Summative Entry

Do the interests, concerns and experiences of writers in the 20th Century assist 21st Century human beings in their understanding of the purpose of existence?

Over the course of this semester, ENGL202 students were lucky enough to explore the interests, concerns, and experiences of 20th-century writers. We did this through many forms of learning from going to plays, to expert guest lectures, to art gallery visits, to traditional lectures and by attending interactive tutorials, just to name a few. Within all these engaging forms of learning, we were given some of the most precious knowledge out there. For me, this consisted on insight into the messages of George Orwell as well as everlasting teachings from Remarque’s novel, “All Quiet on the Western Front”. These two authors stand out for me specifically due to Orwell’s exploration into the destruction of language and Remarque’s insight into the fragmentation of society. Virginia Woolf and her famous work “Mrs. Dalloway” also give me great pleasure in knowing issues of today such as time and death were all present in the early 20th century. I also find great interest into the ways in which she wrote, creating the famous stream of consciousness, which is so satisfying to read. In blog 7 I focus merely on the first line of her novel and it still amazes me when I look back on it, on just how much I was able to interpret from it. This is what I think is one of the best creative elements of literature. In whole, many interests, concerns, and experiences such as the two world wars, modernism and racism all still apply to today’s society because, even a century after, humanity still feed on destructive forces of greed, existential angst and constant quest for our purpose of existence.

Through Orwell’s interest in the English language, he was successful enough to create two masterpieces, “Politics and the English Language” and “Nineteen Eighty-Four” which still help people of today’s century to understand their purpose. The message I got from Orwell’s essay is that people of the 21st century have a purpose and responsibility to the English language to use to for the good, to not demonise language, and to not make language a means for deception, laziness and manipulation. This is something politicians of every 21st-century country should reflect on, as well as common people using language to creatively express themselves should do not fall into a cycle of the same phrases which ultimately lose their meaning. In everyone understanding the destruction language can cause through Orwell’s detailed concern, interests, and experience, we can hope to looking at brighter future where the English language is employed for the good. As “Nineteen Eighty-four” addressed these same issues through the use of the narrative, I believe its important for people of the 21st century to know this is not just story. This book is effective in appealing to people through its fiction however through the background of Orwell we know that the messages within it are very much a frightening possibility for our 21st-century society. I discuss other elements of Orwell’s work in my creative letter to him found in blog 8.

The weekly blogs allowed me to recap on what I thought was most important and influential from the week’s content. They also allowed me to ponder onto other people’s sites to leave comments, which effectively broadened my knowledge and opinions by reading their blogs. I would have to admit that I mostly enjoyed writing creative blogs as after each week ended, I found myself inspired to employ the same writing styles or ideas that each of the artists provided. Week after week I found myself improving in all aspects of my creative and critical mind. I especially was proud of my week 9 blog on the topic of nation, race and language. Poetry is something that I felt I was lacking in and after reading many poems of the course of my semester I found myself recalling certain techniques and poetical devices poet’s used to create an influential poem. Over the semester I have found myself having great pride in Australia as my country. I think this rooted from all the bush walks and beauty of nature I have experienced over the last 6 months. This meant that when we were given a topic on nation I jumped at the chance to express my love for our country and challenge myself by writing a poem. I also employed Orwell’s teachings on avoiding ready-made phrases. I think I did my best to attempt this as seen the unique ideas I have conveyed in blog 9. Again, with this topic writers such as Louise Bennett and Grace Nicols provide us with powerful poems that give purpose to every single nation and race in relation to language. Overall I think each of the writers, poets, and artists of the 20th century did a wonderful job of providing the 21st century with thematic messages that continue to be relevant, overall showing us that we do have a different yet profound purposes of existence.

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1 Response to Summative Entry

  1. This is a fabulous summative entry Sarah. Overall there are some really good things in your blog, but your organisation is chaotic in the drop down menus.


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