U5 Portfolio Growth and Achievement Reflection

End of Year Reflection

  1. When looking at my Unit 3 – 6 portfolio, I see my greatest achievement has been. . .


When looking at my Unit 3-6 portfolio, my greatest achievement has been the novel lecture theme presentation. While it is not the highest scored/graded achievement, I felt that it allowed for a lot of growth for me, especially when it came to accountability and persistency. For example, the majority of the preparation work that I did came in the last two days, where I just realized that I had a presentation around the corner. With the quarantine in effect and virtually unlimited time on my hands, I decided to leave it till the end for no reason. However, this did not mean that I did not learn anything from this; on the flipside, I learnt how to look at a character in a more academic light, as other character analysis’ were more summary than substance. This, I guess, was the impetuous to change, fuelled my drive to change and become a person I want to be.


  1. When looking at my feedback on my work and Mastery Data (as found in Schoology), I noticed. ..


I noticed that my work ethic is rather subpar, as I tend to submit a lot of things late, or just simply don’t put enough effort in my work. Instead of really focusing on the important tasks, I tend to be easily distracted and ramble on about things that have no meaning in the context of writing papers. However, I also noticed that I tended to do the best on presentations, though having a whole class stare at you while you present is rather nerve-wracking. I never expected, that in a writing class, I would be able to articulate better verbally than through paper.


  1. Considering most of second semester was virtual learning, I’d like to say. . .


That I think I did the best that I could given the situation; yes, parts of my work were done shoddily, but between the whole coronavirus and me leaving my friendgroup of 4 years, I think I performed admirably. And yes, while this may seem rather redundant to you, Mrs. Brayko, having read a lot of reflections talking about how people have changed, I’ve learnt a lot more about myself that I didn’t really know before. I took the time to reach out and connect with others, took initiative to continue my senior project although opting out of it, I accepted myself for who I am, and tried to make changes.


  1. When reviewing my goal for Semester 2, I can say that I . . .


I achieved my goals, though it really came with a sacrifice. Heading into Semester 2 I had two goals; the first one was to somehow stave off senioritis, and the second one was to spend more individual time reading books that caught my fancy, like Lolita, works by Friedrich Nietzsche, etc.


The first goal I achieved with some issue; I handed everything on time, though there were some mishaps with the senior project process journals. In spite of this setback, I completed my work with a gusto, and although it may not be the best pieces of work that I have ever written, I tried my best, given the situation. In other words, I struggled with motivation and the general sense of caring for school. Everything was pointless (my inner nihilist came out)


The second goal I achieved with no issues; given the lack of social interactions, I turned to books, and I managed to somehow finish Plato’s Republic, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and Lolita.


  1. U3: How is a writer’s voice and writing style significant to the meaning of a text?


I suppose, like everything, a writer’s voice and writing style is only significant in terms of the context, the subtleties that many readers often skim over and ignore for the action. I feel that a writer’s voice and writing style is not what makes or breaks the story; it only enhances the story for readers to appreciate.


Stories are not singularly unique; they are oftentimes an intriguing twist on a certain situation, and can be summarized into an introduction, a climax, and a conclusion. However, a meaning of a text contained within a story can be twisted in various ways and fashion with the writer’s voice and writing style.

Perhaps what sets this story apart from others is that it comes from a servant who is forgetful and causes issues around the household all the time. It may be a comedy, people running around trying to fix the problems, but it also can be a tragedy, as the servant may inadvertently, through their actions, kill someone. Or it could be a thriller. The author’s voice and writing style dictates how we see the world, and how we interpret it from the protagonist’s point of view.


U3: AP Q2 Revision

Hamlet is a tragedy written by the legendary playwright William Shakespeare hundreds of years ago, following the Prince of Denmark, Hamlet, on his quest to find his father’s murderer and avenge him. Throughout the play, Hamlet is portrayed as mysterious and erratic, leaving him prone to lapses in judgement, and grappling with the basic tenants of morality. As can be seen throughout this passage of Hamlet, Act IV scene 3, Shakespeare utilizes a multitude of literary devices and techniques, like creating analogies to play the role of a madman, vent his rage towards his mother’s incestuous marriage, and make veiled threats.

Firstly, Hamlet’s interaction with others varies differently as events begin to unfold before his very eyes, oftentimes prompting bursts of rage, or a long lyrical and waxing monologue. When in the company of others, Hamlet’s interactions are often curt, though it largely depends upon context. His obsession with his father’s ghost and belief that Claudius orchestrated his father’s murder causes him to act naively and impulsively; he murders Polonius with no regard for his identity. This, backed up by the opening of the passage, where Hamlet is rather dismissive when responding to his foster father/uncle, is telling of the fact that his behaviour is not of the norm; he shows no proper decorum and deference to his king when asked a question, rather leading him through an anecdote. Without proper context, from the outside looking in, Hamlet seems to have lost the precious few marbles he had, as he seems to be openly defying his Uncle, the current King of Denmark.

Secondly, Hamlet vents his rage for his mother’s rather incestuous marriage in the last couple lines of the passage, where Hamlet is considering the journey to England. He says “Farewell, dear mother”, when addressing Claudius and saying goodbye. When pressed to call him father, Hamlet explains his reasoning, that “father and mother is man and wife; man and wife is one flesh; and so, my mother.” In essence, Hamlet is insulting Claudius by calling him a woman. However, it is my belief that this insult is one that is meant to harm his mother as well, as Gertrude married Claudius only weeks after his father’s death. Hamlet seems to be very disapproving of the fact that Gertrude had committed such an incestuous act to the point where he doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that he has a stepfather. It is either that or the fact that Hamlet is unsure of whether his uncle/stepfather really murdered his father for the throne.

Finally, Hamlet is rather aloof when asked about Polonius’ death, and even has the gall to threaten Claudius through a rather twisted analogy that is fixated upon a king’s eventual demise through a fish of all things. The anecdote is rather easy to comprehend at first; that a fisherman with a worm that has eaten a king can eat the fish that has fed on the worm. This alludes to the fact that Claudius is as susceptible to death as everyone is in the circle of life. This, in conjunction with the way Hamlet has seemingly undermined Claudius’ entire claim to the throne by hinting at his father’s murder, seems to imply that Claudius’ time on the throne will not stand the rest of time, as he will soon perish much like his brother did. This can be seen from the way Hamlet talks about hell, and how Claudius will be seen there, especially when Hamlet talks about Polonius’ death, saying that he’s in “heaven” and that Claudius can “seek him in the other place himself” when he reaches his eventual demise within the month.

In conclusion, the style of Hamlet’s speech, concealed metaphors, and threats are used to convey Hamlet’s real motives, especially when Hamlet decides to feign madness, to prove a point about his mother’s marriage, and to unsettle King Claudius.

U3: Hamlet Act I (Hamlet annotation sample)

Reading a Shakespearean play can be difficult.  It is best to take it slow and continuously seek to recap what you have learned from the evidence provided, thus creating a summary of main events in your mind (or on paper).  Essentially, you are working on close reading skills.  For now, we’re mostly concerned with Plot and Characters.  To get you started, I will provide the CONCLUSION, you provide the EVIDENCE and the LOCATION.  For each statement, write the quote/quotes that FIRST give you, the reader, this bit of information.  Put the act, scene and line(s) and speaker, as well.  An example is provided.


BEFORE you begin, carefully read THE PERSONS OF THE PLAY.  Note that Prince Hamlet’s father is also named Hamlet!



Conclusion: The play opens with two guards exchanging the watch at midnight.

Evidence: Opening stage directions AND Barnardo “‘Tis now struck twelve. Get thee to bed, Fransisco.” I.i.7  (AKA: Act I Scene I line 7)


Scene 1

Conclusion: The watchmen have been seeing a ghost.



Marcellus: “Peace, break thee off. Look where it comes again” I.i.40

Marcellus: “That, if again this apparition come,” I.i.27


Conclusion: Just when Horatio seems to make progress with the ghost, the sun started coming up and the ghost leaves.


Horatio: “Stay, illusion” I.i.128

Marcellus: “‘Tis gone.” I.i.142: 


Extend and predict: 

The ghost will come back and Hamlet’s murder/items he is wearing will be revealed in depth as people start coming to conclusions about the succession.


Scene 2

King Claudius has replaced the Dead King Hamlet and has married his Queen (his former sister-in-law)


Claudius: “Therefore our sometime sister, now our Queen… taken to wife.” I.ii.8-I.ii.14


There are tensions between Denmark and Norway which are remnants of a previous war. 


Gertrude: “Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off, And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark” I.ii.70


Conclusion: Hamlet’s mother Gertrude doesn’t seem overly upset about her first husband’s death.


Gertrude: “Seek for thy noble father in the dust. thou know’st ‘tis common; all that lives must die, Passing through nature to eternity. I.ii.71


Conclusion: Hamlet privately reveals how angry and upset he is at his mother for remarrying so quickly.


Hamlet: “She married… with such dexterity to incestous sheets!” I.ii.156


Conclusion: While speaking with his friend Horatio, Hamlet is told Horatio has seen his father adorned in armour, and as a ghost.


Horatio: “Two nights together had these gentlemen, Marcellus and Barnardo, on their watch in the dead waste and middle of the night been thus encountered. A figure like your father.” I.ii.196


Conclusion:  Hamlet suspects foul play in his father’s death.


Hamlet: “I doubt some foul play.” I.ii.256


Extend and predict:

Hamlet might eventually go on to murder his mother in revenge for marrying his uncle so quickly


Scene 3

Conclusion:  Hamlet has a love interest in Ophelia.


Laertes: “Then if he says he loves you” I.iii.24


Conclusion: Laertes’ father is perhaps a “helicopter parent”. 


Polonius: “Look thou character… farewell. my blessing season this in thee! I.iii.59-80


Extend and predict: 

Marcellus and Horatio are going to know that the ghost is real and begin to solve the mystery of his murder


Scene 4-5

Conclusion: Hamlet is eager to hear what his father’s ghost has to say/reveal, but Horatio is cautious.


Hamlet: “Go on; I’ll follow thee.” I.iv.78

Horatio: “He waxes desperate with imagination.” I.iv.87


Conclusion: The ghost speaks!


King Hamlet: “Mark me.” I.v.2


Conclusion: King Hamlet had been murdered.


King Hamlet: “Murder most foul, as in the best it is, I.v.25


Conclusion:  The murderer was Claudius.


King Hamlet: “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown.” I.v.39


Conclusion: Marcellus and Horatio are sworn to secrecy about seeing the ghost.


Marcellus and Horatio: “Not I, my lord, by heaven.” I.v.120 


Conclusion: Hamlet reveals to Horatio that he will begin acting differently from now on, even “clownish”.


Hamlet: “How strange or odd some’er I bear myself ” I.v.170


Conclusion: Hamlet feels he must set right the wrong that has been done, but he isn’t happy about the task.

Evidence/Speaker/location: “O cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right!” / Hamlet / I.v.188


Conclusion: Act I ends

Evidence/Speaker/location: “Nay, come, let’s go together.”/ Hamlet/I.v.190


Extend and predict:

Future issues were foreshadowed, and in this journey of revenge, Hamlet is going to end up facing many consequences. 


What questions has this act has evoked for you? (Bring them to a class discussion)

Is this book a tragedy? If so, will the romance between Hamlet and Orphelia end like Romeo and Juliet?


What consequences will Hamlet’s desires for revenge evoke? Will Hamlet end up with Ophelia? Will Hamlet kill his uncle as his uncle killed his father? Is the ghost a kindred or evil spirit?


Which relationship most intrigues you so far and why?

The relationship that most intrigues me so far would be the Queen and Claudius, as what convinced her to so quickly ditch and abandon hamlet to marry the new king?


 Perhaps you noticed some of these topics.  If so, jot some notes/thoughts:

Murder – King’s death

Revenge – Hamlet’s journey/quest

Mystery – King’s death

Two faced – Polonius