Sunday, April 18, 2010

Assignment Purpose/Findings

The recent assignment in class was to wonder around campus and stop at random places, observe, question, and write about whatever. Near the end of this process, it became semi-fun. I normally don’t write poems on the spot; however, for the last stopping point, I managed one. Now while this was all good and fun. I can’t really see how it fits in with American Studies. Is it because we’re supposed to be observing the world around us? Maybe it’s specific to the American part of the American Studies because American’s don’t often stop and look around.

My group stopped at three points, just as instructed. While wondering around, there was no one that I could spot that would just sit and take a look outside of their own world. While heading for lunch the other day, I even heard one professor saying that all of these “kids think the world revolves around them.” I don’t know exactly what her topic was, but I do believe that statement is a little true. I’m sure there are a few “kids” that aren’t so self-centered. However, even when we were stopped, I couldn’t spot anyone picking their head up from their books to gaze around at anything else, or just stop the power-walk toward their specific destination. We American’s don’t make time for the unexpected anymore. We are becoming control freaks, or we’re getting to lazy and become bums. Either extreme is not good.

I should also note the types of places my group stopped at. The first was outside with two tables and a few seats, all surrounded by bushes. The second stop was still outside, but between two buildings with only two trees, with their bases surrounded by bricks—like a little flower pot…only for a tree…so a tree pot. The third stopping place was in the nursing building. The thoughts from the first were not too bad. People wondered about the creation of the place. The second stop brought on thoughts of the grim and general yuck of the place. At the final stop, all we could think about was gloom and doom, and we wanted out—out of the building and into the open. I can’t help thinking back to previous blogs about cutting out nature. Our series of stops slowly cut out nature, and with each progression, we grew more disgusted. Is this because humans don’t take care of what they have? Or is it because we missed the nature? Could it just be because of the season switch and we’re tired of being locked in classrooms for so long and we want to pretend to be free for a while?

I’m still unsure about what the lesson from this assignment is supposed to be. Was it supposed to take us back to the “stop and smell the roses” view of Thoreau? Was it simply an unguided find out your own meaning of life kind of thing? Maybe I’m completely off, the next class will bring closure to this assignment, besides just the report on what the groups found.

1 comment:

  1. I like how you commented on getting more disgusted at the places that were inside. I remember your group presenting, and I thought it was interesting that you thought the nursing building was so gloomy. I guess a big focus in this class has been on nature, so it was relevant that you enjoyed the locations that had more to do with nature.
    I'm not sure if this assignment was so much about stopping and smelling the roses, but about observing our surroundings. The places and spaces in American reveal so much about our culture and history.
    p.s. I really liked your poem. It reminded me of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" by Ken Kesey.