Archive for : May, 2019

Unit 2, Short Story Blast: Essential Question

To what extent are stories also the human story, my story?

Upon pondering this question, I was reminded of the saying “it’s a small world.” Often living with international circumstances forces you to experience this every day and have similar positive experiences. We have so many characteristics that are common no matter race, gender, religion, and socioeconomic status purely because of the experiences we’ve had. When I was reading Sonny’s Blues I felt connected to the main character Sonny. Throughout the story, Sonny struggles with his life in Harlem as he wants to move away to create music, however, he ends up confined to prison. Sonny experiences an internal struggle with breaking away from the societal norms of an African-American man. Although we deal with different societal norms, I often feel the pressure that society has to be one archetype of a woman. Even though feminism is aiding in changing these archetypes, I still feel the burden of having to act or look a certain type of way. In Asia, in particular, the “look” is to be skinny and “acting” is to be polite and quiet. It’s hard to conform when you don’t match the look as well as your personality seems to overexceed expectations. Here, I have struggled with identity and the societal norms of my environment. Although Sonny and I have different backgrounds, our stories are similar in fighting internal battles. Everyone is interconnected no matter their race, gender, religion and socioeconomic status.

Unit 5, “Family Ties”: Essential Question

What are the complexities and paradoxes of “family”?

This is an intricate and condensed question that arose one day in a class discussion. It forced me to reflect on literature that focused on family and what I thought about my own people. I realized that sometimes the people who are blood-related to you are some of the people who understand you the least.

Growing up in the greater area of southeast Asia, I was isolated from my family who was grounded in Australia, even more so after my parents got fed up from visiting and having to explain our “international” lifestyle. Their judgment was one of the factors that made me question my identity. I constantly question where am I from? and who am I? While I was an outsider from my family in Australia, I’m also a white woman living in a Chinese influenced city in Asia. I identify more with Chinese people than Australians and the paradox of feeling connected to one culture, but also being judged by my family is what I continue to struggle with.

It’s questionable that while my grandma preaches Romans 14:10 “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…”, she continues to judge me for not identifying with the family. How can I politely explain that I don’t feel connected to what she is most proud of? It’s a complex question to have and creates tension between not only me and my extended family but immediate family and extended. 

Semester 2 Reflection: “Final Reflection”

This year in AP Literature has been a meaningful experience. In my earlier years of high school, I thought I had strong analytical writing skills, public speaking, and reading. It turns out I neede a lot of fine-tuning and practice to become a stronger student in English. It was a good wake up call and believe many of the skills I learned can be easily transferred to my college writing classes.

The second semester started off slow and I soon learned that the class would be doing a lot of practice for the AP test in May. However, we first began to finish our third unit which focused primarily on William Shakespeare’s work. One of the first assignments of the semester I included was a performance and reflection on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. It was good practice as it helped me gain insight into what effected drama and public speaking is. I also began to start to understand the intricacies of the two main character’s, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, in the play Hamlet as they also appear in that Shakspeare play. Overall, the unit on Hamlet forced me to read a different type of English and discuss the plays with meaning and strong analytical skills.

Moving past unit three, the class focused on learning about big topics such as romanticism and essentialism. This carried into the new project that would allow us to read a novel of our choosing and prepare a lecture to present to the class. I chose Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close written by Jonathon Safran Foer. The novel follows the story of a nine-year-old boy named Oskar Schell who is grieving his father’s death that occurred during 9/11. This might possibly be the first book I enjoyed in a very long time. Oskar was a compelling character and the book included repeating images as well as letters from Oskar’s grandfather. Going into the final part of the project I felt confident with the three different lectures we had to create on our novels. My three included analysis on character development, symbols as well as literary devices used throughout the novel. I practiced my three lectures on photobooth and in front of my parents so I could get a critique on what I needed to look out for. Here, I was able to perform my lecture at a high level and I was able to exceed in competencies such as SC1.1, SC1.2, SC8, SC14, etc. One thing I would do differently next time is to explore the meaning behind the images and letters from Oskar’s grandfather. This would prove to be interesting as all three of my lectures focused on Oskar and did not explore the role of other characters in the book.

Unit five posed a different threat as we moved into writing more in-class essays and had a challenging style paper. In all of the in-class writings that I added to my portfolio, I achieved either a seven or higher score. At the beginning of the year, I was in range to basically get a two on the AP exam but after practice, I was confidently in the meeting to exceeding the range. One particular in-class writing I was proud about was question two where we were prompted to analyze a short excerpt from Moon Tiger written by Penelope Lively. It helped that is was an interesting excerpt, however, I focused on the literary devices that helped explore the complex relationships between the characters. This piece shows my success in learning how to apply different literary devices to reading and being able to stay authentic to my style of writing. In addition to in-class writings, we had to do a style paper on our chosen classic novel. I decided to read Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen. Here too I focused on the literary devices Austen employed when developing characters throughout the novel. Although this paper is not my best performance in writing, I hit some main targets that I have been looking to improve all year. Next time it would be beneficial for me to turn in a first draft as I can get feedback on what I have already written. I would then be able to look at the comments and shape my paper into a more concise piece. In addition, one thing I did struggle with towards the end of the year (being honest here) was my time management and understanding the importance of deadlines. As someone who enjoys reading and writing, it’s important to stay up to date with the calendar as it helps the class and assignments move smoothly.

This past month has been focused on preparing for the AP test. It was helpful to have the optional in-class writings as I could look over prompts and plan out what I would write about. Further, practicing MCs in class was beneficial to understanding the feeling of the test. Regardless of my result on the AP, I am happy about the growth I have achieved throughout the year. As I move into college I feel that I can use many of the skills I attained throughout the course. I might not be an English major, but I am interested in pursuing different classes that explore a variety of types of literature. Thank you for a great year!

U3: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern – Performance and Reflection

During this unit, we were focusing on William Shakespeare’s plays such as Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. In this particular assignment, the goal was to perform a scene from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and then reflect on what we had done well. I’ve included this in my portfolio because I think it plays to my strengths which is public speaking. We didn’t get that many opportunities to practice throughout the year besides this assignment, novel lecture, and great poet’s project. My partner was Riana and we decided to perform a scene (page 42) that had a lot of energy to engage the audience. Some of drama/public speaking techniques we took into consideration was body language/positioning to open up and draw the audience to our dialogue. We also harnessed a lot of different tones of voice as speaking in a monotone voice would not be that interesting! Overall, I think this was a successful assignment as I got to grow in my public speaking.

Example of the scene below:

ROS: Heads. (He picks it up and puts it in his money bag. The process is repeated.) Heads. (Again.)

ROS: Heads. (Again.) Heads. (Again.) Heads.

GUIL (flipping a coin): There is an art to the building up of suspense.

ROS: Heads.

GUIL (flipping another): Though it can be done by luck alone. ROS: Heads. GUIL: If that’s the word I’m after.

U5: Style Paper

In short, this assignment focused on the novel we were reading in class and analyzing it to write a style paper. To be honest, this assignment was particularly challenging from the lack of guidance and ambiguity of what students should writing about. Nevertheless, I perservered and ended up with a piece of writing that I felt fairly confident about. I chose to write about Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, as it had many compelling stylistic features as well as an intriguing love story. The three main points I made were Austen harnessed imagery, point of view and diction to dramatize the character development throughout the novel. I chose chapter forty-three as it had a lot of descriptive language and focused on a major character change in Elizabeth Bennett (the main character). It also included a shift in the tone of friendship between Elizabeth and Darcy who had somewhat despised each other at the beginning of the book. Overall, I performed well on this piece, however, one thing I could have improved on is turning in a first draft which would have allowed feedback to shape my paper more effectively. This assignment also taught me to ask questions when I am confused about what direction to take when analyzing a classic novel, such as Pride and Prejudice.

Click here to read my style paper!

 

 

U5: Question 2 In Class Writing

In class, writing is a great way to practice for the AP exam as well as develop skills to analyze and think about literature in a meaningful way. This particular exam focused on a short excerpt from Moon Tiger written by Penelope Lively I developed my writing into five different paragraphs. The first included an introduction of the piece as well as my thesis statement which was, “through the point of view, diction and … the author reveals the complex relationships within the family.” I think went on to write three supporting paragraphs that included the three literary devices I would be tackling. I received a 9/9 which is the highest I’ve scored this year and a good point to see what my writing has grown into. I am no able to carry my thesis throughout the entire essay as well as utilize stronger diction from the reading we’ve done in class this year. Refer to the pictures below to get a glimpse of how I am writing!

U4: Question 1 In Class Writing

This is another example of my in-class writing and a great area of my growth. At the beginning of the year, I was scoring in the high 3 and low 4 range because I lacked skills to actually analyze poetry in an effective way. Unfortunately, I misplaced my writing so will not be able to display it, however, I included the prompt as well as the scoring I received on my writing. It was a 7/9 on the writing scale which is higher than any in-class writing the entirety of the semester one.

 

U5: Question 3 In Class Writing

This in-class writing is a good example of my growth in AP Lit. I think that in-class writings help me improve my timed reading analytical skills as well as preparing me for the May AP test. In this writing, the class was tasked with writing about about “a novel or play in which a central figure’s name gives access to that character’s ambiguity or complexity.” I was stumped on this question for a while as none of the listed novels or plays resonated with me, so I wrote about Harry Potter, in particular, the fifth book in the series. This was a risky move as the Harry Potter is not deemed with “literary merit”, however, I stuck with it an executed the writing to achieve a 7/9. I wrote about Lucifer, one of the main antagonist’s father figures, and discussed how this has devil like connotation as in the Bible they refer to the devil as Lucifer. I think continued to discuss how Lucifer is a symbol of hope even though he has devil like characteristics. Overall, I was confident with my piece and thought it was well written. Mrs. Brayko’s comments were helpful as next time I need to be more prepared with a question three by thinking through the novels listed.