Reading gives us an opportunity to discover new worlds through the eyes of relatable characters. This year, I have had numerous chances to read books that have opened me up to these worlds and characters. English 4 has pushed me to read books not only for class, but also on my own. At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t aware of my personal tastes in reading but through activities such as the reading challenge, I have solidified that personal choice. I have also grown as a reader who is able to discuss themes and ideas found in different pieces of literature. By being exposed to a variety of genres, I have learned how to determine what main idea the author is trying to get across. I have also grown in my ability to connect those main ideas to modern issues that impact my life today.
Use literature to discuss modern issues
Literature is used to open us up to new worlds and to cause us to think about the world we currently live in. Throughout the past year, I have been exposed to numerous books that have forced me to think about the modern issues that affect our society on a daily basis. Using literature to discuss modern issues was an area I witnessed growth this year I think it can be seen in my writing. For example, during the Hamlet Unit I wrote a piece that examined the negative effects of approval not only in the play but also in our world today. At one point in this piece, I wrote about getting “Caught in the Moment“. This area discusses the modern issue that is the need to succeed and gain approval from others in our culture today. This piece makes certain connections between Ophelia’s life and the lives of teenager today. At one point I am able to discuss this issue by saying, “[Opehlia] dedicated her life to the approval of others without thinking of how that was going to affect her. In my community, I see people putting all of their time and effort into an activity with the hopes of impressing others.” I can discuss topics as simple as approval by using literature to support my standpoint. This piece is just one example in which I was able to make connections from pieces of literature to modern issues that plague our society today.
Analyze a text in a way that reveals a deeper meaning
Each book has a deeper meaning that lies below the words on the page. This year, I have been exposed to text that each have a unique meaning that is hidden below the surface. Throughout my time in this class, I have grown in order to be able to detect this deeper meaning and I believe this growth is shown in my writing. One piece I wrote this year that demonstrates this ability was a reflective essay over Fahrenheit 451. Rather than reading this purely as a piece of fiction, I analyzed it for a deeper meaning. At one point I discuss how a major theme of this book is censorship. Rather than reading it at a surface level, I dive into the author’s hidden message and what it means in our lives today. I go on to explain the consequences of the characters’ actions. Although the author doesn’t blatantly explain them, I’m able to detect the deeper meaning involved in his writing. As I have continued to read this year, I have seen how each piece of literature has a deeper meaning than what originally meets the eye.
Solidify personal choice and tastes in reading
Each book is unique when considering its characters, storyline, writing style, etc. This is what makes reading worthwhile as one never knows what to expect with each piece of literature. This year I have been exposed to numerous books and each one has helped me to solidify my own choice and taste in reading. One thing I learned is that I enjoy fast-paced books. In my Reading Response over Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, I explain that one of the main reasons I enjoyed the novel is because the “plot is fast paced, rarely stopping for lengthy descriptions.” The same idea comes up again in my Reading Response for It’s Kind of a Funny Story in which I wrote, “This book is rather quick read as Vizzini has constructed a fast paced plot that keeps the reader interested.” Interesting, moving books are a major part of my personal taste I believe this is shown in the novels I chose to read. The reading challenges and responses I participated in this year allows me to experiment in reading styles and ultimately helped in forming my personal tastes in literature.