Semester 1 Reflection

This first semester in AP Literature has been a transformative experience. I used to think that I had most skills to be a good writer, analytical reader, and discussion participant. Now I know that in order to be proficient and successful in literature I must adopt a growth mindset and continuously work on my skills to become a better student. The semester started off slow as I was still understanding the difficult jump from AP Language to AP Literature. Instead of analyzing the way an author writes and what literary devices use, I had to start to understand the way literary devices impacted theme, character development, and storyline.

In Unit 1 the class studied poetry which was new and exciting. In particular, we worked on analyzing poems through the TPCASTT structure, writing our own poetry and preparing for one of the writing questions on the AP exam. The first assignment I included in my portfolio was the start of my journey to understanding how to analyze a poem effectively. TPCASTT was especially useful in the instance as it helped me have a structure to go through so I understood the literary devices, shifts, tone, purpose, connotation, etc. In this instance, I was analyzing Poetry written by Marianne Moore. I think this piece demonstrates how I was beginning was to bash/hate poetry, but as readers get to the last stanza we understand that in fact, we should be encouraging different perspectives through poetry. Further, this unit allowed me to harness TPCASTT when I was writing my own original poem. In this assignment I choose to use an extended metaphor, phases of the moon, to describe my high-school experience. My favorite part was the rhyming I did in the first stanza when I wrote: “14-years-old with four years ahead, don’t waste your time in high-school they said.” This not only speaks to an experience I have had, but also what I am beginning to understand as I come towards the end of my journey in high-school.

In Unit 2, my relationship with writing continued to improve but through the realm of essays. I was tasked with writing a short story interpretation which required me to analyze “A Rose for Emily”, written by William Faulkner, in depth. What I am most proud of in this assignment was my ability to reflect on comments and continue to work on to produce a better final product. The feedback I received on my first submitted draft was constructive as it lead me to continue to discuss an extended metaphor of the main character’s house. I am proud that I was able to produce better work off my proofreading and feedback. Further, I also had to do a short story interpretation for Sonny’s Blue where a group of students had to create a video. It was a collaborative project and taught me the importance of listening to others when you are reflecting/analyzing a short story. Discussing Sonny’s Blues with my other group mates helped me understand some of the themes and key literary devices more in depth. I didn’t realize how much I could learn from others. I think this project is a good exemplar of my ability to work within a group setting and still have personal/individualized contributions/reflections.

Finally, this semester ended with multiple different kinds of assignments from reading to Hamlet to short 10 minute drills in preparation for the AP exam. One assignment I wanted to include was my imagist poem because it was another good example of how I am continuously growing a a creative poetry writer. I think imagery poetry is beautiful as not many words can describe a whole scene/setting, instead of telling it exactly how it is. In this particular assignment, I wrote about the inside of a taxi and the motion of the vehicle. It touched upon SC11 which is developing a wide range of vocabulary and one target that I am trying to work on. I have realized that the one way to develop a stronger vocabulary is by reading and practicing in discussion. It has lead me to rediscover some of my favorite childhood books such as Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin. I revitalized my love to read which I felt that I had lost along the way in high-school.

As I look forward, I can’t wait for the second semester. My goal is to continue to improve my in class writing so that on the AP exam that I can analyze text in a fast and effective way. I will continue to adopt a growth mindset as I feel that is the most important part in a difficult class like such.

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