Ellie K.

7th-Grade English Portfolio

My Portfolio Reflection

1. How would you describe your writing at the beginning of the year and how would you describe it now?

I would describe my writing at the beginning of the year as eloquent but inexperienced. I was good at writing, but I didn't know a lot about different types of writing and formats. I also learned a lot of vocabulary and grammar with the "Caught Your Grammar" worksheets we did.

2. What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain.

I think that my strengths are vocabulary and argumentative writing. I like imagining what someone on another side of an argument would say if they read my paper. It was fun to come up with counterarguments for that.

3. What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year? Explain.

I would like to get better at making my words flow. I want to make my writing easier to read and understand. It's important to make sure that people can actually follow your writing.

4. What piece of writing from this year best captures your growth as a writer and thinker? Explain why.

I think that my Giver essay captures my growth as a writer and thinker best because it shows how much I learned about quotations and text evaluations. This year, I learned how to format quotes within essays, which is more complicated than it seems. I also learned how to analyze what we read and how to find things related to a main idea.

5. What piece of writing from this year are you most proud of? Explain why.

I am most proud of my Walrus and Carpenter analysis because I think it displays

Artifact #1

 The world in The Giver by Lois Lowry is a dystopia because it takes away the peoples’ right to make their own decisions.

 The leaders, or Elders, make all of the choices for the community. While Jonas’ family eats dinner, the readers learn that families in the community are all adopted and chosen by the elders when Jonas recalls, “Two children - one male, one female - to each family unit. It was written very clearly in the rules” (10). This is saying that families are provided, selected, and monitored by the Elders. Parents do not get to choose their child’s names or even decide how many children they have. The children are more of a chore or duty to the parents than family because the parents do not make any decisions having to do with their “kids.” In this way, the lack of connection, relation, and interaction with their children prevents parents from loving or having a good relationship with their kids.

 As Jonas is talking to his father, we learn that everyone gets assigned their jobs in the community, when the author tells the reader what Jonas is saying: “[An Assignment] was a secret [decision], made by the leaders of a community” (15). No one gets to choose their career. In the community, everyone’s job is decided for them. Their Assignment is what they will be doing for the rest of their lives, and there is no way to change it. Because of this, kids have no passion or ambition, since they know that they cannot change the Elder’s decision. By taking this choice away, achievement and freedom are also taken away, and once again, people are not living their own lives.

 In conclusion, Lois Lowry wants to show the readers that their vision of a perfect world without decisions is really a horrid, controlling dystopia.

Artifact #2

 Strangers can be manipulative and deceptive. It is essential to never trust or rely on anyone or anything unknown. A great example of this lesson is in “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” In this poem, Lewis Carroll uses personification and rhetoric to emphasize the theme of always being wary of strangers.

 The first tool the author uses is personification in order to make the Walrus and oysters seem more like people. When the Walrus is talking to the oysters, “The eldest oyster winked his eye” (39). The author wants children to watch out for strangers, but he chooses to present it in a fun way so that kids enjoy and remember it. He does this by writing with silly characters, and giving them human qualities, like winking and talking. Kids pay attention and enjoy the poem while still receiving the message. They will be able to apply it to real life situations, possibly without even realizing it. Carroll finds a brilliant way to mix personification with a moral.

 The author also uses rhetoric to show that strangers can be deceiving. When the oysters start to get tired and ask for a break, “‘No hurry!’ said the Carpenter” (71). The Carpenter uses both ethos and pathos in these two words of dialogue. First, he convinces the oysters that they can trust him by showing them that he will wait for them. He also appeals to their exhaustion because he knows they will be relieved and happy to stop. The Carpenter puts them at ease with his consideration and relaxed attitude. The oysters begin to lose any suspicion and let their guard down. Through the Carpenter, Carroll conveys how manipulative people can be, and how easily strangers can send out a false sense of security.

 In conclusion, Lewis Carroll uses personification and rhetoric to prove his point about the importance of stranger awareness. He uses these tools to make an obvious connection to real life and to prove how manipulative some people can be. The author addresses the problem of gullible and careless people who ignorantly trust people they do not know.

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