New Views on “English”

The point of this blog post is to discuss how I view “English,” as a discipline, differently as a result of my work in this course. I can safely say that this class has definitely changed how I view aspects of this discipline. Yet I would be remiss if I didn’t state that some of these views changed after confronting the reality of our situation as a result of COVID-19. This class. To me, this class and this situation has allowed me to understand the importance of being able to adapt.

Early on in this class, adapting was very clearly important with the introduction of GitHub, Visual Studio Code, and the other tools we had to learn how to use. At first, I thought that these tools were just harder ways to do various tasks with the computer, as evidenced with opening my file explorer through the command line. But as time went on, I started realizing how these tools were enhancing the experience. Understanding my computer better has allowed me to review how I tackled aspects of this discipline. It has allowed me to open my eyes to how this discipline adapts. By looking at our laptops in a new way, it allowed me to see how the rest of the “English” discipline adapts in many new ways.

That changed, initially, when COVID-19 became a global pandemic and we were all sent home to wait it out. Because of this, I found myself looking at works like “Walden” deeper and really coming to understand how “English” as a discipline can adapt. I bring up “Walden” because it makes me reflect on my views of the English canon. I always used to think that the works in the canon were there because people forced them to change with the times. But looking at my situation, I found that “Walden” lends itself naturally to the changing times. Because of this new view on “Walden,” I find myself thinking this must be the case with most of the canon. But even with that, “Walden” wasn’t static, Henry David Thoreau revised and edited it several times, changing it over the course of a few years. This discipline is all about adaptation, just as we adapted to light levels of coding, authors and their works adapt to the times they are written in, as well as the changes of time. Even Gleick touched on adaptation as he went through the evolution of communication; from talking drums to the telegraph to the transistor. All around us is adaptation.

Because of our situation, adaptation is all that is on my mind. This view has allowed me to look back on what we have looked at in this class and has also allowed me to look at the discipline as a whole. All we can do is adapt, so it is always good to get the practice and come to the realization that we should. By having us look at our laptops in new ways, this class has allowed me to see how we adapt constantly to new situations. Through the command line, GitHub, Visual Studio Code, the English canon, communication, and more, we are surrounded by adaptation.

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