First semester Freshman English focuses on the basics of literary analysis and paragraph writing. We began by studying the various elements of a short story, such as plot, setting, theme, and point of view. We then proceeded to put our knowledge to use by reading several short stories together in class. The Scarlet Ibis is a powerful story depicting the lives of two young boys and the unique relationship that they share. After thorough discussion and analysis of each short story, we write a final paragraph for the story. We have focused on differerent aspects of the story each time: character, theme, and writing technique. For this particular writing assignment, we focused on one theme that resounded throughout the story. Personally, I feel that the theme is possibly the most important element in a story because themes are generally statements or observations on human nature and behavior. If we as readers can determine the theme of a story, we are learning from all of the author's life experiences that went into the writing of this story. When we studied the technique of irony, we were given the assignment of writing a story which had an ironic twist. This was a welcome break from our normal analytical writing because we seldom do creative writing in class. This was one of our rare chances to use our imagination and write whatever it was that our heart desired as long as it used some form of irony. We didn't have to follow a strict paragraph structure or write about a specific topic. Everyone had a lot of fun with this assignment, really allowing imaginations and pens to run free. We did a read-around of all the stories afterwards and voted on the best stories. Throughout this time (besides the irony story), we focused on the writing of a single analytical paragraph. We were taught the basic structure, essence of commentary and original thought, diction, and style (not something that can be taught in class, but comes with practice.)

         During the second quarter of the first semester, we read the novella Animal Farm by George Orwell. We did a lot of prep work by researching the Russian Revolution and going in depth on the main characters in the story. I found this very intriguing and very useful as well because I had read Animal Farm before, but I had never fully understood this second level of meaning. Animal Farm is the story of farm animals who throw out their human masters and institute self-rule. However, things take a turn for the worse as the pigs seize all power, and at the end, life becomes just as bad as it used to be under the humans. This story is based on the Russian Revolution and is a political satire on the chaos that ensued there in the mid-1900's.