Final Reflection

When looking at my Unit 3 – 6 portfolio, I see my greatest achievement has been. my novel lectures. Beloved was a very challenging read for me, and the detailed, multi-faceted analysis that we did for our lectures was very rewarding to me. There were several points while reading, where I had to stop in order to think about what was really going on beneath the surface. For example, I remember there’s a chapter where Morrison is describing a slave ship in very figurative and metaphorical language that took me a few reads to understand. This is the sort of thing that I probably wouldn’t have done before taking AP Lit—I would’ve previously kept reading on with a surface-level understanding—so I’m proud of the growth that I have experienced with respect to engaging with literature, and hope I can maintain that as I continue reading in life. There was a lot of complexity to the book that I did not understand at first glance, but I spent a long time pondering the book after I had finished, and a lot untangled itself only at this point. I grew to understand not just what Morrison was saying about the intensity of the scars of slavery, but also her perscription for how America should address the issue. I think I walked away with a pretty deep understanding of the novel and am proud of what I accomplushed.

 

When looking at my feedback on my work and Mastery Data (as found in Schoology), I noticed that I have demonstrated competency with respect to all learning standards. With one exception, my summative work is all marked exemplary this semester. In the Mastery section, all competencies are 75%+, with most above 90%.

 

Considering most of second semester was virtual learning, I’d like to say. . . One of my goals coming into the class was that I wanted to force myself to read a lot more.  That didn’t happen during the first semester—I only read one novel outside of class—but quarantine has certainly made it happen: trapped inside, I’ve been doing much more reading. Of course, I would prefer a world without quarantine and will be quick to complain if prompted, but for AP Lit, I think it has actually to some extent enhanced my learning. I’ve been reading almost every day and find myself comprehending  and engaging with work that in previous years I would’ve been nervous to touch, such as Murakami.

 

When reviewing my goal for Semester 2, I can say that I have made incremental progress. My main goal was to focus on submitting my work on time. I submitted fewer assignments late this semester, but that number is still non-zero, so there is certainly still room for improvement. This is definitely something that I will have to improve on in college very quickly because the consequences won’t be so lenient. My second goal for this semester was to improve my writing. Looking back on the semester, we actually didn’t do very much writing. I spent quite a bit of time on my poem, and, while I appreciated the challenge of a villanelle, I’m actually more happy with last semester’s poem. My in-class writings and revision were a lot tighter in my opinion, but I didn’t make as much progress as I had hoped. Writing will obviously be something that I continue working on for so long as I am writing anything, which is—fingers crossed—a very long time. Argumentative writing comes quite naturally to me from Forensics, but because we rely solely on our memory there, I feel that I am not so good at weaving in evidence beyond logical justifications. This manifested itself in this class as my difficulty of utilising textual evidence precisely, and is definitely something that I want to continue to work on.

 

EQ Reflection: How is a writer’s voice and writing style significant to the meaning of a text?

I developed a much greater appreciation for the impact of style and voice on a text this year after reading highly-stylised fiction like Heart of Darkness and Beloved. In Heart of Darkness, especially, I was taken aback by the impact of the style itself on the meaning of the work—probably because we did a style analysis of this piece. Although I only truly realised and became able to articulate the impact of style this year, it has always been there. Style is distinct from symbolism or allusion in that it can have a profound effect on the reader even if he or she is completely unaware of its significance. For example, Conrad’s long, heavy paragraphs with generous use of figurative language develop the Congo’s atmosphere, making it believable that the Congo drives people mad. (After all, hearing another word about rivets may have made me gone mad.) Heart of Darkness’s style is especially important because of its use of a framed narrative. Marlow’s flowery storytelling, especially when contrasted with Kurtz’s writing, makes him just as untrustworthy as anybody else. Unlike with Kurtz, however, the book doesn’t point this out for us, allowing the power of style to assert itself unrestrained. This truly amazed me and is something that I had never considered before, even when reading other works with framed narratives like The Great Gatsby or The Things They Carried. This was something that I discovered when reading the literary criticisms at the end of the Norton Edition of the novella, and it really pushed forward my understanding of the text. Even if it exists otherwise, thinking about and articulating the impact of style is certainly something I will continue to do, if only for the sake of improving my own writing.

 

 

U3 Hamlet Act 2

Ask and Answer for Hamlet Act 2

In Hamlet’s soliloquy (Act 2, Scene 2), which lines do we see a dynamic change where Hamlet finally discovers his master plan? On line 600, Hamlet interrupts his previous line of thought, interjecting “Hum—” Immediately after, he details how he has heard that “guilty creatures” (601) will confess their guilt upon seeing the scene recreated. On line 607 he makes his idea explicit, where he proposes to uses the players to renact the scene of King Hamlet’s murder. He ends the scene by stating “The play’s the thing / Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.”

Question: What is the significance of the switch from iambic pentameter when Polonius and the King and Queen are speaking to prose with Hamlet?

Semester 1 Reflection

  1. When looking at my Unit 1 and Unit 2 portfolio, I see my greatest achievement has been my Great Poets Teaching Project. This was one of my highlights of the year. I had every expectation of hating poetry in AP Lit. I came into the class viewing it is a necessary evil to get to the more fun work with short stories and novels. However, I was very pleasantly surprised with how engaging and fun I found the poetry unit, especially in GPTP.  I had always viewed rhymes and meter and figurative language in poetry as sort of meaningless obfuscation of the writer’s message. Why couldn’t they make their point directly in prose? However, through a close study of Poe’s work, I learned how even structure and meter can have a very meaningful impact on how a listener reacts to a poem.
  2. When looking at feedback on my work, I see I still struggle with my rewrites of the AP questions. I think I may still have a slightly inaccurate view of what exactly I’m supposed to be doing in these assignments; I’ve been very hesitant to make substantial revisions to my work because I thought we were only supposed to make minor tweaks. I also have trouble with the AP writing assignments in general. Literary analysis is rather new to me, so doing it in a timed environment is still difficult. I function better when I have time to read and reread a piece to examine each detail carefully. Next semester, I should do more practices with the questions in exam-conditions. 
  3. When looking at my process piece, the short story interpretation, (drafts 1 – 3) this was my approach to improving that work: My first draft was very skeletal. I reread the story, then noted down everything I wanted to say. After that, I went back to the short story and highlighted all passages that provide evidence for my ideas and added them into the paper. That was the draft I brought into class for peer reading. Mehek’s feedback to me was very helpful. Although I had a very clear idea of the ideas I wanted to communicate, it was clear that those ideas did not come across to Mehek when she read my first draft. Thus I spent the majority of my revision time working on my clarity. The links between my textual evidence and my claims were weakly explained, so I worked on making the connection more explicit. I also restructured my piece so that the ideas flowed more naturally.
  4. When looking at my Mastery data in Schoology for this course, I notice that I have a strong mastery of most topics. Next semester, I should work on objectives C5, C9, and F3.2. I haven’t been focusing much on my diction (i.e. C9) because I’ve been focusing more on improving my analytical skills. Now that I am in a more comfortable place with my analysis, I’ll be able to pay more attention to word choice in the next semester and raise my proficiency in that standard. The other standards suffer from a lack of data points, so I’m not sure if they’re truly representative of my ability. I think I should be able to raise my mastery in both of them next semester when we have more assignments for each.
  5. Having reviewed the semester’s reading, writing, speaking, listening, and critical thinking, as well as my collaboration, creativity, and resilience, I have two goals for Semester 2. First, I want to be more disciplined with my homework. This semester I handed in a number of formative assignments late because I didn’t feel I could meaningfully complete the assignments by the deadline. Next semester, I want to work on planning my time more efficiently so that I am completing things punctually. Academically, I want to work more on my writing style. I’m very satisfied with how my analytical skills have grown, so this is the next logical step for me. Hopefully, I will experience similar growth with respect to writing skills next semester.

 

  1. My relationship with creative writing is changing. Creative writing has never come to be naturally. I struggled with two things. First, I always felt that my meaning would be more effectively communicated with a more direct approach, the type I’ve learned from my experience in Forensics. Second, my writing always seemed to be unimportant. I didn’t have any profound world-changing ideas to communicate. AP Lit has started to change my relationship with both of these feelings. Studying poetry revealed that creative writing is not necessarily less efficient than direct prose. Writing my own poetry changed the latter idea. By drawing on my own experiences, I was able to write something that was meaningful to myself. Even if it had no impact on any other person, it was still impactful insofar as it was an outlet for me to express and understand myself. This can be seen in my poetry emulation. Even though I wasn’t speaking to a game-changing perspective, it was something which was genuine to myself.