Milli L.

7th-Grade English Portfolio


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 rushed through my essays. This resulted in choppy paragraphs, run-on sentences, and weak conclusions and introductions. After improving it throughout the year, my writing has gotten slightly better. There aren't as many errors and my essays have a stronger argument than before.

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

My writing strengths are creativity and detail. However, I only use these strengths when the topic I'm writing about is something I find interesting.

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

I want to be able to write better arguments and be able to write better hooks and conclusions for my essays.

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 the Carpenter Essay best captures my growth as a writer and a thinker because compared to my other essays, it had a stronger lead and conclusion and better evidence.

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

I am most proud of my Holocaust Pen Pal letter because is was the most interesting assignment and the most fun. I also like the fact that I could write it any way I wanted because it was fiction, not an essay.

Artifact 1

Holocaust Pen-Pal Project - Final Assessment

Letter # 3

Dear Aranka,

My uncle and I were also transported to a ghetto, but I'm by myself now because my uncle was taken away a few days ago for forced labor.

Now, I live with a family of seven in a cramped apartment. Although my situation is bad, my biggest worry for now is the cats. When everyone first learned that we were being placed into ghettos, Gertrude offered to care for our cats. I’m not sure if she will continue to take care of them after I am gone because ten cats can be a lot of work.

On the morning of our deportation, Gertrude and I brought the cats to her house. That afternoon, we left our house with only 50 kilograms of belongings each. I packed my winter clothes, two pairs of boots, and my toiletries bag. Everything else, we left at home.

Our ghetto is cold and smelly. Even with all of my clothes on, I still cannot escape from the chill. Already, many have died of pneumonia. Also, there are no toilets in our building, only two large chamber pots that are kept in the tool shed when not in use. It is hard to use them, especially at night because it is dark. If knocked over, it would create a monumental mess.

Food is hard to come by. Every day, we are allowed a piece of bread for breakfast and a bowl of soup, which counts as lunch and dinner. We are constantly hungry. With hunger on our minds, it is hard for us to concentrate on anything else.

The worst part of our ghetto is the way the Nazis treat us. They torment us constantly and often shoot without warning. It's impossible to walk outside in the dark without tripping over the bodies that litter the streets.

I have no idea how the Nazis can be so cruel. I understand that they hate us for who we are, but it surprises me that they can do this to us without feeling any regret. All of this is Hitler’s doing, and it scares me that one person can ruin so many lives. Until now, I have not been able to fully understand the meaning of hatred.

To amuse myself, I have been imagining Hitler’s assassination over and over again in my head. Would he be shot? Would someone slip cyanide into his drink? Would he be trampled to death by a stampede of cats?

I would not have told this to most people for fear of getting in trouble, but I think that I can completely confide in you, because your hatred of Hitler must be just as strong as mine.


Artifact 2

There is a reason why one should never trust strangers. The theme “never trust strangers” appears in many forms of stories and poetry today. “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll is an excellent example of this theme. In “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, Lewis Carroll emphasizes the theme of “always be wary” by using figurative language and rhetoric.

First, Carroll uses figurative language to make the poem seem ridiculous and absurd, so children will read it. At the beginning part of the poem, while the sun shines in the middle of the night, Lewis describes that “The moon was shining sulkily”(7). This is an example of personification. Giving the moon human emotions makes children be more interested. If Carroll had just written an essay on why one should never trust stranger, then nobody would want to read it because nobody really takes essays seriously. By adding figurative language, Carroll can give the animals and objects characteristics, make stanzas rhyme, and add humor. Carroll intended that “The Walrus and the Carpenter” is a life lesson disguised as a silly poem. The children would be entertained and amused but not realize that they were actually learning something.

Second, Lewis Carroll uses rhetoric to emphasize that no matter how reasonable an offer may seem, one must always go with their first instinct. When the Walrus spots the oysters, he entices them into walking with him. He says, “‘O oysters come and walk with us’”(31) and then elaborates,“‘A pleasant talk, a pleasant walk/along the briny beach.’”(33-34) This seems like a reasonable proposal but it is a well known fact that walruses eat oysters. That is probably why the eldest oyster decided not to walk with the Walrus. The eldest oyster survived because he trusted his first instinct. He probably thought, “Why would the Walrus want us to walk with us?” Most would have reached the conclusion that the Walrus mean to eat him. This is an example of the logos that Carroll uses throughout the poem.

In conclusion, Lewis Carroll uses rhetoric and figurative language to reveal the theme of his poem. Carroll uses rhetoric to show how the Walrus convinces the Oysters into walking with him, and to make the audience feel sorry for the oysters as they are eaten. The figurative language is to make the poem seem childish and silly, so it can appeal to younger audiences. But though it seems nonsensical and crazy , “The Walrus and the Carpenter” has a deep theme. I hope that everyone who has read this poem will think twice before trusting a stranger.

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