Friday, April 4, 2008


Explications. One of the many types of writing I improved over the course of this year in English class. This year was truly a productive year because it allowed me to open up my mind, fully redesigning a new thinking architecture to aid my writing. The year started a bit bumpy as I received low, unsatisfactory grades on all of my writing assignments. I simply could not grasp what exactly was required in an explication. Slowly, by reading examples and testing many methods, I improved my writing skills to a noticeable stage beginning in third quarter.

It was the Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man theory paper that invoked this change. The paper had to be quite long in both length and depth. Explications always proved difficult to me. I have tried various ways to improve my skill in writing them. At first all I had was context and a small summary. Then I added some analysis and took away some of the summary, however, the thesis was not good enough. So then when I do have a good topic, I would not be able specific enough about it. My mind thinks extremely logically. Abstract thoughts could never enter into my mind. My strand of Apollo was never mentioned once in the entire book. Not surprisingly, I had a difficult time and received a bad grade for my explication. However, after reading through this novel and the criticisms it contained, I felt as if my mind upgraded. The psychoanalytical criticism particularly helped improve my writing as it mended both logic and abstract ideas. It was able to help form a new module in my mind to be able to see things abstractly.

Writing assignments in English class this year did improve my skills. By being able to read and learn from a fellow student’s essay, I could spot the flaws in my own writing. When the time came to write my Portrait explication, I had to crank out multiple ideas, both logical and abstract. I was forced to integrate both logical and abstract ideas fluently in my essay in order to complete it adequately. I have gained a valuable skill that helped me further improve my writing. Writing explications does not seem as hard as it did earlier in the year. Now, when I do my assignments, it takes a significantly less amount of time to finish.

Throughout the course of the year, I would say that I produced the best results in this final third quarter. My transitions improved greatly compared to my trial products earlier in the year. The recent paper on Tom Phillips’ Humument was one of my better works in class. The assignment was to examine and explicate a picture drawn by Tom Phillips. The initiation of the piece carried on smoother than I thought it would. I used to hesitate and stress before starting essays. I would sit at my desk for minutes, even hours to plan my writing. This time it was different. I looked at the picture for a few minutes and ideas seemed to pop right into my head. Multiple ideas would conflict with each other and I could find a solution to combine both messages in a coherent way. The ability to connect both my logical and abstract thoughts truly does help. And this is when I thought: English is definitely easier now.

From the vocabulary to the class discussions, every aspect of class aided the growth of my writing. I have gained much knowledge and insight through class analysis. By writing more and more, my writing although slowly, has definitely broadened. The class has read a number of novels this year. I learned a lot from both of Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus and The Stranger, A Portrait, and Hamlet. I liked how the teacher tried to portray certain messages by performing amusing acts. The accents always help the mind with memorization. Whenever the teacher spoke in a weird accent, I would remember it later whether it be on a test or in another class. It was great; especially the funny postures actors took during Hamlet. The beginning of the year was a bit crazy. Some of the books I hated. The story line of A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man was good, but the writing style did not interest me. It was difficult. I believe that the more creative assignments were easier to accomplish because of the increased freedom on the subject. There wouldn’t be a fixed topic to stay on—meaning that I would not have to come up with a forced connection. I did not expect my grade to increase at all this quarter, but it did anyway. That just means the class helped me grow. The experience will surely help me in college. One final note I may add: procrastination hurts—especially in an English class. Anyways, thanks so much Mr. G, it’s been a pleasure.