I haven’t a done a “Most Viewed Posts” in a while, so I thought I’d do one to wrap up 2021. Over the past three years, Interminable Rambling has grown exponentially. I never thought, when I started this site back in August 2015 I didn’t have any expectations. I started Interminable Rambling over on Blogger before migrating it to WordPress in 2016, so I do not have stats for 2015, but looking at the growth from 2017 to 2021, Interminable Rambling has steadily increased in the number of views and visitors. In 2017, the site saw 19,191 views with 13,333 visitors, and in 2021, as of December 11, it has had 68,056 views and 49,300 visitors. That’s an increase of about 49,000 views and 36,000 visitors. I can’t explain this, but seeing these numbers keeps me going, it makes me realize that people do read and use the site, and that motivates me to continue writing. So, without further ado, here are the top five most viewed posts of 2021.
#5 “Phillis Wheatley’s ‘To Maecenas’ and Subversion” (October 27, 2016) 1,721 views
This post, since I published it in 2016, has consistently been at the top of the most viewed posts every year since 2017. I attribute this, partly, to the fact that the post, like many on my site, looks at ways to teach specific texts. I will teach or text then think about the class session. Following the session, I’ll write a post, expanding upon what we discussed during the class. This post arose from an American literature through 1865 survey course, and Wheatley’s poem, with its reference to the Roman patron of the arts Maecenas served as a lens to look at multiple texts that semester with their references to ancient and more contemporaneous literature. I did this with my posts on Frederick Douglass’ What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? and more.
Note: Since I wrote this post a few days ago, “Facades in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby'” has moved into the #5 spot with 1,724 views.
#4 “Rhetorically Examining Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘How It Feels to be Colored Me!'” (November 20, 2018) 1,735 views
I’m not sure why this post skyrocketed this year. Back in 2019, it was the 9th most viewed post with 676 views, and in 2020 it was the 11th with 652 views. The post has always done well, and I think it has done so because of the focus of the post. In this post, I look at Hurston’s essay from a rhetorical perspective, examining the ways that she constructs her sentences and the effects that those constructions have on the reader. I expand upon that by looking at Hurston’s rhetoric, as well, in relation to W.E.B. DuBois’ “double consciousness.” Like all of the top posts on my site, the pedagogical usage of the post makes it one that appeals to educators for use in the classroom. I don’t know who uses my posts, but I do see that they get used, or at least referenced in education settings, and that makes me, as an educator myself, happy.
# 3 “Robert Hayden’s ‘A Letter from Phillis Wheatley, London 1773′” (July 18, 2017) 2,237 views
Like “Phillis Wheatley’s ‘To Maecenas’ and Subversion,” this post has appeared at the top of the list every year since I published it back in 2017, racking up 8,510 views since it debuted. For me, I think this post remains at the top of the list because of the ways that it helps readers think about Phillis Wheatley’s work. From a 21st century perspective, it’s not always easy to read Wheatley, notably poems such as “One Being Brought from Africa to America” and think about the ways that she subverts the very things that she says within that poem. Robert Hayden’s poem provides us with a great way to think about the things that Wheatley doesn’t say, the omissions that lie between the lines. For educators and students, this post, I think, helps them to do this as well.
# 2 “Big Walter in Lorraine Hansberry’s ‘A Raisin in the Sun'” (December 26, 2018) 2,252 views
Again, this is a post that has taken off over the past couple of years. It had around 250 views in 2019 then jumped up to 1,121 in 2020. This year, it basically doubled that number. Like the other posts, I think that this one appeals to readers because it provides an avenue for educators to discuss Hansberry’s play. As well, I am sure students find this post, as they probably do the others, and use them in papers. Whenever I teach Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, I have students think about Big Walter, the character that hovers over the entire play. Before I saw Liesl Tommy’s production of the play back in 2013, I didn’t really think about Big Walter as hovering over the events, but Tommy’s decision to have Corey Allen portray Big Walter on stage, even though he does not appear as a character in the script, had a profound impact on the way I viewed and read Hansberry’s play.
#1 “Judges 19 and Arnold Friend’s Enigmatic Code” (April 20, 2017) 6,274 views
Like the other posts, this post has continually ranked at the top of the list every year. Part of this post’s success comes from its appearance on Wikipedia. As well, it’s popularity stems from the fact that this story constantly appears in literature classes from high school through college. There’s so much to unpack with Oates’ story that it provides a great text to help students think about symbolism, allegory, and more. As well, it presents educators with a great text to help students learn how to conduct research. They can do this by having their students look up the sources and inspiration for Arnold Friend. Along with this, educators can also use the story to help students think about the ways that art influences other artists.
2021 has been a great year for Interminable Rambling, and I am grateful for everyone who visits the site and uses it. I’m looking forward to what 2022 has in store. So, stay tuned! What are your favorite posts? Let me know in the comments below, and make sure to follow me on Twitter at @silaslapham.