The most important thing isn’t always what you expect   Leave a comment

In order to discuss the classes that have had an impact on my writing, it is important to note that I am pursuing a degree in both Media Communication, and English Literature simultaneously.  There have been a number of instances where my Communication background has influenced my literary studies, and there have been just as many times where my background in Literature has influenced my studies in Communication.  These two disciplines share a number of similarities, which allow for a certain amount of transferable knowledge between the fields.  The most notable similarity between the study of Literature and Communication is that both require the ability to recognize the cultural significance behind text.

The class that had the most impact on my writing was Dr. Kobre’s Studies in Literary Criticism.  This is course is the literary equivalent of the Communication Capstone class.  Dr. Kobre used this class to teach me about the number of different literary movements, and the schools of criticism that provided significant developments to the literary cannon.  This was the first English class that I had ever taken where the plot of the story was insignificant to the class discussion, because Dr. Kobre highlighted only specific passages or segments of dialogue.  This emphasis on the intricate workings of prose helped Dr. Kobre to ensure that his students focused on the literary theories that reflected the cultural values of their time.  The final assignment for the Literary Criticism class was to write an essay that applied one of the literary critiques that we had learned to an existing work of fiction.  I chose New Historicism, a theory that believed that an author’s work is a reflection of the time period that they wrote about.  While I was writing this critique, I couldn’t help but notice that both Literature and Communication are fields of study that are dedicated to understanding developments in human culture.  What is truly interesting about New Historicism is that it suggests that an individual work is reflective of the culture that created it, which is synonymous with Communication’s attempt to understand how developments in mass media technology point influence specific cultural values.

My English courses taught me to write with a—certain, dramatic flair.  Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the right style for Communication.  One of the biggest struggles that I have with translating the formal, literary, prose into more specific, Communication-jargon is that I subconsciously screen my language.  My Literature professors were always encouraging me to find a different way to say the same thing; as a result, I substitute technical terms with synonyms.  However, this habit of substitution is more of an inconvenience than a fundamental flaw.  My Literature background was definitely responsible for the development of my writing style, but my studies in Communication have helped me to understand the more technical aspects of writing.   Regardless, both of my majors have instilled me with the ability to write with a sense of clarity and purpose; a skill that I will definitely utilize in my future.

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Posted February 21, 2013 by Big Man in Capstone Reflections

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