Our Deconstruction essay was the final essay assigned in our course. By this point, I felt confident that I had a clear idea of my essay developing process from completing the past five essays. When it came time to explore the source Gender Trouble, by Judith Butler, I was very confused by her views on gender and how I was going to connect anything that she was saying to Hamlet. It was very hard for me to follow her article because she seemed to be talking in circles.
After going over Butler’s ideas in class and the aspect of drag, I kind of knew which scenes I wanted to discuss, but I did not fully understand Butler’s claim about gender being imaginary. I used the notes and diagrams Drew designed for us to better understand how inconsistent gender is in the world and how Judith Butler depicts these ideas in her article. This really aided my understanding of the source and I was then able to get started on a draft to be peer reviewed the next class.
My Draft 1 was presented as my copy for a peer to review, but my ideas were very jumbled. I wanted to incorporate too many characters of different genders into a gender deconstruction paper and it was not going to work. My first draft above wanted to talk about Hamlet’s grieving his father and being called ‘unmanly’ for dwelling on his sadness, as well as, Ophelia’s pressures to act as the gender of a woman throughout the play.
I decided to focus on Ophelia and the ways her invisible and unattainable gender norms were pressured upon her at many times during the play and eventually caused her to go mad. Because, like I said, for me the more focused the claim the better. I used evidence of pressure being placed on her by her brother and father as well as her self surveillance and performance of those expectations placed on her. Finally, I concluded with an excerpt of her final demise: her going crazy due to never being able to fully attain her gender roles despite her attempts at preforming it. I thought my final draft I submitted, Draft 2, was much improved and thought out. I showed an understanding of Judith Butler’s ideas, as well. Coming from barely comprehending a sentence of what Butler wrote, to analyzing a play alongside her work, I realized how much this course had developed my skills as a literary critic and writer.
But, of course, if there is one thing this course has taught me… I still had more work to do! See my complete, new, and improved copy, Oppressed Ophelia, in my presentation portfolio!