During this first year English 131 course here at Lenoir Rhyne I was presented with a class that has an array of characteristics that makes it seem unconventional. I came into this class prepared to just read books and write papers, however, this class offers more than just that. One of the classes’ characteristics that aided me as a writer was the opportunity to see the plays that I was assigned to read, that were presented by the LR Playmakers. These plays allowed me to me to strengthen my thinking skills and helped me understand exactly what the author was trying to illustrate within the text, and its motif. Moreover, the writing process that implements planning, drafting, and revising is another portion of the class that truly aided my development as writer. The writing process allowed me to better my writing and critical thinking skills, and create my best work. The readily accessible plays and the writing process both helped me as a writer and also aided me in the process of creating my most significant work, “Our” Town.
While reading the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder I was confronted with a sense of confusion. I did not fully understand how the stage directions would be performed in the actual play, I was not able to envision it, and I did not understand why this play made use of a minimal amount of set and props. I was confronted with the lack of imagination and a confusion about the use of a minimal set within the first page of the play where the stage directions states that “[n]o curtain. – [n]o scenery. – [t]he audience, arriving, sees an empty stage in half-light”(3). This was only the beginning of the confusion that I faced, later on, the stage directions stated that “[m]rs. Gibbs…pulls up an imaginary window shade in her kitchen and starts to make a fire in her stove” (7). I did not understand why this play uses a minimal number of set and props. Since I was not able to envision the play and had these questions, I was somewhat urged to attend the LR Playmakers’ production of Our Town. After attending this production I realized the importance of seeing words come to life. I realized that Wilder makes use of a minimal amount of set and props to put more focus on the theme presented, rather than the setting. This made me realize that seeing the play performed helped strengthen my critical thinking skills. Moreover, I was able to see how the play was meant to be envisioned. Seeing the play in real helped me in the process of creating “Our” Town because it cleared up the confusion and questions that I was confronted with.
While writing the critical analysis on Our Town there was something I did differently compared to my high school writings, I used the writing process. One of the things that I never followed in high school was the writing process. However, after a few weeks spent within this class I realized the importance the writing process plays in higher level writing. The writing process allowed me to write more eloquently and fluid due to the stages it is derived of. However, I did not realize this importance until after my first critical analysis of Creature. While writing my critical analysis for the play Creature I was confronted with a lot of stress and wasted time since I did not do any planning or put in a lot of work during the in class draft. After writing my critical analysis of Creature I realized that I needed to actually use the writing process.
I made use of the writing process while developing my analysis on Our Town, and on many other assignments within this semester. While reading the play Our Town and attending its production by the LR Playmakers I took notes to help with the planning portion of the writing process. While in class, on the drafting day of the critical analysis, I felt more prepared and started to plan my analysis with ease. While drafting the analysis on Our Town I knew what I was going to write about due to the planning I did. Additionally, I did not waste time how I previously did on the analysis for Creature, and I put in more effort into the drafting time in class. The implementation of the writing process allowed me to better my writing and critical thinking skills, and called for my most significant work, “Our” Town, to be created.
The unconventional style of this class aided my development as a critical thinker and writer, and urged me to start a journal myself. Before starting this semester writing was one of my biggest enemies. However, after being able to see these words come to life on stage and allowing my writing process to undergo some changes I realized that writing is one of my favorite things to do now. Each assignment completed from day one of this class aided my development as a reader, writer, and critical thinker. Looking back, I see that this class did not only help strengthen my skills, but it helped strengthen me as a person through developing a greater confidence within myself.
Wilder, Thornton. Our Town. 1938. Harper Perennial, 2003.
Junod, Tom. “The Falling Man.” Esquire, Sept. 2003, http://www.esquire.com/news- politics/a48031/the-falling-man-tomjunod, Accessed 27 November. 2017.
“The Falling Man” by Tom Junod reveals an insightful analysis of a photograph from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. The picture that is analyzed shows a man jumping from the North Tower. In this analysis Junod goes into great depth to analyze the picture, even stating that “His black high-tops are still on his feet” (Junod). Junod goes on to elucidate the photographers past and how that called for him to take this photograph.
Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City. Vintage, 2004
In the book The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson makes use of the research he has done on Chicago during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair to expose important events and people during this time period. Erik Larson takes a rather peculiar approach in the process of creating this past. Larson makes use of cross cutting to create the past of the important events and people’s life; moreover, Larson creates two different plots that are linked together. One of the plots revolves around the life of the architect who helped construct the Fair, Daniel Burnham. The other plot is based on H.H Holmes, a killer that uses his own hotel to draw in his victims.
Lucas, Guy. “Loss of Unwelcome Burden Devastates Me.” guylucas.com/2017/10/05/percy/, 5 Oct. 2017. Accessed 27 Nov. 2017.
The “Loss of Unwelcome Burden Devastates Me”, by Guy Lucas, introduces a series of scenes that revolve around the life of a cat that was found under Lucas’ porch. The first seen that is introduced revolves around the finding of the cat. The second scene introduces the potty training that is done for the cat. The third scene exposes the temporary loss of the cat that Lucas faced. Moreover, Lucas ends by explaining how the cat was faced with many health problems eventually leading to it being put down.
Maslin, Janet. “Add a serial Murderer to 1893 Chicago’s Opulent Overkill.” Review of The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson, The New York Times, 10 Feb. 2003, nytimes.com, Accessed 27 Nov. 2017.
“Add a serial Murderer to 1893 Chicago’s Opulent Overkill” by Janet Maslin gives an overview of the book The Devil in the White City written by Erik Larson. Maslin illustrates the lives and characteristics of the main characters H.H Holmes and Daniel Burnham within the book. However, Maslin also describes the process that Larson takes to create the book The Devil in the White City.
Schrek, Heidi. Creature. Samuel French, 2011.
Throughout the play Creature by Heidi Schreck, both Margery and John Kempe are greatly impacted by a vision Margery has. In the beginning scenes of the play Margery asserts that she had vison of Jesus Christ, Margery deduces that this vision was a sign that she needs to become a saint. Margery proceeds to practice a life of chastity in order to fulfill her belief that she needs to become a saint, however, her husband John objects strongly. Margery’s quest for sainthood through chastity prompts a variety of issues seen in in her own life, and her husband’s life.
Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad. Doubleday, 2016.
In the novel the Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead uses Cora’s, the main character of the novel, journey as the core of the novel. Cora and a fellow slave decide to make a run for freedom by going on the Underground Railroad; however, this Underground Railroad is an actual railroad. On this Journey Cora is faced with many problems seen throughout the various chapters that take place across America; one of which is the killing of a young boy in the effort to save her own life, and a slave catcher that is seen attempting to capture Cora throughout many parts of the novel.
Wilder, Thornton. Our Town. 1938. Harper Perennial, 2003.
The play Our Town by Thornton Wilder offers a window into a small town of Grover’s Corner between the years 1901 to 1913. Wilder revolves the play around the lives and interactions of Emily and George. Through Wilder’s breaking of the fourth wall and an omniscient narrator, he is allowing for the audience to feel as if they are part of the play themselves. This creates a deeper connection felt throughout all the individuals who are reading the play.