I will admit upfront that I definitely fell behind on my commonplace book entries during the second half of the semester. However, because of this I found myself able to find connections in the text easily, and it has also been extremely helpful for studying for the final exam. So, in a way, I’m not too upset at myself for doing a lot of my posts at the last minute, though of course there would have been many benefits to having been on top of posts, namely in regard to in-class discussions. I realize that I still never talked throughout the semester, but I still felt like I was more connected with the class whenever I did a post the night before. In short, it was good and bad that I left a lot of my posts until the very end.
Looking at my first commonplace book reflection, I notice that there were three main things I wanted to try to improve upon during this half of the semester. The first thing was my goal to try to post before class more often. Unfortunately this only happened a few times. As I’ve already mentioned, I fell behind. However, I did have most of my quotes picked out in the text already with a few notes in my book about why they were important so that I could make posting later a bit easier. That was something new I had decided to do that I feel worked out later when I began my catch up period. I was able to go to the text and immediately find the quotes I wanted to use and just write my responses to them.
The second goal I had was to make more connections between texts. Luckily, I feel I did improve on this one. Again, this was easier because I did a lot of my posts all in a row, so the other texts were still fresh in my mind. I think a majority of my posts now relate back to another text from the class because of similar themes or ideas. Lastly, my third goal was to explore the larger themes or meanings of a text. I believe that connecting texts really helped me with this goal because I was able to see common themes and realize which ones were important. This was especially true for the slave narratives. I feel that I found common themes in those pieces and commented about those themes. During this half of the class, I definitely think I chose quotes that helped me understand the text better because the quotes held a deeper meaning rather than just a random one that stuck with me. I also tried to make sure the two quotes I used in each post were also related.
If I were to point out three posts that I think accomplished these goals, I would say my posts on “The Yellow Wallpaper,” “Appeal to the Christian Women of the South,” and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” In each of these, I connected to another text, addressed bigger themes, and had quotes that related to each other. These were the posts I felt most strongly about. As for themes, I focused less on character and more on overall themes. During the first half of the semester, I talked about character in almost every single post. I think I only did that a couple of times in this half. Specific themes I address are the Plantation Myth, hypocrisy in religion, and insanity. I also used some of the themes we’ve discussed in class to further my analysis in certain posts.
I’ll be taking your English 152 class next semester, and I’m sure the commonplace book will be required again, so I am going to make three new goals for next semester. 1. Actually post before class. 2. Ask more questions in my posts that I can bring up to small groups or maybe even the large group. 3. Read more of my classmates’ posts so that I can see what other people are writing about and see how my ideas relate with others. Hopefully I will continue to improve upon my posts into the next semester.