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?
At the beginning of the year, my writing was rough and unpolished. My sentences and transitions did not flow smoothly, and more times than not, my way of explaining was unclear. However, after many writing exercises over the year, I find that the earlier problem with the flow of my writing has improved. However, my logic and explanation still needs improvement. Many things can help that though and with help, maybe my writing will pickup and improve even more.
2. )What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain.
I feel that my ability to describe scenes and places is a strength. Being able to describe a place is very important in writing as it gives the reader clear definition of the picture you are trying to paint. It is also very important in creative writing allowing your character to explore his or her's surroundings. However it is also important to develop other skills and to keep improving because writing is everywhere.
3. )What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year? Explain.
Next year, I would like to continue working on improving the transitions and reason behind everything like I said in Question 1. I would also like to increase my analytical skills in order to be prepared for the extensive amount of analytical work that will be done later in life. Also, I would like to perfect my argumentative essays, because sometimes , my arguments are a little lacking. However, I feel as if everything can always be improved and I should strive to improve them all.
4. )What piece of writing from this year best captures your growth as a writer and thinker? Explain why.
I think that my walrus and Carpenter essay by Lewis Carroll best captures my growth as a writer and thinker this year. I feel that way because I did my best job of analyzing the document and writing it. The transitions all led very well into each other, and my logic was clearer that in other work. So overall, it represents my growth this year.
5. )What piece of writing from this year are you most proud of? Explain why.
I believe that my best work (writing) this year was my genocide newspaper article. I think it is because I did a fair amount of research and then I wrote a well scripted article. It included all of the things that I had been trying to get right, yet not perfect in those aspects. In general it was a very good paper that I put quite a lot of effort into, and that is why I am the most proud of it.
Genocide Newspaper Article
Genocide- Staring Us in the Face.
New York Times
February, 18 2014
DARFUR, Sudan - Amid smoke and burning huts, with gunshots and sounds of fighting in the air, the plight of the non-Arabic Sudanese people is desperate. What began decades ago as internal civil strife has grown increasingly violent, even after North and South Sudan formally separated. The violence in Sudan had long been ignored as an internal dispute between the Arab-dominated government and the Sudanese people. However, in reality, this conflict has become what the international community pledged “Never Again” to after World War II - Genocide
The conflict in Sudan is about race and ethnicity, with Arabs in the North seeking to “racially cleanse” Sudan of the diverse tribal and linguistic groups throughout the country. These groups responded to the violence through the creation of resistance movements known as the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). These anti-government groups took action on April 25, 2003 by attacking a government airfield destroying aircraft and equipment that had been used against them. What did the government do in retaliation? They unleashed their fury against the civilian population, most of whom had nothing to do with the attack, apart from being of the same ethnic groups. The government treated these civilians as scapegoats, much in the same way as the Nazis used the murder of Ernst vom Rath by a rash, young Jewish boy, as an excuse to carry out Kristallnacht, and eventually, the genocide of 6 million Jews.
Sudan has long been the home of many different ethnic groups, including the Fur, Zaghawa, Masalit, Dinka, Nuer, and Nuba. The Dinka and Nuer live in what is now known as South Sudan. The Nuba live in the Nuba Mountains of northern Sudan. However, it is the Fur, Zaghawa, and Masalit living in the western region of Sudan called Darfur, who are most actively fighting and fleeing from government forces and local militias. The government targets these groups to advance their goals of Arab dominance and superiority.
The Sudanese government has hired and equipped local Arab militia known as the Janjaweed to target the civilian population for extermination. These local fighters share the ideals of the government and seek to destroy the livelihoods and means of survival of the non-Arabic Sudanese people. The attacks typically start with government aircraft bombing and firing upon a village. Afterwards, the militias enter and kill as many as they can, driving the rest into the desert without provisions to die of starvation, thirst, and disease. In fact, the highest death toll comes from this forced flight. Many displaced people flee to neighboring Chad, or remote refugee camps, but many more perish along the deadly route. Following the attacks, returning survivors find their entire villages burned down, fields burned and rendered unusable, and water supplies contaminated with corpses, thus depriving them of the necessities of life. These tragedies are no match for the horrors that take place during the actual attack. Instead of bullets, the Janjaweed use modified nails whose sole purpose is to maim and mutilate, rather than kill. Many in the international community do not view the Sudanese conflict as their problem, unwilling to directly intervene in this internal affair. But why isn’t the international community more engaged? The fact is, the Sudanese President and the Janjaweed are accused of crimes against humanity, but they have not been arrested nor prosecuted in the International Criminal Court because this would require military action to capture them. However, with a government that blocks humanitarian aid, bombs civilian targets, uses rape as a weapon, and enslaves women and children, it is clear that this is not just a conflict between the government and rebel groups. It is genocide.
Walrus and Carpenter Essay
Deception is the mother of all evil, especially when it is children that are being deceived by adults. Innocent and trusting children should be protected and sheltered from those that would do them harm. Lewis Carroll lived at a time when children were often exploited and mistreated. He wanted to warn children of this danger, using a poem to emphasize his message. In “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, Lewis Carroll uses figurative language and rhetoric to stress the importance of being aware that unfamiliar adults might try to abuse their power and exploit children.
Carroll uses several forms of figurative language to convey this message including personification and foreshadowing. The use of animals as main characters is meant to attract children to the story, and he uses personification to give the animals traits of people that they represent. One example is that the Oysters in the poem represent children. When the Walrus convinces the Oysters to go for a walk with him, he says, “We cannot do with more than four, /To give a hand to each.” (35-36). The fact that the Walrus wants to hold the hands of the Oysters indicates that they represent children because children hold the hands of adults when walking. If the oysters had been adults, the walrus would not have needed to hold the hands of the oysters. However, since the Walrus is going to hold the hands of the oysters, this suggests that they are in reality children. Besides using personification, Carroll applies foreshadowing quite extensively and effectively. When the Walrus beseeches the Oysters to come and walk with him, the eldest Oyster “winked his eye, /And shook his heavy head” (39-40). This reaction by the eldest, and presumably wisest Oyster, foretells that something is amiss with the Walrus’ offer and that something bad is going to happen to the Oysters. Going further, the Walrus stops to talk of many things, including “why the sea is boiling hot” (65). Clearly, the Walrus intends to boil and eat the poor, little Oysters. These literary devices indicate that this poem is about unfamiliar adults who deceive and harm children. In this way, Lewis Carroll is able to deliver his message of caution to children.
Rhetorical arguments are also employed by Carroll to deliver this message. He uses logos when the Walrus tries to convince the Oysters to go with him by saying that it is just “A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,” (33). The Walrus is trying to appeal to the Oysters sense of logic that it is fitting to take a stroll on the beach with him, which is exactly what the Oysters do. This is similar to the way that a predatory adult might tempt a child to go with him willingly. Once they have “Walked on a mile or so,” (56), the Oysters stopped to rest “And waited in a row.” (60). The Oysters see nothing dangerous, as stopping for a rest seems logical after walking for a mile. Similarly, in Carroll’s world, children might see no danger if the unfamiliar adult behaves normally. Finally, the Walrus tells the Oysters that “We can begin to feed.” (72), to which the Oysters reply “But not on us!” (73). The reality finally strikes the Oysters that the Walrus intends to eat them, just as deceived children eventually realize the horrible intentions of their adult exploiters. Through this technique, Lewis Carroll uses logos to weave a complex idea into a children’s poem.
In conclusion, Carroll is able to deliver a warning to children to be wary of unfamiliar adults, as some may seek to exploit them. He engages children by telling a story about animals, and then uses literary and rhetorical devices such as personification, foreshadowing, and logos. Lewis Carroll cared for the welfare of children, and was able to deliver his message of caution through this poem.