Free from AP English 3

The school year is wrapping up for most students, if not already. For me, this means that I will be completing AP English 3 in roughly one week. This class was surprisingly enjoyable and aided me in becoming a stronger reader and writer thanks to the environment and the material.

English honors in freshman and sophomore year felt as though the classes were lacking depth. I felt as though I had learned hardly anything useful. Moreso, I felt that any writing that we did wasn’t given much useful feedback. I was expecting the same experience this year for AP English 3, but I was pleasantly proven wrong. From the first day, I felt some excitement for what was to come from this specific class. In no class but that one did I look forward to it. The enthusiasm and immediate comfort with other students made learning actually seem fun. For this, I was and remain very grateful because it helped me when it came to presenting or volunteering in class. And that, therefore, aided me in being a better student.

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Not only did I feel more confident, but I learned so much during these months. Never had I focused on analyzing a text’s rhetorical devices. Doing so has showed me to read much more carefully and think of what the novel or essay’s tone is towards the subject and audience, and basically SOAPSTONE. Being a better rhetorical analyzer has helped me with my own writing because I’ve learned different ways to form an argument and present it. Before this class, I had hardly kept in mind my audience and the tone. I just wrote whatever I thought without taking these things into consideration. Not only does SOAPSTONE apply to literature, but it applies to advertisements and TV shows and everything around me. “Everything is an argument!” as Mr. Ziebarth says.

All in all, this class has truly made me a better thinker. And for that I’m grateful and proud to have worked in a good environment that taught me beneficiary matters.

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Idea FM: Ruptura At It’s End?

Throughout this school year, my partner and I have been working on our story Ruptura. It has proven to be much more challenging than originally thought. This along with other factors led to the story “concluding” without actually concluding. However, this experience has provided me with further insight on the process of co-writing with another person.

At the beginning of this project, I had been full of excitment to do a project of my own mind. I was overflowing with ideas when I settled on doing what I love–writing. Melissa and I had written down uncountable ideas and took a large amount of time just discussing what genre and what age group and what ending and what everything. Aiding the brainstorming process was SOAPSTONE, a method I learned this year in AP English 3. It proved useful when creating my own work to remember tone and my audience and more. Ruptura then began production.

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However, it is always easier said than done. It turned out to be difficult to write when I actually found time to sit down and do so. It may have been the fact that we gave ourselves due dates for chapters. When I’m forced to write versus doing it out of completely free will, it tends to be more difficult for me.  However, it also may have been hard to write because we were working with brand new characters that we created. The diction and every single action every character does makes that character up. Wording, therefore, had to be carefully chosen. With events going on in life, it was also a struggle to find time to just sit and actually write something when I had other responsibilities. Ruptura, as a result, was never completed.

Despite the story not being near completion, Melissa and I have already discussed working on it over summer and continuing it for ourselves, not just for a grade in school. It’s been interesting co-writing with someone in a manner like this, as I’ve never done it before. I’ve learned that communication is extremely important as to avoid conflicts and misinformation. I would recommend to others doing something similar to what we did to use google docs for brainstorming and writing. Not only so, but I suggest setting time to talk the process through with the other person whether it be in person or via cell phone.

Although I’m quite disappointed we did not get as far as we planned in this book writing, I am comforted with the thought that published authors have spent years on a story before it gets completed and put on shelves. Writing is a time consuming action, but it ultimately will result in a piece to take pride in. I hope to accomplish this in the near future. For now, Ruptura is wrapped up for school. But really, Ruptura has just began.

College Criticism

College picking is upon many people right now. Being a junior, I need to begin applications very soon. However, an aspect about the idea of college that irks me is the criticism of where you go.

There’s this belief that the college or university you attend will determine your success in career and the rest of your life. Going to a community college is seen as being a place for less intelligent people as has been confirmed by comments I heard from other students during a school presentation about life after high school. “Community colleges are for dumb a****. Everyone can get in there because you don’t have to be smart.” It is this idea that scratches at my mind and makes me question people’s understanding of education. Community colleges do not mean a person attending it is not smart. Many people attend these colleges because even with financial aid, they wouldn’t be able to afford Cal States or UC schools. People attend these colleges because they have a very good program in the area they are interested in. Many people also attend to save money before transferring to a larger campus. While it is true that an ACT or SAT score is unnecessary, that does not imply that all those who represent the student body are not hard working and will not have a good career.

Going to a “fancy” university also does not mean that this person will be rich one day. I know of several people who have spent tens of thousands of dollars to attend large universities only to settle on a job they could have gotten from attending a community college. This is not to say that attending a large school is a waste of time or money because many people have incredible careers and experiences from these schools. However, there is the misconception that you will only make great money if you go to a university.

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There are numerous well paying career paths that do not require spending four years at UCLA or UCI. An example is nursing. As one who plans on joining the medical career, I have done a fair searching of medical jobs I could join. Becoming an RN has nothing to do with which school you attended nor whose nursing program you passed. The fact is, you passed and are a verified registered nurse. While it is possible that the more expensive the school one attendeds, the better the education, in the end it very well may be the same degree, the same career, the same salary.

It is wonderful to reach for a UC school and other universities, but be mindful of several factors when selecting the best education for oneself. It’s so easy to go with the grain and follow the path fellow students are taking, but it is important for students to remember that it doesn’t matter where your friend is going to school. It doesn’t matter where your neighbor is going to school. It doesn’t matter where Aunt Sally’s best friend’s son is going to school. What matters is your decision on your own education and that you’re happy with the choice you’re making for yourself.

The Misconception About Feminism

       In my AP English class, we have been working on writing a column about any subject we’d like. With my focus on this,I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts from this column.

       Many people view feminism as a word with a negative light. They say there are double standards like “if I [a male] were to hit a female, a feminist would cry ‘you can’t hit a girl.’ Feminism?” In reality, no one should be hitting anyone regardless of sex for there are few legitimate reasons to do such an action. People need to understand that feminism is NOT about degrading men and hating them. It is about equality between men and women.

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       “But what’s the point? Feminists are crazy!” Even females make comments about the “horrors” of being a feminist. It is mournful how they lack comprehension of the fact that women are still considered beneath the status of men. To base an entire group off of a few individuals is similar to stereotyping. It is similar to Muslims. They’re called horrific names like “terrorists” and “killers” etc. because of 9/11. In reality, it is unjust to form an opinion of that group based off of one’s very limited experience and knowledge of that actual subject. The actual terrorists of 9/11 were extremists. That is not to say that there are not more extremists, but to degrade all those even slightly involved with that religion as something so awful is horrific. This situation is very similar to that of feminists. I am not going to say that there aren’t extremists with feminism, but it is wrong to categorize the whole based off of a few.

        As for the “point” of feminism, feminism is needed because men are paid more than women for the same work. Feminism is needed because many guys think it’s okay to make “sandwich” and “kitchen” jokes that actually aren’t much of a joke to them. Feminism is needed because males are called girls as a way to degrade them and motivate them to be better. Feminism is needed because if a female is defensive about a strong opinion she has, she is immediately said to be on her period or having PMS.

       I believe in feminism because I’m a decent human being who believes every individual should be equal and not have their worth and capabilities determined by their biological sex.

Novels and Books and Stories

I would consider myself a bibliophile. Buying a new novel with fresh pages and perfect corners and edges makes me excited. I know that I’m not alone when I say how lovely it feels to hold a book and smell that book-like smell. However, that doesn’t particularly mean the text will be enjoyed.

Not enjoying a novel could mean that the writing style was awful. But that’s a wonderful part of reading. For one to depict their likes and dislikes of the way one creates a story, it shows they hold some level of compassion towards these books. In AP English, we focus on these things. We pay attention to the syntax and diction the author uses. Although it is obviously the author who did the writing, it also can be the character or narrator doing the writing. Like in The Great Gatsby, the story is told from Nick Caraway’s perspective. The writing style used may be that of F. Scott Fitzgerald, but more so, it is Nick’s style. The things Nick says or believes in does not mean that Fitzgerald agrees with Nick’s thoughts. Fitzgerald is playing the role of a man in Long Island. He is not playing himself. How does the narrator’s way of speaking affect the tone of the novel? How does it affect the way we view other characters? These questions are vital when analyzing the structure of one’s writing.

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Also, while I believe a reader should take into account the author’s background and general ideals, I also believe that this background information is not necessary for the text. It’s beneficial to the reader to focus solely on the text before them, the actual story. In doing so, one can have a genuine opinion on it free from the information about it given by an author’s background or intentions. The reader can better analyze writing structures and its effects because the reader wasn’t made aware of exactly what to expect.

Others may disagree with me, but I feel even having someone disagree is part of the incredible things literature can do. There’s arguments and never a right answer. It all depends on you, the reader, how you interpret the print before you.

Culture Gap in the Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath is set in the time of the dust bowl. While we as a nation having significantly changed since this time period, I noticed that part of the culture set in the novel is still widely part of today’s culture.

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The first chapter of the novel sets the scene of what’s occuring because of the dust bowl. What this chapter mentions is how women looked towards the husband over the stability of their home. “The women knew it was all right, and the watching children knew it was all right. Women and children knew deep in themselves that no misfortune was too great to bear if their men were whole. (Page 4)

This is still prominent today in many families as with mine. When the husband/father of a household has acknowledged his worry over the stability and very being if their home or work, it causes the rest in the family to worry as well. However, when this man is calm and not too stressed about a situation, it seems that the situation isn’t as bad as it could be. In my home, once either my mother or father begin to worry about something, I begin to worry. When they do not worry, neither do I. The only cultural difference I can identify in this sense is the expansion of who the family looks to in times of doubt. Rather than focusing just on the father, children look towards their mother for how to respond to a situation.

I often compare time periods for political reasons, but this small section in the book isn’t too far off from today.

Idea FM- Ira Animus

We’ve began working on a section of Ruptura centered on one of our three main characters, Ira Animus. She’s from the middle class, known as Medius. Our goal is portray her as being very sentimental and protective. To give off this idea, we’ve decided to give her a younger brother. Here is a snippet of her perspective. 

I’ve lost count over the amount of times life has grabbed me by the ankles and brought me down; my soul is aching for an escape from this. It feels as though steel chains are scraping  my calves raw as every moment passes. I can only imagine how much worse I’d feel if I’d been born as an Egan. The only reason I bother to remain breathing is to watch over my brother. He’s much too young and fragile to be forced to share the life I live now. My sole purpose for waking up each gloomy morning is to work hard enough in hopes that my sibling won’t have to.

 

Over time, I watch him lose the bounce in his step and the wonder in his eyes. Even now as I see him dream while he expels little puffs of air and rapidly flicks his eyes under his closed lids, I know he’s getting closer and closer to becoming like me. And I worry.

This is a first draft and even so, I tweaked it as I posted it here. Often times when I would write, I wouldn’t keep in mind that word choice corresponds to tone, argument, diction, and syntax. To properly deliver the idea that Ira is in touch with her emotions and those around her, we are trying to make the reader feel the emptiness she does. More so, we want the reader to feel sentimental towards other characters in the same way that Ira does. 

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The best of authors are those who can evoke the best and worst of emotions in the readers. Thinking through my favorite books, these were the books that made me cry or laugh or literally throw the book across the room. The feeling of surging anger and the feeling of blissful joy is enticing when it comes from a novel. I want to distribute a wide range of emotions and ideas open for thought and discussion just as my favorite authors do. This is our goal in Ruptura. We might not be writing as quickly as we hoped, but that’s part of the journey. Ira Animus is a key part in meeting this hope we have, and hopefully, this small portion I’ve shared in this post is half as alluring as successful, published authors.