Sunday, June 1, 2014

Masterpiece Academy Question

Looking back on all of my years of schooling, I have espoused learning. You learn something everyday that benefits you and to me that is really special. There is nothing quite like learning and becoming familiar with something and being able to expand and have a great discussion on it. Learning makes you great at what you're passionate about. It helps you take the next step towards what you love and your bright future. I took this course very seriously we were given a lot of freedom, which I felt I deserved and earned. I was up-to-date on my work and never missed an assignment. School and learning is what you make of it. You are going to have to want to get good grades and pay attention to be where you want to be.

Plato's Allegory of the Cave really says something about my journey. I have a comfort zone well, where I am comfortable. The shackles in the Allegory of the Cave represent how far we let our thoughts go while the cave represents our imagination and the reality we want to believe. I think many of us do this and stay put where we think it is safe instead of letting ourselves and imaginations run free and give ourselves more of an opportunity. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is another one that spoke to me. It was about a pilgrimage and whoever told the best tale on the way there got a better treatment. I think it made them work harder and it was like me. I worked harder not to "get" anything but to get farther in life. Lastly, Sartre's No Exit, spoke to me as being "stuck". It reminds me of being in a place no one wants to be. It's like being stuck somewhere for the rest of your life knowing the only way to escape is to just do what you were meant to do.

A passion that drives me is makeup and how you can show artistic ability through eyeshadow. You can do so much with so little. Creating a whole theme with eyeshadow, lipstick, and eyeliner to me is mind-blowing! I will continue my learning by continuing research and go to a cosmetology school. It is insanely important to me because I know I will go somewhere because of what I can do. Switching gears a little bit reminds me of how we never actually spent time on poetry. I laugh when I think about it because I remember how important it was my sophomore year. 

A constant theme I noticed while watching the masterpiece presentations was a sense of pride. Everyone was pleased with what they had accomplished. No one was happy to be done they were happy to show what they had done and many including my group are continuing with our masterpieces because it is something we are proud of. It is a great feeling to show something that you can look at and say "yeah I did that and I'm proud of it".  I noticed pride in of course my groups masterpiece and a couple people in my group wanted to go into business and I wanted to go in cosmetology so I was able to incorporate what I was passionate about in the masterpiece. Allyson Brown was very proud to show everyone her pictures from her summer program in Michigan where they learned all about genetics and got a hands on experience with a professor. Jose showed us about his football career and how he wants to motivate people to do better. Ashley and Bianca are really into comics and showed us some of their work. Edmond wants to be a writer and he was able to show us a little bit of the book he has been writing.

I would say that I am a hero I stepped out of my comfort zone a lot and did more than I expected I would which was a good step for me. Basically everything that the project called for my group and I accomplished one way or another. Micaela and Sarah found a mentor while they were in Long Beach. We talked about it and we felt pretty good with the results of everything. This final project was one of the best ones we could have done, it completely challenged us to push ourselves and get to know people, offer assistance, and get our word out there. Every student seemed to have avoided clich├ęs when creating their masterpiece which made them all very unique.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Masterpiece Update

My masterpiece is going very well. My group and I are very confident with the work we have done. In class we discussed everyone's project and offered our assistance. We are just not sure how we will present our masterpiece. There are many ways to go about the project presentation. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

At Least Two Poetry Essays

Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing by Margaret Atwood

Helen of Troy, a woman whose beauty ultimately caused the Trojan War, is a figure many people know of. These two poems seem to take this single woman and change her into two by the very way they describe her. One poem is full of admiration for her, and the other despises the person she is. Diction, imagery, form, and tone help create a completely different picture of Helen of Troy in the eyes of the spearers.

In the poem To Helen by Edgar Allan Poe, it begins with such a love and admiration of her beauty, comparing her to the "Nicean barks of yore." Poe goes on to use more imagery to describe her beauty, such as "hyacinth hair" and "statue-like." The tone and form of the poem also convey his sense of admiration of Helen. The poem is written in the way a love letter is written to a loved one. His tone shows how in awe Poe is of Helen's beauty, how her beauty has brought him to her. Even the title itself "To Helen" shows how he's writing this poem not only about her, but to her, as he would want her to see how he thinks of her.

The other poem is completely different when it comes to Helen. Strictly titled Helen, this author speaks in a very solemn tone, with a slight hint of disgust and hate for her. The author uses imagery to describe the way she looks, with "still eyes in the white face," "the wan face when she smiles." This changes the description of Helen of Troy as to someone with a pale, sickly unattractive look about them. The author even goes on to explicitly saw how Greece hated this woman, is reviled by her, and would only love her if "she were laid, white ash amid funereal cypresses." The tone and imagery show how strongly Helen is disliked by not only by Greece, but by the author.

These two poems are examples of how literary elements such as tone and imagery can make such a difference. Helen of Troy, one woman, went from being a most beautiful woman who a man adored, to being a woman most hated by an entire country. A single person can be drastically changed by a few words, for words are more powerful than one thinks.

Blackberrying By Sylvia Plath

The poem commences with a somewhat content and peaceful attitude as the poet ambles through the winding  'hooks' of rows upon rows of blackberries. She describes the rows of berries as  'blue-red' with  'ebon,' suggesting ripeness and perfection.
The blackberries are accommodating and  'squander' on her fingers like  'sisterhood', which gives the feeling of bonding, bringing together and fitting in. This proves to be quite ironic as the tone of the poem is one of solitude and loneliness.

The first stanza conveys to the reader a message of ambition and hope, as she talks about the sea,  'somewhere at the end of it'. This stanza could have a double meaning, either in describing the berries, as they appear to cluster together or could symbolize a finishing stage or a checkpoint in her life following her long journey. With knowledge of her suicide, which followed later after she wrote the poem, I believe that the poem could provide a harsh metaphor for her life. The three stanzas contribute to her journey of solitude and loneliness, but, when she arrives at the sea, after a seemingly endless walk, there is  'nothing but a great space.' Her journey, which appears aimless could also symbolize her attitude to life because she must have had nothing to live for, with no objectives in life, as we see her hopes of desire raised, then thwarted, as her viewing of the sea disillusions her.

The poem's somewhat harsh tone is not the only used by Plath. Firstly, natural beauty and serenity is the theme whilst a strongly contrasting third stanza strikes a definite bitterness and pathos.
The poet uses figurative language as the medium to convey her thoughts to the reader. There are a few similes used, for example  'dumb as eyes' and 'din like silversmiths'.


As much as talking with others is supposed to help, it doesn't. I enjoy figuring the poems out on my own, and even though their grids helped explain their poems a bit better, I'm sure I didn't understand it on the same level as they did, since they spent more time reading it. But I did see some interesting types of poems, and some familiar ones as well from my group. We also agreed on how the poetry part will probably be the most difficult on the AP exam, but using the grids helped organize the poem into parts so we can understand it better.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


TPCASTT:  Poem Analysis Method:  title, paraphrase, connotation, diction, attitude, tone, shift(s), title revisited and theme
Titleof poem means
 Blackberrying: the act of picking blackberries, as the speaker of Sylvia's poem is doing
Paraphraseparts of the Poem
 The first stanza the speaker (maybe Sylvia) is walking alone through blackberry fields, and she talks about the berries and how they look. The next stanza the speaker notices choughs that looks like bits of paper in the sky, and realizes she won't see the sea. She goes up to another blackberry bush and describes it. The last stanza she doesn't mention blackberries at all. She walks between two hills, calling them green and sweet. She turns and sees a huge orange rock, and hears metal clanging against metal.
Connotationof some of the words – changing literal meaning to implied or associated values
 Blackberry alley - a single path surrounded by blackberry fields on both sides; dumb as eyes - the color of the blackberries are dark?; blood sisterhood - could mean like blood brothers, where you cut your thumb and press it against another person's thumb, squeezing blackberries would show something like that; bits of burnt paper wheeling in the sky - the choughs? are being referred to as bits of paper fluttering in the sky
AttitudeWhat is the attitude of the author, characters or yourself?
 The attitude of the author is very solemn and observant. The author has a strong emotional tie to the blackberries at the beginning of the poem. But as it progresses, we don't see that attitude again. The rest of the poem seems to be more somber, and the blackberries aren't even mentioned in the last part. 
ShiftAt first we think or feel one way – then there is a shift:  identify the shifts and explain them
 The first shift happens between the first and second stanzas. The speaker ends the first stanza with "I had not asked for such a blood sisterhood; they must love me/They accommodate themselves to my milkbottle, flattening their sides." Very simple description of the blackberries. Then it shifts to "Overhead go the choughs in black, cacophonous flocks-/Bits of burnt paper wheeling in a blown sky/Theirs is only the voice protesting, protesting./I do not think the sea will appear at all." It is quite a change from the last two verses of the first stanza. 
Title revisitedAny new insights on meaning or significance of title?
There is some deeper meaning of the title. "Blackberrying" isn't really about the literal action that the speaker is doing. Blackberrying means something more. But I'm just not sure what. 

Three Poems

BlackBerrying By Sylvia Plath

Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing By Margaret Atwood

Digging by Seamus Heany

Seventh Reading

Blackberrying by Sylvia Plath

At first, this poem confused me. The first stanza I seemed to understand a little, since it seemed to be referencing the title. But then the next two stanzas had nothing to do with it. After reading it for the seventh time, I was able to pick out the difference between the first and the last two stanzas. The first is so happy, and the last two have such a somber tone. Ordinarily I wouldn't have been able to find something like that reading a poem once. But reading it over and over again actually helps the comprehension of the poem!