Week 25: I Tried
This week marked the beginning of the end for this Trimester, but also the beginning of our Pecha Kucha project. I thought I had known all I needed to know about my theme, isolation, until I started working. I've realized some interesting things through making my outside connections. I hadn't realized just how many pieces of media tackled the idea of isolation. One of my favorite films, Amelie, was on of these sources I chose. And upon thinking about it, I saw just how deeply isolation plays a role in the film. I was able to connect the titular main character to Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye. Both of them fall victim to perceived isolation, Holden due to teenage rebellion and Amelie because of parents who were less than compassionate. And they also go through a kind of epiphany that frees them from their solitude, Amelie by falling in love and Holden by realizing that kids are happiest if they grow up.
The theme for this week is finishing up.
Week 24: Getting To Know You Again
This week I think was one of the most anticipated ones I've had this year. We watched the This I Believe videos we have been working on for the past week or so. Each one revealed a little bit of us. Some beliefs were topical, but nonetheless important. But some were a piece of the person they put on display for us. Mine was one of the latter. My video was a lot harder to watch for me than I thought it would be. The story of my abusive relationship is something I've had to retell fairly often. But to put it in front of people I don't know well was a different experience. I felt like now my experience was up for scrutiny and that it could be twisted. I began to fear the rumors starting again. That word would get around that I talked about it to the people who started it all.
But I remembered that it is my story. It's not theirs. It's between me and my abuser and no one else. I have every right to tell people what happened. So I did. And it was strangely liberating. Walking into class this Friday felt different. It feels like, no matter how they try to judge me, they were given my side of the story at long last. I feel at peace with it.
And every story that was told only helped me to realize that I am not alone. All of us have known some kind of struggle, but we can get through it.
The theme for this week was revelation.
Week 20: Weathering the Weather
After a cavalcade of icy weather keeping us shut in, my group managed to pull through and create a presentation and essay that I am very proud of. The amount of teamwork and discussion that went into putting this project together was very much outside my comfort zone, but I enjoyed the whole process. The method of group selection frightened me at first. I typically am very quiet around those I don't often hang out with. I'm fine with perfect strangers, and great with friends, but have trouble with acquaintances. However, taking this plunge had a huge payoff. I found that our ideas meshed wonderfully. There was a feeling of excitement when I got together with my group, no longer anxiety.
I learned how to communicate my ideas and not feel like I'm being pushy. Even if I barely say a thing, I often feel like my group does not want my input. But we were able to speak like friends and allowed me to voice my opinions and feel listened to. And I listened back when Erica or Lindsay had an idea, and they were pretty much always spot on with my ideas as well. Even if they weren't we worked to compromise and find a happy medium. It taught me how to be comfortable. I think that this experience showed me how my anxiety has improved and only improved it further.
The theme for this week is accomplishment.
Week 17: An Epiphany
Ironically, during the week of the church's Epiphany, my group had our own small one regarding Macbeth and how to write about it. A visitor from the university, Professor McDurmott, came to help us understand the material we are analysing. Her area of expertise is focused on Old English literature, especially Shakespeare. When we told her that our critique is from a feminist theory point of view, she instantly knew that we were going to use Lady Macbeth as our main example. From there, she gave us a historical context for her character.
The play was written for the King of England at the time, James VI and I. He had taken over after Queen Elizabeth, whom the people of England had great respect for. However, James was what one could call a misogynist. First, he had a very strained relationship with his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots. He takes over the crown from a sole female ruler that was loved by her people. And finally, he was a closetted bisexual. All the while, he must portray his family as a fairytale. He employs Shakespeare to create a propaganda of sorts. Lady Macbeth is a symbol of Queen Elizabeth. The Macduff family (how a family ought to be) is supposed to represent James' family. The play is intensely critical of female power, just like James himself.
The theme for this week was research.
Week 14: Shakespeare's Recurrence
This week, the main focus was beginning the first project for this trimester. We got into groups based upon which Shakespearean tragedy most interested us, King Lear or Macbeth. Naturally, I chose Macbeth because I have a morbid curiosity and Lady Macbeth sounds like the kind of crazy that I want to read about. So I paired up with Erica and Lindsay to analyze it with. So far, we have chosen the feminist lens to look through. Not only will this make sense in the context of how Lady Macbeth is portrayed, but also the sister witches in the beginning. This critical standpoint will illustrate what both Renaissance society thought of women, and what Shakespeare himself thought of them. Considering the amount of time Shakespeare played around with the idea of gender relations, take the couples in A Midsummer Night's Dream or Desdemona and Othello for example, I think that we will find similar ideas if we go on to read more of his works.
We have also returned to looking at poems in preparation for the AP Test. This time, we tackled two in one week. The first was a sonnet by Shakespeare, "Poor Soul, the centre of my sinful earth." Its structure was in typical style for him. Three quatrains, each bearing their own meaning, and a final couplet to tie it all together. The other poem was also a sonnet, but written much later by Percy Bysshe Shelley, titled "Ozymandias." Shelley's poem has the same structure, but each quatrain has a meaning that bleeds into the next, connecting the whole poem.
The theme for this week is progress.
Week 13: A Fresh Start
This week marks the beginning of the new trimester, allowing things to sort of reset. Nevertheless, we are continuing to work diligently. As we get nearer to the AP test, we are focusing a tad more on preparation for it. We took an example multiple choice test from a previous year to gauge where we're at. Fortunately, it seems we as a class are on a good path already. There weren't any bad grades really and there's plenty of improvement oppurtunity coming up. It's comforting to know what CollegeBoard is looking for in us, though.
Apart from the AP test, we are putting a twist on our independent reading for this twelve weeks. Instead of chosing any books that sound good, we have a theme that we have chosen our two books based upon. For example, I chose alienation, so the books I'm reading are Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. Both use alienation of their protagonist in a different way and for a different reason. This will all culminate into a presentation at the end of the trimester over our theme. The presentation's structure is in a Pecha Kucha style, meaning we will have twenty slides that we can only spend twenty seconds on each. It sounds daunting but I think it will be an adventure regardless.
The theme for this week is continuation and making the transition to the new trimester as seemless as possible.
Week 9: The Tragic Beginnings
This week we have dipped our feet into the second project we'll be tackling. We've shifted our focus to tragedy. What is it? Why does it matter? How did it happen? Can we learn from it? I anticipate some very interesting reading material in the days to come. We'll be taking a look at Oedipus Rex and Antigone, two tragedies that go hand in hand. Both are written by Sophocles, one of the three Greek writers from whom we have a complete tragic work (the other two being Aeschylus and Euripides.) I have begun a new blog under the Unit 2: What is Tragedy tab on this portfolio. I have titled it Tragedy Follows, since the thing that comes to mind when I think of tragedy is how it looms over the protagonist, how his/her tragic flaw touches them throughout the story. On this blog, I will be posting reflections on our reading pieces and my thoughts on the subject of tragedy.
The theme this week is moving forward.
Week 8: YAY!
This week we presented our What is Literature? projects and it was just as interesting as I expected it to be. I loved the information brought to the table by each of the groups and I found that they were all pretty well done. I hope that the class enjoyed mine as much as I enjoyed theirs. I feel confident in my presentation and the notes I took to make it. I do have a better understanding of analysis and finding the elements of fiction within a piece.
It sounds like we did very little but this week was a very pivotal one. We just finished our first presentation of what I would imagine is of many to come. I feel much more ready for what I'm facing in this coming year as far as what is expected of me. I received very good remarks from Mr. Schoenborn. I'm actually excited to do another presentation in the future.
The theme this week was communication of ideas.
Week 7: Loose Ends
This whole week has been used mainly to create and trim up our presentations for the What Is Literature? project. Today we listed what things we learned from this assignment. My table all agreed that we were figuring out how to refine our thoughts on a piece down to a single, most interesting point for us to make on it. By finding the idea that grabbed you about the piece, you can give an engaging presentation to your audience. Your excitement can flow from you to them. Other things the class has learned include staying on topic, considering the flow of the presentation, and making sure what you are presenting has an evident purpose, or answering the "so what?" question.
Apart from working on the What Is Literature project, I have gotten a hold of my next independent reading book. This marking period will be something much softer than the last, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Though there are conflicting attitudes toward romantic literature, it can stand next to the other greats when done correctly. I'll be honest, I love Jane Austen in spite of the more macabre subjects I gravitate toward. I foresee enjoying Pride and Prejudice equally as much as The Trial.
The theme for this week is preparedness for the approaching deadline.
Week 6: So Here We Are
We have made it to the middle of the trimester and things are comfortable. This week was mostly housekeeping leading up to the end of the marking period and working diligently on our project. I've been making my way through the pieces and taking notes all over them. I have filled the blank back pages with my thoughts connecting the work to the element of literature. I'm anticipating seeing the other presentations and hearing their take on the pieces they have, especially those with the same ones as me.
As well as the progress on the project, I have finally finished The Trial and oh wow what a page turner! The end is a full stop and you can fill in the blanks all by yourself, both a blessing and a curse. Since it was published posthumously, the manuscript is actually unfinished. I'm at odds with myself as to whether I'm satisfied with the ending or not. However, I do think it was a very good book overall. Today, Friday, I will be writing a timed essay on it to practice for the AP Exam. It should be fairly easy given the subject matter. I've chosen a question involving the use of contrast in the book, which provides a pretty vast amount of content for me.
The theme this week is accomplishment.
AP Literature Blog
A documentation of the literary adventures of our AP Lit and Comp class.