Peer Review 4

Hi Prathu,

I really like this post, as you’ve effectively described what you might feel like when you are with Huck and Jim. Your excellent word choice really shows that you appreciate nature the way Huck and Jim do in the novel. Although when I was reading this post, I was a little confused as to whether you were answering the first creative blog topic or the second one, but I see you’ve used the river as a means to “hitch a ride”, which makes your post interesting, however, at the top of your post I would just provide the blog topic that you are answering. Other than that, keep up the fantastic work! 🙂


Peer Review 3

Hi Alana,

Well done on your first blog for American Literature.
I agree with most of the points you made about the impact of nature, and how some westerners can connect to nature in a different way. Your first paragraph is very effective, as you clearly and concisely write why nature is important to you. I also liked how you’ve included some of your past experiences, as it strengthens your point about nature releasing someone from the chaos of the modern world. In saying that, I noticed that you spelt realise instead of release, so just remember to proofread for any spelling or grammatical errors. Other than that, keep up the great work 🙂

Blog 4 – A letter to the world

CREATIVE: Imagine you are Huck on the raft. Write a letter to the world saying why you want to be where you are and why the world should be different than what it is.

Greetings Everyone,

I am writing to let you all know that my adventures on a raft along the Mississippi River, watching the sunset, and observing the magnificent views around me, has changed me in so many ways. Discovering the beauty and wonder of nature in person made me realise the importance of nature, as it can bring peace to one’s broken heart. It has also opened up my mind about a lot things, as it has lifted up my spirits, allowing me to do what’s right, even if that means going against the status quo.

I hope the world can value nature as much as I do, instead of holding onto such meaningless things. I also hope the world can embrace individuality instead of pressuring every child to conform.

Lastly, a friend named Jim helped me to become more accepting towards people regardless of their skin colour, race, age or gender. So I hope that everyone else will eventually do the same, and believe in freedom for all.


Blog 3 – Whitman and Dickinson’s poetry

Create your own topic that weaves your impressions of either Whitman or Dickinson (or both) into a paragraph that expresses your sense of what is personally important about these two artists.



In this week’s tutorial, we had an intense discussion about Whitman and Dickinson’s poetry, and the important points conveyed in some of their texts. In particular Walt Whitman’s poem ‘Song of Myself’ and Emily Dickinson’s poem ‘There’s a certain Slant of light, (320)’.

In section 32 of ‘Song of Myself’, Whitman expresses his attitude towards animals, and that as humans we can sometimes draw inspiration to how peaceful and positive some animals or pets can be. This is evident when he describes them as “self-contain’d”, and states that “they do not sweat and whine about their condition”.

As we finished reading poem 320, a lot of different opinions on the meaning of this poem were discussed in the tutorial. I personally think Dickinson was perhaps contemplating the concept of the after life through the connotations of “Heavenly Hurt”, this to me seems like a bittersweet moment; if one is attached to life, it can hurt to let go, but death is inevitable, and if one accepts it and believes in Heaven, this is considered to be “Heavenly”. These connotations may also suggest that Dickinson is talking about a loved one who died, and is sad that they passed away but also glad that they are in peace. Another example that might suggest that Dickinson is talking about a loved one who died is in the first stanza of the poem: “There’s a certain Slant of light, Winter Afternoons – That oppresses, like the Heft / Of Cathedral Tunes”. The word choice of “Cathedral” not only connotes a religious theme to the poem, but it also may indicate that she is writing about her experience at a loved one’s funeral.

Peer Review 2

Hi Belle!

I can see why lots of people are giving you positive feedback on this great post, well done!

I really like how you’ve written two contrasting paragraphs that show the difference in one’s attitude to things we take for granted like the beauty of the sunshine or enjoying the fresh breeze. You’ve emphasised the importance to stop and take a look at our natural surroundings, as this can positively lift our moods greatly, and can help us to become less attached to digital things like our phones. The images you’ve included also strengthen your overall point about the dangers of a “digitally run world”.

Blog 2 – Importance of nature from a transcendentalist view

Create your own topic interweaving your own personal experience with your understanding of either Emerson or Thoreau.

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“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. (Chapter 2 Where I Lived, and What I Lived For).

This powerful quote was written by transcendentalist author Henry David Thoreau in a book called Walden. One of the many reasons why it’s so powerful to me is because it took me back to some of the texts I studied in 19th century literature last semester, and Australian literature last year. Some of the texts include, William Wordsworth poem Expostulation and Reply, Matthew Arnold’s poem The Scholar Gypsy, and David Malouf’s novel Fly Away Peter. In saying that, all of the aforementioned texts convey and explore similar ideas about attaining knowledge and wisdom from nature, away from groups that lead superficial lifestyles.

In the same chapter Thoreau states: “I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born”, and to me, this personal statement suggests that as a child you can sometimes see beauty in simple things, when some adults can’t. When I was child, my favourite thing to do was to climb trees and hike mountains in New Zealand, which is where I lived during my childhood. Similarly, a text I studied in Australian literature, John Shaw Neilson’s poem, The Orange Tree also subtly conveys the contrasting attitudes an adult and a child can have towards nature: “I saw not what her young eyes could see: A light, she said, not of the sky / Lives somewhere in the Orange Tree”.

Peer Review 1

Hi Felicity,

Well done on your first blog for American Literature!
I agree with most of the points you made, especially the point about consumerism and how humanity’s obsession with materialistic possessions can deter them away from what matters most in life.

In order to improve this entry, I would just add a couple of connecting sentences when you begin a new paragraph so that it’s more cohesive. Other than that, keep up the great work! 🙂

Blog 1 – Spiritual connection to nature

GENERAL: Create your own topic on any aspect of the literature we have been exploring over the last two weeks. Where possible try to link it to your own personal experience.

The Native American’s sacred connection to nature is apparent in Oren Lyon’s essay ‘Our Mother Earth’. This is evident in the word choice of “Creator” throughout the essay, suggesting that above all creations, nature may sometimes serve as a mediator between them and God. Furthermore, the narrator’s contrast between his homeland and New York City highlights the difficulties indigenous people have to face in order to settle outside of their homes, and adapt new ways of living due to oppression.

Studying Lyon’s essay took me back to when I studied Australian literature last year in regards to the indigenous people of Australia, as they also had a strong sacred connection to nature, and had to experience the same hardships the Native Americans experienced. Additionally, the powerful Navajo Chant below, reveals how the Native Americans value nature, as it can add significant meaning to one’s life: “The mountains, I become part of it… The herbs, the fir tree, I become part of it. The morning mists, the clouds, the gathering waters, I become part of it. The wilderness, the dew drops, the pollen… I become part of it”. The recurring statement: “I become part of it” effectively shows how all of humanity can be interconnected within nature.

As an Orthodox Christian, studying all of these texts resonated with me as it reminded me about my personal, sacred connection to the Earth. The video below encapsulates it perfectly and shows how some spiritual people can view the natural environment around them. Although, I don’t think you have to necessarily be religious to have a sacred connection to the Earth, this is just my personal take on how I connect with nature.

Best Critical Entry

Blog 3

It is apparent that Dickens outlines the many wrongs of Coketown in his novel, Hard Times, through syntax, imagery, word choices, and several other literary devices. Dickens’s sentence structure is very lyrical and repetitious to emphasise the quotidian lifestyles of people in Coketown:

It contained several large streets like one another, and many small streets still more like one another, inhabited by people equally like one another, who all went in and out at the same hours, with the same sound up the same pavements, to do the same work, and to whom every day was the same as yesterday and tomorrow, and every year the counterpart of the last and the next.

The word choices of “same”, “every day” and “equally” gives the reader an impression that there is no sign of individuality within the community of Coketown, and that they’re almost like a machine, as they are programmed to do the same things in the same way every day. This also builds visual imagery of a dystopian society, similar to George Orwell’s novel 1984. Another example of visual imagery is when Dickens utilises a metaphor to establish the gloomy atmosphere of the town: “serpents of smoke”, the word choice of “serpent” and “smoke” could also symbolise some form of evilness that lurks in the town.

The employment of elongated sentences throughout the chapter establishes a prayer-like tone, the idea of this passage being a prayer is reinforced in the last elongated sentence that ends with a reference to the glory be: “world without end, Amen”. Another reason why this passage is almost like a prayer, is because he critiques the monotonous atmosphere of the town through elongated sentences, so when the reader reads these long sentences, it is hard to pause and breathe. This makes it seem like Dickens is preaching and praying for the town, revealing a sermonising quality in the novel.


Works Cited

Dickens, Charles, and Roland John. Hard Times. 1st ed. Harlow, Essex, England: Longman, 1995. Print.

Best Creative Entry

Blog 4

Dear Mr Gradgrind,

It has come to my concern that you are encouraging your daughter to marry someone she does not love, and you are encouraging her to marry for materialistic reasons. You have completely misunderstood what a real relationship and marriage should be like. Real relationships manifests through love, comfort and trust which create a deep connection between two people. You cannot call it a marriage when you are arranging it out of a desire to gain wealth or status. Your twisted belief that one cannot be emotional and passionate in life is making you lust after meaningless things in life, and now you are unfairly controlling your daughter to do the same. Mr Gradgrind, I urge you to rethink your morals, values and decisions that will have detrimental affects to Louisa’s life. You have lost the essence of what it means to be human and what marriage was intended for.

Furthermore, I have to make a point and say that even though Sissy Jupe is your servant, it is you and your daughter who I feel sorry for, because she was raised in a much more carefree environment and consequently has much more imagination, compassion, and freedom than you. Again, please consider rethinking your thoughts and actions, and free Louisa.