Friday, April 4, 2008

Reflective Essay

My personal and academic growth was completely unexpected on my senior year of high school. Looking at my schedule in August I remember thinking colleges will only focus on your first quarter grades, and then you can just slack off. Although I completed the first part of my plan, slacking off just didn’t seem like the right thing to do. I felt the obligation to respond positively to the hard work of my teachers. Event though Posse took over my life for the first half of the school year, making it difficult for me to focus on my school work, I was highly encouraged by the quality of the assignment the we were given. Unfortunately, even though the assignments seemed fun, I had the hardest time getting used to explicating.

The first thing we explicated by the poem “Red Shift”. Although the poem was really interesting I just didn’t know how to take it apart. I was used to the literal analysis that I had been doing for the past three years, and finding the “deeper meaning” and the “author’s purpose” just didn’t come to me easily. The next explication paper was on the book The Stranger. After reading the book and having in depth class discussions I was really impressed with the character of Meursault. I am a very emotional person coming a cross character who didn’t show a bit of emotion at his own mother’s funeral was really sticking. I was impressed by how much his struggles allowed him to find meaning. I also like how he made me realize that just because society expects certain reactions from you in specific situations; it doesn’t mean that you have to abide by them.

Later on in the year, when we picked up A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, I was finally able to master the art of explicating. Having my own strand to work on made the explication and analytical process a lot easier. I was prepared for class discussions and ready to share my bazaar theories. Reading the Portrait, as well as the criticism at the end, have encouraged me to look at things in a feminist prospective. Although three of my best friends consider themselves to be feminist, I have never been too interested in the subject. I though the feminists were just women who were frustrated with their own lives and used gender discrimination to excuse their failures. After reading the feminist criticism and a little bit about its background helped me realize that my idea was completely wrong. Looking at literature with a feminist eye has helped me to discover new theories and explications for the actions of certain characters.

When we were assigned to pick a page from A Humument, I was really excited because all of the pieces were phenomenal. I ended up picking a portrait of a man, which seemed to be the least original of the bunch. Although it was not colorful and extravagant, I felt like when I was writing about it I was using all of the knowledge that I gained this year. I was able to explicate every detail with success and actually understand my own theories. I also used to feminist information from the Portrait to back up some of my points. Having this be one of my final papers was really great because I made me feel very intelligent. I knew what I was doing when I was writing and even surprised myself with some of the ideas I came up with. It was really rewarding to see that all of my hard work had paid off and that I actually remembered the majority of the things I learned.

These past three quarters have played a crucial role in my academic and personal growth. Although I still have a lot to learn about explicating, I feel like learning about it has helped me to understand literature better. I am able to make up my own theories and actually prove them, which is really rewarding. I am more confident with my writing bringing up new and diverse ideas. I know that taking this class and working hard has paid off because I am constantly taking the material I learned here and using it in other classes and environments.


Elina R 6 said...

Writing this reflective essay was really helpful because it halped me realize that all of my hard work was worth it. I have learned so much in English class this year that i feel confident taking the things i learned out side into different settings. I am proud of all of the work i have done and truly feel prepared to write for a college English class nest year!