Unit 3 – Hamlet Act 2

Anna’s question: What makes the soliloquy of Hamlet such an iconic scene within the play? What did Shakespeare do to give this scene strength and beauty?

My response:

Hamlet’s soliloquy is such an iconic scene within the play because it characterises Hamlet and reveals the conflicting emotions within him. In this scene, it becomes clear that Hamlet is eager to avenge his father, but is also hesitant. Shakespeare employs rhetorical questioning to display Hamlet’s fear and lack of confidence in himself. He says, “Am I a coward? Who calls me villain? Breaks my pate across? Plucks off my beard, and blows it in my face?”, Through this, it becomes clear that Hamlet, despite wanting to take revenge, is also doubtful of himself and sees himself as a coward. Shakespeare then uses strong diction to emphasise Hamlet’s eagerness to take revenge for his father. He calls King Claudius a “blood, bawdy villain” who “treacherously” took his father’s place. Hamlet’s doubt is once again brought out when a more melancholic tone is used to speak about the ghost. He admits that the ghost “may be the devil, and the devil hath power t’ assume a pleasing shape.” He once again notes his doubts, but resolves to continue with his plan. Overall, Shakespeare uses rhetorical questioning, diction, and tone in the soliloquy to characterise Hamlet and expose his inner conflict. As a result of this soliloquy, it becomes clear to the reader that Hamlet is uncertain of himself despite his hatred for King Claudius. The contrasts in his thoughts highlight him possibly being on the verge of insanity, as well as foreshadow his actions in the rest of the play.

Question for the next person:
In the beginning of his soliloquy, Hamlet comments on the player and his ability to weep “for Hecuba.” What is the significance of Hamlet’s comments about the player?


Semester 1 Final Reflection

Final Semester Reflection

  1. When looking at my Unit 1 and Unit 2 portfolio, I see my greatest achievement has been. . . 
    I think my greatest achievement has been my Great Poets Teaching Project. It was an assignment where I felt that I reflected a deep level  understanding of poetry and literature. I think I did well on the analysis of rhetorical devices used by the author, as well as synthesis of different materials including the background and context of my poet. I considered different elements such as symbolism, imagery, allusions, and themes in careful detail and also was able to use a range of vocabulary in my analysis. As of right now, poetry has been the most difficult unit for me. I generally have more trouble analysing different poems. Because of this, I would regard this as my greatest achievement in the class so far. I think that it is a good indication of my progress in this class, as well as a reflection of all the hard work that I put into that particular unit. The Great Poets Teaching Project is an assignment that I found more challenging, but how I worked on it and pushed myself to improve is something that I’m very proud of.
  2. When looking at my feedback on my work (as found in Schoology), I see I still struggle with and/or I am improving upon. . .
    One thing I need to work on is placing more emphasis on certain areas. For example, in my short story interpretation, Mrs. Brayko suggested that I work on nuancing my sentence structures to place emphasis in the right place. In placing emphasis on specific areas, my theme could become better developed and clear. Another example would be my Dragon Notes video. I could place more emphasis on a particular stance regarding the cultural values so that the video is more “argumentative” in nature and has a clearer stance on what I believe the author is trying to convey.
  3. When looking at my process piece, __________, (drafts 1 – ?) this was my approach to improving that work. .
    When looking at my process piece, AP Q3 (Drafts 1-2), my approach to improving my work was reading over it and reflecting on the feedback from Mrs. Brayko. She said that the pieces of the puzzle were there, but I just needed to rearrange it and strengthen my topic sentences. I also looked at specific areas of my piece where she left comments. Before writing my second draft, I wrote down a quick outline of my essay. In this outline, I placed certain reminders from the rubric as well as several references to Mrs. Brayko’s comments. I then typed up the second draft.
  4. When looking at my Mastery data in Schoology for this course, I notice that. . .
    I need to work the most on C11, which is my ability to “revise (or rehearse) to utilise logical organisation and demonstrate coherence, enhanced by such things as repetition, transitions, and emphasis.” I also need to work on C10, which says “I can revise to develop a variety of sentence structures, including appropriate use of subordinate and coordinate constructions.”
  5. Having reviewed the semester’s reading, writing, speaking, listening, and critical thinking, as well as  my collaboration, creativity, and resilience, a goal I have for Semester 2 is. . .
    My goal for Semester 2 is to improve on my organisation when writing essays and analysis pieces. I can improve this through outlining and planning out my pieces more beforehand, seeing Mrs. Brayko for feedback, and overall practicing my essay writing. I can also refer to more exemplar pieces to get a better idea of how I should structure and organise my pieces.
  6. Something I would like my teacher to know is…
    Writing and reading is something that I enjoy a lot. Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to find the time to write and read for leisure. I also want my teacher to know that I feel like I generally have a deep understanding of the text, but I sometimes find it hard putting my thoughts into words or conveying them in a clear and effective way. This is also something that I’m working hard towards improving. I hope to read and write more often over the break and next semester so that I can overcome these difficulties.

Unit 2 – Essential Question

Are stories “all one story” or rewarmed versions of one another?

I don’t think that stories are all essentially one story. I believe that all stories are unique because they are written by unique individuals, people who have their own experiences and emotions and thoughts about the world. In that sense, I don’t think that stories are all one story. However, at the same time, stories are all one story in that they are all one story about the human experience. Every story, with the emotions that it conveys or the ideas that are shown, contains some components of the human experience. All stories have some things that people can relate to or understand. There are aspects that everybody understands and are common themes in stories, such as weather or seasons or friendships or night and day. I don’t think that these are “rewarmed version” of these aspects of the human story, but rather they are new insights or different perspectives of these things. Take, for example, our recent DragonNotes projects. All the short stories that our projects were based on had something to do with the immigrant experience or dealing with cultural differences within families. Despite them having this common theme, they all were different in that they had their own unique characters, perspective, and style of writing. The authors may have had similar messages, but the way in which they were portrayed and the experiences they used to portray them were all different. Through their differing stories, they may have contributed new insights or viewpoints to what life is like as an immigrant. On an even smaller level would be within those stories. My DragonNotes story, ‘Who’s Irish?’, tells the story of a Chinese woman who feels a disconnect with her American-raised daughter. While the piece tells the main story of them feeling a clash between cultures, there are multiple perspectives or sides within that story. The grandmother has a more strict, Asian, collectivist approach to life and parenting. On the other hand, her daughter believes more in freedom, self-esteem, and individualism. While they both may be experiencing the same issue – which is a difficulty understanding each other – they have different sides to the story because they experience different things and thus think in different ways. As such, they bring new insights and different point of views to the story of immigrant families in America.

Unit 2 – Short Story Written Interpretation

Mrs. Brayko’s Comments:

Olivia, This holds together quite well. I like how focused you got and that you were able to bring in your textual evidence effectively. The paper was easy to follow and included much good analysis (and a better sense of zooming in and out). Future focus: Nuancing your sentence structures to put the emphasis in the right place – more so on the development of the theme than on the techniques being utilized.

Unit 1 – AP Q1 Revision

Mrs. Brayko’s comments:

Olivia, improvement is here in the way you bring the author in at points and seek to have a stronger thesis and topic sentences. Still, HOW power leads to evil and immoral acts is not quite clear, only that they are linked. It was difficult for you to sustain the analysis and so you veer toward summary as you get further along in the paper. Future focus: Think about themes not in term of single words (power) but in phrases and sentences (power corrupts those who have it and oppresses those who don’t). See doc for details.