Zach 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?

This year, I have learned to write.  I started out with the basics of writing and grammar but I was never satisfied with the final product.  Mrs. Ellis has taught me not only the basics of the writing and its form, but how to show and not tell, as well as other handy tools to advance my writing to the next level.  Not only do I think my writing has improved but I also feel I am prepared for next year's writing.  Now, I use expanded vocabulary,  proper writing form, and creativity to better my writing.

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

Good writing make use of a good vocabulary.  I feel I have a good one. It should not have too many long and complicated sentences. Instead, short and precise sentences should be used to explain long and complicated topics.  I strive to include an interesting opener and conclusion, which makes the entire essay looks complete. Good writers don't lose focus of their topic .  My writing strengths are a big part of what makes my writing, mine.

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

Next year, I would like to further develop my vocabulary and reduce my use of incorrect spelling.  Another simple, yet important, bad writing trait is incorrect grammar.   English grammar is extremely complicated, with all of the rules and regulations for how and what to write.  I would also like to work on my use of too many words.  Some topics need many words to describe them, but most don't.

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

The Hero's Journey Essay captures my growth the best this year because it is the writing in which I am the most proud of.  This was a particularly  tough piece of writing to compose because of the complexity of the book.  The true meaning from The Outsiders is very confusing.  Last year, I would have struggled with writing down the main idea and theme of the book, but this year, I had no problem.

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

I am most extremely proud of my Holocaust Essay because it is a topic which means very much to me.  It was an extraordinarily to write, especially because it was in first person.  It was also hard to restrain myself when it came to adding facts.  The final product, in my opinion, came out great, and for this reason, it is my most proud piece of writing.09

Artifact #1

                                                                Hero’s Journey Essay

Being a hero requires sacrifice, loss and the courage to face reality. Heros' believe in ideas that are not always popular and set admirable examples. They step up in a time of need and show courage in whatever they do. The Outsiders is told through the eyes of Ponyboy, a fourteen-year-old boy who is tough and confused, yet sensitive below the surface. Since his parents deaths, Pony’s brothers Soda and Darry are given custody of him. Throughout the twists and turns of the book, through loss and grief, Pony demonstrates acts of heroism but also fear. Pony must show the courage to persevere to keep his gang together as well as his family. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is a monomyth because Ponyboy experiences the Hero’s Journey throughout the story.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he experiences loss. He gains understanding for others just like him. Pony realizes that people are not always as they seem on the surface. As Pony begins to accept death, he questions his understanding of Bob, a reckless, hot-tempered violent boy, the polar opposite of what Cherry Valance knew, “But what about the Bob Sheldon that Cherry Valance knew? She was a smart girl; she didn’t like him just because he was good looking (162).” In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns from the abyss with new-found knowledge and understanding. Pony experiences his return with understanding of others. He thinks about Bob, a “best buddy,” not the one that beat Johnny close to death. He takes in what Randy and Cherry said about his sweet attitude. Throughout the entire story, Pony experiences loss, fear, and grief, but by the end of the story he has not only changed physically, but mentally too.

In The Outsiders, Pony learns of the potential for every kid to become successful. Pony feels he must give back to the world.

In conclusion, The Outsiders is a monomyth because it follows a number of stages in the hero’s journey. Pony gets jumped in Ch. 1 therefore beginning the Hero’s Journey, a long, snaking path throughout the entire story. The Initiation begins when Johnny and Pony must flee civilization to stay together. Then, ending in the abyss, Pony and his gang experience loss with the death of Johnny, a gang mate and a friend to all. Pony returns knowing the potential for each person to become successful no matter what they eat or where they live. S.E. Hinton wants all people to stay true to who they are, just as Pony was during the turbulence of his life. This book also demonstrates the importance of friends. Especially in this realistic society, where violence is common it is important to have someone would do anything to help each other without question. S.E. Hinton talks of how gang life can alter how the boys grow and change as people, and how their environment and people in their life mold who and what they become.

Artifact #2

Dear Solomon and Karl,

I miss being able to live, love, laugh and enjoy being who I am and what I stand before. Like my name, my childhood has been stripped and I have been taken to Treblinka 1. Things are BAD. I try to keep my head up, but all I can hear is my mother’s infamous saying, “blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”

I have no friends, nor do I have a family. I am all alone. There is no hope to be found, and things are turning their bleakest. Prisoners repeat the same Jewish phrase of “אין תקווה,” or, there is no hope to be found. It has been months since I have taken a shower or changed out of these rotting prison uniforms. The Nazi officers demand complete obedience. Us inmates have no choice but to follow orders. They force us through the long days of walking, death, and utter hunger.

Treblinka 1 is hopelessly overpopulated. I share a single sleeping bunk with twenty other men, and bathroom quarters with hundreds. Disease is spreading faster than in the Ghetto, and those who become sick are taken away. There is an infirmary at the camp, but those who go don’t come back. I work at the construction site most of my days, making new railways along with new buildings and living quarters within the camp. We begin the day hauling all of the needed materials from the trains at the railyard, more than three miles away. Then, we work the entire day under the watchful eye of Nazi guards who demand the best.

At times, there is little or no food at all for us. Each morning, we are given a black piece of rotting bread and a bowl-full of watery broth, and are expected to make it last through the entire day. Many starve, and many are taken away because of their weakness. People are becoming sickly skinny and deathly sick because of their lack of food. Bodies are being hauled away by the hundreds and thousands of lives taken without a blink of an eye. Starving is not what I fear, nor is working. I feel as though the end of this story is story is coming soon, and I know the ending. People at my camp are giving in, ending the story before it deserves to be ended.

                                                                        Sincerely,

                                                                          Marek

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