Friday, May 23, 2008

Reflection Paper

English class has always been one of my favorite courses at school. This year my English class was different than any class I have ever had before. I have always loved to read books, ever since I could read. One thing that changed when I entered Mr. Gallagher’s class was the type of novels I read.

The first book that we read in class, which was called The Stranger, was unlike any other book I have read before. Most books that I have read have a positive outcome or a positive outlook even if there are angry, sad, or depressing parts. The Stranger had a different outlook than I had ever seen. It was very pessimistic and negative. From reading that book I learned that it is a good thing there are novels that aren’t just optimistic because the real world isn’t always happy. There needs to be novels with much different perspectives because that’s the way the world works in reality.

One book that I read for an independent reading project really fascinated me. I really enjoyed reading On The Road. I really liked the style of Kerouac’s writing. The interesting events and fast paced movement kept me hooked. I liked doing the project on this book because Mr. Gallagher made some really cool assignments. I got to write like the author and create my own filler chapter for the book. That assignment was my favorite because I loved the book and style of writing and it made me feel like I was right in the setting with the characters. On The Road was another type of book and writing style that became new to me this year.

Out of all the fascinating books I read all year, there were two that I will never forget. For the summer reading assignment I read a book called The Kite Runner. This was one of the best books I have read in my whole life. The plot and setting kept me guessing at times and also shocked at times. There were so many important lessons in this book. I also really liked this book because it addressed real problems occurring in the Middle East. I liked learning about the culture and think it was important that I also learned about their hard times. I will never forget this book. I’m very interested in the Middle East now and I think it would be pretty cool to read more about their history and culture.

The other book that I will never forget is called A Thousand Splendid Suns. I read this book for my winter break reading assignment. I loved the book as soon as I started reading it and now it is one of my all-time favorites. The things that I learned from reading this book will stay with me for the rest of my life. The events are so powerful that the reader feels affected by them. That how I felt after reading this book and I felt as if the characters were real and I wanted to reach out to them. The characters and their stories are unforgettable to me. The fact that the book related to a real crisis in the world kept my attention even more. It was so interesting to read about the affects on the other side. I have only ever heard about the affects in the U.S. I’m glad I got the chance to read this book.

The last book that I read in Mr. Gallagher’s that I’ll never forget is called A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I have never read anything as hard to understand as James Joyce’s writing. I learned a lot from this book, despite the fact that it was very hard for me to interpret. It had many hidden messages, symbols, and so much deeper meaning. I learned about phallic stages, motherly attachments, and even religion and art. This was one of the hardest assignments I have ever had to complete because we were assigned an eight page paper on this book. I had to use techniques like explication to complete it. I won’t ever forget this challenging book.

Before Mr. Gallagher’s class I had never used explication before. I have improved on my explication skills and connecting skills a lot this year. I have also had the chance to read so many great books this year that are unforgettable to me. I will never forget some of the messages, lessons, and memories of those books. I have also improved on my writing skills since last year and I now know how to set up a research paper. I learned a lot of great stuff this year and I’m glad because I think it will be very useful to me in college.

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