Portfolio 5 – American Literature

Depth: The term paper draft was definitely time consuming for me, because I had to organize what I wanted to say. I had to find a definition for the ‘American Dream’ by a well-known person, but every quote was so different that I ended up using three quotes to explain the concept. That explanation took about a page and then I got into the stories that I decided to analyze. I only wrote about The Great Gatsby because I wanted to see what Dr. Jerz’s thoughts were before I went any further, but I had no problem making the 4-5 page requirement. I had a lot to say because I am really interested in this topic. Another assignment that satisfies the depth category was the Creative Critical Project. I absolutely love The Great Gatsby so I decided to recreate the scene where Gatsby and Daisy reunite at Nick’s house. I asked three people to help me act it out, and I directed it and as we went through the scenes, I nitpicked because I wanted it to represent my interpretation. Another assignment that I put a lot of thought into was my Term Paper Revision. I went to Dr. Jerz’s office to go over the mistakes I made on my draft to see how I could improve and I learned that once I start using the American Dream to prove something about the books rather than the other way around, my paper will be more solid. The revision took time but I think I finally made some original statements that use the American Dream to prove them.

Riskiness: One safe post was when I completed the term paper peer review reflection. I was assigned four drafts to read and I made a few comments on each paper. I did the reflection by stating some of the downfalls of the papers and what they did good, but I did not spend much time analyzing in depth what they could have done to improve.

However, one risky assignment that I completed was the Creative Critical Project. This was risky for me because I am still not very confident with iMovie Maker and I have never filmed a scene before. Directing gave a different perspective to the scene and I found myself making sure everything was in order. Making sure everyone knew what they were supposed to do was a challenge since one of them did not even read the book before. I also was risky when editing it because I made the beginning scenes black and white to represent Gatsby’s mood. When it turns to color, it shows that Gatsby’s expectations are coming to life. Another risky assignment that I completed was the term paper prewriting. This was risky because I am always unsure about my thesis statements. Coming up with one for this paper was difficult because the two stories I discuss are not of the same time period and look at the American Dream in a different way, but they both have the American Dream concept. It was also risky when coming up with the conclusion, because I think as the writer you can only know what your conclusion is until you finish the paper and I did not even finish it by that point. Writing the conclusion was very difficult.

Intertextuality: My Portfolio 4 for this class involves intertextuality because I have to collect all of my work for that part of the semester and organize it and come up with my best work to display. I also see how I have improved over the semester, which is the whole point of taking a class, to improve on your skills. Each time, I feel like my overall progress is improving and that is shown by the assignments I put into each portfolio. Another assignment that used several sources to create was my Term Paper Revision. I had to find articles to make original statements about The Great Gatsby and The Glass Menagerie. Using the database has become second nature to me because I have had to do it for so many other classes before.

Discussion: The term paper peer reflection was where we had to read four drafts of the term paper of our classmates. Through this process, I learned that summarization in our papers in not necessary and that we could not just use the articles to prove what was already known about the stories we chose; we had to create an original statement. I think some people are still making that transition of deciphering between a college paper and a high school paper, and the difference is that with a college paper you make an original statement, whereas in high school, you use articles to summarize the story or prove something about the story. Plus, the reviews reaffirmed that a thesis is a work-in-progress. You only know it until you get closer to the end of the paper.

The Progress Report (Term Project) assignment allowed me to see if I was on the right track because of the feedback I got from some of my peers. At the time, I got the general opinion that I was on the right track and by reading my peers, they seemed to be on the right track as well. They were working on their projects at a steady pace.

Timeliness: The term paper prewriting assignment was turned in on time, which allowed me extra time to access what I needed to work on. I found out that my thesis definitely needed work and so did the way I needed to organize my paper in general. I think I was trying to prove something about the American Dream rather than prove something about the books BY USING the American Dream concept. We just had to write a sample intro, body, and conclusion, which put me on edge, but it gave me a sense of where my paper needed to go. I also submitted the Term Paper draft in extra early because I knew from the prewriting that my paper needed work. I think the feedback from Dr. Jerz on the Draft showed that the extra time to work on it paid off, because I was able to make some original statements about the stories.

Coverage: One assignment that I completed was the Peer Reflection for the Term Projects. I was assigned five projects to review and most of them had audio, which I had no problem accessing. It was a pleasure to watch all of them, whether it was a Powerpoint, video, or something else. Danielle Sidoti’s really stuck out to me because she incorporated videos of people acting out the parts in The Glass Menagerie and she also asked them questions. I think it definitely deserved a high grade for the critical approach part of the project. Another assignment that I completed was the Portfolio 4. Every portfolio that I do takes a lot of time, which I hope shows, and I makes sure to have at least two examples for each category.

Cover Post/Conclusion: This portfolio was mainly centered on the Term Paper and the Term Project, which allowed me to focus on two of the course goals specifically. One was to demonstrate analytical skills of reading literature. In my term project, I analyzed The Great Gatsby by creating a scene with video to show my interpretation of the scene. I analyzed the dialogue and the characters’ actions so I could apply my interpretation to how the actors should act in the scene. The other course goal was to demonstrate a high level of research and writing skills, which was definitely displayed in my Term Paper. I used the school’s database to find articles on the stories I wrote about to make original statements. I think my writing has definitely improves over the course of the semester because we started out with close-reading so that we could practice our analyzing skills and then moved onto writing, so we could apply those analytical skills to the major paper. There were not a lot of assignments to put on this portfolio but that is because we have been working on the paper and the project. Overall, I believe I have improved, especially analytically, which was my personal goal of the class.

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