Archive forDecember, 2011

Welcome to this blog!

Dear Reader,

This website is both a portfolio of the work I did for English 170w (Introduction to Literary Study) at Queens College and a dedicated blog to Haruki Murakami’s short story “Honey Pie.”

A few of the posts below are assignments for my course and touch on certain literary theories and criticisms that we learned in class such as Freud’s dream analysis (Psychoanalytical theory), New Criticism, and Semiotics. On your right you will find a few pages dedicated to Honey Pie and a few posted assignments for the class. Further down in the right you will find a class blogroll linking¬† to my fellow classmates’ blogs and also a link for my Eng 170w course. When looking over the assignment links on the left it will be useful to refer to this page ( for information on the particular assignment.

The process I went through to develop my site was to first familiarize myself with the two critical theories I wanted to apply in my reading of “Honey Pie.” Through my research, I realized the theme of loneliness and isolation is really important in all of Murakami’s works and I wanted to analyze the story through a New Critic’s stand point to draw those connections. The story of the bears that Junpei, the main character, tells was confusing at first to me when I read the story and it wasn’t until I applied both the New Critics and Freudian theory that I better understood its underlying importance in the short story. I also needed to create a specific page for the historical context for the short story because it was set during the aftermath of the Kobe Earthquake in Japan in 1995. It was a traumatic event in Japan and also very important to the story because it dealt with the characters’ motivations and actions.

In terms of my course work this semester, we had three goals as a class ( The most difficult objective for me was a part of the reading/analyzing literature objective (“Recognize and use a variety of critical strategies in reading and writing about texts, such as close reading, formalism, structuralism, psychoanalysis, and reader-response”) because it was the first time I’ve encountered the theories and the readings were quite complex (and extremely informative and thorough). At the same time, I am also proudest of how much I’ve learned in this regard because I feel that I am able to identify between the different theories, what they are reacting to, and understand the different methods each use to analyze literature.

Through my experience and learning in this class, I hope to become even more familiar with the different critical theories, read more scholarly articles on each, and also understand how to better apply them to different pieces of literature. Going forward, I’d like to become more adept at writing research papers. I feel that I am able to pick out and evaluate secondary sources and reflect in writing well and identify and explain literary terms, but I have more difficulty identifying intellectual problems in the text or knowing what to address at first when beginning an assignment. A fun exercise we had early on in the semester was the “hover link” practice which we applied to our Annotated Paragraphs. A few words or phrases are highlighted and when the mouse hovers over it, text appears as a popup note. Often this tool is useful in analyzing literature and adding annotations to it. It was interesting for me because I have minimal experience with html and it took a few tries for me to apply it successfully, but I did (And my success is showcased in the Annotated Bibliography assignment)! I also successfully made my own website/blog–in previous classes we needed to use the qwriting blog for various posts, but never did I use it as extensively as I did in class (and completed it) and a lot of these tools will be helpful in my future whether I decide to pursue an academic path or a professional career. The internet is used more and more often now in many different jobs and in many different aspects of life and this project has definitely given me tools to begin developing those skills for the future.

In terms of the digital aspect of our learning this semester, I was really surprised at how effective we were able to communicate and use internet/digital tools (I admit I was skeptical at first because I never heard of hybrid courses before). I was unfamiliar with Twitter and was even more unsure of how it would be used during the class as a method of communication during our “Wed Wednesday” sessions. It was a very fun and educational experience and it allowed me to feel closer to the class. In most college classes now most students don’t really get a chance to interact with one another during the course of the class or really even address one another or share ideas. In this class because we all responded to the same blog, shared Twitter messages and read one another’s works and visited each others’ class blogs I knew the names of my classmates and felt closer with them compared with the standard college class. It was a lot more work than a traditional English class because of the hybrid nature of ours, but all the work we completed was really valuable in better understanding material we discussed in person.

Please refer to our class blog ( to see our class effort and enjoy the website!¬† Leave a comment below if you’d like to see any new features added or if you have any suggestions to how I can better improve your experience on this site.

All the best,
Michelle Chan

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Revising My Site

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