Table of Contents

Entry 1…………………………….Table of Contents………………………………..12/10/2012

PREFACE

Entry 2……………………………Reflection As a Writer……………………………12/11/2012

MAJOR WORKS

Entry 3.………………………….All Artifacts…………………………………………………………

Artifact 1- Close Reading 1…………………………………………………………….09/14/2012

Artifact 2- Close Reading 2………………………………………………………………10/08/2012

Artifact 3- HOD paper 1……………………………………………………………………11/07/2012

Artifact 4- Frankenstein Podcast……………………………………………………….11/27/2012

Artifact 5- Frankenstein Discussion Posts…………………………………………..11/20/2012

Artifact 6- SOAPS tone “Sony’s Blues”………………………………………………09/10/2012

Entry 4 ……………………………Reflection As a Reader…………………………12/11/2012

Entry 5……………………………..Goals……………………………………………….12/10/2012

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Entry 2- Reflection As a writer

Writing has been a fairly easy process for me in my younger years, as it was a window to expressing my thoughts and emotions with the art of language. But as I entered into high school and started writing in an academic, rather than creative, setting, it became an arduous task that needed much practice, thinking, and analysis. Entering AP Literature class this semester was a new challenge, as I have not taken AP Language like most of my other peers, and was not familiar with the system of the AP grading scale. Hence, by taking on more practice and taking advantage of the resources provided by Mrs. Brayko, I have familiarized myself with the writing section of the AP Literature exam, and also have developed a certain voice or style in my writing in the 1st semester.

The first and the most difficult step for me as a writer in AP Literature was the first Close Reading Essay (artifact 1) I wrote for the short story, “A&P”. Even from taking a glance at the first paragraph, one may hint at  how clueless I was in writing an AP-level English essay. In my thesis I stated: “Hence, the protagonist and narrator Sammy’s motivation behind the relinquishing his job could be seemingly out of his self-interest to “stand-out” from the crowd, but rather, he was escaping his reality as someone with no individuality under the societal pressure” which did not discuss any of the literary devices as was required by the essay, and also had points that were all over the place and not adequate for a thesis leading an entire essay. Thus the inadequate thesis led to each of the paragraphs not supporting the thesis, but rather like a series of vignettes portraying certain important scenes in the story and providing analysis.

After receiving a grade that I then considered “shocking” (not now, as I have soon came to understand the poor quality of my Close Reading Essay), I went on immediately by comprehending Mrs. Brayko’s comments, digging into the aspects required of AP Literature essays, and reading sample essays. When I finally gained a better sense of knowledge for this type of essay, I immediately began my revision for my Close Reading Essay 2 (artifact 2). Although quite formulaic, my second close reading essay fulfilled most of the needed components from the intro to conclusion. I utilized some of the literary devices that I believed were significant in portraying the author’s message, followed by specific adjectives indicating the role of each of the literary devices. By writing a thesis that had a lucid point and details of literary devices that supported such point, I conveyed a thesis much more efficiently, by stating, “Through the use of overt juxtaposition, stream of consciousness, and whimsical metaphors, Updike portrays the disillusionment through a young man’s eyes in a casual tone.”. This type of a thesis interweaved the rest of the essay, as it was easier to follow the format of writing, by having each literary device with an adjective, then supporting each of the points by connecting it back to what the author is mainly trying to portray– disillusionment. The result was a success– with an easy to follow, structured essay, I not only got a better grasp of AP essays, but the already structured format allowed myself to focus on the analysis aspect of the essay.

The next challenge I had confronted was the Heart of Darkness Essay (Artifact 3), where I had to demonstrate my understanding and analysis of the novel by responding to a given prompt relating to power testing a man’s character. Although the prompt itself was not too challenging due to my previous familiarity with the content of the novel’s theme of “absolute power corrupting mankind”, it was most difficult to show an understanding of a novel that was especially difficult to read. As reading the Heart of Darkness was a challenge itself, being able to write an essay on such novel required much of the gathering information process from the book on some of the potential supporting evidence that I may use in my essay. Such method, unfortunately, was not a success, due to the fact that I had formulate a thesis and the rest of the paper only drawing from the evidence that I have collected. Thus, the paper became awkward, as I tried to pull together multiple, quite unrelated, components at once. At one point in the essay I wrote, “Kurtz’s power comes primarily from being a Caucasian male in Africa during the imperialistic era, as well as his charisma and strength of will that allow him to enrapture his audiences.” while I also wrote something much alike for Marlow saying, “… despite the inherent power he possesses as a Caucasian in the colonies, exhibits a weakness and a tendency for corruption that isn’t any different from that of Kurtz.”, such repeated components downplayed my writing, a major flaw in my essay.

Through this semester of AP Literature, I have come to a realization that the more creativity and enjoyment I have with some of my writing, the better the product of writing usually is. My Frankenstein Podcast (Artifact 4) was an assignment that I had most thoroughly enjoyed. Not only was being able to act as one character amusing, but considering the different aspects of a character and viewing a pivotal moment from such perspective, I have gained a better insight of some of the puzzling scenes of the novel. When I wrote my podcast from the point of view of Elizabeth, Victor’s wife, my enthusiasm for conveying love and fear was delivered through the audience with some tremor in my voice. I also drew excerpts from the book in her monologue, such as “you told me that I will chill my frame with horror when I discover it” which was well suited for the context in which she was speaking.

Another series of my perspective-changing moments in AP Literature came from the Frankenstein Discussion Posts (Artifact 5). The primary ways in which I became a better writer this semester was through reading the works of my peers or other writers on the same subject matter, which widened my view and awakened myself to new insights into the reading. The Frankenstein discussion posts allowed such to happen, with avid discussions of my peers in certain areas. As a writer, this was also essential in keeping a good record of some of the main themes that I chose to explore in the story. Hence, it was later easier for me to form the introduction and conclusion, as the discussion posts were a recollection of ideas related to my single theme.

The SOAPS tone for “Sony’s Blues” (Artifact 6) was essential in the understanding of the writing process, which should involves a subject, occasion, audience, purpose, and tone. The tone section of the worksheet was particularly helpful for me to engage in deciphering some the different tone colors that the author possessed, which may later be essential in writing with my own distinctive voice.

ARTIFACT 1- Close Reading 1

A&P And the Role of its Literary Devices

The protagonist and main character of the short story “A&P” by John Updike, Sammy, defies convention. When a group of girls in their revealing swimsuits enters his workplace–a supermarket called A&P– Sammy marvels at their striking novelty, attracted to the social status that they represented. The girls initially evoke a feeling of sensation that Sammy has never felt– one that allows him a temporary mental escape from the dull, monotonous supermarket. Sammy’s perception, however, is reversed by the end of the story. Through the use of overt juxtaposition, stream of consciousness, and imaginative metaphors, Updike portrays the disillusionment through a young man’s eyes in a casual tone.

Updike employs overt juxtaposition of the differing socioeconomic classes to highlight the impact of Sammy and the girls’ encounter. This juxtaposition is created through Sammy’s fascination with the world of Queenie. Sammy often daydreams about Queenie’s privileged community, where the “men wear bow ties and the women were in sandals picking up herring snacks on toothpicks off a big plate and they were all holding drinks the color of water with olives and sprigs of mint in them” (Updike). Such overt reference to wealth stems from Sammy witnessing Queenie buying the herring snacks. This wealthy image is juxtaposed with that of Sammy’s own life, where his parents have “lemonade and if it’s a real racy affair Schlitz in tall glass with ‘They’ll Do It Every Time’ cartoons stenciled on”(Updike). This indicates that Sammy’s life is one of a humble existence, where special occasions merit drinking commonplace lemonade. The juxtaposition conveys a sense of disillusionment of Sammy with his life as it reassures him of his current socioeconomic status when faced so blatantly with Queenie’s wealthy one. The usage of casual tone in contrasting the different lifestyles of Sammy and Queenie further reinforces Sammy’s inner thoughts about his background, and allows for the juxtaposition to become more evident for the audience.

In order to bring about a casual tone, Updike utilizes stream of consciousness to create a less structured format of writing. Sammy’s capricious character is revealed in his stream of consciousness– a pattern of writing in which thoughts are written as they come, not without much logic or order– so that he is capable of explicitly expressing his inner thoughts, thus conveying a casual tone. Such a technique eliminates the filter between the audience and the speaker, and engages the audience into his private thoughts. Although the other characters’ dialogues did not have much of a significance or deep meaning, Sammy often gave notably long remarks in his stream of consciousness in order to reveal his thought processes. For instance, Sammy rambles on about Queenie’s voice after she speaks, asserting that “her voice kind of startled me, the way voices do when you see people first… so flat and dumb yet kind of tony, too, the way it tickled over…” (Updike). Even when Lengel, a co-worker in the supermarket, attempts to embarrass the girls in the supermarket, Sammy’s thoughts don’t linger upon the speech, but rather digresses by commenting up Lengel’s way of speaking: “his repeating this struck me as funny…thinking all these years the A&P was a great dune and he was the head lifeguard” (Updike).  As an apt mode to displaying his thoughts, the stream of consciousness further enhances the readers’ sense of Sammy’s disillusionment. Particularly when Sammy observes Queenie, he remarks that Queenie must be “getting sore now that she remembers her place, a place from which the crowd that runs the A & P must look pretty crummy” (Updike). His disillusionment is clear in this observation because he realizes that Queenie views the clerks at A&P as the type of individuals who are not of the status to reprimand her. Thus, Updike successfully portrays Sammy’s disillusionment of his life through a casual tone.

Updike further elaborates the magnitude of Sammy’s disillusionment by incorporating imaginative metaphors to illustrate Sammy’s awareness of his reality. Updike interconnects commonplace objects with the settings or characters when Lengel asserts, “Girls, this isn’t a beach”, comparing the beach to A&P, or when Sammy refers to Lengel as the “Sunday-school-superintendent” and the “lifeguard” of A&P (Updike). He especially highlights the socioeconomic contrast when using brief metaphors such as “ice cream coats” to portray Sammy’s imagination of the vibrant world of Queenie (Updike). Sammy’s vivid descriptions in his metaphors represent a sense of his imagination and his awareness of another world beyond his. Therefore, such awareness allows Sammy to be disillusioned, as anawareness of what one doesn’t have can prompt desire for more. The story’s ending– the epiphany of the boy of his current status in the society and his depressed outlook into his future– is a contrast to be made with the imaginative metaphors he uses in this passage. When the imaginative metaphors at the beginning of the passage are contrasted with the despondent outlook of his future at the end of the passage, the sense of disillusionment that Sammy feels can be seen vividly. As the figurative language used in his observations are informal, Sammy’s incorporation of personal metaphors in his speaking reflects a casual tone in his speech.

In his short story, “A&P”, John Updike incorporates his literary devices to ultimately convey the disillusionment of a young boy. Overt juxtaposition, stream of consciousness, and imaginative metaphors– all serve to bring into attention the self-realization of a boy through a casual tone. Hence, such language reveals the boy’s epiphany of his position in society.

ARTIFACT 2- Close Reading 2

Passage 5-:A&P And the Role of its Literary Devices

The protagonist and main character of the short story “A&P” by John Updike, Sammy, defies convention. When a group of girls in their revealing swimsuits enters his workplace–a supermarket called A&P– Sammy marvels at their beauty, while this was more of an unconscious attraction to the boldness of the girls who chose to be an aberration from the norm. The girls initially evoke a feeling of sensation that Sammy has never felt– one that allows him a temporary mental escape from the dull, monotonous supermarket. Sammy’s perception, however, is reversed by the end of the story. Through the use of overt juxtaposition, stream of consciousness, and whimsical metaphors, Updike portrays the disillusionment through a young man’s eyes in a casual tone.

Updike cleverly juxtaposes the socioeconomic differences of the upper and middle classes through the story of Sammy and the girls in order to highlight the impact of their encounter. Sammy displays a sense of fascination with the upper class throughout the short story, even imagining where some of the products that the leader of the girls in bathing suits, Queenie, buys would end up. Simply because Queenie buys a pack of Herring Snacks, the more expensive of the kind in the supermarket, Sammy daydreams about Queenie’s fascinating world, where the “men wear bow ties and the women were in sandals picking up herring snacks on toothpicks off a big plate and they were all holding drinks the color of water with olives and sprigs of mint in them” (Updike). On the other hand, he juxtaposes this imagery with that of his life, where his parents have “lemonade and if it’s a real racy affair Schlitz in tall glass with “They’ll Do It Every Time” cartoons stenciled on”. The overarching theme of the story, deviation from the norm, is conveyed mostly through the juxtaposition of the attires in the supermarket. While the girls wear conspicuous “two-piece” swimsuits,  the employees wear a monotonous uniform (Updike). The sightings of the girls therefore serve as an inspiration for Sammy to ultimately quit his job in hopes of escaping the lack of individuality the supermarket had for him– nothing that distinguished him from the others, except for the name tag sewn in his pocket.

In order to bring about a casual tone, Updike utilizes the stream of consciousness to create a less structured format of writing. Sammy’s capricious character which enables him to jump off in different directions throughout the story, is revealed in this process, when he remarks on every idea that comes to his mind. Such technique eliminates the filter between the audience, and engages the audience into his private thoughts. For instance, Sammy rambles on about Queenie’s voice after she speaks, asserting that “Her voice kind of startled me, the way voices do when you see people first… so flat and dumb yet kind of tony, too, the way it tickled over…” (Updike). Even after Lengel, a co-worker in the supermarket, says what may embarrass the girls in the supermarket, Sammy adds, “His repeating this struck me as funny…thinking all these years the A&P was a great dune and he was the head lifeguard” (Updike). Although the other characters’ dialogues did not have much of a significance or deep meaning, Sammy often gave notably long remarks in his stream of consciousness in order to reveal his thought processes.

Updike further elaborates the magnitude of Sammy’s disillusionment by contrasting the whimsical metaphors at the beginning with the despondent outlooks at the end. Metaphors such as the beach as the A&P, when Lengel asserts, “Girls, this isn’t a beach”, Sammy referring to Lengel as the “Sunday-school-superintendent” or the “lifeguard” is a main analogy in this passage, while he also uses brief metaphors such as “ice cream coats” to represent pastel-colored coats, interconnecting commonplace objects with the characters or the settings (Updike). The story’s ending– epiphany of the boy of his current status in the society and a tedious outlook into his future– is a contrast to be made with the whimsical metaphor he uses in this passage.

In his short story,A&P”, John Updike well-executes his literary devices to deliver a casual tone. Through such usage, he brings into attention the self-realization of a boy in his teenage struggles. While the protagonist’s primary motives for relinquishing his job initially has been for attention, such action brings him to a mirroring of his reality and the realization of his poignant truth– his socioeconomic status that he is unable to afford the luxury of the deviation from the norm.

ARTIFACT 3- Heart of Darkness Essay Draft 1

Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” In a well-organized essay, defend, challenge, or qualify this statement. Draw upon your observation, experience, and reading, particularly your reading of Heart of Darkness, to support your position.

2 pages double spaced

When one is granted too much power, it leads to a limitless amount of freedom that eliminates the fear of being judged or condemned by one’s doings. This can lead to actions that reveal a man’s true nature. Power brings with it opportunities for choices, whether it may lead to an unwanted or desirable consequence. Hence the choices plays part in defining one’s nature. As exemplified by the characters Kurtz and Marlow from the Heart of Darkness and the historical leader Saddam Hussein, the granting of power inevitably becomes a test of a man’s character.

Kurtz is a prime demonstration of how power corrupts mankind. Kurtz’s power comes primarily from being a Caucasian male in Africa during the imperialistic era, as well as his charisma and strength of will that allow him to enrapture his audiences. He uses his charisma and eloquence by forbidding the natives to talk, while they only listen. Thus, Kurtz exploits his power in an unethical, immoral way by mystifying himself as a godlike figure and exerting power over the natives to claim all of the ivory as his own. Kurtz’s behavior shows his greed and his insatiable desire for material goods.

Marlow’s inability to react to the harsh conditions that he witnesses, despite the inherent power he possesses as a Caucasian in the colonies, exhibits a weakness and a tendency for corruption that isn’t any different from that of Kurtz. While Marlow is not directly responsible for the treatment of natives, he is just as culpable because of his inaction. When Marlow mentions Kurtz’s written report to the “International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs” containing phrases that contradict his central point of argument such as “exterminate all the brutes!”, he merely wonders at its irony rather than questioning the ethical implications of such practices. Such reaction demonstrates his hypocrisy, one that expresses discontent yet takes no movement.

Saddam Hussein epitomizes corruption due to excess power. Saddam Hussein’s true character and ambition was exhibited after he seized power over Iraq. Mass genocide, unethical propaganda, and inhumane treatment of various groups in order to keep his power was a manifestation of his immorality and merciless character. As Hussein’s power was unmitigated and thus eliminated his fear of being challenged, his actions after his rise to authority clearly defined his character.

Power reveals. Whether it may be reveal a pleasant or a displeasing characteristic of an individual, granting of power can function as a tool for having deeper outlook into the society, disguised in the form of flattery. Indeed, power can test a man’s character.

ARTIFACT 4- Frankenstein Podcast

Diary,
My dear Victor, today we became a married couple and our love is

culminating, I look forward to having the happiest days of our lives together– yet I see a hint of agitation in your gleaming eyes. When you look at me, you let out a faint, but heart-warming smile, and when I am out of your sight, I could sense your misery. Please, tell me, that dreadful secret you have mentioned on our letter. You told me that I will chill my frame with horror when I discover it. It does not matter. Whatever it may be, I will suffer with you. We are a family now– and you are not alone! I hope your distress could be alleviated if we go through it together, rather than just you in solitude. Victor, what is it that you fear? What agitates you? Watching your lonely back in this dreadful night is painful, but for now, we must get well-rested.

I retired to a room at the inn and reclined my back on a chair, each and every muscle collapsing as I entered into a state of drowsiness. Suddenly, I flinched at a loud tremor. Oh my lord! I saw in the darkness a..a…. monstrous creature! It appeared to be of a human form, skin covered with muscles and arteries, horrid eyes, grin wrinkling its cheeks, and bright white teeth gleaming under the moonlight. Is this what Victor had been hiding? It was creeping towards me in fury, as if to murderously tear me apart. Great god, help me! I led out an agonizing scream. You may take my life, monster, but please do no harm to my dear Victor.

I will not leave you–Victor– you’re not in solitude. Remember, my love, I’ll be always be with you from above.

ARTIFACT 5- Frankenstein Discussion Posts

1.

I chose to follow the theme of isolation as one of the defining themes for Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein”. The theme of isolation and alienation is represented by the protagonist and the narrator of the story,Victor Frankenstein himself.  Frankenstein pursues isolation in order to fulfill desires of his experiment. Driven by his ardent obsession with discovering and creating a ground-breaking creature, Victor Frankenstein voluntarily lives a life of solitude “in a solitary chamber, or rather cell” and “kept (keeps) my workshop of filthy creation” (P82) . When, as he continue to seek knowledge through the creature, discovers that he has in fact created a frightening, monstrous beast, Victor is still confined within the apartment, providing secrecy to his experiment and thus his monstrous creature. Hence, Victor’s prolonged alienation from the society and humanity is a decisive factor in gradually depreciating his health and humanness, a central conflict in the novel.

2.

In volume II of the novel, I also agree on your argument that solitude was portrayed in a new direction, rather than simply the negative aspects of solitude as shown in the earlier volume. Solitude in volume II primarily brought a sense of secrecy, and the much needed protection and isolation from the outer world brought Victor the opportunities to discover the truths about nature and hence create the creature. Although both forms of solitude in volume I and II were voluntary, solitude portrayed in volume II was one that evokes romantic imagery that could potentially console Victor from his troubles. For instance, Victor is “determined to go alone, for I was well acquainted with the path, and the presence of another would destroy the solitary grandeur of the scene”, appreciating the beauty of nature when viewed alone.

3.

In the chapters of volume III, the theme of alienation is especially focused upon the monstrous creature that Victor Frankenstein has created. Mary Shelly uses the theme of loneliness resulting from alienation as a decisive factor that triggers the readers, as well as Victor Frankenstein in aligning themselves with what had previously seemed like a belligerent, repugnant creature. For the monster, his alienation is the key to fulfilling his desires– to have a female companion of his kind. To convince Victor Frankenstein in making something again hat he so abhorred, The monster uses phrases such as “I am malicious because I am miserable; am I not shunned and hated by all mankind?…if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear” (169) and “I am alone, and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me.”, in order to evoke feelings of compassion and sympathy from his creator. The method worked– as Victor conceded to his request and thought “”a creature who could exist in the ice caves of the glaciers, and hide himself from pursuit among the ridges of inaccessible precipices, was a being possessing faculties it would be vain to cope with.” (172)”

4.

My story of Frankenstien revolved around a major theme of loneliness, alienation, or isolation, whichever one you prefer to call it. This theme sprouts from not simple imagination, but a more intimate, personal experience that I have had though the course of my lifetime. I believe that loneliness is one of the most dejecting feelings one can have, thus I wanted to deliver the feeling of loneliness as well as its effects on mankind. So in my novel “Frankenstein; The Modern Prometheus”, I centered some of the actions of the characters around loneliness. The primary victim of alienation in this story, is, of course, the monster, but I later expanded that disgruntled feeling into revenge, and another cycle of loneliness. For instance, alienation prompted the monster to request for a female companion to Frankenstein, and also led his feelings turn to fury once he had been rejected. Then the fury turned to revenge– a revenge on loneliness with loneliness. That is, I tried to portray the irony of someone in solitude (the monster) taking revenge of his loneliness by also giving back the similar loneliness that he has had. Since the monster did not want to feel that he is the only one alone in the world, he sought to make Frankenstein, the seed of his loneliness, lonely as well. The monster deprived Henry, Alphonse Frankenstein, all of whom are valuable to Victor Frankenstein, of life, but most of all, took the life of Victor Frankenstein’s love, Elizabeth, in their wedding day– a symbolic day for conglomeration, the antithesis of loneliness. Loneliness, as readers can infer from my novel, is an undesirable feeling that results in tragedy.

ARTIFACT 6-  SOAPS tone “Sony’s Blues”

Graphic Organizer Fiction Sony’s Blues
Subject
The general topic, content, and ideas contained in the text. What is this piece about?  What are the key points of the text? Sonny’s Blues is a story of two brothers who attempt to overcome their struggles, especially through music. The story begins with a young musician named Sonny from Harlem who is sent to prison for doing and selling drugs then moves in with his older brother. The brothers who previously were in conflict due to their irreconcilable ideologies breaks the ice when they are reunited.
Occasion
The time and place of the piece; the current situation or context which gave rise to the writing or speech. Sony’s Blues, published in 1957, is set in Harlem, New York, the birthplace of Jazz and also on its darker side, home to many poverty-stricken African Americans. As drugs and crimes are prevalent in this neighborhood, the author expresses concern for his students who may also be involved in those crimes just like Sony, the narrator’s brother.
Audience
The group of readers to whom this piece is directed. The audience may be one person, a small group, or a large group.  What qualities, beliefs, or values do the audience members have in common? The author directs this piece to no one in particular, but he is most likely delivering the message towards those who struggle to find their paths. Through the narrator’s epiphany at the end of the story when he realizes that music and Sonny are indispensable, the story may be conveying a deeper meaning in that people pursue their own passion should not be stopped by outer force or pressure.
Purpose
The reason behind the text. What does the speaker, writer, or filmmaker want the audience to do, feel, say or choose? In literature, we call this the theme of the piece. Again, the narrator is directing a message that people may not live up to others’ expectations, but each individual has a passion that allows for his or her capacity for growth. (Just like Sonny, who is addicted to heroine, has passion for music, but his shaky piano skills display that there is room for improvement in which he can work towards.)
Speaker
The voice that tells the story, or in nonfiction, the author. What do we know about the writer’s life and views that shape this text? The narrator is Sonny’s older brother, a math teacher who has lived his whole life in Harlem. The narrator lives a relatively stable life in the dark community as a father and a husband, while many live a life of poverty and crime. Although he is also well-aware and concerned about the illicit events around him, he rarely takes action to stop them.
Tone
What choice of words and use of rhetorical devices let you know the speaker’s tone? Is the tone light-hearted or deadly serious? Mischievous or ironic? Although the narrator had gone through a series of conflicts with his younger brother, his stone still displays a sense of care and sympathy for Sonny, as well as those around him. For instance, when the narrator finds out that his brother has been dealing heroin, he sympathizes for his students who also has a dull future in this neighborhood, and may end up like his brother. For Sonny alike, the author tries to understand his brother’s heroin addiction and its link to music, rather than express his strong disapproval towards drug abuse.

Entry 4- Reflection as a reader

Much more so than in writing, I have always had a difficulty in reading throughout my academic career. Reading was not an entertaining recreational activity for me, so I have encountered far less books than had I enjoyed reading for pleasure. I also read far less than some of my other peers who read on their own, as I read just and only what was required of a class. Sometimes I would justify my lack of reading with my busy life as a high school student; but nonetheless, I knew for a fact that it is hard to imagine myself with a book, even at a beach, in the near future. But despite this obstacle for me as a reader who reads mostly for school, I have learned to become a better reader this semester. Before all else, I think the first step of reading is to raise up my interest level. Whether it is background research, a Youtube clip, or an excerpt from a book I am about to read, I learned that I read best when I am interested. It was difficult, for some of the novels, particularly the Heart of Darkness, to grab my attention and increase my interest level. But when I did some basic context and background research on the novel and discovered more about the setting, I became more interested as I have already learned about imperialism in Congo in my AP World History class last year.

The next part of my quest for a better reader was of course, reading. Once I had a better grasp of what the context for my novel, fiction, or poetry was, I started reading. In my AP Literature class so far this year, I did not simply read and let the information, ideas, or themes just shift through my head as I read. Instead, I placed mini post-it notes on wherever I thought was important, significant or interesting, to come back to after I read. This method worked best for me, as annotations previously disrupted me from the focus of my reading.

I think the most integral part in becoming a better reader was by learning from others, my peers. When we had extensive class discussions after reading Heart of Darkness, After Dark, or some of the short stories, I gained an insight into others’ thoughts that broadened my knowledge in the analysis of the text. However, I felt that the online discussion forum on Turnitin.com that we had implemented while reading Frankenstein worked best, as we gave careful thoughts to each of our posts, rather than bursting out whatever that came to mind in a classroom discussion setting. I as a student also contributed best through the online discussion by providing information rich in content, rather than the verbal discussion in class that had to be done in a short amount of time. Fishbowl discussions especially hindered my ability to talk, since frequency, as well as quality of our discussion was essential, I was often unable to do so in a constricted amount of time. Nonetheless, discussions on our reading contributed significantly to my understanding of the text; I was able to catch details and information that I would have otherwise conveniently overlooked when reading simply by myself. Although I am not a great reader now, I hope to use the skills I have learned thus far this semester to become a better reader.

Entry 5- Goals

Q1:1. This quarter, I would like to expand my knowledge on various notable works of literature. By reading such works, I want to also adapt or learn from other authors’ writing styles.

2. I really want my own distinctive voice in my own writing. I would also like to develop on my writing skills so that I can write without much struggling in the beginning.

For the most part, I thought my quarter I goal should be more like the entire year’s goal. Developing a distinctive voice may not all be done in a quarter’s time frame, thus it may be better to have more specific goals leading up to the larger goal for the entire year. I thought my goal as a reader was also quite vague, as I would probably expand my knowledge on various works of literature simply by being part of the class anyways. Thus, it may be better to also have more specific goals for reading, such as annotating as I read along, analyzing the text without relying on Sparknotes, etc.

Q2:

So far in the 1st quarter, I think I have definitely expanded my knowledge of some works of literature through reading various short stories, as well as two books, the Heart of Darkness and Of Mice and Men. Although I am still in the process of developing my own distinct voice in my writing, I think I am improving writing by writing, in conveying my own voice. In the 2nd quarter, I hope to develop a firm understanding of the AP FRQ writing. Because I did not take AP Language as most people did, I am having a hard time writing the free response essays in a way that I could be awarded higher than 5 points. This quarter, I will practice more, read the rubrics over and over, and read various examples until I can almost master the skills needed for an AP essay.

My 2nd quarter goal seems to be less vague than my 1st quarter’s, as I had a better idea of how this course was structured, and what areas I have to improve on. As I was quite unsure about my FRQ writing due to my inexperience with English as an AP course, the resources that have been provided by Mrs. Brayko’s were useful in understanding the FRQ section, and guiding my FRQ writing as well. I think I have achieved my goal of developing a better understanding of FRQ in the 2nd quarter, especially after having read some of those resources.

Q3:

In the upcoming semester, I hope to become a more sophisticated reader and writer, specifically by annotating the text and writing my essays in a less rigidly structured format. When annotating the text, I think I may have a better grasp of what I read rather than simply rushing through the book, and also develop analysis skills needed later in my writing. By also writing in a less rigid, less typical format, I think I can perhaps escape the typical format that I’ve been adhering to, but still address all of the necessary components of an essay in a more subtle way. Sophisticated writers often write in such ways, thus by first reading some of those writings and first mimicking some of those structures, I think I can expand on my breadth of knowledge in writing.

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