John Winthrop Reflection

When enrolled in college, some classes are required, and this was one of them for me. I had already taken the first-year basic English classes, and as a sophomore, I needed to have higher-level credit. I will say that this class has been a challenge for me, but I am grateful for the way you have made the discussion modules enjoyable by giving us the opportunity to explore our personal interpretations of the poets and their literary works. We learned about an abundance of writers and poets; it is just a shame we could not go into depth with them.

This semester has given me the opportunity to appreciate how difficult it can be to be skilled in literature, and how beautiful language is. This course gave me the opportunity to be skillful in my History class, due to the time periods both classes dealt with, in understanding how America influenced our literature. In my History class, we studied the beginnings of this nation, and it was interesting to have two different perspectives of the early days of settlement.

I, of course, was getting the chance to explore the conditions of these early settlers in my History class, but in English, I got to see how these changes in lifestyle lead to the author’s emotions and the effect they had in their writing. When I studied the beginnings of America and how John Winthrop led the Massachusetts Bay Colony, I could experience his thoughts about how he envisioned life in America through the teachings of his literary works. In his writing, Winthrop wanted their colony to be the “City Upon a Hill,” to be the example for the rest of the world.

In his work, we can see strong convictions of wanting to do God’s will, and throughout history, God is the staple reason for the settlement of America. History and literature go hand in hand because we must find a way to document what has happened throughout the past, and we can see how life was through the viewpoints. Differentiating arguments from these writers, such as John Winthrop or Jonathan Edwards, who believe what the colonists are doing are for the grace of God and war was necessary, while other writers, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, believed that Nature was the divine spirit and war were excessive.

In History, we see how these conflicting emotions lead to a separation of ideals in America, and this leads to conflicts between the government and its’ people. In these disagreements, we see an emergence of writers like Henry David Thoreau, who believed that people should be allowed to go against their government if they are not just. Writers will always unearth the mistakes being made by the government, and they will use their power and influence to let the common folk see the truth, which is a main point of literature, to bring understanding to people.

This class helped me gain more than one point of view with history and helped me understand the past better. I learned from this class that you need to have good time-management if you want to have better grades. I got swamped with my job this year, and I should have put more effort into dividing my time for all my classes, especially this one. English is not a class to mess around in because there is so much that goes into each assignment, so much reading and critical thinking that you need time to do.

This course helped me attempt to manage my time because I knew that if I did not, and continued my usual ways, I would not end up passing the class this semester. All my classes this semester helped me improve my time-management skills, but this class took the most of my time. Also, our research essay was more in depth than any other research assignment I have had in college, and it showed me what to expect when I transfer to another college.

I admire that the work was not easy, because we are adults, not children, and I will treat it like so. I very much appreciate the hard work I was required to do to pass the class, and I wish those who are taking this class in the future the gift of time-management and hope they put in actual effort into the research portions of this course. American Literature is a college-level course, so you must put in the attempt to get the grade you deserve.

I feel confident in my ability to do research for future classes, and I have this class to owe for that ability. Nevertheless, of all the authors that we studied, I connected with William Cullen Bryant and his work the most. Bryant’s story “Thanatopsis” moved me because of how it went against the ideals of his time; he portrayed his feelings about death in a liberal medium. Instead of fearing death and the wrath of God, Bryant personified Nature with the pronoun “her,” to make those afraid of death more comfortable.

I resonate with this story because, being someone of little faith, I find comfort in the thought of the afterlife bringing me back to Nature. To rejoin the Earth and “lie down. . . With Kings/ The powerful of the earth— the wise, the good” (Bryant 868) as one. No single person is better than another because we leave behind our titles in the living world, and all become part of a harmonious unit. Bryant’s message, to me, feels like I am worthy of the afterlife, and rejoining Nature is the best contribution to the cycle of life because, in death, new life takes form.

His poem relishes in the belief that there is no judgment for those who have died, which is in opposition to the thought of how God judges everyone to see if they are deemed worthy or not. There is true equality in Bryant’s words, and it soothes the mind to think that once I die, there is a place for me that is not purgatory. I have always believed that Nature is the ultimate power, and I hope that Bryant’s poem is right, and I get to rejoin her at the end of my life cycle.

Although this was the hardest class I took this semester, I am glad to have put the best effort into my work with the time I gave myself. I hope, because of this class, I will be able to utilize the skills I learned and use them to better my education. I want to say that I thank you for everything, and I hope you will continue to inspire other students to be the best version of themselves. I look forward to what the future holds for me, and I hope that I can look back and view this class as a stepping stone to what I will be able to accomplish in my lifetime.