Unit 2 Essential Question Reflection

To what extent are stories also the human story, my story?

After reading many stories, I’ve come to realise that their most appealing aspect is their relatability. While I appreciate the author’s prose, imagery, and insight on historical and social situations, the underlying emotions truly connect me to the piece. All stories are part of the human story, and they’re also my story to a larger extent than people would imagine.

I believe that everything an author writes is reflective of both his experience and his perception of the human experience, regardless of  genre. For example, historical fiction can be written by someone who experienced the historical event firsthand or someone quite far removed but had conducted thorough research. A great example of the latter would be Markus Zusak’s “The Book Thief.” His portrayal of Nazi Germany through a young girl’s eyes despite writing as a modern day Australian was so convincing many critics believe it deserves a place alongside Anne Frank’s diary. Both of these works contribute their voices to a particularly dark chapter of human story. Every author draws inspiration from the world around them, writing about their own experiences or offering their own perceptions of historical events and patterns. As a result, a bit of the human story is captured by every literary work. Even fantasy novels like Gulliver’s Travels reflect exploration and a pursuit of the mystical, a key aspect of the human story. No story can be completely independent of the human experience, and that’s why when I read any story, I feel connected to not only my ancestors, but the ancestors of the entire species. I experience stories as little time capsules, recognising the events the stories reflect shaped the world I live in today.

Some would say that it’s impossible to make stories about the atrocities of war and suffering “their story.” After all, in the relative comfort of our modern society, it feels disrespectful to say one can relate to the unspeakable terrors and fear experienced by those who lived through them. But I do believe every story could be “my story” without experiencing the extreme emotions. Every human is capable of experiencing the same set of emotions. It’s just the matter of degree: particularly difficult times of history elicit more extreme responses. But I’m sure everyone has experienced some degree of the core human emotions every story touches upon: pride, courage, love, guilt, fear, or pain, just to name a few. By saying we can relate to the emotions experienced by characters in a story, we aren’t by default downplaying them; we are in fact appreciating them and better understanding them through our own personal experiences. That’s why I’m convinced every story can also be my story; while the situations and contexts can be different, the underlying themes and lessons are relatable and valuable. That’s why I believe all stories are both a part of the human story and my story.

Great Poets Teaching Project

This was a project where we selected a poet, analysed his or her poetry, and presented our experience and findings to a small group of fellow students. I chose William Carlos Williams, whose infuriatingly simple poems provided a lot of room for interpretation. Below are my supporting documents and the poems I analysed.

GPTP Presentation

Student Handout

U1 Great Poets WCW Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

U1 Great Poets_ WCW The Great Figure

U1 Great Poets_ WCW The Red Wheelbarrow

U1 Great Poets_ WCW This Is Just To Say

U1 Great Poets_ WCW Winter Trees