Natalie C.

7th-Grade English Portfolio


1. Q: How would you describe your writing at the beginning of the year and how would you describe it now? A: In the beginning of the year, my writing was less precise and had a number of run-on sentences. I would use the same word multiple times and hand an onslaught of commas.

2. Q: What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain. A: I consider my best writing skill is the ability to make my topics flow. I always concentrate on cutting out all the choppy sentences, and providing plenty of transitioning words.

3. Q: What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year. Explain. A: Next year I need more work on being more concise as I seem to ramble on in most of my work. I need to outline more before I write to make that happen.

4. Q: What piece of writing from this year best captures your growth as a writer and thinker? Explain why. A: The piece that most captures my growth as a writer is probably my Hero's Journey/Outsiders essay because I've become better at choosing evidence, and my writing is in depth yet still easy to understand.

5. Q: What piece of writing from this year are you most proud of? Explain why. A: This year, I'm most proud of my Walrus and the Carpenter Analysis because I feel the writing style is more advanced than what I usually do and I spent a lot more time revising this essay than others.

Artifact #1

Hero's Journey Essay

Most books contain heroes, who are people who try their best to do the right thing, people who accomplish amazing things, and people who readers look up to. Ponyboy, from The Outsiders, is one of those heroes. S.E. Hinton, the author of the book, describes the struggles Ponyboy faces after he witnesses a murder and was almost killed himself. An unfortunate boy living in poverty, he went go through a plethora of challenges and losses before facing his greatest fear and having a revelation. Ponyboy experiences the steps of a Hero’s Journey in Hinton’s work because it is a monomyth.

When Cherry talks to Ponyboy, and when he was involved in Johnny’s murder of Bob, Ponyboy begins the Hero’s Journey with The Separation from the Known stage. As Ponyboy explained to Cherry about the first time Johnny got beat up, he says “‘Nobody was ever going to beat him up again. Not over his dead body.’ I had nearly forgotten that Cherry was listening to me (…) ‘All Socs aren’t like that,’ she said. ‘You have to believe me Ponyboy’” (pg. 34). The Separation from the Known is when the hero develops a feeling of discontent or uneasiness, which eventually prods the hero into the unknown. What Cherry described to Ponyboy was about how Socs are good people too, and how they also have it bad. She makes him think about the equality of the social classes. It changes his mindset and makes him question the world around him. This is the mental aspect, the feeling of uncertainty and discomfort is the first part of this stage, the Call to Adventure. The quote also foreshadows the killing of Bob, which is the Threshold of Adventure. This death physically forces Ponyboy to escape his hometown, which is literally all he has ever known, and escape into hiding, the unknown. Both his physical and mental changes fit perfectly in the Separation from the Known stage.

Overall, Ponyboy’s journey, from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, perfectly captures the plot of a monomyth, making it a Hero’s Journey. In the beginning, many events caused him to undertake a trip through the unknown. He goes through a number of hard challenges, but overall he prospers in the end with his “gift”, or new mindset of the world. All books have a hero, and Ponyboy’s story shows just as much as other Hero’s Journey’s that there is still hope in the real world.

Artifact #2

Walrus and the Carpenter Analysis

There are countless things to spend money and time on, but many are scams and do not live up to expectations. This is why it is best to pick wisely and proceed cautiously when making a decision. The theme of knowing all the details before doing something is emphasized in the “Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll using rhyme and rhetoric.

Carroll uses a rhyme scheme to make the poem more memorable and fun. When the Walrus mentions beginning the feed, Carroll describes the Oysters as “Turning a little blue / [they cry] ‘After such kindness, that would be / A dismal thing to do!’ / ‘The night is fine,’ the Walrus said / ‘Do you enjoy the view?” (80 - 84). Blue, do, and view all rhyme, making the rhyme pattern ABCBDB. This creates a sing-song vibe, and masks the true theme of the passage. Carroll does this so children do not know that they are learning, because they are enjoying it. If the moral was simply stated, it would be quite boring and a bit creepy. Also, rhyming helps children absorb the message, sort of like a song.

Carroll also makes the Walrus use rhetoric to rethink our decisions. As the Walrus convinces the oysters to walk with him, he reassures them saying “A pleasant walk / A pleasant talk.” (33). He uses logos and pathos by simply stating that is the only thing they are going to do. By using the word pleasant, it is information that appeals to their emotions. However, the more important rhetoric is ethos. By using words instead of actions to get what he wants, the Walrus gains credibility. If the Walrus kidnapped them instead, he would lose the oysters trust. When he lures them in, the oysters do not know what’s happening until it is too late, as he keeps denying and going off topic. It’s much better to let them come of their own will for the Walrus, which teaches us to resist if we are suspicious.

Lewis Carroll perfectly uses rhyme and rhetoric to get his message, before participating in something know all about it, subtly across in “Walrus and the Carpenter”. He uses rhyme to make a fun atmosphere and help children retain the moral of the story. The rhetoric emphasizes the word bait many temptations use. Especially with the consumer and marketer business, Carroll's message will benefit most in the long run.

Thanks so much for spending the time to look through my portfolio! :)

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