Cover Letter / Introduction

December 19, 2011

Dear Reader,

This little corner of the internet is dedicated to my work in my Eng170w course at Queens College.  More specifically, it is a study of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.”  It is a collective gathering of the assignments I have completed during the course of the semester.  My focus is on analyzing th story as I learned about various schools of literary criticism.  In my revision of my website, I have taken steps to understand Poe’s intent when sat down to write “The Cask of Amontillado.”  To understand this, one must look at his life, as well as his ideas as a literary critic.  The main idea I applied to my reading of Poe’s story was Freud’s dream interpretation.  By shifting gears slightly, a reader can take the same method’s applied by dream analysis and use them to interpret written works.  After all, what is a fictional work if not a dream created in the waking hours of the day?

 

By studying Poe as a literary figure, I came to a few conclusions about his writing.  In “The Philosophy of Composition,” Poe meticulously details the so-called proper approach to writing a successful story.  He lays out a blueprint that makes note of the many steps he figures an author must abide by.  When one understands how much Poe seemed to care about these intricate details, it affects the reading of “The Cask of Amontillado” significantly.  Many people believe that Montresor, the narrator of the story, is simply insane because of the lack of an explanation for his actions.  However, this was done on purpose by the author, who claims to always write what is necessary and never do things for no reason in his work.  When taking this evidence into account, the reader can focus on “The Cask of Amontillado” as a sort of dream on paper, and must decipher it like any other dream using Freud’s methods.

 

In the class, I came into the course work with a strong sense of how to use the technologies we were going to use in the classroom, as well as outside on our “Web Wednesdays.”  Using online databases like JSTOR, as well as programs like Twitter came pretty much like second nature to me.  I have always had a mind suited for learning new tools and technology, and that certainly came in handy alongside the previous experience I had in this area of the class.  In addition, I have been studying and doing analysis on fictional works for a little while now, and the process was familiar to me, even though I certainly learned more over the course of the semester.  The areas I was not as adept in included my use of the blog itself as an interface of communication.  I had issues in putting my ideas down in posts, so that people (perhaps such as yourself) who are not part of the class may understand fully what I was trying to accomplish.  At times I might have been too concise with my points, obscuring things for those who were not present during our lectures and Web Wednesdays.  Doing these assignments certainly helped me learn how to approach this weakness, and make myself a more rounded resident of the interwebs.  I also studied new schools of literary thought, as I had never thought of adapting Freud’s work to literature previously.  In addition, the New Critics were a group of theorists I had never heard of prior to being in this class.

 

In addition to my site, please visit our class site at eng170w.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu, in order to see explanations of our assignments, as well as the sites of my classmates and colleagues.  Enjoy your trip down the rabbit hole, find yourself a comfortable spot, and settle in for an analysis of a work of one of America’s greatest wordsmiths.  Feel free to engage and leave comments so I might be able to improve the experience.  Have fun, and remember that we are the ones who give meaning to the marks we identify as words.

-Chris L.

Revising My Site…

December 7, 2011