In considering my own writing, I definitely notice a difference when I’m reading on my own and when I’m reading in preparation of an assignment. I typically sit with a pen and paper when I’m reading for an assignment and write down anything that I think will help me out later. As the text called it, I generally like to employ annotating. I’ll either underline passages to go back and reread or make notes to myself in a notebook. Of course, this isn’t to say that I mindlessly read on when I’m reading something that’s not for an assignment, though I would say that I’ve read books on my own, gone back and read them for a class, and then picked up on different levels of things that were going on in the text that I didn’t pick up on the first time. Of course, there is no real way to pick up on every single level of what is going on in a text the first time it’s read. reading really requires multiple readings. As far as reading and writing go, I typically need to find some place completely quiet in order to do so. Libraries are a particular favorite reading spot of mine, though I like to write in the comfort of my own room. Later on at night is typically the best time for me to write, though when I’m on a deadline I get it done wherever and whenever I can. Most of the strategies in the book I already employed, though I didn’t typically have a specific name for them and I never really thought to differentiate them in regards to my writing. For instance, I never really thought about the term synthesis before reading the text, but upon doing so I definitely found it to be a technique that I employ. For instance, I’ve had to write comparative literature essays before, such as drawing parallels between one writer, Shakespeare, for example, and another author, Arthur Miller for another example. Considering the vastly different time periods these two playwrights lived in, the similarities of the techniques employed might not appear obvious. However, once you read both Hamlet and Death of a Salesman, you can see how Arthur Miller used Shakespeare’s and other tragic figures to model Willy Loman after. Any essay that I’ve written really requires for this process to take place, though having it defined for me in this way has given me an opportunity to think about it in different ways. If there is one thread throughout the text, it is that the more something is read, compared to, and analyzed, the more there is to be learned from it. In high school I had a few teachers who tried to get us to find the right answer to a text, as though there were only one approach and only possible interpretation of a text. This now seems to me to be a reductive way of approaching a text, because a text might seem to have one thing to say if compared to one text, while it might have something completely different to say if I compare and synthesize some ideas from a completely different text. It doesn’t seem to me that either one interpretation is correct and the other is incorrect, but that they both have room to be correct in their own ways. Nothing in the text seemed overly ineffective for me, though I would say I think I have difficulty attempting to separate my own assumptions and biases from the assumptions and biases that the author of a text appears to have. I’m not sure how critical reading can separate these for me is what I’m saying.
Thoughts on Reading/Writing Process