My Annotations: Life-Saving, Illegible Scribbles

The annotations I make for play-texts and films differ greatly, for a variety of reasons. Regarding play-texts, I write my notes on another sheet of paper within my notebook to maintain consistency for the placement of said annotations, which also preserves the visual purity of the text. Alongside these notes I make use of post-it notes, to refer to when used alongside the aforementioned seperate annotated notes. These annotations are created as soon as I am aware of their purpose or place within the text; for example, if I recognize a metaphor or determine to verse to be in iambic pentameter. This level of detail is initially overlooked when I observe a film, as I watch the film or scene once to understand the story and setting with minimal distractions, and I then watch the same film or scene again to take notes upon differences and subtleties I noticed between the two observations of the film. This act of redundancy allows for more scrutiny to be given towards each facet of the film, where a greater amount of attention may be given to the speech, setting and characters of any given film or scene.

This adequately shows a notebook of my style, containing notes about the texts with post-it notes linking pages of the notebook to pages of the literature itself.

Generally my notes and annotations for a film are lacking when compared to those formed from observing a play or play-text, as I find it more difficult to observe each and every discrepancy and feature within a film, regardless of the length of the scene or the depth of the speech. To contrast this, I find creating detailed notes from a play-text or script is much more easily done, as the text may be reviewed countless times with an intense amount of scrutiny potentially applied to every word. The observation of texts also allows for the reader to more easily determine the prose of the text, whether it be blank verse, iambic pentameter or some other form of dramatic writing. The observation of rhyming scheme is also simpler through the use of a text, as some film actors stretch their lines and delay the rhyming, which may deter the viewer from believing that the prose contains some form of rhyming scheme. I too struggle with this, which becomes more apparent for myself as more and more Shakespeare films are created, where modern film actors may feel they need to change the text to make themselves appear more “unique”.

These post-it notes capture the essence of each page within Hamlet, which assists in detailing the plot, setting and speech of said pages.

When reviewing both text and film alike, I have consistently found that researching the underlying elements of the text has allowed me to develop my notes and annotations based on the style of the writing. Understanding more about the period the play was written in or the direction the director was trying to show can only improve a viewers understanding of a text, as they then possess a deeper understanding of the text as a whole based on a better societal and historical understanding of the literature. On a personal level, this research helps to further develop my notes, annotations and understanding of the text, where I may discern new things from the text I would have been blind to before.
In order to determine the success of my annotations, I review the insight they give towards the excerpt of the film or play-text they reflect. An exemplary annotation or set of annotations, in my opinion, details all aspects of the excerpt, from what style of prose it uses, to any figures of speech found within the text such as a metaphor, simile or the rare onomatopoeia. The rhyming scheme should also be included, although that may be easily linked to the style of prose of the passage. Thus, a truly successful annotation must dissect and detail the passage as a whole, from start to finish, breaking down the verse and speech to its basest elements. Thus, the annotation explains the excerpt as a whole, similar to an essay reviewing a play, film or text is used to detail that piece of literature. The literature must be broken down into simple terms for any reader to understand and follow, where an annotation should follow the same design to explain to a reader the purpose and reason for certain details within a given excerpt. While some of my annotations do not live up to these expectations, I continue to strive to create annotations that in themselves are the same as miniature essays, conveying all the knowledge I need them to into myself once again, assisting in the truest understanding of a text.

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