Sunday, May 5, 2013

INVENTORY-- one last time...

You've written a lot this week; is there anything left for you to practice/improve over the weekend?  Do you need to practice more multiple choice?  Take inventory-- one last time-- and describe how you will address any areas where you feel less than 100% confident.


 This week has been beneficial not necessarily in improving my writing skills holistically but, rather, the pacing of my writing. I remember at the beginning of the year I would focus nearly half the allotted amount of time just focusing upon  the thesis statement of my introductory paragraph. Don't get me wrong, the intro paragraph may very well be the most critical, adumbrating the specifics that will be expounded upon within the course of the essay, but this week's rigorous persistence has enabled me to forgo my usual feather and fluff flavor text that generally protracts writing time in exchange for, to put it simply, cutting to the chase, to the real central dogma, heart of the essay prompt content. In regards to multiple choice, I've never had challenges with such in the past and, not to underestimate the exam, I don't really feel threatened or worried about this portion at all for that matter. All in all I've never practiced this much for an AP exam (and have passed every one prior), or written this large of a volume of essays, in such a short but intense amount of time, ultimately I feel confident that I am more than prepared, that I will pass the exam, I'm as ready as I'll ever be. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

In class essay (5-2-13)

(Question 1)

Mortality, of all the facets of humanity, mortality, the imminence of death is arguably what most defines us. Death is merely the stage where life is distinguished, yet many fear, fight against their in-elusive fate in the unwavering desire to yet achieve their dying ambitions, final aspirations in life. John Keats When I Have Fears and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Mezzo Cammin both chronicle the restless fears, looming concerns of the two poets forthcoming mortality. Similar in thematic ties, the works share the prominent use of metaphorical imagery to connote their ideas but contrast in their respective structure as the authors explore their varied but so to familiar perspectives on the subject of death, mortality, in comparison.

"Half of my life is gone..." Wadsworth opens his composition similarly to Keats "when I have fears that I may cease to be..." The two poets reflecting not simply on their inevitable death but their lives thus far. Both works explore these reflections, their authors concerns via the device of imagery. "Then on the shore of the wide world I stand alone and think till love and fame do sink to nothingness." Keats imagery of reflecting on a beachhead shore at worlds edge, essentially commenting on how temporal "love and fame" really are as they "sink to nothingness" and become nothing but terminal memories after life is similar to Longfellow's use of imagery as follows.
"Though half way up I see the past, a city in the twilight dim and vast with smoking roofs, soft bells, and hear above me the autumnal blast The cataract of death far thundering from the heights." Longfellow crafts the image of a "twilight city" the diction of "twilight" and "dim" connoting Longfellow's own petering life in twilight years whilst the "soft bells" marking the "thundering" "autumnal blast" all echoes the coming inevitable end of life, all roads of life ending at "deaths cataract". Indeed both John Keats and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow utilize the poetic device of imagery within their respective works to reflect upon their lives as well as pine to live longer so as to chase their final "youthful aspirations".

Though the two poets explore the same theme of mortality, employing a plethora of similar poetic devices, such as imagery, Keats and Longfellow's pieces, however, contrast in their poetic structure. Both works are constructed with a rhyming scheme but whereas Keats rhymes in odd couplets every other line as illustrated: "When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face, Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance, And feel that I may never live to trace, Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;". Longfellow, on the other hand, directly rhymes each subsequent following line with the preceding last, ex: " The years slip from me and have not fulfilled, The aspiration of my youth, to build, Some tower of song with lofty parapet. Not indolence, nor pleasure, nor the fret.". Though the poets differ in comparable rhyming structures, the dual use of rhyming in general expertly crafts a hypnotic momentum, pacing that enables the author to fluidly convey their similar perspectives on mortality, both lamenting the loss of time, both rapidly now pursuing youthful aspirations, both reflecting on their lives.

The hands of time deliver us all to the same ends, life is death and death is life. John Keats When I Have Fears and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Mezzo Cammin in contrast/comparison both convey the authors varied but all to similar dispositions on their imminent, perpetual, mortality. Via the use of poetic devices painting connotative metaphorical imagery as well as differing but dually hypnotic rhyming structures, both Keats and Longfellow reflect upon their forthcoming deaths as they live out their middle-aged twilight years. Though they may differ in exact utilization of poetic devices, they both use them to reflect upon their existence, both desire to pursue and accomplish their ultimate "youthful aspirations", both confront their inevitable mortality, but both so to never forgo hope, forget whats important in life: to live.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In class essay (5-1-13)

In Ann Petry's novel, The Street, the author employs a panoply of rhetorical strategies, literary devices to capture not only the zeitgeist of the eponymous setting, but so to convey Lutie Johnson's relationship to the urban metropolis. Whether it be the personification of wind interacting and influencing the city streets, The use of imagery to authentically capture the spirit of the urban locales and denizens, or a diverse array of figurative language throughout, Ann Petry, paints, characterizes not only visually the urban cityscape but so to the protagonist Lutie Johnson's relationship to the metropolitan setting.

"There was a cold November wind blowing through 116th street. It rattled the tops of garbage cans, sucked window shades out through the top of the opened windows and set them back against the windows." The opening paragraph immediately illustrates Petry's utilization of personification. Wind rattling tops of garbage cans, gusts so strong as to "suck" out window shades, indeed, wind throughout the entirety of the passage excerpt plays as an entity of sorts, very much a character guiding the reader through the setting whilst characterizing the urban alleyways and streets. "It found every scrap of paper along the street, theater throwaways, announcements of dances and lodge meetings, the heavy waxed paper that loaves of bread had been wrapped in, the thinner waxed paper that had enclosed sandwiches, old envelopes, newspapers." Wind in the quotation furthers Ann Petry's purpose of painting imagery thru personification. In the given quotation wind acts as a sort of rail guided expressway for us to tour the streets as the personified zephyrs "find every scrap of paper" we learn of the city's evident vivacity with "theater throwaways, announcement of dances". "It found all the dirt, dust and grime on the sidewalk and lifted it up so that the dirt got up into their noses..." We learn thru the seeming mischievous actions of the wind that the streets are not the most lavish, meticulously clean of settings, nor it's respective people. When the wind "lifts Lutie Johnson's hair" we soon learn of our protagonists disdain for the cold, windy setting as the gales make her "shiver" and "even blew her eyelashes away so that her eyes were bathed in a brush of coldness". Through this lack of acclimation to the cold, thru the personified wind and the later evidence, Petry subtly connotes, reveals Lutie Johnson's relationship to the setting. As the wind gives us a guided tour essentially creating the setting for the reader, we can interpret that so to is Lutie seeing the streets for the first time subsequently we can infer that Lutie Johnson is not a native of this setting. Indeed Petry implements the personification of wind as it interacts with the streets as a means of observing the setting thru Johnson's eyes for the very first time, subsequently revealing her relationship to the city, the hostile and cold wind personifying her insecurities as she visits a new city with new people, Petry via personification revealing that Lutie Johnson is not a resident of the region.

"Three rooms, steam heat, parquet floors, respectable tenets. Reasonable." Thru this use of the rhetorical strategy, imagery, Petry ultimately details Lutie Johnson's relationship to the setting. In particilar thr specific selection of details "three rooms..."( etc.) is deliberate on part of Petry's imagery. As Johnson attempts to read against the blustering winds, the imagery of the preceding quotation describing an apartment complex supports the previous inference that Johnson is not a resident of the location as we can infer that she is looking for a place to stay. Subsequently Petry yet again utilizes rhetorical strategies of imagery/selection of detail not simply to relay the superficial facade of the streets to the reader but actually, subtly characterize, reveal Lutie Johnson's relationship as an outsider to the setting, the street.

Ann Petry's use of various rhetorical strategies in her novel The Street not only helps craft the setting but so to subtly characterizes and reveals the protagonist, Lutie Johnson's relationship to the locale. Thru personification of the wind it is revealed that Lutie Johnson is not acclimated, familiar with the area unable to cope with the cold and wind whilst the use of imagery and selection of detail illustrates her pursuit of a place to stay. Indeed, Ann Petry reveals Lutie Johnson's relationship to the urban streets: an outsider to the setting, all this through the instrumentation of rhetorical strategies.