Maya Yerramilli-Rao

7th-Grade English Portfolio

Reflection Questions

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 very vague and the content in itself was badly written. Throughout this year I have explored different writing techniques. Now, my writing is detailed and is easy to read, I feel that I have matured in my style of writing.

2. What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain. I consider my creative ideas and descriptive style of writing as my strengths. Also, I consider the formation of my writing one of my strengths because I feel that I lay out my writing clearly and in a logical way.

3. What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year? Explain. Next year I would still like to develop the words that I use to connect sentences and I also want to learn and polish my sentence structures. Sometimes, I feel that I ramble on when I'm trying to describe certain things, so I want to be able to shorten my sentences and make them more concise.

4. What piece of writing from this year best captures your growth as a writer and thinker? Explain why. I think that the Hero's Journey Essay best displays my growth as a writer and thinker because I was able to write about some of my thoughts and what I felt about that topic. i really enjoyed the book and I had a lot to write about it so looking back on the work I did at the beginning, I feel that I have improved a lot from the beginning to now.

5. What piece of writing from this year are you most proud of? Explain why. I am most proud of my hero's journey essay this year, because I feel that it really does reflect a lot of my personality and writing does reflect your thoughts. It was a very different essay anything I have done previously because I had to write about the lessons that Ponyboy learnt throughout the book, and in a way, the lessons I had learned from reading it. It was very fun and challenging, so I really enjoyed writing it.

Artifact #1

Hero’s Journey Essay

Every hero has to sacrifice a part of their life to become a courageous person, and through experiencing loss or change, they find out who they really are. In The Outsiders by S.E Hinton, Ponyboy has to experience a change in his life which alters everything he has known and believes in, making him a stronger person. This book is a monomyth because Ponyboy experiences all the phases of the Hero’s Journey.

Ponyboy experiences the Separation from the Known when he sees his best friend, Johnny, murder one of the Socs. After Johnny committed the murder.

Pony is unsettled and questions him to order to know the truth,

“‘You really killed him, huh, Johnny?’

‘Yeah. [...] I had to. They were drowning you, Pony. They might have killed you.’”


In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves his comfortable surrounding and goes into the unknown. The hero often experiences a traumatic event which makes him/her doubt and question the situation, his/her actions and decisions. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy experiences the murder of Bob, one of the Socs, committed by his best friend Johnny. This is a traumatic experience for Pony that startles him and wakes up him from his sheltered life. This causes him to question his morals and if Johnny was ever true to him as a friend. Experiencing reality is very difficult for Pony and he doesn’t want to acknowledge that someone close to him has been untrue to his morals. This quote is showing that Johnny is ashamed of his actions, however, he did it to save his friend and he wants Ponyboy to know that it was an act of love in order to protect him. Unfortunately, Pony is still in a state of shock and denial so he is not able to comprehend this idea. It is really difficult for Pony right now to understand that Johnny wasn’t aware of what he was doing and that it was a sudden act of defense to save his closest friend, but to protect Pony, Johnny killed Bob, which is something that Pony is unable to get past.

In conclusion, Ponyboy experiences events in his life that alter his morals, he makes the book a monomyth as he goes through a hero’s journey and comes out as a new found person. As Ponyboy experiences the Hero’s Journey, his morals and views of life change dramatically as he is affected by the events that happen in his life. Pony lets the reader know that one can always find good in the world, and that no matter who they are or the situation they are in, they can achieve anything desired.

Artifact #2

Holocaust Pen-Pal Project - Final Assessment

Letter #5

Dear Marcel,

I’m glad to hear from you, but right now I envy your situation. Separated from both my parents and my siblings, I have been placed in Auschwitz, the worst camp there is. They said that only people in Terezin were brought to Auschwitz, but I guess not. Right now I could get shot writing this letter to you, but I want to, and I would much rather be killed then having to suffer till death.

I’m sleeping on what feels like a bed of rocks and haven’t eaten more than a bite of bread since last night. They don’t feed us here, allow us to rest or do anything a normal human being has every right to do. But, then again we aren’t normal, according to the Germans. In their perspective we should always live like this.

The beds are made of straw, like yours but isn’t even on a frame. I have the 1st of 4 bunks in this row and have to share it with these awful girls who talk all night about their previous lives and what they are going to do when they get home. I have hope, I do, I just don’t have the couradesge to talk of the future like they are. They are oblivious to many things in the world around them. They don’t know enough to feel pain, that is why they can talk about the future like they do.

When we got here I wasn’t able to think clearly because of the long journey, but I was separated from my family and I wasn’t allowed to say goodbye. The last memory I have of my brother was when we were on the train and he was sleeping on my shoulder as I was watching the scenery pass by. And as for my sister, I regret to remember the last memory, the argument we had in the train, that I wasn’t giving her enough space to sit, and now I regret that that moment never happened. Before we got off the train, my parents kissed my forehead and then my father whispered in my ear,

“Have hope my little woman because everything in going to be just fine in the end.”

But he was wrong.

Once we were separated, all the girls in my group, serial numbers 24,000II to 24,500II were brought to this warehouse aside of the camp. Then we were stripped of all our clothes one by one and given these ugly striped uniforms. The uniforms are a blue and white striped shirt and trousers, and from what I have heard, they are identical to the mens’ ones. Also, our hair was chopped off, all the way to the scalp so we looked like a boy. This was to make sure everyone looked the same. And to me, it seemed as though it was to make us all look like identical machines.

I have no idea what my family is being made to do, but I certainly hope it’s better than my job. I have to wake up at 3:15am and walk 8 kilometers to the farming land. But as soon as we wake up, we are told to form lines and they would take “Appell”, whilst wearing our pyjamas. At the farming land, we are human ploughs, ploughing every inch of land until they say it’s perfect. Then afterwards, we are told to plant the crops. We are not allowed any water during our working hours and once we get back to the camps, which is usually around half past midnight, we are just given either some watered down soup or a couple crumbs of bread. I’d expect them to at least feed us some dinner, but that only happens on a special occasion.

There aren’t any jobs here like yours, but there are other inside jobs like counting the amount of people dying and coming into the camp. They give that job to the elderly who are still able to live without assistance. But for those who are young like me, we are given the worst jobs. We are seen as their enemies I assume, therefore, we have to be killed.

I’m not sure what girls below the age of 15 are made to do, but I don’t think that it is as tiresome as what I have to do. I’m sick and tired of this work already and I have only been here a couple days. No wonder they are called what they are. I’m not as strong as I would have hoped to be.

Miracles happen, and I hope one will happen soon, to get me out of this place. Please excuse the teardrops on this letter, but I couldn’t stop myself from crying whilst writing this letter as this may be the last thing I ever write. And if it is, I would like you to know that we haven’t done anything wrong, they have and nobody is strong enough to stop them.

Yours Sincerely,

Alicia Itzkovitch

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