Nathan 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?

At the beginning of the year, I was writing without any real structure. I was just putting things that related to my topic on the paper. Throughout the year, I got better at structuring my essays. Now, my papers are a lot more organized, and they make more sense.

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

My writing strength is forming strong, flowing commentaries and reasons for each paragraph. I find it easy to find information and organize it in a way that makes sense with my context and the topic of my paper. This makes for a real meat and potato essay.

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

I feel that I need to develop my ability to transition smoothly between each part of the paragraph and essay. I have a hard time coming up with clever transitions. It is easy enough to put everything there, but making the whole thing flow is a little more difficult for me.

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

The Giver essay captures my growth as a writer the most. I feel good about the transitions that I used in the essay. I feel like the whole thing flows nicely, and has some really good points. It is my strongest persuasive essay.

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. It is a really strong essay, with bold quotes and solid evidence. Although the transitions are not the best, I feel like the essay really fits with the topic and thesis statement.

Artifact #1

The Giver Essay

The world in The Giver by Lois Lowry is a utopia because there is no stress or fear in the community that Jonas lives in.

Through Sameness, everyone in the community is treated the same, no one knows more than another, and nobody is more superior than another. When Jonas is helping in the House of Old, he asks Larissa, “What happens when they make the actual release? Where exactly did Roberto go?” (38). This reinforces the idea of the community as a utopia. No one in the community is afraid of death, because no one knows what death is. This eliminates a lot of stress and fear in the community, which makes everyone feel safe and calm. As a result of this, people are less likely make irrational decisions that may lead to violence or harming another or oneself. Also,though Jonas is usually nice to his companions, in a past game when one of his friends made a mistake, he said: “‘Thats it Asher! You’re released!’ when Asher’s clumsy error had lost a match for his team. He had been taken aside for a brief but serious talk by the coach” (4). This cements the idea that the community is a kind, caring environment and that bullies and unkind people are nonexistent. Even if a person makes just a little joke about another, they must apologize. Because of this, no one feels pressured to do certain things, and no one feels bad about themselves. In the modern world, if no one ever made another feel bad, or bullied a peer, suicide rates would drop. Grades would go up, and the world would just be a more comforting, kind, and respectful place to live.

In conclusion, Lois Lowry creates a perfect world for the setting of The Giver for readers to enjoy and compare and contrast with the modern world. The community is a kind and respecting place where everyone is equal and treats one another as if they are family.

Artifact #2

The Walrus and the Carpenter Analysis

Trust can be very dangerous if placed with the wrong people. Sources like politicians and the media always stretch the truth, and adult predators are always trying to bribe and trick innocent minors. With his poem, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, Lewis Carroll aims to teach his audience of children to always be wary and wise of unfamiliar people and ideas.

To do this, Carroll uses personification to create a fairy-tale like story in which to embed this message. For example, when Carroll is explaining the setting of the story, he writes “The moon was shining sulkily”(7). Sulking is a human trait, which makes this line personification. This helps give the story a fun, fictional quality. The quote sets up a quirky poem and establishes that the piece is meant to be on the weird side. This is important because kids are more likely to learn from an interesting story than from a serious conversation.

Carroll also uses logos through the Walrus to show how deceiving strangers can be. According to the Walrus, he is going to take the oysters for: “’A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk’”(33). The Walrus convinces the oysters to get out of the water so he can eat them. It is logos, as the Walrus gives the oysters a logical reason to join him. This emphasizes the main theme in that people should not trust everything they hear from strangers. The oysters are fooled into leaving the water and following the to their deaths.

In conclusion, Lewis Carroll uses personification to make his story fun to read , and uses logos to incorporate his theme into the poem: Be wary and wise.

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