Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dracula: My Sucky Essay

I was hard up to express what I intended to in this week's essay on Dracula. However, I scored a 4 out of 6 which is still solid (points are 1-3 each for form & content).  Apparently it was not as sucky as I thought.  I do agree with all the points my peers made, but I was ill and short on revision time.  I will make a better effort in the next unit.

My essay:
The conflict at the heart of Stoker's Dracula is one of order versus disorder.  From the earliest pages of Jonathan's journal, the stage is being set for the reader to see that the British way is one of order, dependibility and safety. This is in contrast to the Eastern European way of disorder, superstition and wildness.  As Jonathan nears the castle in "one of the wildest and least known portions of Europe" (p3) , his interactions and experiences are less and less predictable, rational or controllable compared to his well ordered life back home with Mina.  When Dracula arrives in England, we see that he brings this wildness with him and we are forced to examine what the effect of this influence on the "normal" British existence is. Mina's shorthand journal is mordern, rational, scientific and she says it "soothes me to express myself here" (p61). She will need this comfort, for when the Count's ship comes into Whitby harbor "without warning the tempest broke" (p65).  Mina tries to forestall Lucy's sleepwalking, but she escapes and is attacked by Count Dracula late one night. As Lucy's illness worsens we see her fluctuating between a good, sweet English maid and a possessed creature.  She interacts with her friends and mother during the day as usual, but at night becomes a magnet for the huge & mysterious bat that flaps at her window.  She tries to behave normally, but is literally infected with the wildness of the east; a losing proposition. She must be destroyed and only after a stake is driven through her heart is she again the vision of "sweetness and purity" (p180) that a young English lady should be. Desperate measures are needed to set things right, and ultimately the only solution to the Un-Dead menace is to kill the Count himself.  It will not be possible to reconcile or adapt these two worlds; one must destroy the other.

My peer responses (form):
student1 → The essay is grammatically correct and the references to the pages doesn't complicate the reading, and that happens a lot in the essays. Besides, there are a lot of epithets and examples, that makes the whole essay be interesting to read.
student2 → No problem with grammar and usages. However, splitting the content into paragraphs would make absorbing the content and retaining it easier.
student3 → It would be easier to read if you separated your ideas in paragraphs. Quotations are suggested to be in the works cited part of the essay so they doesn't take that much space in your actual argument.
student4 → I like the style, but the lack of paragraphs to organize the text made it suffer. There is also a few mistakes that could be avoided if revised. 
My peer responses (content):
student1 → There are a lot of examples here. Well, may be too much examples from all the text. What I am trying to say is that the essay if full of quotes from every part of the book, so it looks like a retelling. But it was easy to read and had a very good conclusion.
student2 → The basic theme is good, but some of the examples are a bit long. Having read the book, I think you could have consolidated the examples a bit more. On the other hand, the conclusion is very short and a little too concise.
student3 → Your hypothesis is an interesting one but around the middle of the essay it got a bit diluted with the quotes on Mina and Dracula's arrival. I understand the examples were to make a contrast between the established order and the unpredictable of a storm but the point wasn't demonstrated strongly enough in the way it was written.
student4 → The content was well presented, even if it was bland. Nothing new, nothing deep, but well presented.

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