Semester 2 Reflection

In the beginning of first semester, I remember feeling very unsure about my literary abilities. I scored very low on the AP Literature MC and my first couple of essays. Especially, for Q1 poetry prompts. I had an immense amount of trouble understanding the meaning of the poems, and remember going to Mrs. Brayko for help. Even then, I couldn’t analyse the poems she asked me to try to understand. After spending a lot of time being exposed to different poems from a variety of authors and TPCASTT’s, I have since gotten the ability to understand most type of poems. I felt confident going into the AP test and this has also translated into my in class writings. Furthermore, I feel like my writing abilities, specifically how to analyse essay passages, have improved immensely. After writing and re-writing many different essays, I now feel confident writing about any topic given.

I’m also proud of my reading skills. I have to admit that in Sophomore year I didn’t really read the books that were assigned. In Junior year I got better at this, but it is especially this year that I read every single book assigned. This is because I had the ability to choose the book that I wanted to read for the given unit. For example, I always wanted to read Shakespeare but was always too daunted to attempt to do so. Mostly because of how pre-20th century texts often confuse me. These books have enabled me to analyse Q2 prompts more accurately as well as the way I tackle my essays.

Overall, I feel like I’ve improved as a writer in every sense. My writing, reading, and analysis skills have gotten so much better. I can see the improvement not only in my rubric scores but how much more confident I feel.

Heart of the Matter Reflection

In my opinion, getting to the “heart of the matter” is delving into the deeper meaning of the novel, series, or play. They mostly discuss universal themes such as racism or moral dilemmas. It sheds light on what the authors deem important to them and in the time period they are focusing on. For example, in “Master Harold and the Boys” by Athol Fugard, Fugard focuses on racism in order to shed light on the issue in a unique way. In his case, he brought the perspectives of black servants who have a strong bond with their Master.

Literature can tackle both happy and dark topics in the “heart of the matter”. For instance, in “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller, Biff has unconditional love for his father. He gives up his American dream in order to satisfy his father’s life long dream. Biff even does this despite knowing about the affair his father had.

Q3 In Class Writing

I am really happy about my work for this essay, because I’ve written about “Night” by Elie Wiesel twice beforehand and this is the highest I’ve ever scored. In fact in the previous two times, I received a 4. In this essay, I received a high 7. I think it’s because of how many Q3 prompts I’ve practiced as well as feeling more comfortable with the prompt.

Below is the rubric and the comments:

U3 AP Q2 Revision

This rewrite was for the in class Q2 writing about a Hamlet passage. In this essay, I focused on refining my analysis of the metaphor about worms. I feel like this essay is a good indicator of how my writing has progressed for Q2 writing.

Link to rewrite:


Novel Lecture

For my novel lecture I discussed the play “Master Harold and the Boys” by Athol Fugard. My 3 selected themes were racism, dance, and character development. Mrs. Brayko randomly selected dance, and even though it was my weakest topic, I still felt like I did my best. I think I started out a bit nervous in the beginning, but that quickly faded. My classmates said that I sounded confident, so I’m really happy that my delivery ended up well.

Here are the comments from my peers:



My notecard for my lecture looked like this:


R & G Passage and Reflection

For this assignment, my classmates and I chose a scene to act out from the play “Rosencrantz and Gildenstern”.

This was my reflection of the experience:

Acting is something that makes me feel uncomfortable, mostly because of my inexperience. However, this experience was particularly insightful because everyone went all in for their scenes, making me want to do the same. I think I contributed to the ensemble by using my phone to time us to ensure that we weren’t speaking for too long. In addition, I encouraged my group members to speak naturally and with less pauses in between our lines. This is because our scene was quite humorous so making it sound natural and quick added to the comedic effect.

I think I helped add meaning to the scene by making my tone confused, because a large part of Rosencrantz and Gildenstern is how nothing makes sense. They are confusing themselves so I wanted to portray that through my acting.



Emulation/Original Poem

For this poem, I tried to emulate “His Coy Mistress” by using the same structure. In addition, I also connected a theme to the topic of time. In this case, I talked about running out of time to watch the TV show, Game of Thrones. I enjoyed using lots of imagery and descriptive words, which is different from my usual writing style.

My poem went as follows:

Had we but world enough and time,

This coyness, Game of Thrones, were no crime.

We would sit down, and think which way

To watch, and pass our long tired day.

Thou by Khal Drogo’s side

Shouldst eggs find; I by the north

Of Lannister would complain. I would

Love the Starks before the red wedding,

And you should, if you please, bend the knee.

My love for HBO should grow

Vaster than empires and more slow;

An hundred years should go to praise

Thine plot, and on thy bloody gaze;

One hour to adore each episode,

But two hours for the last;

Patience at least to every part,

And the last trying should show your heart.

For, Martin, you deserve this state,

Nor would I love at lower rate.

       But at my back I always hear

Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;

And yonder all before us lie

Deserts of vast eternity.

Thy plot shall no more be found;

Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound

My echoing longing; then worms shall try

That long-preserved secret,

And Martin’s honour turned to dust,

And into ashes all my questions;

The grave’s a fine and private place,

But none, I think, do there watch TV.

       Now therefore, while the youthful hue

Sits on thy skin like morning dew,

And while thy willing soul transpires

At every pore with instant fires,

Now let us watch us while we may,

And now, like hungry hyenas,

Rather at once our time devour

Than languish in his slow-chapped power.

Let us sit all our strength and all

Our anticipation up into one ball,

And tear our pleasures with rough strife

Through the twists and turns:

Thus, though we cannot make our sun

Stand still, yet we will chase the throne.

Semester 1 Reflection

So far my AP Lit journey has been an upward trend. In every unit I feel as if I have progressed a lot as writer and reader. In the poetry unit, I pleasantly surprised myself when I found out that I could actually write poetry; this is not a joke because in all other years my poems have been extremely simplistic and lacked any deep meaning. My relationship with reading, writing and analysing poetry has blossomed. What really helped me a lot was reading works from different authors, which inspired me to think in a different way. I have to credit Natasha Trethewey, my poet for my Great Poet’s project, for the writing style I currently have in poetry, which is free verse. Reading her works inspired me to digress from my rhyming structures and utilise other methods in order to delivering a meaningful message. Today, I am still a bit shy with regards to sharing my poetry (the Luca Lesson session was very daunting for me) but I can confidently say that my style of writing has made significant strides. Furthermore, my ability to read a poem and understand its meaning has strengthened significantly. In our first in class writing comparing 5 AM to Five Flights up, I was unable to make the connection to the two poems, mainly because I didn’t understand what the author was writing. Even with my meeting with Mrs. Brayko, I couldn’t analyse three simple poems that she gave me. It was incredibly frusterating, because I was genuinely trying my best. The strategy that helped me the most was practice doing TPCASSTs. My Great Poet’s Project helped me do this, as I did a TPCASST for every poem that I read. Ultimately leading to a significant growth in my ability to chunk and digests complex poetry.

In Unit 2, my analysis and interpret texts abilities gew. Specifically the short story essay for the Interpreter of Maladies, which made me rethink the ways I approached interpretive essays. After my conversation with Mrs. Brayko about the structure of my interpretation, I attempted to use themes to drive my essays rather than the literary devices. This made my structure and thesis a lot more solid, which translated onto my paper.

I think that Unit 3 has been the most difficult for me content wise, because I am not often exposed to Shakespearean writing style. Thus, it takes me a really long time and many times re-reading the page in order for me to get the basic gist of it. However, I am quite satisfied with the progress I’ve made with dissecting older writing styles. Specifically, the in class Hamlet prompt where I earned a 7/9 for my essay. This is quite an improvement from my first in class writing where I earned a 3/9. The drastic improvement can mostly be credited my practice in analysing different texts in order to familiarise myself with the various literary devices, which was built upon the skills I learned from Unit 2.

Essential Question – Unit 1

Unit 1: Can I invite others in to see the world through my own original poetry?

Previous to this year, poetry was a form of literature that I rarely dabbled in. I primarily focused on developing my essay writing skills as well as pursuing genres of literature that I grew up enjoying such as fiction. Thus, even in our first assignment to write an original poem, I struggled immensely. Reading it now, it sounds as if a twelve year old wrote – full of over simplistic rhyming structures and no real purpose.

It was when I started studying Natasha Trethewey for my Great Poets Project, I realised that free verse is not as intimidating as I thought. More than that, I could express my feelings in a more creative manner. I was not limited to the ABAB rhyming sequences, where I had to search up words that rhymed with what I wanted to say. Instead, I could focus on making my stream of consciousness flow.

My second original poem, Sleep Tight, had a completely different feel, purpose, and structure. I discussed my observations of what was happening around me during Typhoon Mankhut, but despite what I was seeing, I was so tired from schoolwork that I was just relieved that I could have another day of uninterrupted sleep. While this creative relief felt liberating on my part, I thought it was even more rewarding that my peers also enjoyed my change of writing style. I had the same partner, Michaela, who looked at my first original poem, and she was impressed with the amount of progress I made in such a short time. In fact, when I read this poem out loud to some of my other friends, they reassured me that my thoughts and feelings were relatable. Despite our feelings of pity for those affected by the typhoon, those who didn’t personally face the repercussions of it felt out of touch – one particular friend professing that this was the biggest blessing in disguise because of her lack of sleep and piles of schoolwork. It feels rewarding to know that the message of my poem is being better received with my change of style.

I think that my ability to invite others to experience my thoughts and feelings has been a rewarding but tough journey, but I am happy with the progress I have made so far.

In Class Writing – Hamlet

I was quite happy with the quality of work I produced in my second in class writing. While my writing could be more refined, I was satisfied with the improvement I made from the first in class writing we had (AE to EE). This piece was not graded using any rubric.