Blog 13: Song of Myself

At first, the work didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I was just like, “what am I even reading?”. Some poetry doesn’t make sense to me to begin with, so I had to think about it more than I thought I’d have to. I found that highlighting the text and making comments helped me comprehend what I was reading a lot better than when I first saw this poem. I thought that after we went through analyzing the first section, it would get easier. I thought I was going to understand the next sections more than I understood the first one. My initial reaction to the sections we were assigned wasn’t too great. I was pretty confused. Once again, I didn’t understand what I was reading until I started making notes about it. At first, I just thought every line related to nature in some way. Usually, when it comes to these things, there’s a deeper more confusing meaning behind it that I don’t always pick up on. We broke up our sections into smaller subsections, and we are going to spend time talking about each one. I’m going to be focusing on the first part of Section 3, so the most important lines to me are going to be the first couple lines of section 3. To a certain extent, I believe every line is equally important. If we go line by line and find the meaning of every one of them, it can help us by making the overall theme very clear. After reading my sections, the writer seems to be speaking to the reader about life, and the different aspects of life.

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Blog 12

There are multiple connections between the excerpts I read that stand out the most to me. First, I noticed the importance of self-reliance. Being in charge of your own life is important when it comes to making decisions for yourself. Another similarity that stood out to me is the conversation of nature. Living with nature should be purposeful, and it will help you live a purposeful life. There was a point made in Where I Lived and What I Lived For where the author states that they wanted to be only with the essential parts of life (nature). Later in the excerpt, the author also makes a statement about simplifying life. Although Where I Lived and What I Lived For seemed to have more of a hands-on approach.

The main idea in Where I Lived and What I Lived For, is to show the importance of nature that surrounds the place you live.

The main idea shown in The Conclusion is to explain to the reader what the author learned from the experiment.

There are positive outcomes that could come from conducting the experiment of living in the woods away from society. There would be fewer distractions around you. You would be able to learn more about nature and even yourself. You would start to do things for yourself which means you could learn to work more than you have before. Social media also would no longer be a distraction while in the woods. Although I could learn a lot from conducting this experiment, there would definitely be things I miss. I’d miss my dogs, family, friends, and going to dance/teaching dance classes. I think this would be a little easier for me to do if I had my dogs with me. I don’t know if I’d be able to go too long without seeing them. This would be a different type of lifestyle for me, and I’m not sure if I could go without a lot of human interaction for that long. Right now I spend almost every day of the week either dancing or teaching dance classes. I’m used to being around people and helping them learn. If it was just myself and the woods I don’t think it would go well.

A modern reader could learn from these experiments. They should realize that it could be good to be alone sometimes. It’s okay to be away from society (social media) at times.

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Blog 11: Argumentative Reflection

My thoughts towards arguing have changed from when we first started talking about arguments compared to now. I could “argue” well and state my opinion before, but now I see how more thought can go into arguing. I now understand how important research is when debating. I now understand the process of constructing a well thought out argument to present to the opposing side.

With my debate specifically, I learned how to present information. I figured out where to put your most important points compared to the points that might not be as strong. I also learned that the debate wouldn’t be as easy as I thought. I knew what type of points my opponent would most likely bring up, so I had to search for opposing information that would help me out.

During our cross-examination, I learned how much of an impact the questions and answers can have on a debate. After answering my opponents’ questions, I knew I’d have to find more ways to use his information against him because he would be doing the same to me. I learned to explain why my opponent was incorrect rather than just yelling or simply saying, “you’re wrong, I’m right”. It was interesting to see how different my information was compared to my opponent, but in the end, it still ended in a tie.

Finding my information to use for the debate wasn’t too difficult. The more complicated part was putting it together in a form I could use in my constructive, rebuttal, and conclusion. The constructive probably took the most time and effort compared to other parts of my debate preparation.

In my class, I was chosen to debate against my opponent first. This meant we wouldn’t get to see other debates before going. It wasn’t terrible, but the debates have definitely gotten better as they go on. It seems that my peers have been taking into consideration what has happened throughout the past debates to figure out how they’ll put their own together.

Overall, it seems like providing proof for the research you completed will help you look well put together during your debate. Providing facts and statistics will also help you with your arguments.

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Blog 10: Debate Topic

I was assigned to be the pro side of the argument regarding lowering the drinking age to 18 in the United States. Before discussing these debate topics, I didn’t really think about this topic too much and didn’t really have a side. After thinking about my assigned topic some more, I realized that I could think of good and bad outcomes from both sides of the argument. After some quick Google searches, I see a trend with the arguments people have presented. On the side I have to defend, people often bring up facts stating how you become an adult at the age of 18, so you should have the choice to make decisions about alcohol consumption at that age too. People on the other side of the debate say things about how those few extra years between the time you turn 18 and when you turn 21 help you mature more. You’ll be more mature by the time you’re 21, and you should be able to make better decisions for yourself by the time you get to that age.

Lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 would mean that fewer people are drinking illegally. If people aged 18-20 could also drink, this would help restaurants and bar businesses. There would be a wider variety of people coming in and helping those businesses make more money to help them grow. I found a fact stating that there are usually less drunk driving accidents in countries where the age is 18 rather than 21. I feel like most people would think the opposite, so I thought I’d include that.

Logic I can use throughout the debate could relate to the fact that in the United States you are an adult when you turn 18. I can help my argument by using facts from other surrounding countries that also have a drinking age of 18 rather than 21 like ours. I can also say that lowering the drinking age would mean that fewer people are breaking the law. Having the age set at 21 will not stop everyone from drinking. If they want to do it, they’ll do it regardless of what the law might say.

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Blog 9: Virtues

Over the time I spent trying out the virtues experiment, I found that what my group said was true about our list. We ordered our virtues with one leading into the next, and if you fail to follow one, the others will possibly fall apart as well. On certain days if you have something going on and get distracted, it could be easy to find yourself failing to follow some of the virtues.

Sincerity and silence were easy to fail to follow through with on days I had events such as family gatherings, or when I was with certain friends. It’s easy to make useless conversations when you’re with people you feel comfortable talking around.

For me personally, humility plays a roll in the activities I take part in. Over our dance break, I am continuing to take private lessons with one of my close friends. One thing the both of us are very confident in when it comes to ballet is different variations of turns. Our love for turning makes us want to work on them every time we walk in for class. There were a couple occasions where we asked, “Can we put these in one of our dances for the spring?” because turning is something we’re both good at and we know it. We could’ve just let Angela choreograph on her own, but we throw in suggestions when it’s a step we’re very confident with.

Temperance is pretty self-explanatory since this experiment took place over Christmas break. There’s lots of food at family gatherings, and there would often be times where the adults say things such as “did you try this?”, and they’d like you to try every single thing that’s there.

Overall, I found that breaking one virtue can lead to breaking a lot more. As a teenager, if you have drama or something going on it’s easy to say things you don’t necessarily mean, waste your time and energy for people who don’t even deserve it, and compare yourself to others. This can also lead to keeping bad vibes instead of getting rid of the negativity, which was second on our virtues list. There was one eventful and very stressful day for me during this experiment. I didn’t have my plans organized and had no clue where I was going when I went to see a friend, and I got lost and lost service and had no clue how to get to my destination because I didn’t clarify where he lived ahead of time since I was used to going to his dad’s house rather than his moms’. After I left that house with my other friend there was some drama that went down which led to my thoughts being unorganized for the day rather than just my activities. After my thoughts and activities were unorganized that led to tranquility being broken as well due to me letting small things ruin my day.

As long as you’re thinking about the virtues I think they’re not too difficult to follow. Once you stop thinking about them is when the problems occur. Overall I think it was interesting to see how certain virtues continued to be the ones I struggled with, and others I had no issues with.

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Blog 8: The Dodo’s Conundrum

After reading The Dodo’s Conundrum for the first time, I honestly didn’t really grasp the meaning behind it. I had a rather negative opinion towards the poem, just like any other poem I read for the first time. I went back to read it again, and then I started to get it. The theme behind this poem was unclear to me at the beginning, but an opinion started to form after reading it again. I believe that the theme of this poem has something to do with building up your own perfect world. Anyone can build up what appears to be their perfect world, but reality will always be chasing behind you. The train set that gets spoken about throughout the poem is an example of an overstatement to help explain the theme to the reader. I successfully answered the sound and sense questions for the poem, but some of the questions I wasn’t always completely sure of. I think the theme makes more sense to me now after answering the sound and sense questions, but I’m still not thrilled about the poem. Poetry still isn’t my favorite thing in the world, and this poem didn’t change my opinion in a positive or a negative way. Writing my own forms of poetry only made me dislike poetry more. I think it was easier to point out different literary devices. Writing my own poems also helped me see rhymes more clearly. Overall, I think it was easier to analyze than other poems were, but I still didn’t enjoy it.

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Blog 7: Poetry

When I first heard we were starting to work with poetry, I had the typical reaction that most people my age have. I put an annoyed look on my face. I thought I wasn’t going to get through this part of the class. At this point, I knew some poetry terms, but I didn’t know there were as many components to poetry as we learned in class. The way we “analyzed” poems in middle school wasn’t too in-depth, and I didn’t learn much. At the beginning of the poetry unit, I was mostly exposed to formalism and free verse poems. Rhyme, alliteration, and onomatopoeia are terms that I previously learned, so I put that knowledge to use to help me analyze the poems I’ve read. I was familiar with the term iambic but wasn’t as familiar with terms such as anapestic, dactylic, spondaic, and pyrrhic. I was also familiar with meters. The two poems I chose for the first assignment still showed that I didn’t like poetry that much. When I responded to the questions asking why I liked or disliked the poems I chose I couldn’t give too much detail in my explanations because I just didn’t learn much about poetry up until that point. I didn’t really understand the poems I chose, so that’s all I could say. The scansion practice wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, and it actually made my thoughts of poetry alter a bit. I still wasn’t a fan of poetry, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The sound and sense questions weren’t fun to answer. At this point, I knew that I didn’t hate reading poetry. I just disliked the work that goes along with analyzing poems. After that, we started to read “Eldorado”. “Eldorado” wasn’t too difficult to get through. I think I might enjoy poetry more if I get to choose the specific poems I’m reading, but it still wasn’t that bad. Answering the sound and sense questions for “Eldorado” was easier than when I answered those questions the first time because by this point I was familiar with it.

I really don’t think poetry itself is an issue. Reading poems isn’t as big of a deal that most people made it out to be in the beginning. I’ve come to realize that the issue with poetry is just the work that takes place when you analyze a poem.


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Blog 6: Finishing My Story

I chose to use “He lied. She cried. He died” for my short story. When I initially started brainstorming for my story I didn’t imagine to go into as much detail as I did. At the beginning of my writing process, I knew what I wanted to include throughout my story, but I still didn’t figure out how I wanted to piece it all together. First I decided to start thinking about the end of my story. I figured out how I wanted to reveal the fate of my main character to the reader. Once that was figured out, I worked backward from there. During my writing process, I ended up changing the way the reader finds out what happens to my main character in order to make it more emotional for other characters. Overall, my main idea for my story hasn’t changed. I just expanded the idea. Something I’m still not necessarily a fan of is how my characters speak. After getting advice from another student in my class, I think I can still make the adults in my story sound more like adults. Some things also sound a bit too repetitive. On the other hand, I like how my story is all fitting together. The conflicts presented throughout the story all go together well. I like how the reader is aware of the main conflict along with my main character, but other characters have no idea what the truth is until it’s too late. I appreciate how the end of the story is startling for other characters. At the end of the story, you can see how the conflict could’ve been avoided if the main character made a smarter decision. This helps to reveal the theme of my story.

From reading stories for class, I’ve looked at different examples of how I can reveal my characters to the reader. My setting plays a big part in how I decided to explain the purpose of my characters.

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Blog 5: Imitation

An element in the book I’m reading that I will incorporate into my story is the description of characters and their actions. I believe that the way an author describes characters plays a major role in every story. The actions made by the characters are also a big part of any story. Sometimes a reader might decide if they enjoy a book or not based on the characters. If the author can’t successful describe major parts of the story, it probably won’t make sense to those who are reading it.

In the book I’m reading, the author is very successful at getting the purpose of every character across. Even from the beginning of the book, I was able to comprehend the purpose of the main character. If a reader can understand a reader well, they may be able to predict what the characters will do next just like in my situation.

I chose to incorporate an extensive description of my characters because I believe it has the power to determine if any reader will enjoy the story or not. I will add this element throughout my story, and I’ll be sure to go into detail while introducing the characters. I will go into detail to be sure the reader understands the situation my main character will be going through. Paying attention to details such as the tone my characters talk in will also be an important part of my story development. As my short story progresses, I’ll continue to may attention to my word choice. An author’s choice of words is crucial to writing a successful story. If you fail to keep a consistent way of writing, the reader may misinterpret the point the author is trying to get across. To conclude, the description of the main characters and their actions will play a very important role in the story I’ll be writing.


Blog 4- Setting

Throughout the book I’m currently reading, the author’s use of the setting influences the choices made by the characters. This story utilizes multiple settings. At the beginning of the story, the author sets the scene by looking into certain events from the past. Ten years prior to the story, the main character’s best friend disappeared. This information provides suspense for the reader right from the start. After this girl goes missing, the main character, Nicolette, moves away from their home town. The author shows the reader that Nicolette is living a successful life in a completely new environment. Nicolette then received a letter from her father which requires her to return home. Nicolette had been living in an apartment 10 hours from the original location of the story. Her apartment became empty. It was filled with boxes of all her belongings. This shows how Nicolette was making a big decision to put her life on pause. One letter still managed to influence her to make a 10 hour drive back to her father. Life in her home town is nothing like at her apartment. The house is old and beat up. Nicolette’s room remained almost untouched after she left. Nicolette is on a mission to discover the truth about her friend Annaleise. The author tells this portion of the story backward from day 15 back to day 1. Nicolette’s neighborhood wasn’t like her apartment in the city. The way it’s described makes it seem like more sketchy situations are going to happen. Later on in the story, another person goes missing. Nicolette is reliving the past again. She’s in the same old town with the same people, and the same thing happens again. Being in this setting influences Nicolette’s attitude throughout the entire story. She comes off as a very stressed character. The setting then takes you back to the night of Annaleise’s disappearance. There had been a car accident when she disappeared. The details of what took place during this crash describe to the reader what actually happened that night. The description of the car crash shows why Nicolette was the one who decided to move after Annaleise’s disappearance. The car crash also explains to the reader why the letter from Nicolette’s father at the beginning of the story influenced Nicolette to finally travel back to her home town.