Historical Contextualization

For this paper I approached The Tempest, and my paper writing style, in a new way. As far as The Tempest goes I decided to focus on the ideas of what a woman looked like at the time when Shakespeare wrote the play. For the paper writing style, I tried to embrace the idea of letting the sources speak to me and formulating a problem frame from that.

At first things were going well; I had an idea, I liked the source I had, and all was well in the world. Of course as many storytellers could tell you, the moment when all is well typically means that disaster is on the horizon. I wouldn’t label the process of this paper as a disaster, per say, but for a few days of my process it wasn’t pretty.

I spent the next couple of days formulating an Outline for what I thought would be my paper. I poured over the source I was using along with The Tempest, and attempted to make connections. However, I began to find out that the argument I was looking for didn’t have enough support. On the search for more historical sources I spent the next two days reading, re-reading, and pulling my hair out over old english primary documents trying desperately to learn more about Queen Elizabeth I and make some connections to The Tempest. I ended up writing a draft of these outlined ideas and then brought it to peer review in class. However, after working on peer review and talking through my paper I realized that my original idea had gotten somewhat lost under all of the historical context.

After the peer review I ended up starting at square one again, but with more knowledge on the Elizabethan era (so I guess square 1.5?) and created a new outline. This outline focused specifically on the context of order in Elizabethan society and its relation to the ways rules were followed and broken in The Tempest specifically by women. 

Reworking my claim and the original ideas that I had eventually led to the draft I submitted for professor feedback. I was rather satisfied with this draft and excited about the idea which is different from what I can say about my last essay.

After gaining professor feedback, I moved towards another revision of my draft. With the support of another peer review of this essay I began to revision my claim in a new light. I moved from focusing on how the female characters reacted to the order in society to the way that those in society reacted towards the women in The Tempest. Shifting my focus allowed me to develop this essay into something I was excited to add to my presentation portfolio. The process I used to create this essay was something I was also proud of. I had jumped out of my comfort zone of typical essay writing to try on a new process. Although it was frustrating, I felt like I learned a lot about my process of writing and possible ways to make it better. 

For more information on the polished version of this essay you can visit its page in my presentation portfolio “Societal Expectations of Gender in the Elizabethan Era