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Personal Relationship To Literature

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 4026 words Published: 12th Apr 2017

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Describe your personal relationship to literature and to reading. Begin by considering the meaning of literature. What does the term literature mean to you? What makes something literary in your own mind? If literature means different things to different people, who defines what is and what is not literature?

Next, reflect on your relationship to reading and literature. What kind of reading engages/interests you? What about that writing draws you in? Do you find meaning in reading certain writing? If so, describe the satisfaction you draw from this process. Also consider how you read. Do you, for example, take notes or mark text as you read, or do you simply absorb the material on a page?

There is no right or wrong answers to your response. This discussion is an opportunity to reflect on what literature is to you, as well as to consider the many meanings that literature may have for others in the class.

My relationship with literature used to be for pleasure instead of intellectual. Now I primarily read business journals, legal texts for my line of work or for school. Personally, no matter the ambition, I pick up the meaning from text by what the author says and how he or she says it. John Grisham was a favorite fictional writer and also the only author who I had chosen to read a book twice because he is very talented with the descriptions of each setting as he narrated the plot )related to our text this is associated to ‘stimulation of imagination’ (Clugston, R.W. 2010). Ten years later, in the early stages of my life long career, I have discovered that the more I read and write the better my ability to communicate and taken more seriously; and I have drifted to reading less fiction and more about educating myself. Our text asserts that there are 6 areas that literature contributes to our lives: Restoration of the past, stimulation of imagination, glorification of a common place, perturbation of emotion, upholding of a vision, and observation of human nature (Clugston, R. W. 2010).

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My interpretation of literature is anything that is recorded in linguistics and shares information (telling a story / information) – this to me, is literature. Be it John Grisham with a 400 page narrative, or a 50 page text by Seth Godin that is a compilation of manifestos. Literature is recorded information used in place of speaking. As such, I believe this is a universal understanding whereby everyone can share the same observation.

I am no longer interested in reading novels for the stimulation of imagination as a form of entertainment because time is finite. With being in school I surround a lot of reading for texts in which I am ‘forced’. If reading for leisure I read texts that can help me improve as a business professional – Sales Books, The Art of War – most of these are manifestos about taking action to produce offers that are uncommon or scarce. They are not instruction guides; they are thought provokers meant to go beyond literal terms. This in mind – the linguistics used to convey messages to me as the reader will have thought provoked in the way that the author intends.


Clugston, R. W. (2010).Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. https://content.ashford.edu/books

Week 1 Discussion Question 2

Review the key literary terms and concepts presented throughout Chapters 1 and 2. (See the end of each chapter for a glossary of terms.) Choose at least four of these terms to discuss in your post. Then, find examples of these concepts in the readings from this week. Explain how these examples demonstrate each literary concept as well as the effect which the given technique or form has on a reading of the respective text.

The four most intriguing literary terms and concepts that I selected for this exercise:

Ambiguity – The use of language that has more than one meaning, creating uncertainty about how to interpret what has been stated.

Our text submits that writers often use ambiguity to raise questions or suggest outcomes (Clugston, R. W. 2010).I suspect that this because the uncertainty element it proposes when used as expression. Examples could be linguistics such as ‘run’ and ‘deep’. Both terms could be used as alternative views about something.

Farce – A comedy; a short play, in which both the subtle humor and hilarity are developed through improbable situations, exaggerations and antics.

Example: A bank robber going into a police station to hide, by example.

Genre – A category or type of literature, both the broadest categories of literature.

Without genre we would not be able to quickly disseminate categories of information in which we may or mat not be interested in. Genres narrow the space for possibility in which we can gain accelerated insight into subjects interested in.

Examples: Fiction, non-fiction.

Imagination – The human power that shapes artistic expression; enables writers work to become an expression of meaning. Imagination is a powerful thing because the space for possibilities is only limited by individual constraints. The ability to envision something through your own vision allows for a stronger connection; that is my opinion of course.

The commonality between the four terms selected is that all play a significant part in the way that a reader reads and absorbs information; and also how the languaging produces readers to respond differently.


Clugston, R. W. (2010).Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. https://content.ashford.edu/books

ENG 125 Week 2 Discussion Question 1

Chapter 5 discusses the importance of point of view in literature and, more specifically, in the short story. Choose one short story from the course text about which you have not yet written, and analyze it in terms of point of view.

When writing your post, consider the following questions

  • How would you categorize the point of view [e.g., first-person, second-person (i.e., “you”), third-person limited, third-person omniscient]?
  • Is the point of view consistent throughout the story (told from the same perspective), or does it shift at any points in the narrative? (If so, make note of when and how those changes occur.)
  • How does point of view shape your reading of the work? In what ways does it contribute to or detract from your reading of the work?
  • How does point of view relate to the story’s themes or content?

Written by Raymond Caver, the ‘Cathedral’ starts with a 3rd party narrative. It begins with a digression of a blind man and his friendship with his (the authors) wife. As the story continues there is a conversion to first person narrative when he begins to share his feelings about how this blind man comes to stay with the couple. This is the first switch in perspective. Throughout the rest of the story Caver switches perspectives and as a reader I took to an understanding of flashbacks. The original prospective is consistent with a 1st party prospective and the flashbacks are of situations that had taken them to a particular point.

I had to read each paragraph twice to understand who Caver was writing about and I suspect that this was done to give background on each of the characters in the story.

Personally, if I was writing the plot I would have began with how the blind man and wife came to be in the moment that I was writing about; sharing how his wife then passed away before changing writing positions of the characters. Since the constant switch in writer prospective makes it harder to follow, this suggestion may have been easier for the reader to absorb – speaking from own observations of course…..

The ability to craft previous events with associated feelings of the author as he writes allows Raymond to write ‘raw’. As opposed to designing the story with a draft, Caver wrote in the format that most closely relates to a diary. When you notice and observe the format as written with forward and backward movements, he appears to be writing as if he is in a posture of recollection – this could have been done intentionally to convey the ‘blindness’ of the character.


Clugston, R. W. (2010).Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. https://content.ashford.edu/books

Week 2 Discussion Question 2

Chapter 7 explores the role of symbols in conveying literary themes. Themes are abundant in literary works (though they are at some times more obvious than at others). Select one short story from the reading assignments (from either Week One or Week Two) to examine more closely in relation to symbolism. Consider the story’s overall theme(s) and use of images as well as how these two relate to one another. You may choose to explore one single recurring symbol, or you may discuss multiple symbols and how they relate to one another.

At the beginning of your post, identify (a) the literary work that you will analyze and (b) the theme(s) that is/are most relevant to the symbolism you will explore.

“I Used To Live Here Once” – Jean Rhys

As told from a third party narrative, this story is regarding a woman who has not yet come to the realization that she is dead. With the task prescribed for this discussion thread in mind, I did note a combination of perspectives and symbols that allowed me to feel as the author intended.

The stepping stones described at the beginning of the story are perceived to be a recollection or a picture in her mind. However, when finishing the whole story it is obvious that the stepping stone term was a symbol of the different pieces of this woman’s life. The road is reflective of this woman’s journey; and how at the end of it she is seeing things from a different prospective. “The road was much wider than it used to be” is symbolic for how things had changed from what she remembered before.

Another example of symbolism was the reference of ‘grassy blue’ was the vibrancy of new life. I speculate that this was the intended meaning because as the story describes the woman walking towards the children, the grass was yellow….this is a symbolic indication of aging.

The use of colors was symbolic throughout the story; they colored the characters feelings in a way that allowed the reader to dig deeper. As I complete this exercise I look forward to observing various symbol types in other future readings within this class and my own leisure.


Clugston, R. W. (2010).Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. https://content.ashford.edu/books

Week 3 Discussion Question 1

The detail in short story narratives allow me as the reader to be able to visualize the authors written expression as intended. The linguistics chosen allow me to visualize the story in my mind. In most cases the only thing left to figure out with imagination is how the story will end.

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With poems the opposite can happen – I may be able to understand the whole narrative, but the details in between are left to imagination. More often than not, when I read a poem or lyrics to a song I am left wondering if the interpretation of my readings is what the author intended them to be. While stories can have hidden meanings (The moral of the story is….) the occurrence is not quite as often as poems or song lyrics.

Example: With “Not Waving but Drowning”, thoughts and feelings of previous life experiences came to mind. Specifically when a friend drove after having too much to drink and I did not stop them. The next day I got a call from another mutual friend that they had gotten into an accident and was arrested for DUI. My remorse for not stopping them came after the fact; until it was too late.

The first half of the poem used distinctions such as ‘drowning’ and ‘moaning’ & in the second half ‘dead’ and ‘sad’ . The author was intentional with use of these linguistics because he was writing using assonance. These terms do not rhyme but they do share similar pronunciation / sounds.

Other literary devises such as figurative language, similes and metaphors allow a reader of short stories or poems to compare their own experiences to the authors’ narrative design. I noted in this exercise that I do not like the use of rhymes in poems because it causes my focus to be on the rhyme, rather than actual meaning.


Clugston, R. W. (2010).Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. https://content.ashford.edu/books

Week 3 – Discussion Question 2

“We Real Cool” reminds me of the movie ‘Stand by Me’. Gwendolyn Brooks writes with a tone in the poem that is identified as illiterate with examples such as ‘we so cool’ instead of ‘we are really cool’. I mention ‘Stand by Me’ because the movie had a group of teenaged boys in it that thought they could conquer the world and needed not to abide by any rules. This in mind, Brooks could be also talking about the variance in vocabulary that youthful people use by differentiating it from grown adults.

When the poem was read, Brooks pauses both before and after ‘cool’ and ‘we’ which provided more focus on the word ‘we’ – at least for me anyway (there’s my mild attempt at humor by plugging in assonance).

Brooks used a tone that they were all about themselves, in her opinion. I speculate that this is why she was redundant with her sarcastic usage of the term ‘we’. The use of rhyming words like ‘cool’ and ‘school’ at the end of a sentence to focus on the sounds of the them. While listening to the poem I got the sensation that Brooks was almost strutting as she read it. The imagination of many is provoked the same way when they hear it for themselves; I can picture in my mind some people leaning on a wall with a foot propped or strutting down a sidewalk like John Travolta in ‘Saturday Night Fever’….I am curious if my classmates visualized the same thing?

Although the subjects are not personally known, the speculation and stereotyping provide automatically triggered (and ungrounded) assessments about them. The sharing of the knowledge that this took place outside of a pool hall sort of helps these speculations come around. What if it was outside a candy store?

I’d submit in a last thought that if I had not heard the poem read in the way that I had for this discussion, and heard it from another persons tone, then the experience would not be the same.


Clugston, R. W. (2010).Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. https://content.ashford.edu/books

Week 4 – Discussion Question 1

‘Riders to the Sea’ – With consideration of the time and setting of the play being in Ireland during the early 1900’s, I had a difficult time understanding what the characters were trying to say. I was still able to gain a picture in my mind with the story preface, point of how it began, and how it came to be because unlike a short story or a poem, this short form play still provided meaningful understandings of who the characters are, relations to each other, and how the first scene of the play came to be.

The play gave a different visualization that was unlike what a short story or play typically offers. Example: In a story it might begin with something like “It was a hot and humid night in Houston” – Compare to the play preface: Scene: “An island off the west of Ireland. (Cottage kitchen, with nets, oil-skins, spinning wheel, some new boards standing by the wall, etc. Cathleen, a girl of about twenty, finishes kneading cake, and puts it down in the pot-oven by the fire; then wipes her hands, and begins to spin at the wheel. Nora, a young girl, puts her head in at the door.)”.

Inserts of actions in between character banter was really neat as well because I was able to know when the setting that was initially described began changing. This was executed with italics so that I knew what action was taking place. The insert of action was also was a great added assist to know who was speaking and who they were speaking to. Sometimes in short stories the “he’s” and “hers” can be confusing for me if the narrator is not specific enough. As an example from the play: “Bartley: (To Cathleen)” > the narrative allows me to make the assessment that Bartley is speaking to Cathleen.

In another observation I noted the use of stage direction as part of the narrative. As written: “Goes to the inner door and listens” – This example allows the reader to imagine the act when read versus watching it.

Week 4 – Discussion 2

I would agree that Macbeth is one of literature’s greatest tragedies because she goes from being a good character to a villain – just as some many people do in real life. It is a common experience among my professional peers – all facets of the financial marketplace encounter this at one time or another – a perfect film to use for comparison / my example is ‘Wall Street” > Charlie Sheen goes from being a good guy to jail….

Back to Macbeth: There are emotions of regret, sadness, pride and pity throughout this play. I can relate to the paranoia after doing something ‘bad’ and loosing sleep over – thus the stronger relation to this play and the overall human experience.

In comparison of the characters it was apparent to me that each represented a difference between a play and real life. By example, Macbeth is comparable to any successful woman in society. She was driven by goals and power; and willing to achieve both by less than dignified and prudent means. So it would be safe to assume that her desire for success is the seed that was planted for the eventual horrible events of the future.

Reading this play the first time through was not the same as the second time – where instead of taking each section so literally a bigger picture appeared for me. The theme for me was not to let ambition push me to an extent whereby I am exposed to tragic ways. Macbeth really showed how a series of consequences could lead to experiences we once might never have thought to be possible – so interim strategies need to be chosen more wisely. The pride to do the right thing should never be compromised over a yearning for conquer or accomplishment.

Week 5 – Discussion Question 1

By the end of this five week course, more than stories or plays, poems have become my favorite form of literature. The use of hidden meanings and symbolism has allowed me to interpret them in a way that I could not previously articulate.

When poems are spoken aloud, like music, they have a much stronger possibility for creation of emotion and drama. By example, when hearing ‘The Pool Players’ by Gwendolyn Brooks I connected to the poem in a totally different way than if I were to be reading it to myself. The audio provided a preface to what the poem was specifically about. Had I not listened to the poem I would not be taken back to the early 1900’s in my imagination. It is most certainly comparable to music for me – the gravity of ‘Air in the Night’ by Phil Collins is another example of a different experience of hearing tone and range of the author – rather than reading with your own imaginary limitation.

Dialog is not as important in a poem as it would be for other literary forms. Dialog written is most important in story narratives because it helps the reader follow along where the author is taking them. When observing a play, the audience observes the script as it is written and it is experienced through real life enactment. What I have learned as a result of this class is that when writing in first person narratives dialog is more important.

Symbolism is also predominant in poems and music lyrics. When reading the poem ‘Used to Live Here Once’ I found symbolism in nearly every verse. The description of colors used to express emotion in each scene such as “A fine day, a blue day” > the use of colors steered me as the reader to find the underlying meaning.

Poems generally allow the listener or reader to use their own imagination with what the author is attempting to convey.

Week 5 – Discussion Question 2

I enjoy the stage direction so that the audience or reader has a stronger understanding of what is taking place: In the play ‘Trifles’ the writer narrates “The women draw nearer” The use of italics allowed me to observe an action taking place as opposed to simply hearing it as part of the story. Each character is defined by the narration that the writer has set forth.

The more direct per formative aspects of drama are located within flashbacks and foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is easier than flashbacks in the setting of a play because it can be identified by narration. With prefaces I can tell which character is which – For example, in “Riders of the Sea”, the interpretation of the preface is that Maurya is an older woman. I would not have understood that without the writer using terms such as “her gray hair”. If this was a live play then the preface would not be required because I could see that Maurya was old by noticing, observing, and assessing that the character had gray hair.

A poem has different causation of emotion when being read aloud and when reading to yourself. When ‘The Pool Players’ was read silently to myself, I did not pick up half the emotion as when it was listened to. The tone and pausing of words helped me with noting when stronger emphasis was being exercised by Brooks. With each line ending in ‘we’ I felt the preparation of advancement. The tone and pitch of her voice reading it aloud gave me a conceptualization that Brooks was ‘poking’ the men at the pool hall. If I had read this to myself I would not have characterized it the same way.


The actions in the written text of a short story are what a reader depends on in order to imagine the setting. As such the author of a story is required to put more detail into the short story because when details are lacking then the reader is left to make assumptions whereby a imagination can lead the reader down a different path than the author originally intends. An example of this can be shared from “Story of the Lots Son” when the author used the following detail: “He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.” – This narrative enabled me to imagine what the writer saw and draw into the emotion of how hungry the son must have felt.


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