7th Grade English Porfolio
My Portfolio Reflection
this is where my reflection questions will go.
1. How would you describe your writing at the beginning of the year and how would you describe it now?
At the beginning of this year, my writing was very limited. I wrote only a couple of styles, such as narrative and persuasive. Over the course of the year, I developed much better analytical skills. In the beginning of the year, I also had little experience writing a structured essay, with a thesis and evidence. This year, I polished my essay writing skills. Overall, this year, I am proud of the improvements I have made, and the experience I have gained.
2. What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain.
I have many writing strengths and weaknesses. One of my strengths is my analyzing and commentary in essays. I am very good at connecting my evidence to my thesis statement.
3. What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year? Explain.
Though I have improved greatly, there are still aspects of my writing that I can work on. One such aspect is adding more fiction and emotion to my writing. The Perspective allowed me an opportunity to get a more emotional writing, but I still want to have more practice it. I also want to work on writing only the necessary details, and not rambling.
4. What piece of writing from this year best captures your growth as a writer and thinker? Explain why.
The piece that shows the most growth for me this year, is The Outsiders Essay. It analyzes how the main character experiences the Hero's Journey. In this essay, I utilized everything I earned this year. It shows my analytical skills, and my ability to choose good quotes and write a strong thesis.
5. What piece of writing from this year are you most proud of? Explain why.
The piece that I am most proud of this year is the Holocaust diaries. The writing helped me to explore more creative writing, as well as have quotes. Though I am proud of my analyzing skills, which I use in my essays, I am most proud of this piece because I have improved my emotion writing in this assignment.
Hero’s Journey Essay
Struggle? Check. Sacrifices? Double check. Mentor? Definitely. Losses? They are there. Revelation? Absolutely! All the aspects of a perfect Hero’s Journey is here, in The Outsiders. Ponyboy, the main character, is a teenage Greaser; a gang of poorer kids. He experiences many challenges on his journey. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is a monomyth because Ponyboy faces all the phases and parts of the Hero’s Journey.
Ponyboy experiences the Initiation when he has to change a large part of his identity.In the hideout church, Pony faces his first challenge when he has to cut his hair to disguise himself. When Johnny tells Pony that they are going to cut their hair, he reacts, screaming, “ ‘No, Johnny, not my hair!’ ” (71). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of the Initiation is when the hero faces physical and psychological challenges. These challenges are often an unknown to the hero. In The Outsiders, the loss of Pony’s hair is both a physical and a psychological trial. Since Pony looks different, there is an aspect of a physical challenge, because he is used to seeing himself one way. However, Pony’s hair is also his pride and identity as a Greaser. Long, greasy hair is a defining characteristic of his gang. By cutting and dying his hair, he thinks he is cutting his ties and separating himself apart from his gang. Thus, he is fighting against a mental unknown.
In conclusion, Ponyboy experiences all the aspects of the Hero’s Journey. First, his journey begins when he is forced to run away. Next, he battles numerous challenges. Some of these are physical, others are psychological. One challenge he faces is that he has to cut his hair, and as a result he feels like he has to cut his ties with his gang. Then, Pony has a revelation. Finally, Pony returns home with a gift. In the end, S.E. Hinton’s advice to the readers, which is delivered through Pony, is that one always gets a second-chance and time to mend mistakes.
Letter # 5
Things are even worse. I have just gotten off the dark train. It took five hours to get from Budapest to Poland. I know that I am in Poland because I read the sign at the top of a building. As soon, as I got in, I was dragged away into a giant courtyard. Mother was put in one group, Father in another, and I was in a third.
“Mother!” I screamed, starting to cry. The guard spanked me really hard.
My mother quickly shouted back, “Be brave and never lose faith. This will soon be over.” I still remember her words, and always will, probably because they were the last words I will ever hear from her.
It all started when the meany men took away our clothes. And then they took out scissors. I couldn’t believe it at first. I thought they were going to cut us. But then I realized that they were going to cut our hair. The girls nearby started to scream, but I stood there bravely, just like my mother told me. Finally, the meany men lead us, away from the bright sunshine of the courtyard, to the ominous rooms.
The room was as dark as an alley on the new moon, and smelled musty with sweat and urine. There was at least an inch of dirt on the ground, and in the very corner, there was a bucket. Creaking beds lined the walls, each one triple. That night, I never remember sleeping, but I probably did, because the next morning, I was gruffly shaken awake.
“Mother?” I asked unsure. There was a blast of dirty water onto my face. All the boys and girls in my room were marched out, and that was when I saw more people than I had ever. Rows and rows were standing, at full attention, and each one was being given a tattoo, and a number. Mother was picked out of the group, and was told to take out all the belongings of people. I could tell she was working slowly.
“Why she is working extra slowly?” I wondered.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one wondering. A policeman saw her slipping an object under her leg, stowing it away for later. He immediately took her separately. I wish I hadn't looked at what happened next. The man took her into a chamber, and from the glass, all I could see was gas and fog rising up and the silhouette of my mother falling over. I could faintly hear my mother coughing.
All I could scream was, “Nooooooo!” before my mother’s final cough faded away. Now, all I have left is Father. However, the final blow was the expression on the guards face as if nothing had happened. In the night, I couldn’t sleep, even though there were only four of us in the bed, one less than last night.
The next morning, work started. Father, and other men like him, were walked outside. I caught a glimpse, and oh, how beautiful it was outside. My victory didn’t last long. Quickly, I was put to work. I had to carry three full bags to the fields, and then start digging. We were then transported underground into a dark chamber. We were then marched back up to water plants. A pale and bony boy next to me tried to take a sip of water, but he was shot. It was horrific. However, I have seen so many people die, it is not that shocking.
That night, Father didn’t come back. I suddenly became worried about my last living family member. I had lost all my connections to the outside world, and now my last ray of hope was in jeopardy.
“Hey you,” came a gruff voice, snapping me out of my thoughts. “Do you want the food or not?” I was holding my first “meal”, a basket of hard rye bread, and a can of watery soup. I even got a piece of sausage!
It is very hard to find hope in a bowl of sorrows, but try to find that last bit of hope. Anyway, keep being strong and brave. This will soon be over.