Annotations are a key to understanding
September 24, 2018
Going through any Robinson hallway, you’ll hear IB students gripe about the amount of annotations they have to do. The constant complaints have created a layer of fear and general distaste towards such a simple act as annotations. When living in such a negative state of mind you’ll only ever be able to see the world as half-empty, by viewing annotations through such a simple frame of mind, you’ll never truly see the help they provide. Annotations aren’t pointless, they’re meant to develop student’ skills in analyzing themes in literature and themes that exist in all forms of media.
While it’s hard to believe, themes, motifs, and devices exist outside of English class. Any movie you can think of, any book or play you’ve ever read means something outside of what you see on the surface. Even superhero movies employ them, a recent example being a parallel of the protagonist and antagonist of Marvel’s Black Panther. There is a deeper motive behind every piece of media consumed and annotations allow the development of recognizing these motives, enhancing the experience.
Nearly all art can be annotated, not just pretentious and lengthy books your English teacher makes you read. For example, Harry Potter is a children’s book series nearly everyone read when they were younger. On the surface, it tells the story of a young wizard who is chosen by a prophecy to fight an evil wizard. Behind all that, Harry Potter spreads a message of hope prevailing through hard times through even small actions taken by characters. Despite being a fairly simple children’s book, it contains themes that go beyond what’s on the page.
Not only do annotations enhance the media consumed, they enhance the media created. How can you ever include underlying themes if you don’t know how to identify them? For all aspiring directors, authors, artists and everything in-between, annotations develop a valuable skill that’s essential to your craft.
Yes, annotations are hard work, but that doesn’t mean it’s not meaningful work. And besides, between the date annotations are assigned and the date they’re due, there is max a month to do them. That’s more than enough time if you pace yourself, the work only becomes truly tedious if you procrastinate.
What would art be without a deeper meaning? Can anyone truly read a book about wizards if there’s no other message? Annotations provide a crucial skill in life, not a meaningless one.