Second Semester

"O' Captain My Captain"
This piece was one that we completed together as a class. We worked extensively on developing strong organization and voice. Our topic was the symbolism of the color red. I didn't find the topic particularly appealing. My ideas were rather weak. As I revised other's essays, I found many of the same ideas cropping again and again. That is one of the downsides of the same topic for everyone but it's difficult to be original. I didn't do too well on this essay.

Dead Poet's Society
After analyzing Walt Whiman's "O' Captain My Captain," we watched the Dead Poet's Society that related to the poem. It was an intriguing and thought provoking film that explored the lives of prep school boys. I wrote my analysis on two fairly important but very different characters. I related one characteristic of both these people to each other and showed an interesting relationship between them. I felt that the ideas were strong because I was very interested in the issues presented in the movie but the voice was not appropriate.

Lord of the Flies (first draft)
I wrote my Lord of the Flies essay on the unique relationship between Ralph and Jack. Unfortunately, the one linked here is the one with the weak thesis. I rewrote the essay but I changed almost everything though I did work with my original as the starting point. It somehow evolved into what you see here. This rewrite focuses more on the dark side of people and how Ralph managed to avoid becoming like Jack and tribe. I admit the first draft was a very weak piece. I hope that this second time around, I write more coherently and powerfully.

Guide to Island Survival
This assignment was meant to be a fun project that related to Lord of the Flies We wrote a survival guide given the hypothetical situation that we landed on an island with only a knife in hand. This was a time consuming project and involved extensive research. The Army's field guide was a very useful resource. I received a 20 out of 25 because I neglected to cite each picture individually. I recieved 5 extra points though so everything evened out.
Unit 3: Poetry

Unit 4: Ancient Greek Tragedies

Unit 5: Arthurian Legends

Unit 6: The Catcher in the Rye

Individual Reading Projects

         Our first unit this semester was focused on archetypes. We spent our first month identifying and analyzing archetypes, gender roles, social structure, and values in short stories and fairy tales. We spend time discussing and reacquainting ourselves with age-old tales like "Jack in the Beanstalk," "Briar Rose," "Snow White," and "Rapunzel." One of our focuses was the archetypal hero and the qualities that ever hero possesses the quest they must go through. Our project for this unit was an original story using archetypes and an archetypal analysis essay to go along with it. This particular project deftly combined creativity with analysis. I felt that the story was quite promising, the ideas were sound despite being cliche, an inevitability when using archetypal stories. The voice I hope was fairly engaging. I tried to choose colorful words and paint a picture of each scene, but I started strong and lost steam as I went. My biggest problem was with conventions. I neglected to separate my paragraphs into workable parts and had a third of my points deducted for that reason. My archetypal analysis I was much less satisfied with in the ideas and voice categories, but I did not have the paragraph problem and consequently recieved a substantially higher grade. I felt that my thesis was unfocused and consequently my ideas wandered from item to item, without a definite direction to the essay. We culminated the unit by watching a play called Into the Woods. It was an intriguing and rather unconventional medley of fairy tales that took their stories to a new level. It told the stories of many unlikely heroes that were forced to take a journey "into the woods" for some reason or another and come out a changed characters. We wrote an essay analyzing the play and the archetypes in it.

         Our next unit of study was on Greek myths. We began by doing projects, each pair researching and presenting a different myth. However, the bulk of our time was spend reading The Odyssey by Homer. We used many different methods of going through the book, most of the time not even reading the sections. More often than not, we would split the class into groups and present a specific book. That way, we minimalized the amount of reading and still received all the necessary information. I must admit, I would have much preferred reading the entire story on our own or together as a class. One of our evaluation methods was in addition to the usual summary and analysis, write a song and choreograph a dance to go along with it that told the story of the assigned book. It was an interesting experience and surprisingly fun. Our final project was an essay with topic of our own choice relating to the Odyssey. I personally am rather disappointed with my essay. It definitely is not one of my better works. The analysis is extremely shallow and very plot dependant. I regret that I did not spend more time working on this essay.