Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Kevin's Paper Prewriting

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A screenshot from my eBook pointing out a theme in King Lear.
My Analyzing and Annotating
Some of the feedback I've received concerning my developing efforts at literary analysis includes being too willing to go along with others' claims. I forget that even scholarly sources can and should be challenged and debated before accepted.

My peers and I have tried many different types of analysis in the last few weeks (most of which I am still quite new to) including looking for themes, placing the story in its historical context, analyzing rhyme and meter patterns, juxtaposing characters, and finding rhetorical moves. All of these approaches have yielded different, but quality insights; however, I have learned it is difficult (at least for me) to focus on more than one or two approaches at a time.

Peer and Source Influences
I've really been grateful for those students who have brought in comparatively aberrant methods of analysis/interpretation--who knew King Lear could be viewed through so many different lenses? For example, Christopher Muratore has shared music he listens to in effort to enhance the mood/inspire him to feel/look at the text differently. I never before considered how physical actions could contribute to interpreting the play.

It's also been neat to hear the actual conversations people are having with others about what we read. Before, I'd never talk about Shakespeare outside of class; however, after reading about their experiences, I've been more brave about engaging in dialogue discussing what I've recently learned/read.

My Working Claims

[Policy Claim] - Although King Lear has all the components of a story, it should be read as a dissertation on insanity as it outlines the gradual downfall from rationality to nonsensical behavior.

[Definition Claim] - Despite the fact that the characters in the play hold pagan beliefs, Cordelia is a Christ-figure as demonstrated by her role of forgiving sinners and showing love.

[Comparison Claim] - While nature and madness are two separate themes, they both can be observed in similar elements of the storm and therefore create a comparable effect on Lear.

[Evaluation Claim] - Even though Lear's journey to redemption is highly discussed, Edmund is a more complete example of repentance because he seeks to make restitution for his crimes before he dies.

[Casual Claim] - Although King Lear had good intentions when he divided the kingdom to avoid contention after his death, he is to blame for the break down in order as his decision ultimately set the nation up for a civil war.


  1. I have the same problem with going along with other's claims. It is like I can't have an original thought...I think your evaluation claim would be great based on the fact that I didn't see Edmund as a better example of redemption. Seems original.

  2. Your comparison claim is really interesting. Maybe you could draw those two themes of nature and madness even closer by talking about Edmund's journey to overcome his "natural" affections for his family and his "natural" origins as a illegitimate son, while paradoxically becoming more of the natural man, thus descending into the madness of greed and cruelty. Not sure how you could connect the storm to Edmund, though.