During this final semester of grade 9, it was hard and challenging for us to adjust ourselves to the e-learning program. However, I managed to concur over the challenges of e-learning.
I have learned a lot during this unit, I have learned the technique of making incongruity to do humor. The writer of A Talk in the Park often employs this technique to make a humorous scene. For example, (Ayckbourn, 67). Though he does not know Doreen, Charles gives Doreen no time to reject his childish invitation of seeing a business plan without any scrutiny. The incongruity of one protagonist, Charles, contributes a lot to the humorous effect in this drama. On the one hand, the way he dresses is professional and smart; on the other hand, however, the way he acts is not professional, as he exposed confidential documents to some stranger. The incongruity creating a humorous sense makes the theme more easily touched. That is, a human being wants to talk, want to find common sense from others, but it is better to “talk to yourself.”
I would still like to learn how to make a literature comparison between the two works. The poem, Why We Oppose Pockets for Women, juxtaposes the rights on eight aspects of man and woman, while the same poet wrote another poem named Why We Oppose Women Travelling in Railway Trains(https://poets.org/poem/why-we-oppose-women-travelling-railway-trains#:~:text=Because%20it%20is%20unnecessary%3B%20there,cannot%20be%20reached%20on%20foot), in which similar technique is used to make it humorous. In both poems is a set of juxtapositions between man and woman. Especially, in the 8th stanza of the first poem, the pockets of “men to carry tobacco, pipes, whiskey flasks, chewing gum” (1ine 13) are compared with things in pockets and women. Note that “chewing gum” is a very tiny item that people may easily ignore in daily life, but the poet can meticulously identify this trivia difference between man and woman and help us recognize the unfair social control behind it. In the early years of the twentieth century, chewing gum would be considered a nasty habit but only for women. (Yetter). Ironically, in the modern world, people could hardly imagine how chewing gum degrades the virtue of a woman. So, from this careful observation, it has recorded a past society that imposed too many restrictions on the personal lives of women. In the sixth stanza of the second poem, “[b]ecause men smoke and play cards in trains. Is there any reason to believe that women will behave better? ” The same technique of juxtaposition is employed. On the one hand, men can play cards in trains, but on the other women seemingly have no right to entertain on the train. That is an unbelievable scenario looking back from the modern perspective, but the second poem helps record this historical bias on women’s rights. Through comparing these two poems, I find the poet uses juxtaposition to call for the rights of women and to make a humorous effect on those sexist advocates who deny the right of women.
I think I achieve my SMART goal I set for myself. I learned drama with deeper thought by how it is written and how I could improve myself to write a better drama for next year. I carefully analyze each specific character in A Talk in the Park, including Arthur, Charles, Ernest, Beryl, and Doreen. To make a measurable comparison, I take note of what they say, how they are dressed, and what length their complaints are. So, I set an achievable goal to identify the structure of this drama and how this unique structure helps protrude the theme of it. The structure for me is easy to understand. For example, as for the character, Arthur, Charles, Ernest, Beryl, and Doreen, the first person bothers the second one, and the second tries to complain to the third. In this consequence, the fifth person eventually talks to the first one. That makes a circle, which is the unique structure of this drama, and which renders the drama humorous. In reality, people talk to themselves, and rarely can there be a person who will listen to other’s stories. I think I could understand most of the meaning of the drama and how it is related to the real world. This is how I analyze this drama, and I submit my analysis on time. Therefore, I think I meet the goal of SMART I set for myself.
For me, I think it is a challenge to find out the historical context for my poem, Why We Oppose Pockets for Women. It costs me a long time to find every detail about the living status of women one hundred years ago but knowing more about women’s rights during that period has in fact improved my understanding of this poem. For example, when I learned that this poem was from a collection–“Are women people?”—a collection of a series of pieces Alice Duer Miller wrote for New York Tribune during Suffrage Era (http://suffrageandthemedia.org/source/are-women-people-the-poetry-of-alice-duer-miller/). This historical context is very crucial in facilitating me to a deeper understanding of the theme and calling of her poem. Since Alice had written a series of poems with similar calling, I was attracted to read more poems in this collection, which really refined and honed my understanding of the issue of women’s rights. The early 20th century witnessed how those pioneers sought to give women the right to vote. So, learning more about history and about the civil rights movement is the most challenging part of this unit for me, but this challenge really helps.
I think I have succeeded in two respects. First of all, as mentioned above, after doing some research on the civil rights movement, I have learned more details of women’s life during 20th century, which deepens my understanding of the poem, Why We Oppose Pockets of Women. Secondly, I know how to identify humorous techniques. For example, in the video, The Pleasure of Poetic Pattern, I quickly identify the repetition effect. David Silverstein said “When I was Poet Laureate, there I go again,” and after a while, he repeated, “when I was United States Poet Laureate” (https://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-pleasure-of-poetic-pattern-david-silverstein). The audience burst into applauds. As I have learned the basic technique of making humor, I recognize this technique immediately.
Throughout this whole e-learning, I am responsible for my learning, and I communicate with the teacher if I have questions. Also, I revise my work many times by commenting on the DX posts and receiving feedback to improve. Furthermore, my submission time for all of my works is meeting the deadlines, except for some class works. However, as for major assessments, I submitted them on the time due. After drafting my homework, I check them and proofread them carefully. Therefore, the time management for me is ok. In addition, I think my attitude is satisfactory because I did my work independently and selected the works from the anthology by myself, such as the drama and the poem. My engagement is quite well to this class by conducting a literature review and exploring the humorous techniques. During this e-learning for this unit, my process was to do the outline, draft, revise, and edit before the deadline. I try to meet the Learner (SAL) criteria of “Responsibility” and “Attitude,” and by doing so I learned a lot in this unit.
I think I need to grow in the way of risk-taking. For example, in this unit, I risk selecting a poem that looks not really like a poem, because of it straightforward lists eight reasons, instead of using metaphor, end rhyme, or other easily-identified literary devices. Consequently, I only received “Approaching” in the poetry task. However, I think it means that I need to grow in better analyzing this kind of poetry. So, risk-taking helps me grow, and this perseverance meets the requirement of the attitude of SAL. In addition, the preparation of relevant resources is another area I can make growth. For example, I browsed the library online to read some papers about how to make humorous effects. This helps me a lot to know the whole system or say the whole picture of humorous techniques, including incongruity, surprise, repetition, inversion, exaggeration, and so on. So, this is another area I want to grow in the future.
The goals for Grade 10 involve my improvement in language and social awareness. I want to upgrade my diction and syntactic skills to express my idea more clearly and accurately. Beyond that, I plan to write some essays on social issues, including COVID-19 and the conflict of races. In this way, my essay would carry more meaning, and my ideas could have more influence on the audience who would give me feedback to better upgrade my thinking and writing.
Finally, I think it has been a great year for all of us. I hope that we all have a great summer reading more books!