I feel as though I have always been drawn to the subject of English in school. I connected more with my English teachers than any others, even going out of my way to take 3 different classes with one of my favorites in high school. Although I didn’t decide English was what I wanted to major in until relatively late, the interest I’ve had in it has never floundered. However, throughout my academic career, there have been multiple times where I felt that I was only maintaining my interest rather than building it. I see English as a very multidimensional subject, which can be just as overwhelming as it is interesting. This semester will add to the many before that have given me a new dimension of the subject to consider in the future. I took this class because I knew I hadn’t taken a class like it before. Often when I take a new English class I find myself comparing it to my 11th grade AP literature course. It was challenging, but for good reason. I undoubtedly left that class with a completely reformed view on English. I’m not sure whether it was my teacher, the material he taught, or both, but my expectations were definitely set high.
A concept that has added a new dimension to my view of English from this semester in particular is that of recycled ideas. Similarly, I always find myself thinking about how much music is in the world and how so many songs sound alike because they’re all made of the same recycled notes. I never considered that when this concept is applied to English, it doesn’t really make sense. A quote from Mark Twain reads: “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations”. Aren’t the “new” and curious combinations creating something new? If not, would an idea involving a new and never before seen invention or concept be considered new in at least some way? I never even began to consider these things before and they are relevant to English in so many ways. The idea of recycled thoughts closely relates to the second thing that I now think about; the concept of bias being behind possibly everything and every idea. Even though there are no new ideas, who’s to say there aren’t new biases that can be applied to the ideas by every person who holds them. One of the most important things I’ve been taught while studying English is to be aware that everyone is biased and it sometimes will greatly influence what they say. This way of thinking reminds me of other humanities such as sociology. In a way, this class has further enforced the bond between the humanities in my mind.
Although I don’t expect to have an English reawakening like I did in 11th grade AP every time I take a new class, I do attempt to get something out of it that I can bring with me to the next. So far, there have been few English classes I’ve taken that haven’t given me new things to consider when studying English in the future.