Francis P.

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, my writing did not have much analysis on the topic I was writing about and I had a very basic writing structure. Now, my writing is much more organized and I am better at analyzing than before.

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

I think I am good at making the sentences flow together and creating lead-ins to quotes. This means that the quotes don't come out of nowhere and the sentences don't sound out of place

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

Next year I want to get better at on-demand writing. I usually need a lot of time to think of what to write so I want to learn to start writing quicker. I also want to keep getting better at analyzing. I have improved in this department this year but sometimes I tend to summarize more than analyze.

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

I think my Giver Essay shows my growth as a writer the most because I summarized less and analyzed the book more. The Give Essay really shows my improvement in analysis.

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

I am most proud of my Walrus and the Carpenter essay because I think it is my most well written essay. I also think that it is overall the most organized and the sentences flow better than any of my other essays.

Artifact #1

    The world in The Giver by Lois Lowry is a dystopia because they are not given any freedom and they do not get to make their own choices.

    The rules create a community with no mistakes but it takes away the people’s independence and freedom to make their own choices. When Lily jokes about keeping Gabriel, Mother reminds Lily of the rules: “Two children - one male, one female - to each family unit. It was written very clearly in the rules” (10). This shows that the mother and father are not given any freedom of how many children they own, who their children are, and what gender they are. All of that is chosen for them. It takes away the freedom of choice that is rightfully theirs. A child is not something that should be chosen for them, but something that they should choose because he or she is going to become a part of their family. During the ceremony of the eight, Jonas sees Lily eyeing the bikes: “Jonas could see that Lily, though she seemed attentive, was looking longingly at the row of gleaming bicycles” (43-44). This means that at certain ages they are rewarded different things. Lily becomes an eight but the bikes are presented to the nines which she is disappointed about. They may have done this to ensure that the children are physically capable of riding a bicycle in which case it is a good thing but it takes away their independence and ability to choose when they want to start to ride a bicycle. If all the things they earn, learn, and do are planned out ahead of them then they will never learn how to be independent because everything is already chosen for them.

    In conclusion, the people in The Giver are not given freedom and they are not allowed to make their own choices. All the choices they make are made for them to reduce the probability of a mistake but it takes away their freedom of choice which they all deserve.

Artifact #2

    Strangers can be deceiving; always question their purpose. Any random stranger that will walk up to people might seem like a good person but have a bad purpose. They can also be very persuading so people should always think twice and question what they are going to do. In “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” Lewis Carroll emphasizes the theme of always question strangers to find their purpose by using personification and pathos.

    First, Carroll uses personification to make the poem more appealing to children. When the Walrus is asking the Oysters to come with him, the eldest Oyster refuses to leave, “The eldest Oyster winked his eye, / And shook his heavy head”(39-40). Carroll uses personification to show that the eldest Oyster knows better than to follow the Walrus into his trap. Oysters in real life can not wink or shake their heads but Carroll does this so that it is easier for children to understand. Children have very short attention spans for documentaries, in-depth non-fiction books, and other similar media, simply because they are not interested in listening to people talk. But by putting personification in a fairy tale like poem, it makes it more appealing to children. The personification also helps to embed the theme into the poem which makes the theme easier for children to understand.

    Second, Carroll also uses pathos to show that bad things can seem innocent. When the Walrus is preparing to eat the Oysters, he says, “‘I weep for you,’ the Walrus said: / ‘I deeply sympathize’”(97-98). The Walrus says this to make the Oysters think that he cares for them. He affects the Oysters emotionally so that they will trust and believe him. When the Walrus pretends to sympathize, it makes him seem innocent when he is actually not and just going to eat them. If the Walrus hadn’t emotionally affected the Oysters, they wouldn’t have fallen for his trick as easily. It shows that evil or bad, things can be deceiving and trick people into thinking they are good and innocent.

    In conclusion, the theme of always question strangers to find their purpose is emphasized in “The walrus and the Carpenter” by using personification and pathos. He makes the poem more appealing to children and shows that bad things can sometimes seem innocent. Strangers that ask things that seem suspicious should always be questioned.

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