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?
In the beginning of the year, my writing had a lot of short sentences that weren't detailed enough. Also, the vocabulary I used weren't as complex or descriptive as they are in my writing now. There also were a lot of unnecessary information when I wrote about something, but now I know how to take out the unimportant details. Now I can punctuate quotations correctly and put in thesis statements, something I wasn't able to do in the beginning of the year.
2. What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain.
My strength is making a solid opinion in my writing. I can get my point across clearly and straight without the reader being confused. My thought or opinion can be understood without having the sentence be too long.
3. What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year? Explain
Next year, I want to develop in making my sentences flow better and organizing my paper because it's hard for me to put sentences and paragraphs in the right order. I want to work on having a good beginning and ending to my work because I have trouble wording my thesis differently for the beginning and ending. I also want to work on sentence structure, and being able to connect my sentences fluently without having awkward stops or run ons.
4. What piece of writing from this year best captures your growth as a writer and thinker? Explain why
My Outsider's essay captures my growth as a writer and a thinker. It shows how much I learned about the steps in the Hero's Journey and shows my arguable opinion.
5. What piece of writing from this year are you most proud of? Explain why.
I am most proud of one of my diary entries for the Holocaust letters. I am proud because it shows my ability to think in other people's perspectives, and my ability to organize my writing into paragraphs. It also shows my knowledge of the Holocaust and what the experience was like for the first-hand witnesses.
Hero’s Journey Essay
In Dan Simmons’ Endymion, the narrator, Raul, describes a hero as “one of those rare human beings who make history, rather than merely watch it flow around them like water around a rock” (68). In The Outsiders, Ponyboy transforms from being a poor, normal greaser into being a hero that everyone looks up to. But in order to become a hero, Ponyboy has to go through an adventure where he must face his biggest fears, go through physical and philosophical challenges, and learn about the importance of life and family. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is a monomyth because it follows the stages of the Hero’s Journey.
Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when Johnny cuts off and bleaches Ponyboy’s hair to disguise him. Ponyboy sees his new hair and thinks in disappointment, “It was my pride. It was long and silky. Just like Soda’s, only a little redder. Our hair was tuff- we didn’t have to use much grease on it. Our hair labeled us greasers too- it was our trademark. The only thing we were proud of. Maybe we couldn’t have Corvairs or madras shirts, but we could have hair” (71). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero experiences an internal or physical challenge that he must overcome. In The Outsiders, being a greaser has given Ponyboy a bad reputation and no pride in himself. For Ponyboy, his hair is a huge part of himself because it is how people identify him as a greaser. After both of his parents die, his only family left are his brothers and the greasers, so Ponyboy’s hair makes him feel like he is still a part of a family even without his parents. Not having his hair would feel to him as if he weren't part of the gang anymore. Also, treasures his hair because it is the only thing he has in common with his brother, Sodapop, whom he’s always looked up to. So when Johnny has to cut Ponyboy’s hair, he agrees very reluctantly because he feels like he is losing a part of his identity.
In conclusion, The Outsiders is an example of a monomyth because Ponyboy follows a path similar to the Hero’s Journey. He experiences the Initiation when he loses something that defined him as who he was. He goes through challenge and ordeal, and loses someone that means a lot to him. Ponyboy returns with a gift, although it isn’t physical. S.E. Hinton teaches readers that it is important to understand and accept the Hero’s Journey and to enjoy every moment in life.
I am thrilled to hear that you have survived the second World War, as I have. A few years ago when I was still in Auschwitz, I was surprised to see that all the Nazis have run away from the camps. I remember clearly, going outside and seeing many tanks full of American soldiers. I have never been so thankful in my life before. I remember them saying something in English that I didn’t understand, but I was feeling more hopeful than ever. When he saw that I was so scrawny and emaciated, he gave me a muffin. I remember that day like it was yesterday.
The worst thing that came out of this was that I never got to see my mother and father ever again. My two sisters were rescued by the same American soldiers, but I heard that my parents were killed in a gas chamber before the Americans arrived. I miss them terribly even now, years after we were separated. The American soldier who saved my sisters and I, thankfully took us in as his own children, as his wife wasn't able to have kids. Now I live with my new American parents and my sisters in Boston, Massachusetts. I am not planning to go back to France, because it doesn't feel like home anymore. I don't think I can go back without feeling hatred for my own country. I'm sure Paris is nothing like what it used to be, and I feel safer here in America, for it is my hero country.
I am glad to hear good news from you as well.