Going into British Literature and Composition, I had no idea what to expect. I thought all I would be doing was writing essays, indeed there was allot of essay writing, but there were many other key skills that I learned. Which included critical reading, collaboration with my peers to achieve a common goal, and understanding the connection between British history and literature. One very important skill that I learned during the class was critical reading, thinking, and writing. Before I started British literature and composition I had limited critical reading, thinking, and writing skills.
It was very hard for me to read a piece of literature and then write a critical essay on it. For example, when I wrote the essay on Dulce et Decorum est, I had an extremely hard time relating every thing to my thesis and making comments to support the relationship of the evidence to the thesis. After reading and analyzing more poems my critical reading and writing skills improved and I decided to rewrite Dulce et Decorum est.. All of my comments were insightful and showed an understanding of the relationship between the evidence and the thesis.
From that point on I could put it all together without problems. For instance, the essay on the Song by Sir John Suckling and the in-class essay comparing Christopher Marlowes, The Passionate Shepherd to His Love and Sir Walter Raleighs, The Nymphs Reply to The Shepherd were the first really good essays that I wrote, I was able to critically read the poems, critically think about what I read, and then write it all out on paper. Another key skill that I improved during British literature and composition was collaborating with a group of peers to achieve a common goal.
I considered myself an active participant in all of the group projects that I was a part of. For example, during the allad presentations my group was extremely upset that we didnt get our top choice, had to do The Bonny Earl of Murray.. Everyone was complaining and we werent getting anything done, so I kind of became the leader, divided up the research, thought of a song to sing our ballad to, and encouraged all group members to participate in the singing of our ballad. Everyone in the group cooperated and in the end the presentation turned out well.
But I also have taken the passive role in group projects as well. For instance, during the Restoration skits another member of my group seemed to have taken the role s leader so I just put my ideas on the table and went with the flow. The group activities in British literature and composition helped me to listen to what others have to say. Everyones ideas are important, no matter what. In addition to group work I learned the connection between British history and British literature.
All English literature is based off of what was going on at that time, the history is in the literature. For example, in the Anglo-Saxon times the Celts provided English literature with the legendary hero, King Authur, who even to this day is read bout in history books. In the Medieval times there were books written like the Doomsday Book which was a list of land owners. During the Renaissance, Martin Luther posted the 95 thesis on the door of a Catholic church, which triggered the Protestant Reformation.
Then in the Restoration writers like Christopher Wren and Samuel Pepys wrote about events like the Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666. Later in the Eighteenth century philosophers like Isaac Newton played a big part in the Age of Reason.. All of the important events in English history are remembered today because hey were written down in stories and poems past from generation to generation. All in all British literature and composition was a very beneficial class.
Since I plan on going to college the critical reading, thinking, and writing skills will be of much use in writing papers. Learning to work in a group to accomplish a common goal is also a great skill to have, because in the real world people have to problem solve together all the time. As for the British history and literature, I think the literature opened my mind up to different kinds of writing and the history gave me an appreciation for the English culture.