This unit has been personally hard, due to it’s subject matter. I personally have an almost devout interest in Workers rights and studies of class equality, and have often found myself drawn to interpreting my texts as a social battle cry. This unit was no different, in terms of what I tried looking for.
However, due to in class discussions and lectures it challenged me to look beyond the critical and towards more then the Industrial Revolution and the social issues that arise in history and literature. I hope that my blog posts depict this.
My initial hesitation came from the idealised mindset of the Romantics and our look into their prioritisation of thought and free will, and yet I found their lack of action frustrating. As their critical look at their society was progressive and yet I didn’t feel that their literature was enough to change the status quo of their society. However, I was wrong as through studying Wordsworth’s poetry we looked at a Call and Response poem in which Wordsworth was being critiqued for his inaction just as I was, and I found his response confronting as he reinforced that without thought, change couldn’t occur and that I was thinking purely from hindsight rather then analysing these poets as products of their context. I then discovered that they were the pioneer’s of child autonomy which reaffirmed that I judged them too harshly at first.
My second challenge came from interpreting Wuthering Heights as I found through the perspective on Nelly the text was overall skewed and I found it hard to interpret the perspective and bias Bronte was conveying. As due to Bronte not acting as an overt guiding figure like many other authors I was left thinking: “Should we condemn the lovers who go against the normal views of love?” or “See the lovers as trailblazers and pioneers through other expressions of love, naive and idealised?”
I concluded that the book can be seen as Bronte’s own inner exploration, as she explored throughout passionate and destructive love, and the consequences of some versions of ‘growth and change’ which I attributed to Bronte’s context being that of the Romantics, and their priority of change as a means to challenge status quo.
I also found it hard to decipher overall, as it challenged itself through Nelly and the romantic intensity of the characters.
When we began our study of Hard Times however, I felt in my wheelhouse as the book seemed to call my workers rights ways and mimic my distaste for the class inequality that was perpetuated by the Industrial Revolution. Although Dickens and I had different motivations for coming to that conclusion.
His being that of conservatism and conservation of nature, and mine being interpreting the Industrial Revolution as the catalyst for the workforce violations we see today. Despite these, I found that I could read against the grain a little in ‘Hard Times’ to support my own views, which I know is definitely reflected in my Charles Dickens blog posts.
I think my blog posts reflect my journey within this unit and my own personal evaluation of these texts.