Project 2 Reflection
As I explore more of Isabella Whitney’s work, I can honestly say that her writing is a bit confusing, but after reading and focusing on it a few times, I started to get the picture. In one of Isabella Whitney’s poems in her Will and Testament, she talks about leaving London. In the poem, she leaves a message for London and talks about all of the things she’s leaving behind. Around Whitney’s time, it was hard to get a female writer’s work published, this time was a hard time for women in general. At the beginning of the poem, she gave me a sense that London didn’t give her the career she wanted, but all of the women that don’t deserve it, gets good treatment. As she mentions this at the beginning of her poem by saying, “But many women foolishly, like me, and other moe’, do such a fancy fixed set on those which least deserve”, she also shouted out a couple places that she’s leaving behind and what used to happen in the city of London. After observing the poem, I’ve came up with a few points on the map locating the places she spoke about.
After doing this mapping assignment in particular, this changed how I understood this poem and how I understand Whitney in particular. As I’ve been studying Whitney, I’ve came to the conclusion that she’s gets jealous of the people that are more fortunate than her and doesn’t like when things aren’t going her way. I came to this conclusion when we had the discussion in class about the letter she wrote to her sister. The only thing I learned about Whitney from the mapping assignment was that she doesn’t like when things doesn’t go her way, but I don’t think I learned that from doing the map itself. I drew that conclusion because it was a farewell letter to London because she felt like London didn’t give her the career she wanted. I feel like the mapping didn’t have an impact on how i understood her because all I did was figure out what place she was talking about by using clues from the poem, them mapping it out. From doing that, I didn’t learn anything about Whitney herself in particular.
Even though the assignment didn’t give me further knowledge about Whitney, there are some things that I’ve learned while doing this assignment that I could not have learned by simply just reading the poem. By doing the mapping assignment, this forced me to dig deeper in the locations that she spoke about. This made me imagine life in early modern London. The things that she described opened my eyes and painted a picture in my head of what London looked like a few centuries ago. Things she mentioned such as branding on thumbs, people being drawn up hills to get killed, and also a building for disorderly poor people and homeless people. These description reminds me of the city-like behavior and it seems like London was quite a city for centuries. This made me realize why she wanted to leave London and all the bad things that come with it.
Having this experience made me realize that you can learn a lot about somebody’s culture. From my understanding of the meaning of digital humanities, DH involves using technology tools to teach and research, but also learning and understanding humanities such as somebody’s culture or way or life by using their literature. For this project, we used the Google Maps tool to map out her locations that were mentioned. My personal experience using google maps wasn’t bad at all compared to our first project. I liked this project because it involved something I was already used to so it wasn’t a headache, that was a pro for me. Using google maps can also be a con for the same reason because everybody thinks differently. For people who like to feel challenged, this project might have been too easy and boring. Another con I can mention about this project is that it doesn’t teach you anything about Whitney herself, but the pro is that people learn more about the historical sites that she spoke about. During people’s presentations, I noticed that most people dove deeper into finding research about the location, and got a better understanding about how life was in early modern London. While reading the poem, I imagined early modern London, but my imagination enhanced when I was listening to my peers presentations because some people did deeper research than I did, some of their descriptions were really detailed.
Overall I liked this assignment better than the first one because I understood the task better, and I got to learn more about how life was like for women and people back in early modern London. In my opinion, I wouldn’t change anything about this assignment to make it more relevant, informative, enjoyable, challenging, or interesting.