Final Reflection

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

For me, my greatest achievement would certainly my completion of the novel Heart of Darkness. Although short, it was definitely a challenging read. This novel truly tested the analysis skills that I’ve accumulated throughout high school. Past the difficult language or the book, I spent a lot of time simply discussing the themes, symbolism, characters, and more with my book group.

In the end I was able to attain a good grasp upon the book, and as a result felt comfortable and prepared coming into tasks such as the novel teaching table to both introduce the story concisely, and go in depth into the figurative language.


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

I’ve done substantially better compared to last semester, and as a whole I’ve quite consistently hit EE marks.


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

I don’t think virtual learning affected me too much. If anything, it might have upped my productivity as I naturally had more time on my hands. However, at times I did feel that perhaps, combined with being a second semester senior, there slightly less motivation. Regardless, I’ve made sure to stay on task and compared to last semester I was certainly more timely and efficient with completing classwork.


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

My goal at the end of semester 1 was to spend more time addressing areas of weakness based on feedback from my teacher. I believe I have been able to do this quite well. However, I definitely had some goals that I didn’t include in that reflection. For example, getting better at timed writing or being more timely with my work. I think for both of these I made an effort to improve and the results have shown it. I felt more comfortable with timed writings, especially Q2s, and I was able to sit the AP exam feeling confident of my analysis and writing abilities.


How does literature get to the “heart of the matter”?

I’ve always that most meaningful pieces of literature had some sort of “moral of the story”. For the most part this has been true. However, as I’ve tackled more complex literature I’ve found it harder and harder to figure out exactly what this moral might be. Simultaneously, I’ve also picked up new skills and tools that allow me to pick apart pieces of literature. I’ve found that authors employ various literary devices to some “heart of the matter” in more subtle manners. For example, as I discovered while reading Heart of Darkness, figurative language was used as a means to explore the hypocritical and futile nature of imperialism.

After this class I’ve found that perhaps literature gets to “the heart of the matter” more effectively than other mediums may allow. Complex plots and characters allow the reader to become emotionally invested in the works and as a result elicit deeper introspection and thought. Pieces such as hamlet paint scenes that both introduce profound themes such as death and get the audience thinking more deeply and forming their own interpretations of events. Moreover, it is this notion that literature can vary in their “heart of the matter” from person to person that makes it much more powerful. Each person will likely take away something from a piece of literature all equivalently viable.

U3 (F) Reduced Scene

Act 4 Scene 6
Enter Horatio and others.

Horatio: Why do they wanna talk to me?
Gentleman: They’re sailors. They have some letters for you.
[Exit Gentleman]
Horatio: Let them come in.
I bet it’s from Hamlet.
Enter Sailors
Sailor: Bless you
Horatio: Right back at ya!
Sailor: I’ve got a letter for you coming from the ambassador that was going to England. You’re Horatio, right?
Horatio: [Reads the letter.] “Horatio, give the mailman some money to bring the letters to the King. Some pirates caught us at sea, and I’m their prisoner. They’ve treated me well so far, but they know I’m a prince. Make sure the King gets these letters and come to me ASAP. I have some really dumbfounding stuff to tell you but I can only say it IRL. The mailman will bring you to me. Rosencrantz and Guildensterm are still going to England. I’ve lots to tell you about them. Bye!
‘He that thou knowest thine, HAMLET’”
Here, I’ll pay you to send these letters off.
And bring me
To the guy who gave them to you.

U3 (S) Shared Inquiry

Function of plot, characters, and/or setting within a text. (C3)
What purpose does the subplot of fortinbras serve in the play?

Function of contrasts within a text. (C3)
Do you think Laertes serves as a foil to Hamlet? In what way and how does this affect the play.

Function of a symbol. (C2)
What purpose does the king’s ghost serve in the play?


Function of specific textual details in revealing character motivation and perspective. (C2)
5.1 204
“To what base uses we may return, Horatio. Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till he find it stopping a bunghole?” – Hamlet

What might this quote reveal about Hamlet’s perception in regards to death.

Function of specific textual details in the development of theme. (C6)

2.2 610-615
“The spirit that I have seen/ May be a devil, and the devil hath power/ T’ assume a pleasing shape, yea, and perhaps/ Out of my weakness and my melancholy,,/ As he is very potent with such spirits,/ Abuses me to damn me.”

How might this quote develop the theme of uncertainty?

Novel Teaching Table



Lesson plan/notes:

Supplemental docs (sticky notes):

U4: Original Poem

Sonnet of Love

A smell that brings me back to olden days. Like tranquil breeze you softly calm my soul, Your tender warmth begets my finest praise, Without your presence I am left unwhole.

I gaze upon your flowing locks and sigh,
To leave them untouched is a heinous crime. Cut gently of the perfect breadth, porks thigh, The glistening flesh is certainly sublime.
A plethora of tastes fill up my mouth,
The broth a flawless team of salt and spice.
I loudly slurp to show that I am couth,
Then wash it down with water chilled with ice. Oh lovely ramen thou art so divine,
Of your composite I will daily dine.

U4 AP Q1 in-class essay

In the poem “Plants”, Olive Senior takes on the persona of a speaker that seems to know a greater truth and reveals the nefarious deeds of plants that happen right under our noses. However, this is simply a literary vessel to underscore the complexity of plants that most don’t realise.

Senior’s choice of diction within the first sentence sets the tone of the poem. The uncommon connection between the words plants and deceiving hooks the reader in. Normally a plant might have descriptors such as green, large, or beautiful. However, in this instance the author chooses to personify plants, giving it a human-like characteristic, something which will become a theme within this poem. Furthermore, with these initial three words, Senior embeds the idea that there is more to plants than we the reader knows.

Throughout the poem, Senior utilises a series of literary devices to overly emphasize and dramatize the existence of plants. Firstly, the structure creates these mini cliffhangers into epic reveals. This is achieved primarily through the use of enjambment. For example, “we must infer/a sinister” cuts off at infer. The reader likely questions what is next to come. What must we infer? Then the narrator hits us with his answer. Similar structuring is found in almost every line. This repeated use nears the point of ridiculousness, perhaps to say that the narrator’s words on not to be taken completely seriously.

The narrator uses a vast assortment of dramatic warfare diction to impart to the reader what is otherwise simply plant biology in a fantastical manner. By painting these wild images, she effectively grabs the reader’s attention and directs it toward the underlying facts. His description of a mangrove tree is a prime example. She writes, “armies of mangrove/on the march”. Mangrove trees are uniquely known for the way they display their roots above water. As such, though she is personifying the plant, it is a befitting descriptor. The narrator continues this technique to talk about seedlings, burrs, and flowers, things readers likely take for granted, and unveils compelling information about them.

Ultimately, what I believe the narrator aimed to do through his dramatization of plant life, was to plants (no pun intended) an appreciation for the intricacies of plant life we typically look over. Olive Senior creates absurd depictions of plants to activate the imagination of the reader. Through this the reader gleams some of the truths of plants in her narrative and perhaps comes value the flowers on their windowsill as more than just a pretty thing.

Unit 2 EQ

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


Stories typically involve tropes of some sort. For example, a hero must go find an object to save their community. This could be Lord of the Rings, or some Arthurian legend about the holy grail. It is hard for authors to avoid this, they may end up slipping them in unconsciously. Additionally, it becomes hard to write an “original” story when the tropes are so effective in building a compelling narrative. That is not to say all stories are replicas of each other. There are many more aspects to stories: characters, their development, the dialogue, environment, moral, etc. I would argue that tropes are more of something to serve as a source of familiarity to the readers. Familiarity becomes important as it can better evoke emotions from the reader. Stories become more relatable and it is easier to feel sympathy for the characters.