I have always had an appreciation for English. I loved reading and finding deeper meaning behind the words, but I have not had a better experience in any of my English classes throughout my four years of high school. I have found even more of an appreciation for literature while in your class. Camus’ The Stranger is what sucked me in. I read every word in that book and loved discussing it in class. I don’t get nervous talking in front of people but when talking about literature was a tad nerve racking. As the year progressed, it felt more and more comfortable talking in front of the class. I loved the connections between The Stranger and Greek myths as well as other parallels that you pointed out. I also loved The Stranger, because the main character talked to people in a way I did at times. So I picked existentialism as my strand to follow throughout the year.
I didn’t care for the vocabulary of the day. But I guess it had to done. As my writing techniques grew we started our independent reading and I analyzed the hell out of the novel. It ended up having to do with my existentialism strand even though I just picked that book because it was in my house and I didn’t feel like paying for another story. I think one of my better paper’s was the one I wrote on Plum Plum Pickers because I really got into that little story even though we didn’t spend much time on it.
This year I got a new appreciation for poetry. I have never liked poetry, I only did it because a teacher said to or to remember it for a performance. But with your teaching poetry has become a big part of my life. I like to write music and with poetry it helps me write lyrics with deeper meaning and with prettier words. I really feel in love with poetry when we watched the movie about Charles Olsen. His poems connected with me because he was discussing a place in which I have been to very often. So choosing him to do my project was the best thing I could have done because I got to spend hours searching through his poems and finding little quotations from them that I wanted to throw into my play to make it have more to do with Olsen. And even if the quotation wasn’t about what I was talking about in Charles Olsen’s life I made the quotation connect to fit into my play. Doing this project also got me more into writing plays, because any English teacher will tell you that I wrote short plays as projects in their class but nothing they went for cheap laughs and weren’t that great. Writing that play got me going on a lot more plays that are currently in the works. One which I am almost done is titled Treading Water and is about the daily life as a worker as a YMCA lifeguard. I figured my first big play would be about something that I knew the most about.
James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was a really rough novel to get through. James Joyce is so intelligent and it seemed like everyone in the class knew what he was referring to in his stories but me. I tried so hard in that story to connect what I was reading with other myths or aspects of religion but most of the symbols and connections I learned about were from you in class or others doing their discussions. I do like a good coming of age tale which is why I stuck with the story and was still interested in what the story was, it was just hard for me to analyze it. My ending paper for that novel was unorganized and lacked depth.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet was my favorite piece of literature that we read all year. I loved acting out the scenes and discussing Hamlet’s character. Hamlet in my opinion the most challenging roles an actor can take and one day I would to love to tackle the role. Hamlet’s motivation for everything he did was the most interesting to me. Writing my piece on his soliloquy was really my favorite thing to do for Hamlet because I got to analyze and critique the motives of the actor.
All in all, this year was incredible. You taught us information that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. And your inspiration will keep me writing and improving my poetry and plays.