Hello everyone, I’m putting it out there right now that I’m not the most creative person in the world or used to this kind of writing, but here we go. This is our first time back in class after break, and over break we read Frankenstein, a book I’m familiar with from my time with Ms. Manganiello in 10th grade English. We didn’t get into Frankenstein right away however, and one of the first things Professor Mueller talked about in class was the screening for an Arthurian film on Tuesday that I sadly could not attend. There was more general discussion about the final project for our class where we select one book and we go in depth about the history of said book, and while I have one book on my mind I’m hesitant on choosing it because it might be dull. After getting all of that out of the way we dove right into the actual work, and compared our transcriptions of Robert Henryson’s “Moralitas”. My partner and I had pretty different takes on our transcriptions, he changed the actual content and made it how he felt it should be while I completely copied Henryson’s words. One interesting thing that he did that I didn’t was change all of the f’s that were supposed to be s’s into s’s, and instead of doing that I just left them as f’s. There was a lot of discussion around the class about the glossing as well, and whether or not some of Henryson’s glossing was necessary and why some of us glossed certain things instead of others. Professor Mueller used the MED as well, and we tried searching for certain words in it, which was actually pretty helpful considering I get absolutely nowhere when I’m trying to search for something on that site. After finishing up with Workshop #2 we transitioned into our first novel, Frankenstein. The first phase of our discussion started with the important characters in the novel, and each student was assigned either Victor Frankenstein, Captain Walton, or the creature. We all found passages within the novel that we thought best represented our assigned character and it was probably my favorite part of the class because Frankenstein and the creature are two of my favorite characters from literature because of their interesting relationship. After that was over with we got into groups and went over our assigned essays that were within the novel, and my group found that our essays were all related in that they talked about nature as being a core topic in the novel. One interesting thing I noticed in my essay was that the reviewer referred to the author of Frankenstein as a “he”, and this just puts some perspective into how Mary Shelley had to go about with the publication of her novel because of the fear of how a female novelist would be received. The final part of class was our next workshop which was focused on the covers of the 1818 and 1831 editions of the novel, and it actually was pretty crazy how much the covers changed in just 13 years. The 1818 edition didn’t have any artwork, and most importantly didn’t even include Mary Shelley’s name on it, and I don’t believe it was on the novel until 1822. The 1831 was more appealing with an actual illustration on it, and it had the aforementioned Shelley’s name being included on the cover. That workshop was also done in partners and after we discussed our observations on the covers we came together and shared all of our thoughts as a class. That was pretty much what happened in class on Monday, and while I’ve never done an assignment like this before, I can definitely say that it wasn’t all that bad.
I couldn’t find the printed copy of the poem I drew my illumination on so I’m just posting the text.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
By Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
For starters I chose this poem because for as long as I can remember I’ve known this poem word for word. When I was in elementary school I had to memorize a poem, and I was awful at memorization, so I read this poem about twenty times a day for two weeks until I finally had it down. I did more than just remember the poem for my class assignment, I remembered it for my entire life, and occasionally I look at it again whenever I need to use a poem for some kind of assignment and it seems like every time I look at this poem I notice or think about something I previously didn’t pay attention to. As a kid I obviously just pictured the entire scene of what is being described, the snow-filled woods and the horse that the speaker is riding, and along with that the sounds that Frost describes are easy to imagine. As I grew older and looked at the poem’s language, I noticed that some things really stand out about the poem, specifically the last two lines, “And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep”. As a kid I just thought sleep meant to sleep, but looking at it now it just always reads like Frost is saying death instead, and perhaps that makes the poem look a little more grim but honestly I’m inspired by the conviction that the speaker has to fulfill the promises he has made before he dies.
For the actual illumination of my poem, I selected the scene where the horse stops and the entire image just feels still. I drew the horse in the middle of a snowy clearing with a few trees behind it, because it says “Between the woods and frozen lake”. I didn’t draw the lake because I didn’t really know how to fit it in but if I had the room it’d be a little further off from the rider on the horse. The horse in the picture has its head down and its stopped outside of the patch of trees, and the rider is on the horse staring back into the forest because of the line, “To watch his woods fill up with snow”. The picture I drew itself isn’t really all that detailed, I wish I drew more and I had some ideas to draw the man who owns the woods but I didn’t really figure out a way to incorporate that. That brings me to one thing I’ve never really been decided on when discussing this poem, who exactly owns the woods? The speaker talks like he might know the owner, and that he lives in the village, but after that the owner isn’t mentioned for the rest of the poem. I’m still not sure if that was just some small detail or if the owner of the forest has some deeper meaning, but I’m sure that someday when I look back at this poem I’ll settle on an answer that I like. Robert Frost is one of the more famous poets in the history of the language, and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is just one of his many pieces that I know and love.