The (Possibly) Most Stressful Week of the Year (Weekly Wrap Up)

I’ve never been so excited to write a weekly wrap up!

To be frank, this week has been a continuous hell full of stress, tests, fights, and 300 pounds of crab.  Most of the stress came from that last part about the crab.  So Thank God that it’s over and that I managed to survive.

This week was another week that was focused on poetry.  We also did a practice poetic analysis essay which I though was helpful and insightful.  However, like when we did essays last time, they are only helpful to the extent that we find our errors and try to correct them.  I think also that a better understanding of literary devices would benefit everyone in the class (especially myself!). Although I patted myself on the back for being able to finish the essay on time and have some sort of structure, I’m not sure if it’s as strong as it could be, but think that I get a little better every time we do an exercise like this.  I do think that an analysis strictly on the use of music in the poem did not leave us with many options when writing, and afterwords we all realized that we basically wrote the same essay.

We also talked a bit about the poem “The Hollow Men” by TS Eliot.  Although I was able to understand the other poems we talked about in class fairly well, this one gave me a bit of trouble for some reason.  The discussion in class very much so helped me to better understand what is going on in this work.  I thought the juxtaposition of a stuffed man (one with a body but not a soul) and a hollow man (one with a soul but lacking a body) was really interesting, and helped to clarify the possible point being that both extremes are equally bad.  I thought Nic’s point about the fields of Asphodel was also kinda interesting.



Thou blind Man’s mark? Is it like a sticker? (Thou Blind Man’s Mark)


The poem we were asked to blog on is “Thou Blind Man’s Mark” by Sir Philip Sidney.  It is a sonnet!  Because this was a little confusing when we went over it in class, I decided to look up exactly what a sonnet is:

Traditionally, the sonnet is a fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter, which employ one of several rhyme schemes and adhere to a tightly structured thematic organization.

So yes, a sonnet is a type of poem, and yes, the rhyme scheme can be one of a few different options and it can still be considered a sonnet.

The sonnet “Thou Blind man’s mark” is about Sir Philip Sidney’s thoughts about desire.  In the sonnet, Sidney states that desire is the blind man’s mark, because it is something that no intelligent person would want.  This is one of the more overt poems towards its meaning.  I think Sidney may have written it to be so obvious because its function may have been to convince people about the dangerous of desire and try to convince them to live a less materialistic life.

Staying with the poetry-song theme of this week, one song that reminded me of this poem was “Matryoshka” by hachi (the same producer behind “Donut Hole”).  Although I chose “Donut Hole” to compare to “War Photo 2” because of its similar use of techniques to convey a message, I chose “Matryoshka” because I think it conveys a similar message to “Thou blind man’s mark” but in a completely different way.

“Thou blind man’s mark” is clearly a song about desire, but “Matryoshka”‘s meaning has been hotly debated since the song’s release.  Lines like “Ah, I’m about to throw up. / Please accept me and everything about me. / Ah, with your two hands, /please take me in.” clearly show the singer’s desire to be accepted by someone – commonly assumed to be a love interest – while lines like “Let’s just laugh everything off. / Hurry up and dance, you group of fools!” and “Freud? Keloid? Just hit the keys. / Let’s just laugh everything off. / Dance quickly, and get out of my sight!” seem to show that the singer is trying to get away from the love interest.  One way I interpret the song is the singer has feelings for someone that control her, yet this desire for the love interest is seen by the singer as unhealthy and she tries to get rid of her almost addiction to his love.

So, in short, both the poem and the song talk about the dangers of desire, but in completely different ways.



Poetry (O Captain my Captain and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)

Hello all!

Past week has been pretty weird, ending with me getting really sick and missing a couple days, not to mention being stuck in bed for a whole weekend.  Not the most fun way to spend time, but what happens happens.  On the bright side, in class we will be starting a poetry unit!

One of the first poems we were assigned was “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman.  It is a famous American poem about the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.  This poem is fairly simple to analyze because of its well known topic.

The poem begin,

“Oh captain! My captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d ever rack, the prize we sought is won”

This poem creates a metaphor for Abraham Lincoln’s leadership role as US President to the role a captain plays on a ship.  The “fearful trip” means the Civil War, which was won in favor of the union and brought the country together again to be united.  Unfortunately, although the captain reaches his goal, in both cases he is killed and “lies fallen cold and dead.”

The poem goes on, not only just to mourn the dead captain, but something more.  It expresses how horrible it is that the captain worked so hard even to death to help the ship get to shore safely, or bring the country together and ensure our future, but does not get to enjoy it.  Not only does he not to get to enjoy it, but he is replayed for his hard work by being assassinated.

This poem is a great one to start with, because it is easy to identify the extended metaphor and realize the author’s point of writing it.

-Paulie 🙂

One Thesis Many Thesi (Weekly Wrap-Up!)

Hello all! Happy Weekend!!!

Unfortunately the weekend is ending…

This week was actually very productive!  We spent a lot of time – if not the entire week – workshopping and learning all about the thesis.  I think that this was really time well spent, because the entire class as well as myself had some major issues that would have become huge problems later on if they were not addressed now.  Also, we took a bunch of prompts from previous exams and practiced making a thesis for each one, which helped us because it gave us the experience of working under pressure that well need come May.

Another thesis skill we learned is differentiating between the couple different types of thesis and how they function.  For example, if you’re prompt requires you to have an argumentative essay, you need an argument in your thesis, as well as some evidence to prove your argument.  This was new news to me, and definitely will come in handy.

I also liked how we each made our own thesis and then went around the room and had everyone give each other advice on it.  This was especially helpful for me, who had to write mine almost five times hehehehehhe…. I’m glad I learned more and improved a bit though!!

We also had an in class essay!!! I think it’s the first one that I actually finished in time… Once again, improvement!!!

It was an analysis essay about one of the speeches or essays we read this trimester.  I wrote about Pericles’ Funeral oration.  I’m sure it was not a perfect essay, but I think I did a good job on it! Not only did I make a good point, I also finished it on time! I think my only failing was that it was rather short, but I think it will be okay.


A Post Blog (Weekly Wrap Up!)

Hello all!

Despite the increasing craziness of apparently everything else, English class has remained surprisingly calm.  We have simply been going along with our schedule, and reviewing speeches and beginning preparing for the AP exam.

We have carried over from last week using the rhetorical triangle to further analyze speeches.  I think this is very helpful, because, not only does it help us realize what strategies used are important and why, but it also helps us to understand better the intentions of the speaker, which is a skill that I am sure will greatly assist us on the AP exam.

Speaking of the AP Exam, we also started some exam practice this week! I think that taking a practice at the beginning of the year is important, because it helps us to understand exactly how the test works and what skills we need to master before May.  I think that, so far, nobody completely failed the multiple choice section, and we have already identified several things we need to learn (like literary devices and poetry terms).  I think that this, although a different approach from what we are used to in an AP class, it still can be very effective if everyone works really hard and communicates well.

For us to improve, I think everyone needs to have an “all hands on deck” approach to it. We need to all be working to find resources and books that can help everyone in the class.  Also, I feel that, although the practice tests in the 5 Steps to a 5 books are great, taking an official previous AP exam may be beneficial so we can get used to the format and length of the test sections.

-Paulie 🙂

A Modest Proposal for a Funeral Oration (A Modest Proposal and Pericles’ Funeral Oration)


We had two things to read this time! Pericles’ Funeral Oration, and “A Modest Proposal” by Jonothan Swift.

The funeral oration came with an introduction that helped to explain it.  According to the introduction, Pericles took the opportunity of giving this oration to talk about the benefits of the Greek democracy and to promote their government.

Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves.

In this sentence, Pericles appeals to the emotions of his audience.  He wants them to feel pride in their country, and to support it.  It is possible that, because this is during a war, Pericles needs the additional support of the people and tries to do this by making them feel pride in their country.

He goes on again to talk about how democracy means that, no matter what a persons social or political status, they can still have a say in everything.  He tries to make his audience be glad that they do not have a tyrant ruling over them.  He even refers to other nations as “antagonists.”

The next thing we read is quite horrifying.

I assume that it is a piece of satire, and hope it is (please don’t let this be serious).  Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” is basically a work that convinces people that the best thing to do with Ireland’s huge population of children is to start eating them.  He using a very basic argument to convince his audience that it is the best thing to do, an easy food source and “delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food.”

The piece seems to highlight that many rich and upper class people care so little about the poor, that they would actually eat their children without batting an eyelash.


Personal Statement Essays (Weekly Wrap-Up!)

Hey y’all!

This week in class we focused a lot on writing and working on our personal statement essays. The idea for mine came really randomly, but when I talked about it with some friends and teachers they all said to go for it and write it, so I did!

One thing that I think was really important to my essay was the fact that it contained very vivid imagery. The essay so far seems to easily draw the reader in, and I feel the audience really understands the situation I’m describing. The bad news about this though, is that I spent so much time working on the imagery and painting the scenery of the story, I have trouble actually getting to my point. This essay, not actually having a clear point, is not bad but, in the end, almost useless. I have some ideas about how to correct that though, mainly by adding in a little more plot and action without sacrificing the imagery that is so far working well.

One thing about it that I really like, is that it is a tad unusual. Although I wrote in the first person, the way I tell the story in the past tense and spend a lot of time on imagery makes it seem more like a short story than an essay — and unfortunately, without my point being very clear, it is more of a short story than an essay. If I am able to work in my point a little better, I think the essay will be able to stand as an essay, but still have the unusual format that I think will make it an enjoyable read as well as a memorable one. 

The biggest issue I have with it at the moment is my general vaugeness and lack of a clear point. Hopefully that will be remedied in the next draft. 

On the bright side, it is currently very, very short in length, meaning that I have lots of room to write more, expound and improve! I really hope that I’m able to make it very good in the next draft!

See y’all next week!

-Paulie (๑>◡<๑)