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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In class essay 2

Of all the complex human emotions that we must deal with, desire can certainty be one of the most powerful and motivating. Yet, as Sir Phillip Sydney detailed in his excellent poem "Thou Blind Man's Mark," desire does not always motivate to positive gain or for good reason. In a poem that uses poetic devices such as parallelism, tone, and diction, Sydney elaborately portrays his attitude that chasing desire is a "Blind Man's Mark," or a fools errand.

Sydney's critical tone filled with his feeling of animosity strongly show his attitude toward desire. Syndey writes with a tone that clearly shows his strong dislike of desire. He is angrily pointing out all the wrongs that come from the emotion. "Thou blind man's mark, thou fool's self chosen snare" and "Band of all evils, cradle of causelesscare" both elaborate how he is devaluing desire, and doing so with passion. The the angry and critical tone Sydney uses shows his idea that chasing desire is pointless.

Utilizing a diction of words hinting at wastefulness, Sydney highlights his attitude towards desire. Syndey finds  chasing desires pointless, a waste of time that traps people oblivious to its dangers. Words such as "fool's self chosen snare" and "worthless ware" fill Sydney's diction to implement his meaning to a fuller extent. The diction Sydney uses elaborate on his attitude toward desire even further.

Several times Sydney uses similar sentence structure to demonstrate to his reader his attitude on desire. In the lines "In vain thou hast my ruin sought, In vain though madest me to vain things aspire, In vain thou kindlest all thy smoky fire," there is an obvious similar sentence structure to each line. This parallelism details Sydney's own struggles with desire. How it failed to ruin him by making him desire worthless things that only create "smoky fires," which is a euphemism for something with a bad result. Using parallelism, Sydney highlights his attitude of the worthlessness of desire.

Sir Phillip Sydney strongly feels that the pursuit of desires is a waste of ones time and will only lead to false rewards. He emphasizes this ideal in his poem "Thou Blind Man's Mark," clearly displaying his dislike for desire. In order to show his attitude toward the fruitless emotion, Sydney utilizes poetic devices such as parallelism, tone, and diction.

Monday, April 29, 2013

In class essay

Pauline Hopkins quote about the effects of surroundings on one's character could not be any more true. The setting of one's life almost entirely influences that same persons direction in life. It is for that reason that all authors carefully consider the setting in which they write their novels in because they know of its importance to their characters. One example of an important surrounding affecting the characters is in John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath. The novel follows the strife's of the Joad family. Steinbeck chose rural Oklahoma in the 1930's as his seeting for this novel to present adversity to the Joads in two forms. The Joads geographical and cultural surroundings present them with the conflict in the novel.

The Joads geographical surroundings create the first cause of conflict in the novel, serving as its inciting incident. The Joads are a long time farming family, but are forced to abandon this way of life. The land they lived off has dried up and is nothing but dust, Known as the Great Dust Bowl to historians. Unable to live of the land anymore, this forces the Joads to leave their home in search of a better future and is the first in their long list of struggles. Steinbeck use the setting of the Great Dust Bowl in Oklahoma to create conflict for the main characters , but it also helps him show some of the struggles people fought against during the depression. The Joads geographical surroundings serve the dual purpose of creating conflict for the character and illuminating Steinbeck's message.

The Joads faced many difficulties due to their cultural surroundings as well. During the 1930's, finding a job and a way to earn money was extremely hard. The Joads had to fight alongside other desperate people just to survive, and during the time, the culture wasn't to help other, but help yourself. The Joads also had to deal with the animosity people held for people from Oklahoma that had come to take their jobs during that time, creating yet another cultural challenge for them. The setting Steinbeck chose for his novel accomplish, just as before, two things. The cultural surroundings the Joads live in create conflict as well as demonstrate Steinbeck's message.

They are many ways an author can affect and challenge their characters life or traits. One of the more prominet ways is the characters surroundings. The setting they chose is always a key role in the story. A perfect example of this is Steinbeck's choice of Oklahoma during the 1930's for his novel The Grapes of Wrath. The geographical and cultural surroundings he place the Joads in serve their dual propose brilliantly. Not only do they create conflict in the story, but they also highlight many of the challenges common people faced during this hard time.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Poetry Essay Prompt 2

1997 Poem: “The Death of a Toad” (Richard Wilbur)
Prompt: Read the following poem carefully. Then write a well-organized essay in which you explain how formal elements such as structure, syntax, diction, and imagery reveal the speaker’s response to the death of a toad.

             THE DEATH OF A TOAD

       A toad the power mower caught,
Chewed and clipped of a leg, with a hobbling hop has got
   To the garden verge, and sanctuaried him
   Under the cineraria leaves, in the shade
      Of the ashen and heartshaped leaves, in a dim,
          Low, and a final glade.

       The rare original heartsbleed goes,
Spends in the earthen hide, in the folds and wizenings, flows
    In the gutters of the banked and staring eyes. He lies
    As still as if he would return to stone,
        And soundlessly attending, dies
           Toward some deep monotone,

       Toward misted and ebullient seas
And cooling shores, toward lost Amphibia^Rs emperies.
    Day dwindles, drowning and at length is gone
    In the wide and antique eyes, which still appear
        To watch, across the castrate lawn,
            The haggard daylight steer.

I believe an intro paragraph along with shorts bits of how the thesis is supported in the body are enough practice for me to know what I would do with this prompt on an AP essay test.

Everyday, thousands of living things life come to an end, and many of them are so insignificant to us that we would never notice them without some sort of glorification of their passing. Such is the reaction of Richard Wilbur to such events, and this is clearly seen in his poem "The Death of a Toad." In his almost satirical elegy of the lost toad, Wilbur use elements such as syntax, diction and tone to elaborate this response to his readers.

  • Wilbur has a formal syntax, which seems to honor the toads passing, making it seem more important to the reader, showing how he views it as well.
  • A diction of sentient and mournful words with a beautiful  connotation such as "rare original heartbleed" and "some deep monotone" make the reader feel even more sympathetic for the Toads death, show Wilbur's reaction again.
  • Lastly, an admiral, mourning tone the Wilbur displays the toad as very important, and as all the above, highlights his response to the death of the toad.


Prompt: The following two poems are about Helen of Troy. Renowned in the ancient world for her beauty, Helen was the wife of Menelaus, a Greek King. She was carried off to Troy by the Trojan prince Paris, and her abduction was the immediate cause of the Trojan War. Read the two poems carefully. Considering such elements as speaker, diction, imagery, form, and tone, write a well-organized essay in which you contrast the speakers’ views of Helen.

I believe an intro paragraph along with shorts bits of how the thesis is supported in the body are enough practice for me to know what I would do with this prompt on an AP essay test.

When the poems of H.D. and Edgar Allan Poe regarding Helen are put side by side, it is plain to see they have differing views of Helen's story. Yet what is more intriguing is how these two authors establish their views in their use of literary elements  Ironically enough, the contrasting views they share are counterbalanced by the fact they both use similar techniques to display them. Both authors have strong use of diction and tone to present their separate ideals. While the diction and tone do differ, their techniques are the same nonetheless. Both authors use diction and tone to establish their different views, Poe the admirer, and H.D. the critic.

  • Poe uses a tone of admiration of Helen's beauty, constantly complimenting it, showing his view of admiration of Helen.
  • H.D.'s tone is more diminishing, as if Helen has done great wrong, showing his critical view of Helen.
  • Poe use a diction strong with appraisal words, such as "Beauty" and "Thy classic face" highlighting his stance on Helen.
  • H.D.'s is strong words against Helen. "All Greece hates" and "All Greece reviles"

Friday, April 26, 2013


In the short time we had our group discussed "As I walked out one evening" by WH Auden. Our group was working on filling out the grid together. One of the tougher sections was to find the shift. We learned how to look for it in this poem which will help us look for it in all poems, such as key words or a change in tone or the pattern. Analyzing this shift in this poem by finding the importance of time helped us understand this.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


"Life" by Charlotte Bronte

Vague, makes wonder what Bronte's opinion on life will be
"Life's sunny hours flit by, Gratefully, cheerily, Enjoy them as they fly !" Enjoy life, for it is short.
"Sometimes there are clouds of gloom, But these are transient all; If the shower will make the roses bloom, O why lament its fall ?" There will  be bad, but it will pass, and from it good things will come. 
"Clouds of Gloom" periods of sad times.
 "calls our Best away " our best being our happy lives
"Yet hope again elastic springs, Unconquered, though she fell" Elastic springs showing how hope will always bounce back after being beat down
Bronte is emphasizing the positives of life, and overlooking all the negatives.
After Bronte talks about how great life can be, but then it shifts to when life gets ended and things become gloomy, taking a drastic turn.
Title revisited:
Bronte writes this poem telling us to value our lives, and above all, enjoy it. Life is a great thing and don't let dark clouds ruin if for you. And when it comes time for your life to end, do not fret because life will continue on positively in some way.


"Hope" by Emily Dickinson

The title of this poem could serve as the possible theme of the whole work
"Hope is the thing with feathers, That perches in the soul, And sings the tune--without the words" These lines are clearly comparing hope with the qualities of a bird.

"And sore must be the storm,That could abash the little bird, That kept so many warm." Hear it seems Dickinson is criticizing anyone who could try and squash any amount of hope.

"And sore must be the storm" Here sore seems to mean more evil or bad.
"That kept so many warm" Keeping someone warm means positive or hopeful.
"It asked a crumb of me" It being the hope as a bird, where a crumb being close to nothing that hope required in return.
Dickinsons' attitude is that she seems to value hope very highly, all of its characteristics and the feelings it brings.
There is a slight shift in from describing hope to how it can exist ins some of the chillest lands or strangest seas.
Title revisited:
Hope is what she is describing, not the theme.
Hope, like a bird, is something so gentle and kind that can lift even the heaviest of souls and so be cherished and left to do its good biding.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Macbeth Micro AP Exam

The main thing that grabbed my attention from today's test was the pace that I must be prepared to think at. I felt fairly confident on all the questions and the essay prompt  but I forgot how important time management is on the AP exam. Some of the questions I may have been able to get with some extra minutes of thinking, but those are minutes I can not spare. I need to continue working with the multiple choice section and work on still answering them correctly but faster.