Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Understanding Literature Blog 1

Kyle Howard
EN 101
Dr. Ellis
January 23, 2013

First Blog Entry
                Three poems that I read were Mending Wall by Robert Frost, Accident, Mass. Ave. by Jill McDonough, and Learning to Read by Frances E.W. Harper. I also read “The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education” by Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach. Each of the poems and the essay by Kolvenbach have different meanings but overall are generally uplifting. Frost’s poem discusses keeping certain people in and out of our own lives and how we should act towards others. McDonough’s poem talks about a car accident she was in and how, as people, we tend to overreact when things are not as bad as they seem. Harper’s poem talks about slaves who were trying to read books in an attempt to learn and that, no matter what, people should always strive for their dreams. Finally, the essay by Kolvenbach gives an in-depth insight to the Jesuit tradition and exactly what it means to attend a Jesuit university. I also took part in Zen Meditation and upon reading these items it seemed difficult to find a connection between all of them, but there is in fact a connection.
                Zen Meditation was a completely new experience to me and I will admit it, I was extremely nervous. I will also admit that I judged it before I even walked in the door, I assumed it was not for me and I also thought that I wouldn’t enjoy it. Although it was only the first meditation class I thoroughly enjoyed the experience that it offered. Just like in Harper’s poem about striving for knowledge and having to do things that may seem abnormal they may actually be good for us. I was put into a situation that was new to me which is similar to Harper’s poem and how the characters were learning all of these new ideas. It also has similarities with Frost’s poem which talked about having the right people in your life and how to treat other people. Everybody at Zen Meditation had a great deal of respect for each other, themselves, and the instructor. Mending Wall reminded me of this respect and how everybody acted when performing the meditation.
                Accident, Mass. Ave. also made me think about my experience in Zen Meditation. Meditation was an extremely refreshing feeling and it relates to McDonough’s poem because although she is having a rather frustrating response to a small car accident she steps back and realizes what she is doing and stops. It seems that she has a refreshing moment and realizes that every little bad moment in life does not need to be followed with anger. Meditation was a great moment to step back and focus on what really matters. People tend to overreact and blow things out of proportion but sometimes it is necessary to step back and relax for a minute. Also, in Kolvenbach’s essay he discusses how we need to work for others and that we need to work hard to better the world. Although there is no “direct” connection to meditation and making the world better it allows a person to cleanse their mind and focus on things that are greater than they are.
                Each of the readings and the meditation allowed me to make connections that I would not normally think of. All of the readings seemed so completely different until I had time to think about them. Meditation also made it easier to make connections because of the simplicity of it and how it was so cleansing. It seemed much easier to focus on the readings and the ideas that they entailed once my thinking was in a different state. 

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