Blog 8: Fluidity

I don’t even know where to begin sharing what I have learned in ENGL 299 this semester. I was a bit nervous to take this class because I didn’t know exactly what it entailed and I had also changed my major two days before the Add/Drop deadline— basically diving to the waters of an English degree all at once. I think this class has been one of the most valuable courses in my college career thus far. Not only has it exposed me to many theories and valuable research paper practice, but also it has helped me to develop a clearer sense of what excites me about the subject. Although many of my other classmates were frustrated with Theory Toolbox, I actually found it really fun and interesting (most of the time). Using concepts as methods for considering “larger life questions” in literature and the world around us, more broadly, was not something I had spent much time thinking about before. Theory Toolbox revealed to me the importance of all the extrinsic factors of a text, such as an author’s own life or the historical, social, or political contexts from which it emerges. All these things are the intricate stitching of a patchwork quilt (or a literary work), which can be unraveled and maybe even re-stitched.


For me, one of the biggest takeaways from this class has been realizing the fluidity of English. I’ve always been a person who hasn’t quite found my niche in academia and when I entered this class I was worried that I would fall behind, but the step-by-step research paper on a topic of my choosing was a helpful process. I enjoyed being able to discuss my passions and interests alongside the conversations of scholars and experts in the field. This class allowed me the opportunity of bringing myself to the forefront of my writing, as I wrote parts of my research paper reflecting on how Thoreau’s visionary education approach inspires me and informs my own teaching practice. Hearing lectures from professors across the field of English was a great way of surveying the many topics English touches on and noticing how relevant English studies can be to everyday living. I really can’t think of another class with material as fluid as this one. In ENGL 299 I have blogged about the sociological imagination, discussed the rhetoric of Wikipedia writers, analyzed ‘postmodern’ artwork, and written a paper that will directly impact my future career as an English teacher.


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