The ideas for this essay came from the readings that caught my attention. While that sounds vague, we read quite a few examples of historical literature in this unit so I let my interest in particular writings guide my process. Based on the works we had to read for class, Takaki caught my eye and I expanded from there. Eventually I realized that I wanted to argue the savagery of the European colonists and from there I found other works to support this. While I only ended up using two sources, I found that I could make my point given just that information. If I had longer, I likely would have spent more time analyzing historical sources.
While writing my first essay, I spent more time thinking about how I felt about The Tempest rather than how history moulded it. I analyzed the play in a significantly different way and consciously wanted to work with an entirely different topic. Additionally, I found myself more comfortable with the essay format of ENGL 305 and how I would receive feedback. As this class is a continued improvement effort, I expect the next essay will have a similar shift (which it did ended up having).
For this particular essay, I learned that less can be more when considering sources. If two historical sources can guide an essay, you do not need to throw in additional background just to beef up the works cited page. Something else I found myself doing was rereading sources and coming back to them. Often with longer sources, I miss key points, but by rereading them and highlighting key points, I was able to gather more useful thoughts. For the most part, this essay solidified the time period Shakespeare wrote The Tempest during and alluded to how he could have been thinking at this time.
The biggest lesson I still need to master in my writing is stamina and time management. This essay took me much longer to write than it should have and that was mostly due to me coming up with excuses not to write. I had the same problem when looking at sources. While my essay turned out well, I found myself not having the energy to go and search for more sources that could benefit me. In the future I hope to be more receptive to my own writing and willing to give my full attention to the process.
The final product of this essay goes hand-in-hand with the third essay. Here I felt like both essays could talk about a similar topic and by creating a hybrid essay, I was comfortable enough to include it in my portfolio.