Friday, April 4, 2008

Personal Reflective Essay

English class was like a rollercoaster of ups and downs..

Honestly, English is a subject I never enjoyed. I find it lacking in comparison with other subjects, and without passion, I did all the English work assigned to me. However, English class this year proved to be a great experience. New elements were introduced to me as soon as I set foot in the classroom. Unlike before, I began to grow more knowledgeable and interested in the subject of English, as well as become a more independent and responsible person.

Starting from day one, my intention was to solely pass academically in English, ignoring the depth and rich information waiting to be gained from riveting novels. At first, when explications were being covered, the first being Redshift if I recall correctly, I did the work only because I was forced to, in order to pass. However, as time progressed, I began to develop a deeper understanding of the material being read, and a slight interest, rather than a monotonous or robotic view regarding English class. This feeling started immediately with The Stranger. When given assignments, dialectical journal entries, explications, essays, concerning Meursault, I put more effort into my work. It was the first time in any English class that I wanted to write purely to express my ideas, theories, insights, and not for the sake of academics. I yearned for more knowledge about the material being read, and I wanted to learn as much as my attention span would allow it regarding Meursault, as well as all of the incoming material to be covered. My writing skills improved subtlety, and my usual "hop on the computer, open word, and type it out all in one go" method for essays evolved and changed drastically. Starting with the Camus paper, I began to spend more time on my essays, and instead of my aforementioned method of writing essays, began a multistep process involving: brainstorming, outlining, writing rough drafts, editing the drafts, revisions, final draft, etc.

Reading The Stranger proved to be an extremely significant asset concerning my growth in English class. It taught me that the English subject CAN be enjoyable, and I do not have to be miserable while doing work related to English. The novel also sparked a momentum of interest that would flow throughout the rest of the year, even as of now, during the period of Hamlet.

After The Stranger, I became motivated and interested regarding English class, however, that did not mean that I would excel or do well in the subject. I was constantly receiving a consistent barrage of bad grades in the 70s range concerning my analytical essays and explications. Improving seemed impossible in my mind, as I would never reach that certain depth that was required to score higher. It felt as if I could not ascend to a higher level of writing. However, this all changed when painting explication and painting analysis began. Perhaps I am more of a visual person when it comes to depth. Starting with the explication of the Brueghel paintings in conjunction with the poems by William Carlos Williams, I vaguely began to somewhat grasp the concept of depth. A whole new world was opened, a deeper knowledge and understanding of English surfaced. Although this proves false with material not involving visuals, it was progress nonetheless. The writing pieces, analysis, explications, etc., of visual works helped me understand the step I was missing. It helped show me the depth my papers might have lacked. I did very well academically on work involving visuals, and truly grew when it came to understanding exactly what I was writing about. The struggle with depth is still ongoing; however, my writing concerning depth and my understanding of it has improved tenfold from day one. Even though my writing is nowhere as good as I would like it to be, it is definitely an improvement from before, and it is achievement that I feel I should be proud of. Over the course of the year, my writing pieces improved in quality with leaps thanks to such influential works like Camus The Stranger and mesmerizing visual art pieces by wonderfully talented artists.

I can say without a doubt that I have learned so much this year regarding English. It is not farfetched to even suggest that I might have learned more than what I have culumuntively learned throughout the past three years of high school English. I was treated as a responsible adult, and in turn, passed in all assignments unquestionably. English class proved to be an amazing learning experience in which my English knowledge grew so much.

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