I’ve just watched the first episode of Ways of Seeing by John Berger. As I watched I made some notes of phrases that stood out to me, or my responses to his ideas, these aren’t arranged as an essay merely an arrangement of thoughts for my own reference.
I realise I often don’t give the time/space to reflect on my tutor’s feedback on an assignment before diving straight into the next one. Her feedback was lengthy but helpful. There’s a few things I want to pick up on as room for improvement following her feedback:
- I need to make sure when I read recommended texts for the course I do the following things;
a) Make notes on my responses, thoughts, questions that arise on my blog as I read – this isn’t something I’ve done so far.
b) Make space/schedule time for reading these texts – I’ve given a large proportion of the time allocated to study to working on the exercises and assignment but haven’t set aside an amount of time for reading to support or supplement my studies. In all honesty I’m not sure how best to do this! Should I set aside an afternoon a week to read textbooks? Or a couple of hours a week?
2. Learn from previous mistakes:
For the next section on Photography, I’ve gone ahead and bought the texts my tutor recommended; Ian Jeffrey Photography: A Concise History, Susan Sontag On Photography, Graham Clarke The Photograph: A Visual History, Charlotte Cotton The Photography as Contemporary Art.
3. Recommended Essays or Documentaries;
My tutor mentioned Walter Benjamin’s 1936 Essay, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, as an important essay exploring mass communication. I found a version of it online, here.
She also recommended I watch John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, series of programmes made in 1972. I have also found a link to these on YouTube and will begin watching those and making some reflections in my learning log.
Looking back on the creative writing part of the course as a whole and my essay I think it’s clear to see that I have incorporated a degree of what I learned into the content of the assignment. Even my choice of author, Kazuo Ishiguro, and novel, An Artist of the Floating World, shows some effort on my part to engage actively with the theme of time/place from a post-modernist perspective. His writing is not a style I am familiar with or massively fond of so I pushed myself out of my preferences to try and fulfil the course requirements.
I think I worked hard to make use of literary terms learnt earlier in the course in the progress of my essay. The most obvious example of this is the referral to poetic devices and the effect they have on the shaping of the theme’s of time/place. I think I swayed towards referring to the theme of time a little too heavily, as I struggled to expand on the theme of place from the extract. In my preparation for the essay it’s also clear that I put into practice methods like annotating extracts and picking out poetic devices learnt in earlier exercises. Perhaps what was most influential to my reading of the extract was the forth exercise on The Road by Cormac McCarthy. In particular I think I used what I’d learnt from that exercise to shape my analysis of the style of prose and the form of narration. The preparation of the exercise helped me to understand how an author might manipulate or play with our sense of narration or the structure of the prose to dramatic effect.
However I do think I struggled to utilise what I’d learned about Aristotle’s theory of the four elements in my essay. I think I explored theme and expression but didn’t expand massively on character. Looking back now I wonder how I would ‘fit’ the character from the extract into a archetype, he doesn’t seem to be neatly fitted into any of the one’s I looked at earlier in the course. Perhaps to improve the essay I could spend time considering the kind of Character presented by the extract and explore how he seems to break with the tradition of character archetypes. I think towards the end of the essay I began to touch upon (admittedly briefly), the plot, asking questions about ‘why’ we were seeing the world the character described and making some commentary on the greater context of Japan. As with Character analysis I think I could’ve given greater time to my analysis of the plot but struggled to in such a short extract. I could’ve taken more time to make a more expansive commentary on the plot.
So overall I think my essay shows I’ve learnt from the exercises along the course, but that I could do with being a bit more thorough in putting everything I’ve learnt into practice.