Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
To start, one concept that I have learned would be monomyth. Joseph Campbell’s monomyth and the whole mythic structure/stages ranging from “Ordinary World” to “Rebirth and The Champion’s Return” were quite informative. Before I learned about monomyth, I always had the assessment that stories comprised and followed a simple sequence of stages such as the common exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. However, I realized that stories go way beyond that structure and follow a detailed structure. Moreover, after reading “The Hero’s Journey,” I became aware of how relevant it is to us since the concept of monomyth itself allows you to understand psychological undertones like hidden motivations of people. So many films, animations, and stories use monomyth as their presiding story structure and Campbell’s archetypes are universal since they exemplify the human experience by foretelling outcomes in individual’s lives.
I utterly do think that I am a better reader of literature because now, when I approach a text, I make a mental connection and visualize. For example, when I read “Cinderella” by Bruno Bettelheim, I was able to link his concept of “sibling rivalry” to my life and how what he explained about Cinderella’s relationship with her stepfamily can sometimes be mirrored in my life. I was also able to connect the idea of Cinderella rising above those who had wronged her as a sort of motivation in my life.
I do indeed have a deeper understanding/appreciation for literature because now I have realized that it’s just not an embodiment of words on a paper composed together. It’s a form of expression and way of making one’s voice heard. It’s a way of teaching lessons to individuals and serves as a catalyst in one’s life. For example, when I read all the assigned selections that had to with poetry and protest, such as Santiago Baca’s “So the Mexicans are Taking Jobs from the Americans,” I was awe-struck and realized that literature allows one to raise awareness about numerous social injustices and illustrate the corruptions and hypocrisy of nations and individuals spanning from issues of power abuse to discrimination. After I read these poems of protest, I moreover realized that literature is one of the greatest gifts this planet has to offer since it brings to light issues faced by many individuals across the globe and serves as a solution by prompting people to make changes even if it be something simple as not making prejudices about others.
My definition of literature has expanded because I have come to the realization that there is no ‘one’ definition of literature. This was confirmed by Terry Eagleton’s “What is Literature?” For example, Eagleton basically concluded that there is no “objective” definition of literature since one definition of literature is too “subjective”. I incessantly thought that there was always a solitary definition of literature. However, now I know that is not true and that literature can moreover be defined as one’s perception of value. Additionally, my definition of literature has expanded because I now consider graphic novels as a vital piece of literature. For example, before I read Maus and Persepolis, I never deemed graphic novels as valuable enough to be considered literature. Nevertheless, after reading those two graphic novels, the way I read was changed and I was slapped in the face of how salient graphic novels are and the amount of worth they possess. For instance, because Maus contained a great quantity of pictures that were presented in sequential order and in the form of panels, along with allegorical components to represent types of people in the Holocaust which was primarily achieved with the illustrations, I saw the Holocaust in a whole new light all because of the graphic novel Maus. Now, so many things come across to me as literature and that is solely because of what I consider as “valuable.”
Overall, as a final comment, this course was remarkable fulfilling and I have learned so many things I have never learned before. LIT 1000 was definitely without a doubt awe inspiring, and because of this course, I am now able to look upon literature in a different way and with an open mindset.