Thursday, April 3, 2008

Personal-reflective Essay

Going into the senior honors English class at the beginning of the year was a challenge to me. Writing the essays and doing all the work assigned was not an easy task to be accomplished. It was definitely not the same as a junior English class or any other class that I had taken before going into this class. Most of the assignments were new to me, especially the explications which I believe I gradually began doing better on as the year went on, though I did not master it. This is true for most of the assignments given to me during the year.

Explications were one of the hardest assignments I had during the year. From the very first one that I wrote until the last one I wrote, I struggled to grasp the concept. I would reread the paper given to us at the beginning of the year in order to try to figure out what I was doing wrong. I feel that after a few explications, I began actually explicating and not summarizing. I do not feel that I did a good job explicating though. I do believe I did get better. With more practice I feel I could write a great explication on any piece of writing. It would just take time like the time I used during my senior year. My improvement was gradual but I believe the struggle really helped me to try harder and really try to get the hang of writing the essay. It troubled me when I knew I would not do well on the explication so I would sit for hours trying to get the right words to write the essay. But since I did this over and over, some areas of the explication became easier, like integrating the evidence, but finding the deeper meaning and the authors purpose was somewhat and is still somewhat of a challenge for me. The improvement overall that I had with these explications was worth while.

Throughout my high school years, I can say that I never read as many interesting books as the books that I read this year. The books that were given to us to read this year were far different and far harder to grasp than the books that I had been used to. Books like The Stranger, The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Hamlet were all different and interesting. Even though I found all these books interesting, understanding the meaning behind the text or just understanding the text in general was a task in itself. The Stranger was a short book but the character Meursault was one of interest to me. His emotionless state puzzled me which helped me focus on him greatly throughout the book. The two books, The Portrait of the Artist as a Young man and Hamlet were far more challenging to me. The text was hard to understand but I liked the stories. What interested me the most from these books were the psychoanalytical criticism and feminist criticism in the back of the books that we discussed in class. I had taken psychology before we had read these books and I knew about psychoanalysis but I had no idea that it could be applied to literature. The ideas that were brought up by the critics were amazing. I did not know that they could use the text in a way in order to find hidden characteristics of the characters in the books. Struggling to understand the text, to me, was something worth the wait because after I could read the criticism that had been written on it and understand how and where they might be getting their ideas from. Though I did not agree on all of the ideas brought up by these critics, it was still a learning process to see what others thought about the same book I had read. Being able to compare my ideas to theirs was something I found helpful.

Throughout my senior year in English class, I struggled with the new assignments but I got through them and did each and every one of them. I may not have started out as strong as I would have liked, I feel as though I learned more than I have learned in the three other years of English class combined. The new literature, ideas, artwork, and poems were new, challenging, fun, and a great learning experience.

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