Friday, March 19, 2010

Discovering the Joys of Student Blogs

OK for my blog this week I want to talk about how much I am enjoying students' responses to the readings--and their creative spins on the texts we are discussing. So far in World Lit in English we have read and discussed "Shooting an Elephant," "Interpreter of Maladies," "Love and Honor and Pity and Compassion. . ." (Nam Lee--the only one you might not know) and most recently Edwidge Danticat's "Children of the Sea" (about Haitian boat people trying to get to Miami--and letters/diary entries (not) exchanged between young man on boat and his girlfriend in Haiti. We've been talking about the effect of colonial interventions on the children of immigrants, migrations into and out of colonial spaces of origin, hybridity etc all of which students have much to say. But equally interesting is the discussion of voice and narrative strategy. What I would like Community 2.0 to help me consider is how some of this conversation might enter YOUR spaces--here is a little sampling from student, Alexander Irish who imagines turning parts of Danticat's story into a screenplay--if you'd like to see more go to my NING. (And finally THANK you Dr X for all your assistance in discovering NING.)

i was a big fan of the imagery which was used in the "Children of the Sea". the way Edwidge Dauticat uses the images on such simples things, like describing the way the sheets, which were being used as the "sails". "When i got on board i thought i could smell the semen and the innocence lost on those sheets. I look up there and i think of you and all those times you resisted". This part of the story doesn't mean much to alot of people, but as a amatuer screenwriter/poet/artist, this scene just gave me a vision i can tinker around with in my head, its something i can play with from that line, and maybe expend it into something big. that little scene, i could made into a 5 minute short, of a girl resisting sexual temptation but now the man looking at his bed sheets, and trying to rationalize the rape he just committed against her(this is mine...i'm copywriting it right now). Also, i can just see people raising their hands, and ripping out at Celianne and her baby, trying to take hold of the still born child, and trying to toss it over board. its almost like a extremely disturbing version of the famous scene in spartacus, directed by Stanley Kubrick, where everyone else says that they are spartacus, but instead of sweaty people in a country side in rome (probably not really filmed in rome, but i'm just saying), its people saying, "i'll throw that baby over", then someone says "no i'll do it." its a very abstract view of it, but its very similar in a way. i did like how both parties in the story were writing to each other, but not really writing to each other. it's almost like you're getting shown both sides of the argument, with the a measure of unrest, unrest in the boat, due to sun, lack of food, etc. and the unrest which is plaguing everyone back home, in haiti, mostly do to the violence of the regime, and the constant running and hiding, people being killed. You are receiving both sides of the coin, from two different parties, whose letters will never be seen by the other party, but there is still a hope that they will see each other, but by the end of of the her last letter, we already know, he's become a child of the sea.

5 comments:

  1. Hi Dr. V - Thanks for the comment and the student sample. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's had the experience of finding that far too often we're among faculty talking about student writing in the abstract without actually having any student writing as part of the conversation.

    I wonder if, later in the semester, there might be certain posts or student blogs we want to 'flag' and with the student's permission somehow open up for comment to other faculty, certain groups of students, or even others outside. Part of the point of blogs is to make student writing more real, more public, which means an audience beyond the indivdual instructor. Thoughts?

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  2. Hi Dr. V - Thanks for the comment and the student sample. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's had the experience of finding that far too often we're among faculty talking about student writing in the abstract without actually having any student writing as part of the conversation.

    I wonder if, later in the semester, there might be certain posts or student blogs we want to 'flag' and with the student's permission somehow open up for comment to other faculty, certain groups of students, or even others outside. Part of the point of blogs is to make student writing more real, more public, which means an audience beyond the indivdual instructor. Thoughts?

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  3. @Laura:

    Yes! That's precisely one of the goals of what we are doing here.

    As the semester develops, I'm sure we'll find ways to "open" our spaces to others...

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  4. @Phyllis--

    By pure coincidence I realized that if you have a public Ning, anyone can SIGN UP by clicking on that option on the top right.

    IF you have checked the box that says "approve new members," you do so when their request comes in.

    That should make "adding" Scott's students a cinch. All he has to do is ask them to sign up for homework.

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  5. You know, I see some possible connections with my 102 class as they are reading about Jung's shadow archetype and also reading a few of the Rossetti sibling poems (very dark and sexual, of course). On the right hand side of my 102 blog you can see where they are now http://102supernatural.blogspot.com/
    Maybe in a few weeks or so we could some kind of "interaction" about sexuality and/or gender.

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