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!