Well, here it is. The culmination of reading two plays in addition to theoretical perspectives, writing six essays, and learning about different approaches to reading texts. This page introduces four of my best essays that have undergone extensive revisions and thoughtful consideration. Each essay demonstrates different skills and techniques I have developed and honed throughout the semester.
“An Examination of Nature Versus Nurture in The Tempest” is a strong example of what I have learned about revisions. Sometimes, you just have to get rid of a really good line because it does not work with your paper. At first, my thesis seemed smart and insightful, but after many revisions I realized it did not fit with my evidence. Though I wanted to grab on to that thesis and let it carry me over the stress of the semester, I understood the thesis comes from the evidence, and not the other way around. Ultimately, this essay demonstrates my ability to respond to other literary critics in order to facilitate a more expansive view of The Tempest.
“Fear of the Afterlife in Hamlet” exhibits my newfound skills of applying Marxist theory in order to examine how ideology influences behavior in Hamlet. This essay also validated my belief that theory can be directly applied to life; we all act in certain ways because of our ideologies, and these ideologies benefit the unjust structures of society.
“Hamlet and Melancholia: Why Hamlet Can’t Kill Claudius” is a constructive representation of my skill of understanding psychoanalysis and applying it to the play to cultivate a better understanding of Hamlet’s actions. Through learning psychoanalytic critique, I am better able to question why characters behave the way they behave.
“Honor and Excess Pride: Harmful Gender Expectations in Hamlet” illustrates my ability to broaden the examination from the gender of one character to the social dynamic of all characters based on gender. This essay was perhaps the most relevant to my life, as I observe the damage of gender expectations every day. Through applying Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble, it is easier for me to understand that gender is both performative and imitative, which in the long run will help me to recognize enforced gender expectations.
I think three out of the four essays focus on Hamlet because I have read this play before, while I had never read The Tempest. Based on my prior experience reading Hamlet, I was able to concentrate more on my interpretation of the play rather than on the plot.
For me, these essays represent the start of recognizing writing as insight and understanding rather than as a grade.
Hopefully, you see the same development too.