatting of all my posts and pages, adding clickable links and checking if they are functioning, setting up hyperlinked images, writing introductions to pages, formatting pages, etc. After a little digging, I found a video online that taught me how to hyperlink a picture. By doing so, I added a linked logo image to my LinkedIn profile on my Biography page so that anyone who wants to contact me or learn more about me (ie: future employers?) can access it! I also realized that all my other images were clickable links to bigger versions of the images, so I took off the hyperlinks in order to make the page look cleaner and less confusing to readers who are interacting with the site.

I am excited that there’s only one paper left in this class (Reader Response), but sad that the class is almost over. I have really enjoyed Lit 305, learned a lot about literature, and improved my writing. I will also miss having my professor, whom (since I am not an English major) I’m uncertain if I’ll have for another class during my college career. With that said, I am hoping that he may one day help me with the publishing process–yup, I am already looking into learning about publishing (wish me luck)!

To see my New Historical Essay Process Portfolio, click here.

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New Historical Trumps the Race

I am minutes away from learning who will be our country’s next president and working on my New Historical paper, therefore I am just about as anxious as President Obama is in the meme below (and probably in the Oval Office as I sit here typing).

Typically, I am very excited to begin a new paper in this class and become passionate about the essay I’m writing, because I can create an original work that reflects my own thoughts. However, with this paper I feel much less connected due to the fact that it is more research-based than argumentative. This lack of creativity and expression makes it personally difficult for me to approach the paper. Regardless, the research must go on!

In addition, as a first semester first-year student I do not have any experience with research. I was never taught how to properly research in my high school classes, so I am a bit unprepared for this assignment. Through my research I learned how to find journals and some primary sources using JSTOR, a great database that I have never used before. While I still feel as though I have more to learn about finding the best sources and conducting research, this paper was a good start for me in understanding how to use quality sources and synthesizing information from those texts. I also wish I had more experience with using the school’s library to research in order to locate and access physical sources, as well as other databases that could provide more primary sources.

Although research may not be my strong suit, I believe that I have done well enough in tracking down sources to still write a good paper. Here goes nothing!

To see my New Historical Essay Process Portfolio, click here.

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Preparing to Research the Research

There was a lot of reading and studying that needed to be done in order to learn what the New Historical Theory of literature is. I began by reading the New Historical chapter of the professor’s textbook, then supplementary readings in the texts such as historical/contextual documents and New Historical criticisms, and looking at examples of past papers from other students.

Next, I needed to determine which novel I was going to write about. This was somewhat easy for me whereas I haven’t read any of the listed works since I’m a first-year student who has never taken any other English classes at the college. However, this was also very challenging, because it gave me a quite limited field of topics to research. I felt more connected to the Alice novels and started research, but didn’t find much. That left me with one book: The Awakening. This left me very uncomfortable, because I wasn’t too inspired by any particular aspect of the novel. I also am not a big fan of research papers, simply because I enjoy making my own claim about a topic rather than relating historical facts to it. As my research came together, I found my vision and came up with a solid thesis with plenty of research. I wasn’t sure at first how great my proposal was, but both my peer reviewer and professor gave positive feedback that made me feel more confident in moving forward.

After receiving their comments, I did additional research to further flesh out the claims in my thesis statement. I am now ready to begin writing!

To see my New Historical Essay Process Portfolio, click here.

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