Annika L.

7th grade English Portfolio

My portfolio reflection

-How would you describe your writing at the beginning of the year, and how would you describe it now?

I believe I have improved upon my writing to some extent. More importantly, I have learned several important concepts crucial to writing. These, of course, were learned in my own time and not in school.

-What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain.

One of my writing strengths is that I have a rare capability of using proper spelling and grammar, unlike many of my peers. This, unbelievable as it sounds, happens to be a crucial part of writing.

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

I have considered working on the length of my writing, as I feel it is unsatisfactorily short.

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

I am currently unable to find a document written at the beginning of this year. If I were, I would answer this.

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

Truthfully, I am not very satisfied with any of the writings I have created for school purposes. All of my other writings I have not shared with anyone, or have published under a pseudonym.

Artifact 1 (Some of my horrible writing from the beginning of the year)

My name is Annika, and I like reading, music and playing games. The first symbol on my logo is a book, because I like to read. Reading is a favorite activity of mine. I enjoy many books, although most of them are fiction. The second is a music note, because I like to listen to and play music. I happen to be in the school band, and I play the percussion. At home, I also play the piano, which I started learning several years ago. The third item is a computer mouse. I enjoy playing computer games. I also like to create things on the computer, for example, making games. These are three things that I like, and represent me.

Artifact 2  (comparatively good writing)

The concept of a monomyth, also called the Hero’s Journey, is one commonly used in works of fiction. The Hero’s Journey follows a plot composed of a sequence of events, including the Separation From the Known, the Initiation, and the Return. One example of a monomyth is the book The Outsiders, written by author S. E. Hinton.

The book takes place in 1965 and follows a teenager named Ponyboy, who is a member of a gang called the Greasers. Ponyboy is dissatisfied with his life. A rival gang called the Socs frequently attacks the Greasers, even having jumped and traumatized his best friend, named Johnny. At home, his oldest brother Darry struggles to support Pony and Sodapop, his other brother. Although the two have a stable relationship, Ponyboy is under the impression that Darry hates him.

A passage late in the book reads “Nothing gold can stay”. This is one of the key points of the plot, as events frequently uproot numerous characters, altering their lives, generally for the worse. Unbeknownst to him, Ponyboy’s life at the beginning of the story is not really as bad as he perceives it. He learns this throughout his journey, in which his marginally stable life falls apart.

In the Hero’s Journey, the first segment, called the Separation From the Known, occurs when the hero is first confronted with a challenge that must be faced. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy attempts to run away from home after being hit by his brother, Darry. He seeks out Johnny, and they are attacked by a group of Socs. The Socs attempt to drown Pony, and while he is unconscious, Johnny stabs and kills one of them. Pony and Johnny are forced to run, scared that the authorities will punish, or even kill, Johnny. They visit Dally, a member of their own gang, and he gives them money and directs them to an abandoned church, where they will be safe and can hide.

The Separation consists of several parts, such as the Call to Adventure, when the hero is first needed. Pony’s flight can be identified as the Call. The second part is called the Refusal to Call, where the hero attempts to turn back or delay from the aforementioned Call. Pony’s being jumped, along with Johnny’s killing of the Soc, serve as the Refusal to Call, as the two can no longer turn back. Next comes the Divine Gifting, in which the hero receives a tool or other power that will later be essential to the plot. Dally gives Pony and Johnny directions to the church, along with supplies, which can be seen as the Divine Gifting. The last part is called the Threshold of Adventure, and it is the point at which the hero proceeds to the next segment of the Hero’s Journey, called the Challenges. In The Outsiders, Threshold takes place when Ponyboy and Johnny arrive at the church.

Although Pony’s life seems difficult to him at the beginning of the story, in reality, his life is more pleasant than it is during his journey. He is on the run from the law, constantly worries about his and Johnny’s safety, and undergoes an identity crisis, ultimately losing his best friend. In other words, his comparatively golden life cannot stay.

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