As I Lay Dying English Extension Journal

This is the blog of Jeremy Martin of Year 11 English Extension Class (Phillips. It is being used for the purposes of completing Part B "Journal" of the research project given to Year 11 English Extension Classes. The novel chosen was "As I Lay Dying" by William Faulkner.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Reflection Statment

Overall, I feel that this project has been an unique and rewarding experience. The opportunity to carry out independent research at my own pace has been a welcome interruption to normal class work.

Allowing for such a body of time to be spent upon a single area of study allowed me to develop greater insights about my chosen text – William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” and to explore avenues not normally given in traditional English assignments – tangents were not seen as a detraction from the word (from my perspective) but rather the development of another insight. Further, the variety of subjects, themes and approaches, which could be taken to this work, was astonishing. The ability to work at my own pace and the division of the project into smaller segments (which were more manageable) lead to less stress and a greater amount of detail to be given to each portion of the project.

The journal, while initially tedious provided a good overview of how I spent my time across the duration of the project and how my time management could improve. The ability to view the evolution of your work (in retrospect) through reading the journal provides an almost impartial standpoint. The journal allows things to be said which may not have a place in the project itself. The informal style of the journal (despite working to outcomes) allowed me to reflect upon that weeks work without the pressures of refining my style to suit my aims – wether it be essay or prose. The journal, which was at first an unwanted inconvenience soon proved to be a worthwhile project within itself – refining my time management, a skill which will prove useful in other projects.

Initially, perhaps I wasn’t focused enough on the overall context of the novel – rather searching for themes, outcomes and even the plot of the overall novel itself. While these proved to be useful, looking back, perhaps less time should have been spent upon this “traditional” approach to a study of a text. Instead, perhaps allowing greater focus for the context itself. Due to Faulkner’s setting of most of his novels in the South (in what was effectively his hometown), the establishment of location and context was relatively easy.

Images proved to be of immense use throughout the project – particularly the Library of Congress web photo catalogue. These images provided a “real” point of reflection upon my work and provided a basis for the descriptions found in “As I Lay Dying” to be seen. Images, particularly of buildings were useful for evoking feelings of the overall style, context and values of the times. The prevalence of a wide variety of churches indicated the overall dominance of faith and religiosity during the time frame in which the novel was set.

The project, while rewarding however was not without its difficulties. The length of the time-frame which we were given made things appear further away than they really were – giving me a false sense of security in my procrastination and time wasting behaviours. The research itself provided the greatest excuse out of any to not continue on with the set work – instead allowing me to convince myself that new/more research was needed in order for pieces to be written.

Overall, the project was ultimately an exercise in self-discipline. It had the potential to provide both a rewarding or disappointing outcome depending upon how one dealt with the tasks at hand. For me, the project provided a unique and independent learning experience, which removed me from my normal comfort zone of “class learning”. The project, while rewarding is not one that I’d be over-eager to repeat, however it has provided me with a greater insight into my behaviours and a foundation which can be taken for improvements into future pieces of work.

PS: There were initial web troubles in setting up the website and blog, if they could not be seen initially, I apologise for any inconvenience caused.