Semester 1 Reflection

When looking at my Unit 1 and Unit 2 portfolio, I see my greatest achievement has been. . . 

I think that my greatest achievement has been (at least what I am most proud of) is my work on the Great Poets Teaching Project. Not only did I greatly enjoy learning about Edgar Allan Poe, but I loved reading his work and analysing his poetry so that I could present it to me peers. I think that in that project I took great steps in my analysis skills as well as in my research skills, as there was so much information and I had to condense it to what I found important. As well as that, the project has inspired me to do more research on other writers that I admire to get a little bit more insight into their work.

When looking at my feedback on my work (as found in Schoology), I see I still struggle with and/or I am improving upon. . .

I see that I am struggling a little bit with time management this semester. Balancing school and my college applications has been difficult, and as a result I have submitted some work late. I want to be able to improve on that coming second semester, as well as finding more strategies to improve my time management, such as scheduling.

When looking at my process piece, SS Interpretation, (drafts 1 – ?) this was my approach to improving that work.

My approach to improving my work was to keep developing my argument (e.g. for the SS Interpretation Paper). I started with a basic frame of ideas and the relevant evidence, and with each draft I wanted to build on different aspects. For example, after I had got my main thesis and the topic sentences of each paragraph as well as the evidence, I wanted my second draft to be about diction in the sentences I write, as well as other aspects moving forward like sentence structure in grammar. I wanted to improve my work by having a strong foundation of concepts first, then building up into a well-rounded essay.

When looking at my Mastery data in Schoology for this course, I notice that. . . 

The majority of my grades are where I would like them to be. I am consistent in almost all of the learning targets, and have achieved mastery in all of them as well.

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. . . 

I goal I have for Semester 2 is to cultivate my reading skills, especially with Unit 4. I think developing my reading skills will not only help with the FRQ questions we do in class, but to get better at reading literature as a whole. I think this, in turn, will help also with my literary analysis skills, therefore making the drafting process come easier to me when writing essays, as it will help me more quickly develop my ideas. I think that reading is such an important skill that can be transferred to anything you do in life, and I’m excited to do more of it next semester.

I took a risk when. . . 

I submitted the poem “The Shell”. It was difficult to write in Edgar Allan Poe’s style of writing (which was my intention) and to take on the themes that he usually likes to explore. For example, my poem was about someone who lost a loved one due to their own wrongdoing. I have minimal experience in this field, so it was interesting yet difficult to try and put myself in a different state of mind to write. As well as this, it was difficult following his poems’ rigid structure rather than writing in free verse, which is what I usually do and is within my comfort zone.

EQ Reflection

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

The smell of paper and musty books worn down to bone fills the room.

The bookshelf stands in the middle of the floor. Despite its frailty, it wears the proud shine of younger wood, incandescent in the reflection of the stark white walls.

I run my hand over the bottom shelf, watching the dust gather underneath my fingernails. The layers become finer as a I reach up the shelves, until the last book is nearly pristine. The spines tell a plethora of different stories from thousands years of humanity, from thousands of lives, from thousands of experiences, but the tongue that reads them to me in my head remains the same. The same lilting accent with which my mother speaks.

I pull the first book from the shelf. It’s on the verge of crumbling between my hands, my fingerprints making a home with the ghosts of others. The papers are yellowing, more so than the rest of them, tears and notches creating artwork in the flaking leather. Gently, I pull it open.

The words don’t stay on the page. I watch them leap from age-old paper, dancing through the air around me. They spin and they tumble and they laugh, illuminated by the glow of my wonder. They race each other to the other books, and all of a sudden they all fall open in a thunderous clatter.

Stories of all sorts surround me. Of limerence, of loss, of desperation, of desire. They hum through the air, a chorus of words that crescendos into a wave of raw emotion. They soar to the walls with purpose, painting themselves on the surface until not a hint of ivory white can be seen. When the clattering dies down, I take a step back.

The books lie empty on the floor. On the walls, symphonies of colours and textures and lights stand proudly on display. From facades seemingly so different, so unfamiliar with each other, their words worked in unison to create the great painting before me. From so many experiences and loves and losses and lives, came one story.

“Values” Discussion Post: Formative

“Interpreter of Maladies” is a short story centered on societal values. The story focuses on a family— Mr. and Mrs. Das and their three children— as well as Mr. Kapasi, their taxi driver. The small taxi that they explore Kolkata in serves as a junction between many different personalities and cultures. Though there are many different values to explore, the main ones that I observed as someone from different cultures myself, is the tension and love affair between American culture and Indian culture.

The first thing I noticed was the pride and patriotism in the Das family for America, even so far from home. Mr. Kapasi observes that when talking about where he was born, Mr. Das announces that he and his wife were born in America “with an air of sudden confidence”. On the other hand, Mr. Kapasi never boasts his love for India. Though I don’t doubt that he loves his country, he is not as outright with it as is the Das family. Even when visiting the temple, not once does he show a hint of his patriotism. It’s almost ironic that he is a tour guide. The sort of visible pride is more associated with the stereotypical American than Indian.

The story also focuses on the different relationships in the family. However, I don’t think this is separate from the other societal values explored. For example, Mr. Kapasi expresses that “Mr. and Mrs. Das behaved like an older brother and sister, not parents”. This point of view is coming from someone who is probably only familiar with Indian parenting. When compared to the relationship between American parents and their children, Indian parenting is much less casual (or so I have observed). It is likely that the way in which Mr. and Mrs. Das interacting with their children may be more exaggerated in Mr. Kapasi’s point of view than it really was, because he is much more used to a more authoritative style of parenting.

There is also an idea of classism that is encouraged on both sides. For example, despite being referred to as Mina by her husband, Mr. Kapasi still thinks of her as Mrs. Das, even when fantasising a romance between them. This indicates a level of superiority in Mrs. Das’s favour. Mrs. Das herself further emphasises this, Kapasi saying that when she glared at him, he “knew at that moment that he was not even important enough to be properly insulted”. This enforces the idea that there is a disparity between the two of them also in Mrs. Das’s eyes.

Original Poem A

someone to you

he’s the only one who cares for me
who’s with me through and through
please let me be
someone to you.

from the thud of my heart which beats
deafening in this silent room
please let me be
someone to you.

he cradles my face
till from my cheeks roses do bloom
please let me be
someone to you.

my lips are split and stained
crimson and purple too
please let me be
someone to you.

and even when it hurts
i know it hurts him too
please let me be
someone to you.

he beats me down to bone
till i’m bleeding black and blue
then holds me tight
and speaks words true
“you know you love me, you know you do
and i in turn
do love you too”
and i know then
like i always knew
that my cuts he carved
and my scars he drew
were just a mistake, or maybe a few
and all of this
it was my fault, too

thank you for letting me be
someone to you.