Kamala V.

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?

       I would describe my writing at the beginning of the year as relatively strong,however, it contained many  many awkward sentences throughout my pieces.        Now I would describe my writing as very strong in certain categories, but weaker in others. My sentence structure is varied, and my vocabulary is larger.

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

        I consider my writing strengths to be analyzing text, such as my Walrus and the Carpenter Essay. I am able to come up with good details to back up my claims.
3. What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year? Explain.

         Next year I want to work on expressing myself better without making the sentence awkward. This is especially something that holds me back when I am writing persuasive essays or narratives.

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

           My Holocaust Letter Final Assessment best showcases my growth as a writer and thinker because it forced me to use my imagination and create a whole new Jew who experienced the Holocaust. I also used more sensory details because my character was feeling and seeing so many things. I feel that if I had written this at the beginning of the year it would not have been half as good(I also wouldn't have known any details about the Holocaust).

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

        The piece of writing from this year that I am most proud of is my Walrus and the Carpenter Analysis. I feel that I am able to analyze what Lewis Carroll is trying to tell the readers fairly well. Also my writing has solid context and details.


Artifact #1

Dear Albert and Tibor,

About five months ago I watched, bewildered and furious, as one of our Jewish neighbors were being arrested. Oh my goodness, I exclaimed. Is the anti semitism from the last few months, that has been slowly building up? The Nazis had gone far enough when they made Jews start wearing The Star of David on their clothing, just to distinguish us from “Real Germans”, but now just randomly arresting innocent Jews?

When Nazis barged into our house three months later, we all knew that the worst was coming. They forced us into small, squished trains filled with Jews and brought us to a small, dirty, walled off part of a city that was many miles from our house. Father said it was a transit camp called Theresienstadt, where Jews were temporarily “stored” before being deported off to killing centers.

Life is miserable here. There is no medical care, and everyone is concentrated into tiny living quarters. Disease is spreading rapidly, and because of the lack of medical care, thousands of people have died within the several months we have been here. Hygiene has basically disappeared, because we have to share our bed, water, and food with so many other helpless Jews. The whole ghetto is filled with a putrid stench of waste, stale food (our daily meal), and dying bodies. It is nearly winter and most people left in such a rush that they barely have a single sweater. Luckily my family thought enough to bring relatively thick clothes, but I have no idea how we survived the heat of late summer. But to be on the bright side, we know we will most likely survive the freezing weather of European winters.

Despite the ghastly conditions in our ghetto, my parents are determined that my siblings and I learn something during our time here. Although teaching is illegal here my parents have been giving us lessons every other day. I am surprised that my parents still make my siblings and me go to school in this terrible situation, but I don’t argue, because it is obvious that there are more urgent things on their mind. At least it’s something to distract me from our surrounding.

Father is working to get us out of this mess before we are deported to killing centers where there is no hope of ever escaping, but so far in vain. Every night, late after I am sent to bed with my roommates, I hear my parents whispering quietly to each other. Almost all of our relatives have been deported and the ones that haven’t are too scared to come out of hiding.

My sister often asks me what is going on, but I don’t think that she can cope with the whole truth, so I just remind her,“Don’t worry. As long as Mom and Dad are with us, no one can do anything to us.”

Despite these optimistic remarks, hope that we will ever escape is quickly dwindling from little to almost nothing.

Sincerely, Judith

Artifact #2

            Many people put too much trust in strangers. Frequently, strangers take advantage of gullible people, so their victims end up in dangerous situations. Often these situations are a result of ignorant, young people ignoring advice from wiser elders. In “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, Lewis Carroll emphasizes the theme not to trust strangers, by using personification and pathos.

             First, Carroll uses personification to make his deep message more accessible to children. When the Walrus invites the Oysters for a walk, the wise old oyster warns them not to leave,“But four young Oysters hurried up,/All eager for the treat”(43-44). Carroll writes that the young oysters disobey the wise oyster and follow the Walrus, resulting in their death. He gives the oysters the human-like abilities to hurry and be eager, in order for his poem to appeal to readers, who possess these qualities. Carroll’s poem is not simply the silly rhyming story it seems, but also a lesson which uses personification to teach an important moral. If young readers realize the consequence that the little oysters faced after trusting and following strangers, they will not make the same mistake.

             Second, Carroll uses pathos to emphasize his message. When the Walrus is preparing to feast on the oysters he says,“‘I weep for you’[...]/‘I deeply sympathize.’/With sobs and tears”(96-98). Carroll writes about the Walrus feeling sorry for the oysters before devouring them. The fact that even the villain is crying makes the reader sorry. Carroll does not use difficult language, but makes the emotion obvious so children will be engaged by the poem. Here, the oysters are not suspicious of the Walrus until the last second, which is too late. This teaches readers that danger will not be written on strangers’ faces, so one should always be suspicious.

              In “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, readers observe how the gullible oysters meet their end after putting all their trust in a complete stranger who was “sympathetic” toward them - the Walrus. Carroll uses personification and pathos to emphasize the theme, not to trust strangers. Many times trust is dangerous, especially in the hands of strangers.

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