Here it is, the reveal of my progress (or so I hope). I don’t expect to see a night and day difference in my writing but instead the start of progress in my approach and technique. Of the six that we spent the semester writing I have chosen four in which I have felt most confident. There were many aspects of each essay that we had to master within a week or so, it was not just an opinionated essay with quotes of Hamlet or The Tempest woven in. This was a process of reading various sources, from Freud to Butler. They not only demonstrate progress but a variety of skills that were learned week to week, some which were unbelievably difficult and others seemed to come more naturally. But nothing is learned if you stay within your comfort zone and that is why I hope to have seen a little growth in my writing because each week was something different and a new comfort zone to break.
The first that is presented is the close reading, it is based on our reading of The Tempest and learning to take pieces of text and close read them. This was not just learning how to properly close read but how to structure the essay so be close reading and not a five paragraph essay with small quotes woven into the paragraph. In Shakespeare’s The Tempest readers are introduced to a variety of characters and situations, but specifically focussed in this paper is the character development of Prospero. Prospero had been unable to let go of his past of being exiled and losing all power. He then lets this impact those around him. Prospero had learned to manipulate all people and situations. By examining these situations and characters, readers can get a better understanding of why Prospero needed to become the ruler he never was; in order to avoid reliving the past.
Next we were introduced to the historical contextualization process. This would be the first time writing about literature and society together and I didn’t realize it at first. I was scared because history is very interesting I was scared to write about it and it being wrong. We were instructed to pull outside sources and provide a strong structure of The Tempest. By reading both The Tempest and The Tempest in the Wilderness there can be a better understanding of the imperialistic mindset of the English. Throughout history there has been a variety of situations where one society had felt dominant over another. Through various sources analyzed there is proof that the colonization of Americas was similar to that of The Tempest. The imperialist mindset of characters damaged relationships similar to the same mindset of the English and Native Americans. This essay was interesting to write because of the strong similarities between the colonialism of America and the setting of The Tempest.
Thirdly there was one of the most difficult, that being the psychoanalytic critique.By using literary analysis of Hamlet we observed how theories of Freud and Lacan inform discussion of character and gender. By analyzing Sigmund Freud’s Mourning and Melancholia readers can take that information and use it to understand and analyze the play Hamlet. This is a play that touches on the topic of mental health and the gender expectations of the mourning process, by using Freud’s study as a tool and reference for the play readers can then have a better understanding of Hamlet’s behavior and diagnosis.
Finally there was my personal favorite, the postructuralist critique. I began to lose momentum as the week of understanding this theory began but after reading Judith Butlers Gender Trouble I suddenly became motivated again. Gender is such a controversial issue today and discussing it and relating it to Hamlet was extremely interesting. This was the final push and I saw my strengths that were accumulated over the semester come into play. It was THE social issue that I became more and more intrigued with throughout the semester. Gender is a topic that has been debated frequently lately, psychologically, and philosophically. Both trying to determine whether it is assigned at birth by society or before birth. This is a very controversial issue but Judith Butler approaches it in a philosophical feministic way claiming it it determined by society. We can see clear examples of this theory in Hamlet’s various characters.