Mark Borissov: Notes Reflection

I have an odd relationship to note taking. I find the ways in which I take notes vary depending on my professor’s teaching style. If the professor writes on a board or overhead projector as he or she speaks I will be more inclined to take notes along with the lecture. But if the professor’s teaching style is guided by a PowerPoint presentation, or heavily reliant on group discussion, I tend to close my note book until after class is finished, and will instead try to be as engaged in what I’m viewing and discussing as possible. In lectures where I take fewer notes I will only write down things which I know are significant due to their emphasis in that class, or something that interests me enough to revisit it later. To counteract my lack of in class notes, I tend to take more notes outside of these classes.

 

When annotating a text, I never take notes in the margins of my book. It may be helpful for some people, but I find annotated margins distracting and messy on the page, that they create problems when rereading the text. Instead, I will take notes on a separate page, but only of explicit plot details, or of literary devices worth remembering. The only thing I add to my books are sticky notes used to point out specific passages, however I tend to do this mostly when analyzing small parts of a text and gathering quotations for an essay.

 

In regards to this class my note taking practices haven’t changed much. Since our class is guided by PowerPoint and utilizes class discussion I tend to avoid taking notes. When viewing films, I find it especially important to pay close attention to the details in the scenes we watch. Concentrating on a film academically isn’t something I’ve experienced often prior to taking this course, and I’ve found that annotating while watching to be counterproductive. However, I did find it helpful to have read the assigned texts before class, as we tended to watch scenes which relate directly to what we had to read, especially Crowl.

 

This being a Shakespeare course, I’ve taken many notes on our assigned plays. I’ve been using my mom’s copy of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” to read at home, so notes in the margin are not acceptable. My understanding of Shakespeare is a lot like my understanding of Russian; it’s a language I know, often forgot, but remember easily with practice. Before taking notes on a Shakespeare play, before I even start reading it, I prefer to read a synopsis so I know what’s going on instead of trying to figure it out. I will then usually read the play twice. The first time I read a Shakespeare play I like to view a performance of it and follow along, focusing on plot, and taking very few notes. The second reading is done slowly and out-loud, more focused on details and semantics. During the second reading I will make annotations on a separate page, most of which will be either quotations from the play, or interpretations written in colloquial. Apart from essay research, this will be the only time I take notes explicitly in regards to the text.

 

Taking notes on film is similar, yet slightly different. The first time I watch a film I won’t take any notes, and will instead, like reading a play or sitting in class, sit back and enjoy it, trying to sponge up as much information as possible. After the first viewing I will meditate on what I’ve watched, taking personal notes on things that I noticed and can remember from the film. Watching it a second time, I will pause and take notes on things that are relevant to my inquiry, skipping through things that aren’t. When analyzing a specific scene, I will skip, pause, and replay at my heart’s content, until every camera angle, every cue, every cut is analyzed.

 

In all honesty I’m not sure whether or not my annotative practices are successful or not. Having been diagnosed with a bullshit learning disability at a young age, I found it hard as a kid to take notes, and only started doing so when I began university. Creating these rules for myself around when to and when not to take notes allows me to concentrate more easily on what I’m learning. So far I’m not failing any of my classes this semester, I’d call that a success.

Cai Samphire: Note Reflection

When I’m taking notes on different subjects, my general starting point is figuring out references. It works easiest with text, as I can generally write things down, but that both work. This is especially relevant in Shakespeare, where many of the similes and metaphors Shakespeare uses are related to history or Greek (or Roman) mythology.

For example, there is a line in Much Ado About Nothing: “to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder and Vulcan a rare carpenter”. This line is fairly confusing normally, but it helps a bit when I linked it to the gods. Both Cupid and Vulcan are Roman gods. Most people know Cupid and the link with hunter and the bow and arrow, while Vulcan is a smith for the gods (most known for forging Jupiters [Zeus in greek] lightning bolts). By figuring out this reference, it gives me a jumping off point for the other parts of the reading.

Similarly, I try to figure out references to other movies when watching them.

Not Shakespeare, but it serves to illustrate my point. Films are a hundred fifty years old now. They have their own complete canon that can be pulled from. Such as the above scene in Zootopia, which is very clearly making reference to the Godfather. These scenes have their own cemented themes and ideas that viewers will recognize, or will be taught to recognize. The Godfather for example has strong ties to family values and what goes around comes around. Comparing scenes like this in movies helps a lot in figuring out what is going on, especially since Shakespeare can be difficult to follow sometimes.

This sort of tactic can be used on a very large scale to an extent as well, such as in the situations above. Sometimes I have trouble following Shakespeare, so watching a film such as the above can help to an extent. They aren’t one to one comparisons, but I can take notes of major plot points of the movie(s) and get a general sense of what is going on in the original play. By getting a vague outline, it makes it easier for me to reference sections in certain plays a lot easier because I know in a general sense what is happening.

When taking notes I will also look at which sections are written in prose and which ones are pentameter. It’s a minor thing, but it helps me figure out certain issues. Shakespeare tends to use language in specific ways, where he uses prose a lot for jokes and normal conversation, but will switch to pentameter when emotions are bubbling to the surface. This guideline has saved me on a few occasions, where I was lost trying to figure out what was going on in a particular scene, only to realize it was pentameter, read it in the correct manner, and it actually helped the scene make more sense. It also helps a lot in trying to figure out where a story might be going, by leading into certain issues through the use of it. I would sometimes be concerned that the scene wasn’t going to progress anywhere, notice the sudden use of prose and start paying attention because something important was about to happen.

And while not taking notes per se, one of the best ways I found to figure out what’s going on and find questions to ask is just talking to people. I’m a drama major, so I’m in an environment where most people will know the play(s) that I’m talking about at any major moment. There have been times where I’ve thought I’ve understood a scene perfectly well, but someone else will talk to me about it and say how they interpreted it in a completely different fashion than what I imagined. These encounters help open up my view of a particular piece of writing. This also works for movies. We’ve discussed in the English course that directors create a movie to look a very particular way. They also generally have more of a budget than theatre does. This allows them to do more and create more elaborate scenarios, which also helps expand my view of what a Shakespeare world could be.

My note taking can be a bit disjointed, and these methods hardly express all the ways that I do so. But if I had to define a way that I’m doing it all, I would say that it all falls under helping me understand the material.

Shoshanna Paperny: Notes Reflection

When reading, a text as foreign as Shakespearean plays, many tactics must be employed in order to understand not only the surface, but deeper meaning. In play writes and film involving Shakespeare’s text and language there is often alternative meanings than what originally meets the eye. Within the text lies various forms of symbolism, puns, irony and hidden messages that one would not notice without deeper speculation. When reading a play or watching a film my annotation process involves multiple steps. The first is re-reading or re watching the content.
By becoming better acquainted with the content you are already at an advantage when it comes to annotating the text. You become more familiar with the storyline, characters and general plot. Apart from that each time I read or watch a play, a new piece of information stands out to me, or I notice an aspect that I hadn’t before. After reviewing it twice or three times through I revisit the sections that A)stood out to me as being important, or B)I found confusing. At this point in the process I annotate a written play differently than a film.
For a play I revisit the interesting or confusing sections and start to decode it one word at a time. By finding or gaining a better explanation of what key words mean, you can start to understand what the text is getting at or portraying. In a film on the other hand, I typically approach these scenes by returning to the original text that the scene is based on. For me I best understand information through reading. Often by just reading the words from the paper I can better understand what is occurring on film.
This use of using text and film together to annotate goes both ways. By watching a Shakespearean film, and reading the original play (or vide versa), you gain a better understanding for the play and the content being portrayed. This way you are exposed to another person’s impression of the play while integrating it with your own mental imagery of it. While reading the text I will often underline these key words and read the text out loud in order to consolidate the information.
By annotating text you are not simply summarizing what is it front of you. You are adding something new, maybe a concept or a way in which is wasn’t understood before. For me a successful annotation provides me with the ability to not only relay on the story I read/watched but also be able to add my own opinions or takes on it. If you truly have a deep understanding for the content you are able to expand on it and gain deeper insight on its various meanings.

Anthony Hawboldt: Argument Reflection

Confession: I’m not an English Major. I’m an Anthropologist and Archaeologist by training. When it comes to creating an argument for a paper, I tend to use these disciplines to help me stay organized. Within the Anthropology and Archaeology department, An(th)arky has become our created word for any thing that blends the two, so that will be the title of my style. Here’s a breakdown of my process:

STEP ONE: HYPOTHESIS

Most assignments are easy in that they give you the thesis that they expect you to write about. When the assignment is more open-ended, I tend to choose a topic that I think would be interesting. The hardest papers to write are ones that are boring, so I try to avoid those topics.

STEP TWO: OBSERVE
In Archaeology we look at a list of various traits on all artifacts. Books or films are really no different then any other artifact. The diagnostic traits that I tend to focus on are things like repetition, symbolism, text structure. I’ll write these down in the left hand side of my notebook.

STEP THREE: ANALYZE

Now that I have the primary data that I think is necessary, I’ll look at it and see if there are any trends that appear. Also, I’ll look to see if any of the features that I was looking for seems to be connected to another feature. Anything that I think is important will be written down in the middle of my notebook.

STEP FOUR: THEORIZE

Now that I’ve refined the data into something that I can use to make my arguements, I’ll start looking for any theories that I feel I could use, and write them down on the right hand side of the notebook. This enables me to quickly organize a theoretical perspective, evidence and specific examples for my arguements, as well as the way in which they are all related.

STEP FIVE: WRITE

Now that I have everything that I need, i’ll just sit down until I’ve got everything that I want to say down on the page.

STEP SIX: EDIT

I’ll often print out a copy of my arguement and read it out loud. I feel that this is a more effective way to notice any mistakes or sentances that seem oddly written. I alway do a primary edit, and I’ll do another round of editing if I have enough time before it’s due.

Let’s see all of this in action:

From Throne of Blood, Washizu is terrified of the incoming arrows

From Throne of Blood, Washizu is terrified of the incoming arrows

Let’s assume that we’re being asked to create an argument that Throne of Blood (Kumonosu-jō) relies on Japanese cultural motifs more than Shakespeare.

For the Left Column: Removal of major characters from text. Old Hag is taken from other Noh plays. Washizu’s face and dynamic motion taken from Kabuki. Symbolism of the forest and the animals on Washizu and Miki’s flags. Kabuk/Noh instruments instead of cinematic score

For the Middle Column: Emotional moments are created with sound, not by incorporating characters from Macbeth. Old Hag (Onibaba) and the flags taken from Buddhist theology. Spider’s Web Forest creates a dichotomy with the castle (Man-Nature)

For the Right Column: I’d probably incorporate theories about concepts like the Sacred-Profane dichotomy, Liminality, Environmenal Determinism.

After, I’d combine it all together into a thesis statement. This would be organized along the lines of “How Throne of Blood relies on Japanese theatrical traditions to help explain a man vs. nature story, and the role of destiny (pre-determination) instead of attempting to be a cultural translation of the Macbeth story”.
There may be a more effective way to write for English, but I’ve never been taught how. This Anthro/Arky style of argument writing is the way that I feel most confident writing in, and that’s why I keep using it, even if it’s more work.

Anthony Hawboldt: Argument Reflection

Confession: I’m not an English Major. I’m an Anthropologist and Archaeologist by training. When it comes to creating an argument for a paper, I tend to use these disciplines to help me stay organized. Within the Anthropology and Archaeology department, An(th)arky has become our created word for any thing that blends the two, so that will be the title of my style. Here’s a breakdown of my process:

STEP ONE: HYPOTHESIS

Most assignments are easy in that they give you the thesis that they expect you to write about. When the assignment is more open-ended, I tend to choose a topic that I think would be interesting. The hardest papers to write are ones that are boring, so I try to avoid those topics.

STEP TWO: OBSERVE

In Archaeology we look at a list of various traits on all artifacts. Books or films are really no different then any other artifact. The diagnostic traits that I tend to focus on are things like repetition, symbolism, text structure. I’ll write these down in the left hand side of my notebook.

STEP THREE: ANALYZE

Now that I have the primary data that I think is necessary, I’ll look at it and see if there are any trends that appear. Also, I’ll look to see if any of the features that I was looking for seems to be connected to another feature. Anything that I think is important will be written down in the middle of my notebook.

STEP FOUR: THEORIZE

Now that I’ve refined the data into something that I can use to make my arguements, I’ll start looking for any theories that I feel I could use, and write them down on the right hand side of the notebook. This enables me to quickly organize a theoretical perspective, evidence and specific examples for my arguements, as well as the way in which they are all related.

STEP FIVE: WRITE

Now that I have everything that I need, i’ll just sit down until I’ve got everything that I want to say down on the page.

STEP SIX: EDIT

I’ll often print out a copy of my arguement and read it out loud. I feel that this is a more effective way to notice any mistakes or sentances that seem oddly written. I alway do a primary edit, and I’ll do another round of editing if I have enough time before it’s due.

Let’s see all of this in action:

From Throne of Blood, Washizu is terrified by the incoming arrows

From Throne of Blood, Washizu is terrified by the incoming arrows

Let’s assume that we’re being asked to create an argument that Throne of Blood (Kumonosu-jō) relies on Japanese cultural motifs more than Shakespeare.

For the Left Column: Removal of major characters from text. Old Hag is taken from other Noh plays. Washizu’s face and dynamic motion taken from Kabuki. Symbolism of the forest and the animals on Washizu and Miki’s flags. Kabuk/Noh instruments instead of cinematic score

For the Middle Column: Emotional moments are created with sound, not by incorporating characters from Macbeth. Old Hag (Onibaba) and the flags taken from Buddhist theology. Spider’s Web Forest creates a dichotomy with the castle (Man-Nature)

For the Right Column: I’d probably incorporate theories about concepts like the Sacred-Profane dichotomy, Liminality, Environmenal Determinism.

After, I’d combine it all together into a thesis statement. This would be organized along the lines of “How Throne of Blood relies on Japanese theatrical traditions to help explain a man vs. nature story, and the role of destiny (pre-determination) instead of attempting to be a cultural translation of the Macbeth story”.

There may be a more effective way to write for English, but I’ve never been taught how. This Anthro/Arky style of argument writing is the way that I feel most confident writing in, and that’s why I keep using it, even if it’s more work.

Kaitlin Osterlund: Notes Reflection

With a play-text, I find that I am much more active in my inquiry and annotation than for a film. I also find that annotation for a play-text is more of a physical process for remembering and recalling information. I like to underline and circle lots of phrases and words when I am reading in order to use the physical act of writing as I read to better retain the text’s meaning. The things I underline or circle either have some relevance to the main purpose of the passage, or are parts that I did not fully understand and would need to research further to understand the passage’s true meaning. I tend to take more notes when reading than when viewing a film because I find it harder to focus on reading a passage than watching a film. By taking more notes when I read, I feel that I make up for this reduced focus and can better recall the meaning in what I had read. I believe more effort is required for the inquiry process to understand the underlying meaning of written passages, because so much of the meaning is left up to a reader’s imagination to interpret on their own.

With a film, I find that I am much more passive in my inquiry and annotation than for a play-text, and I also find that annotation for a film is much more of a visual process. I rarely take notes when watching a film, and often find that I distract myself from the film when I attempt to take notes. This distraction keeps me from involving myself in the interpretation of the plot, and I am not able to immerse myself in the meaning of the moving images on the screen. Even though I don’t write as many notes, I feel like I retain the same amount of information as I would from taking lots of notes from a play-text. I find that I can form pictures in my head from recalling scenes I had viewed when recalling information. I can remember the body language of the actors, the setting, their costumes, the tone of music, and most importantly how I was feeling and what emotions were emphasized in that scene. Watching film seems more immersing than reading, because both visual and auditory senses are active and so I recall more because more of my senses are focused on the inquiry of the film. This allows the annotation of a film to be a more passive process.

I measure the success of these methods of inquiry and annotation based on the amount of knowledge I am able to successfully retain. Success can also be further measured in how well I can present the knowledge I have gained, determining whether I fully understand the meaning of the knowledge I had remembered from either play-text or film.

Dale, Edgar. Cone of Learning. Digital image. Factlets – Spark Insight. Taxevity, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016. http://sparkinsight.wdfiles.com/local–files/factlets/cone_of_learning.png

I often refer to Edgar Dale’s Cone of Learning (2016), which I had first come across in a second year ecology course I had taken. It states that after two weeks, only 10% of what is read is remembered and only 50% of what is viewed and heard from film is remembered. Both reading and viewing are passive methods of remembering information, yet viewing is located further down on the pyramid and is closer to an active process of remembering. Annotation can improve the amount of retained knowledge, and can be considered more of an active form of remembering information. Because reading a play-text retains less information over two weeks, I believe it is why I feel the need to write more notes to ensure I am successful in retaining the full understanding and meaning from the play-text. The opposite is true for viewing a film which retains more information over two weeks, and therefore I feel the need to write fewer notes to ensure I am successful in retaining the full understanding and meaning from the film.

Citation:

Dale, Edgar. Cone of Learning. Digital image. Factlets – Spark Insight. Taxevity, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016. http://sparkinsight.wdfiles.com/local–files/factlets/cone_of_learning.png

Samuel Martyn: Notes Reflection

My notes are awful. They are sparse and happen relatively infrequently. Particularly for reading a play or watching film. They are nondescript for the most part. If anyone aside from me was to look at my notes, they would not gain much, if anything at all.

Most of my annotation when it comes to going through the text of a play, does not consist of writing words between the lines or in the margins. I circle, highlight, and underline words or phrases of significance. I usually read the scene/passage out loud, and make these annotations during or after. This is so I can gauge the emotion, flow, and emphasis of the passage. The few words I write in are only to describe the emotion or tone of the speaker.

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The reason for my style of note-taking (or lack thereof) is that once I read or hear the text a couple of times through, I can process it quite easily. I also find it more beneficial to return and re-read the entire passage to remember or understand the text than to try and interpret what the annotation I wrote in at a prior time means. Following a single story-line with the same characters throughout the text, I can very easily process and engage in what is happening without taking many notes.

This sentiment is even further experienced when I watch a film. I rarely take notes while watching film. By actively pairing the narrative with faces and voices, and literally having the text played out in front of my eyes, I almost immediately process and internalize what is happening. Film is my favourite medium (aside from music) for the sole fact that I can recall its information so quickly and accurately. The only time I will write down a note from a film is when there is a line that I want to remember, or a song on the soundtrack that I want to download at a later time.

The only other time in which I will write something down while watching a film or reading a play text, is when I want to be looking for categorical or symbolic representations within the medium. However, these will not be specific things I write down, it will be more like “watch for: lighting shifts, change in tone, music”, etc. I do this instead of in depth, specific notes, because I want to be engaged with the text medium itself, rather than try to keep up with both note taking and observation and then end up missing something significant within the text.

My notes are typically not successful in the sense that they should be. When I do annotations, I typically look back a few days later and have absolutely no idea what it means. When it comes to the final exam however, I do realize that this choice of extremely limited annotation may cause some issues for me. I take notes in my history classes, when there are not necessarily story lines or narratives, or consistent characters that make the material a linear, thematic text. Annotations done on my part do not help me comprehend English literature any better.

My notes may come across as “insufficient” to others or, it may seem as if I am not engaging in the text, but that could not be farther from the truth. Notes are just not how I find I can actively engage the text.

Carly Splett: Argument Reflection

I begin by carefully examining the essay’s criteria, in order to determine exactly what will be required. This examination is then broken down into an outline, which will be referenced repeatedly throughout the composition of my essay. After determining the precise subject matter for my assignment, I begin my research with general sources, and/or the source directly pertaining to the assignment, to thoroughly engage with the material. From this research, I determine my stance on the argument, and compose my thesis.

After determining my argument, I compile an outline document which comprises of each section necessary in the essay. If additional research is required for the assignment, I will engage in a thorough research for multiple viable sources. Depending on the nature of the assignment, I will either begin with internet or print sources. My general rule is to attempt to engage at least twenty sources for a research-source-based assignment. If the assignment is not research-source-based, I will pour my energies into an aggressive analysis of the primary material pertaining to the assignment. Any passages which prove beneficial to my essay are copied under the relevant outline section.

Once all of my necessary information has been compiled, I begin to compose my essay in a new document. Using the outline as a basis, I work on each section separately. I do not necessarily work on each section chronologically, but will engage each section in the order of strongest to weakest argument. As I engage the material, it can become apparent that my current stance differs subtly from my thesis. Working on each section out of order enables me to examine my analysis of the information without bias, and therefore reconstruct my thesis if it is necessary.

The first draft of my essay will then undergo editing, through both a micro and macro analysis. Any statements or information which prove to be inaccurate or ineffective are removed or altered, and any gaps in the argument or material are supported with additional quotes or statements. As a general rule, I prefer to leave a day or two in between edits, so that I can analyze the strength of my argument from a fresh perspective. After three to four edits, I feel satisfied with the strength of my argument.

An example of this process, is the recent close-reading analysis paper for this course. I began by carefully examining the requirements of the assignment, and creating an outline of criteria gleaned from D2L and the blog site. I then photocopied the chosen passage from the primary source material pertaining to the assignment, to allow for detailed analysis. With the outline as a guide, I engaged a careful step-by-step analysis of the Shakespearean passage, based on the assignment suggestions. At the suggestion of the guidelines, I engaged in several analysis sessions on separate days. This information was compiled in notation on the photocopy, as well as more detailed note-taking in a notebook.

Immersing myself in the analysis allowed me to conclude that the passage was meant to simulate fearful anticipation in the audience, by using poetic techniques. Alliterative sounds were jarring and percussive to the ear, which would invoke the fearful sounds one would hear before the battle. The stakes of the coming battle would have caused fearful fantasizing in the English, so a mythical element was created with supernatural metaphor, personification, and simile. After several rounds of analysis and editing, I was confident that I had explored the facets of proof which were fundamental to my argument.

Analysis of my technique for shifting from evidence to argument, has led to the conclusion that my method is both pragmatic and thorough.

Pavneet Pahwa: Notes Reflection

Shakespeare is seen as a challenge by most English students all over the world. His language is flowery and pleasant to hear, but also rather daunting to try and understand. Archaic vocabulary, historical context, bizarre sentence structure, and an abundance of literary devices further contribute to a much denser layer of complexity in his work. Exposure to this madness over the years, however, has resulted in the development of my own method of comprehension which I will be discussing in this blog post.

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My journey of a play-text begins with a list of roles which I translate into a character tree. Details are added as more of the play’s context is revealed through online research, footnotes, as well as the advancement of the plot. Keeping this tree chart available as a guide throughout, I read an online summary of each act just prior to engaging with the text. I follow along the play using an unbiased, non-dramatized LibriVox-Audiobook recording to stay on track while keeping the words open to interpretation. Already having a gist of the plot enables me to focus on Shakespeare’s interpretive choices as I highlight all the textual features that make a strong first impression, taking notes in the margins. A dictionary is kept accessible at all times.

2

Monologues and exchanges that seem most important to plot and character development are marked with sticky-notes, to be analyzed more closely once the whole play has been read. Then, the chosen lines are read aloud and more slowly to attend to details. I divide the text into sections, if possible, based on apparent shifts in form, language and/or semantics, as recommended by Dr. Ullyot. The use of literary techniques is further categorized using a table that I created based on Dr. Ullyot’s expectations for close reading, to ensure that no significant aspect is overlooked. Keeping patterns in mind, I utilize the table to jot down the effects of the literary features used, in addition to categorizing them. This highlights the importance of their employment while also actualizing the awareness that one is being manipulated by Shakespeare (accidentally and/or deliberately) in the subtlest of ways.

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In contrast, influence over the audience is much more deliberate, pronounced, and yet easily discounted by the untrained eye when it comes to cinema. Having freely interpreted the words of the author from my own perspective, I then allow directors to sweep me into their narrower adaptation of the same. Impactful scenes are paused, rewound and replayed several times with a table of key elements, a pen, and a notebook at my disposal, in order to implement disciplined focus, given the much faster pace of films. The first thing I note down is a brief description of the setting being portrayed in the film, how similar or different it is from what Shakespeare or I may have imagined, and how it enhances the story as a whole. I usually have the book in front of me to get a sense of the proportion of text that has been shown, as opposed to being told.

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Direction and camera are arguably the most crucial components of the visual aspect of cinema. I take note of the general type, pattern, and point of view of the film shots. The strategy behind editing and splicing the same is noted along with the genre, pace and rhythm of the music being employed. Similarly, I look for iconic moments created by actors based on their individual interpretations of the characters, intertwined with those of the director. The chemistry between, and the (gradual or sudden) shifts in these cinematic elements (Crowl, 2007) is an important aspect of my film analyses. I follow up with reading the recommended critiques, learning about the director’s signature style, and watching interviews, further unveiling the thought processes behind some of the creative decisions witnessed on screen.

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After having collected, categorized and described the evidence from both literature and film in a segregated manner, I begin to seek patterns across my notes for strong, recurring themes and well-supported arguments. The success of my inductive analyses is determined by the abundance of quality evidence alluding to each claim or concept. Having clusters of data (though subjective in interpretation), as opposed to outliers, reduces the likelihood of arriving at far-fetched conclusions, paving the way for an effective piece of argumentative writing.

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Works Cited

Crowl, Samuel. Shakespeare and Film: A Norton Guide. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. Print.

Mirabelle Harris-Eze: Notes Reflection

“We all do ‘do, re, mi,’ but you have got to find the other notes yourself.”

~ Louis Armstrong

Introduction

While most notes include summaries and interpretation of data, the way these occur on the page differ from person to person. My marketing textbook describes analysis as the conversion of data into insight, and this analysis is always made easier for me through taking notes. Today, I want to look at textual data and visual data, especially in regards to play-texts and films. My annotation practices when reading and observing both art forms differ and converge in methodology.

Annotation Practices – Play-Texts

An aversion to manipulating physical copies of a text, due to the majority of the texts that I have ever read being library loans, means that my copies of Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing are void of  highlighting, underlines and scribbles. I hope to grow out of this aversion, as I have to come to understand—over taking two English classes this semester and talking to classmates—that margin notes taken in the physical copy of a text have numerous benefits such as ease of reference and direct linking of ideas without having to write them all out. Currently, with my aversion still present, I write detailed notes about play-texts in a separate notebook.

As Play-Texts are a form of Literature, I am very conscious of literary devices when taking notes. I note:

  1. Literary Devices (Symbolism, Simile, etc.)
  2. Quotes or words I enjoy/I don’t understand
  3. Context I might need to look into further

I also try to go beyond simply addressing the existence of the above but: in the case of literary terms, discussing the effects of the devices used; with words I can’t decipher, looking them up; and context I am clueless about, researching more. All of this additional information is jotted down.

Annotation Practices – Film

When watching film, there are numerous aspects to keep in mind as I write my notes in a notebook. Unlike with textual works, I have less academic experience with writing notes when watching films. This class has been a large factor in my better understanding of interpreting film. When writing notes during the various films we’ve seen throughout ENGL 311, there are specific things I look for:

  1. Film Techniques (such as type of shots, editing cuts, etc.)
  2. Actors (A-List, relationship to director/producer, etc.)
  3. Lines or words I enjoy/don’t understand
  4. Context I might need to look into further

After numerous English classes that taught how to read literature, the process of annotation and interpretation of texts flows quickly and lengthily. The same cannot be said for film. These notes tend to be more sparse, especially because when watching scenes from a film in a classroom or theater-like setting, it is not possible/too time-consuming to pause to write down lengthy observations.

General Note Taking and Inquiry and Determining Success

Notes-1

An example of my note-taking.

I like to see how several small ideas connect over large chunks of text or video. Thus, when I write notes, my handwriting tends to be very minute and cramped. The more text I can cram on a page, the more ideas I can relate and compare. I also utilize arrows, models, and different text colors to relate ideas, differentiate headings or highlight important words and concepts. For taking notes for texts and films, I try to develop a character map listing out the cast of characters, along with their characteristics, and how they relate to each other.

There are two different things I look at when trying to tell if I’ve had a successful note-taking session:

  1. I understand the material better and this understanding resonates across all additional analysis.
  2. When I look back at my notes, I can understand them in nearly the same capacity as when I wrote them down.

Conclusion

My note taking is often intensely meticulous, cramped, colorful and done in a specific notebook with lined paper. My approach when taking notes when reading play-texts and when watching film differ and converge. Notes on play-texts tend to be lengthier and more in-depth. Both require brief summaries, analysis of textual and visual devices, and, later on, external research.

 


mira-shadowMirabelle Harris-Eze is an 18 year-old student based in Calgary, Alberta. Sometime in the near future, she wishes to publish a book written entirely in the language of her ancestors, Igbo. One day she hopes to fill this bio with writing credentials, and accolades. For now, this will have to do.