As the conclusion of the school year moves closer into the picture, I’ve possessed the opportunity to reflect on how far I have progressed over the past ten months in my English class. Comparing my general reading and writing skills, I am able to easily see the gradual change and evolution of my abilities. Before this English 4 class, I’ve always been reluctant to change my abilities and step outside of my comfort zone because of my fear of change. This has caused little or slow-paced progression in my skills, making this progression nearly impossible to observe myself and especially difficult for my peers. This is why I am eternally thankful for the aid that I have obtained this year. My reading and writing skills have immensely evolved into something that I can be proud of and share with others. This change that has occurred can potentially be a product of the teaching I have received, the knowledge I have retained, and the enlightenment as well as support that has been displayed by friends and my teacher. Without them, I truly believe that I would be stuck in this never ending cycle of permanence.
Out of all my improved abilities, I believe that my writing skills have been the biggest aspect that has developed this year. Like I stated previously, when I stepped into this year’s English course and was faced with the many writing assignments, I found myself treading within the boundaries of my comfort zone. In the past, I despised creating and producing poetry because I didn’t enjoy the restrictions that are placed on the pieces when it comes to rhythm and wording. This would cause vast frustration and long periods of time being put into many pieces of literature, often ending with me questioning whether the piece was worth it or not. This emotion was present during one of the early projects that were assigned this year. My multi-genre project consisted of a ballad poem, a memoir, and a newly conformed flash fiction piece. Though they stand as three of my early writing pieces, I can still see the gradual change in writing abilities and my first steps outside of my comfort zone. In these pieces, I used descriptive language, details, figurative language, and literary devices to recreate memories and scenarios found within my imagination and put them into words for the outside world to experience. Before writing these pieces, our class was taught how to appropriately and effectively use these literary aspects in our literature. By obtaining these lessons, my understanding grew and has aided in making my pieces become more and more articulate and, overall, better. I also gained a newfound respect and slight liking for poetry and for those who regularly produce poetic literature.
After this period in our English class, we turned our attention to essays, critical thinking, and analyzing books that we’ve read. The first assignment that really stood out to me was our Fahrenheit 451 reflective essays. Reading this fantastic book written by Ray Bradbury, I was able to discover enjoyment in new genres of books. This particular piece of literature caused me to think analytically while I read as well as dive farther into the deeper meaning that stands behind the text. This challenged me in opening up my thinking abilities and creating new ideas and predictions of what is to come. In my reflective essay, I tie connections between the fictional society that Ray Bradbury has created to the established and ever changing American society today. I am able to concoct conclusions and predictions about culture, society, and the human race. This has aided me in developing more elaborate thinking that comes in handy with future assignments.
Another impactful book that I had the opportunity to read was A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. This is displayed as another prominent example of vast improvement in analysis abilities through my literary analysis essay. In this evaluation of the novel, I create multiple connections between the tribulations found within the story to the realistic society of the Afghan culture. By using the examples of two main characters, Laila and Mariam, I am able to draw themes of what millions of women experience on a daily basis in Afghanistan through oppression brought on by men and the ongoing war. This, similar to my reflective essay, also shows my gradual growth in critical reading and thinking as well as expressing how some literature displays societal and cultural issues today.
As our class continued to grow and thrive in our new learning, we began to look into the specific theme of heroism – what heroism is and what it looks like. My heroism reflective blog post shows my significant change in critical thinking, my abilities in identifying literary devices and underlying meanings, and my analytical skills. In this piece, I examine three different forms: V for Vendetta, Unsung Heroes, and the Dark Knight. Within each, I am able to point out how people perceive heroism, who they see as heroes, and connect similar traits that can be tied between each form. This aided me in noticing themes and devices that are prominent and utilized.
A unique aspect of this year’s English class was our push to become more integrated into our communities. I personally enjoyed doing this because it helped me discover and grow in my understanding and perspective on what my community has to offer. One response that took a different spin was my community response 4. In this piece, I took an innocent community experience at a local nursing home and twisted it into this confusing, thrilling, and descriptive flash fiction piece. I think that this piece shows the confidence that I have gained from this class to write more detailed, drawn out, and more suspenseful pieces. I now enjoy producing pieces that show that I’m not just a quiet individual that has nothing to say – that there is definitely something forming and engaging in my mind. This created this awareness of my individual strengths when it comes to writing and what I personally prefer to produce.
The last two piece of literature that I would like to address are my personal essay and my social issue inquiry research paper. Each of these pieces add an example of how I have grown as a writer and a thinker. By accomplishing my lengthy research paper, I grew in my research skills, overall writing abilities, and other significant aspects that will benefit in the years to come. I am now much more confident in creating pieces that possess multiple concepts, themes, sources, and ideas. I now know that I can connect the ideas and make them work together to create one cohesive piece that readers will be able to understand and learn from. My personal essay helped me do the same, but on a much more personal level. I was also able to look at myself and easily see what I needed to improve on and focus on specifically.
As I find myself walking out of this school year, this deep sense of achievement sits in the back of my mind. I have been able to look back over the pieces that I have created this past year, seeing what I have learned being put into action. With the amazing help from my peers and teacher, I am now able to further challenge myself and yet still feel confident in my abilities.