So for English, we had to conduct a project about anxiety of influence. The definition of anxiety of influence is how an author feels pressure from authors before them. In order to combat this feeling, they take ideas from the preceding author, tweak and change the ideas a little bit, and then combine all these different ideas to create their own novel.
This idea was first brought forth by Harold Bloom. When I first heard of this idea, I really didn’t understand what it meant. However, from certain activities, and tons of times being proven wrong, I finally understood what it meant! So for my group and I’s final project, we held an activity to help people truly understand what anxiety of influence is.
First we baked giant sugar cookies!
The cookies looked like these! Then our group bought ingredients in order to decorate the cookies. Each group received green frosting, black icing, and M&Ms. Each group’s goal was to create a cookie that best looked and represented the creature. However there was a catch! Each group received a special item that was suppose to represent anxiety of influence. They got an “odd ingredient” that was suppose to symbolize the other great ideas of predeceasing authors. The groups had to incorporate the odd ingredient and transform it, make it their, their own creature.
Here’s the picture of the group with the raisins:
I really like how they utilized the green frosting to fully cover the face, as well as use the raisins for the lower part of the jaw of the creature, and a little bit for the hair. It made the presentation of the cookie cute, ass well as unique.
Here is the picture of the cookie from the group who had to use white chocolate chips:
From this group, I was honestly a little surprised they didn’t use the green frosting. I feel like the creature is usually typified as being green, but I love how they incorporated the white chocolate chips to sort of act like the smile for the creature!
Here is the picture of the group who had to use pretzel sticks:
I honestly thought that this odd ingredient would be the hardest to incorporate, I told them they could break the pretzels apart, but they seemed to keep them mostly whole. However, I really liked how they used the pretzels to poke through the creature’s head, as well as get the true face shape of the creature I like it.
I felt that this activity really helped students to understand the difficulty of anxiety of influence. They felt pressured by these great ideas (the yummy ingredients), so instead they had to incorporate them into their creation (haha punny), to make even a more beautiful masterpiece. Viola! Lesson to be learned here: sometimes food just really helps the learning process, plus its fun to eat ! 🙂 Happy eating!