Q4 BM Portfolio
Going through my 9th grade English portfolio, you will see a lot of growth in writing. This Q4 Benchmark has made that growth obvious to me. I am glad that SLA puts emphasis on reflecting on your work once you are finished. Without that process it would be easy to go by a year without realizing how much you grew as a person and writer.
With this growth, you begin to lean towards certain types of writing, and avoid others. It is best to challenge yourself and try a style of writing that is really difficult for you. These different writing styles become your strengths and weaknesses. I feel that my strengths are mostly projects that require a certain level of creativity. Comparing and contrasting have always been difficult for me. However I like to view my weaknesses as things to make into strengths next year.
Putting together this portfolio was somewhat easy but mostly intriguing. It is extremely entertaining for me to look back over my writing and go, “Did I really write this?” Overall, I think this portfolio project is a great way to overcome weaknesses and learn about yourself as a writer.
First, I have the Q1 Benchmark. The Macbeth Character Analysis was one of my favorite projects because I found Lady Macbeth a very complicated and thought out character. A requirement for this Benchmark was that we needed 10 quotes from the book Macbeth that helps prove your thesis. Although I liked this project, I don’t think it was my best work of the year.
Macbeth Character Analysis
Thesis statement: Lady Macbeth transformed from a controlling housewife to a guilt-ridden person with a mental illness.
In Act One, Scene Five, line 64-65 of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth receives a letter from her husband Macbeth saying that he and his fellow co- worker Banquo stumbled upon three witches. And the witches hailed him as thane of Cawdor and King. Macbeth explains how he is intrigued by the royalty and possibility that maybe HE could be king. Meanwhile a messenger tells Lady Macbeth that King Duncan himself is staying the night at their house. This news gives Lady Macbeth her first inner conflict, should they kill Duncan? Macbeth comes home soon after that from war. Lady Macbeth gives the news that Duncan is staying the night and maybe it was foretold that they should kill him tonight. Now Macbeth is worried. This is when she says to Macbeth, “Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it.” She means conceal your true self, don’t look so evil and conflicted. She is trying to control Macbeth and the way he portrays himself in front of guests.
In Act One, Scene seven, line 36 of Macbeth, they are about to go through with their plan of killing Duncan. Macbeth is having last minute regrets. He also is saying that they shouldn’t do this. Lady Macbeth is getting frantic and getting a little defensive. This is when Lady Macbeth says, “Was the hope drunk wherein you dressed yourself?” She means what were you thinking before. Where did all your confidence go? Lady Macbeth is trying to make Macbeth do something he doesn’t want to by making him feel guilty.
Act One, Scene Seven, line 48 of Macbeth, they are still debating whether or not to kill Duncan and Lady Macbeth is getting angry and even more defensive. Macbeth is frightened at the consequences. As a responding Lady Macbeth takes the argument to the next level by questioning his manliness, which is a blow below the belt. “When you durst do it, then you are a man.” She means before you were a man. You’re not the man I married. Again lady Macbeth is using guilt and peer pressure to stab at Macbeth’s manhood. It is obvious that Lady Macbeth liked Macbeth’s Wild side and ruthless side.
In Act one, Scene four, line 61-62 of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are hosting a dinner for all the thanes. Banquo is not there because Macbeth had him murdered. The other thanes don’t know that though. At the dinner Macbeth is about to sit and start eating when he sees Banquo sitting in his chair. This is an illusion, and a Banquo of the mind. Macbeth is scared. None of the other thanes or his wife can see him. Macbeth is freaking out. Lady Macbeth pulls him aside to give him a pep talk. “Oh proper stuff! This is the very painting of your fear.” She means that this is your illusion of your fear; you’re creating fear.
In Act three, Scene four, line 110-111 of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is angry because all of the dinner guests had to leave because of Macbeth’s hallucinations. Lady Macbeth is furious and is embarrassed to be married to Macbeth at that moment. When the dinner guests leave Lady Macbeth rounds on Macbeth
and says, “You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting with most admired disorder.” She means, you’re an embarrassment. Are you happy with yourself; look what you’ve done. Again making him feel less important. This now makes Lady Macbeth look like the real person in power.
In Act Five, Scene One, line 36-37 of Macbeth, a doctor and Lady Macbeth’s
maid are watching Lady Macbeth sleep. The maid told the doctor about
past nights when Lady Macbeth had tried to wash her hands while sleep
walking. The maid is worried for Lady Macbeth and is scared of the things
she says while washing her hands. While sleep walking and pretending
to wash her hands, Lady Macbeth says, “Out damn spot! Out, I say! One-two-why ‘tis time to do’t.” She is seeing things and is feeling so guilty she is saying this in her sleep. She cannot get the imaginary blood off her hands or clean
In Act Five, Scene One, line 38-40, of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is still sleep
Walking. She admits to something that she would never admit if she had any
control over it. Lady Macbeth says, while sleep walking, “Yet, who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him.” This shows that even though she didn’t show it, she did have regrets and fears about killing Duncan. This proves that Lady Macbeth does have feelings, even if she hides them when she is awake. She is not a robot made for killing. She has feelings.
In Act Five, Scene One, line 51 of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is still sleep walking, and continues to try to get the “smell of blood” off of her hands. When washing them does not work, she comes to the conclusion that the smell and the guilt will never leave her. This is when she says, “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” She has given up hope of ever cleansing her soul. Nothing will make her hand stop smelling like blood.
In Act Five, Scene Two, line 61-63 of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is wrapping
up the procedure of washing her hands, and is having a sleep walking
déjà-vu of what she said to Macbeth in the beginning when they had first
killed Duncan. It is not an exact repeat, but is very similar. Lady Macbeth
is obviously reliving the moment of the killing, which is haunting her.
Lady Macbeth says, “Wash your hands, put on your nightgown, look not so pale. I tell you again, Banquo’s buried. He cannot come out of his grave.” She
Is also connecting this to the killing of Banquo. That fear, which is mostly
Macbeth’s, still is shared by Lady Macbeth.
In Act Five, Scene Two, line 66-67 of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is concluding
her sleep walking and is having another flashback. This flashback reflects
the moments after Duncan was murdered. In the quote she mentions that
you cannot change the past. This proves that she is feeling remorse and
wishing she had not done what she had done. Lady Macbeth says, “ Come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What’s done cannot be undone. To bed. To bed. To bed.” Notice how she says, “give me your hand.” This indicates that she does need Macbeth and is not talking down to him.
In conclusion, we can see the transformation of Lady Macbeth from just a controlling housewife who got what she wanted by sexual tension and peer pressure, to a guilt ridden body of pure emotion, hate, and fear. At the end of the play she cannot deal anymore with the guilt so she kills herself. The guilt was overpowering and caused a brain malfunction due to bottling it up. It was interesting how Shakespeare did the suicide of Lady Macbeth off-stage, because it makes her death mysterious, just like her character. Overall, Lady Macbeth was a complicated and well-described character. She is the most developed character in the play, Macbeth.
This next piece is our Q2 Benchmark. After reading The House On Mango Street, our class became mostly about vignettes. In this project, we did our own vignette based on a real-life experience. Mine was a story from my trip to Costa Rica.
Costa Rica Extravaganza
The cool Costa Rican night air ruffled my hair like a whisper. I lay awake in my single bed unable to sleep, restless, for the next day was a day of “canyoning.” I wasn’t totally sure what “canyoning” was but it sounded dangerous and exciting. I had the energy of a six year old on Christmas Eve. Just thinking about “canyoning” gave my stomach a serious case of butterflies. After long hours of twisting and turning I finally fell into a delicate slumber.
Before I knew it I had my daypack packed, ready to get on the road. We all piled onto the bus with enthusiasm. The bus driver quickly turned around in his seat with a frown. The group fell silent. That frown quickly turned into a joking smile reveling a set of old battered teeth, “Ready!?” asked the bus driver in his thick Spanish accent. Before the group could answer the bus gave a loud SCREEEE! And we were off.
The bus strained against the harsh mountainside hills. Reaching the top, the bus came to an eerie stop. Pushing and shoving the group got off the bus, me getting off last I went up to the tour guide and asked “excuse me sir but, what exactly is cannoning?” He looked puzzled at the question “ I didn’t tell you guys?” He seemed surprised at his own forgetfulness, “I don’t think so” I said reassuringly. “Oh… sorry about that, cannoning is when you repel down waterfalls and zip-line.” YIKES I had no idea it would be that crazy! “Thank you sir” I was ok about the zip-line but REPELING down a waterfall that’s a whole other story! After many minutes of franticly thinking, I came to a conclusion. These people aren’t trying to kill us. How big could these waterfalls be?
The tour guide chopped at the thick vegetation like a chef, with his machete through Costa Rica’s rigorous mountain terrain. After hours of hiking we reached a intimidating clearing where we stopped at the zip-line. Our whole group was thinking the same thing: HOLY… the whole group was in awe. This zip-line stretched far as the eye could see out into the distance and was at least 300 feet up. “Okay! Who wants to go first?” Our tour guide was making sarcastic jokes about the scariness of the drop. Feeling brave I raised my hand. Surprised, he shrugged and waved me over to him. I was strapped into a harness and attached to the zip-line. Before I was ready, I was hurled off the ledge, free- falling. I yelled, and clung onto my rope. After what seemed like minutes of falling, I was zooming through the beautiful wild canopy. Holding out both hands, happily, I closed my eyes. The air felt pleasant, gently pressing against my face. I could have been flying.
After the zip-line, I was more confident, ready for whatever came my way. But when I saw that waterfall, all of my confidence was blown away by the cannon of realization. That waterfall was huge and I mean HUGE. 100 feet high drop, and thousands of gallons of roaring water was incredibly intimidating. Just the sound made all of our stomachs cringe. The only way home was down that slippery waterfall. It took me awhile to finally muster up the courage to do it. When I did bounce parallel to the ground all the way down, I was soaked, tired and beaten by the extreme power of roaring water. My tour guide landed next to me. “Well, was it worth it?” he asked. I thought about the fear I had overcome, and the things I now felt capable of accomplishing, and croaked, “totally.”
This next piece is our 3rd quarter Benchmark. In this project, we had to compare two characters from The Odyssey. I found this project to be very difficult because I have trouble with the concept of comparing and contrasting.
Odysseus And Telemachus
The Odyssey is a tale of a hero named Odysseus and all of his obstacles. One can view this tale as a story of one man, but a hidden sub theme coexists. This is the story of a son and his lost father. Telemachus' story is an important but subtle chunk of The Odyssey. Odysseus and Telemachus may be very different in personality but the physical resemblance when they are in the midst of battle reminds us that they are father and son.
In The Odyssey Telemachus appears to be wimpy, shy, and weak, nothing like his father. In Book 1 page 81 Telemachus is daydreaming, wishing that his father would just solve the suitor problem. Homer writes of Telemachus, “ Sitting among the suitors, heart obsessed with grief, he could almost see his magnificent father, here in the mind’s eye—if only he might drop from the clouds and drive these suitors all in a rout throughout the halls and regain his pride of place and rule his own domains” (Book 1, Lines 133-139). This quote shows that Telemachus feels that he has very little power. He thinks his father is all-powerful and wishes that his father would just drop down and solve all of his problems. At this point, Telemachus sees Mentis (Athena disguised) and views him as a mentor and friend; that build his confidence because at this point he lacks it.
With the help of Athena Telemachus realizes that his father will not solve his problems for him. This gives him the mental strength to call the first town meeting since Odysseus left for Troy and also set out on a trek to find his father. The Odyssey tells us that Telemachus looks like his father. On the trek, when Telemachus meets King Nestor, Odysseus' friend from Troy, Telemachus musters up a lot of bravery and boldness,. “Your father, yes, if you are in fact his son . . .I look at you and a sense of wonder takes me. Your way with words—it’s just like his—I’d swear no youngster could ever speak like you, so apt, so telling.” (Book 3, page 111, lines 137-140) King Nestor says that Telemachus’ way with words is just like Odysseus’. This is one of the key transformation moments when Telemachus is complimented on his similarities to his father. When this happens Telemachus feels one of his first real connections opening, like he has a piece of his father’s leadership and power inside of him.
At the end of the Book 21, page 438, lines 471-479, Homer writes and Odysseus said, “’Telemachus’ Odysseus looked at his son and said, ‘Your guest, sitting here in your house, has not disgraced you. No missing the mark, look, and long labor spent to string the bow. My strength’s not broken yet, not quite so frail as the mocking suitor’s thought. But the hour has come to serve our masters right—supper in broad daylight—then to other revels, song and dancing, all that crowns a feast.’ Odysseus is making a father son joke about his frailty stringing a bow. This is a good-natured teasing between a father and son that builds a relationship, one of their first real bonding moments.
In the end of The Odyssey, Odysseus and Telemachus fight the suitors together. This is their strongest place of father son bonding. In Books 21 and 22 the resemblance between them is striking. On page 428 of Book 21, Telemachus is swaggering and taunting the suitors with crude bravery not unlike his father. As the suitors are challenged to string the bow, Telemachus eggs them on saying, "Why sing my mother’s Praises? Come, let the games begin! No dodges, no delays, no turning back from the stringing of the bow"(Book 21, Lines 125-130) This does not sound anything like the early Telemachus we met at the beginning of the book, shy, depressed, and hopeless. He knows that this is all part of the plan, and that Odysseus is disguised and ready to string that bow. Moreover, in Book 22 father and son operate side by side. When Odysseus was on his trek home he was a great and ruthless fighter. In fighting Polyphemus, he yells, “Cyclops—if any man on the face of the earth should ask you who blinded your eye, shamed you so—say Odysseus, raiders of cities, he gauged out your eye.” (Book 9, page 227, lines 558-561.) This shows that Odysseus also is taunting the opponent. They are both very independent and bright in the midst of battle. For the two of them, quick thinking is never a problem. On page 453, lines 487-489 Odysseus gives an order to slit the throats of the maids. Telemachus chooses to put the maids to death in a more brutal fashion because he does not feel it is a cruel enough punishment, “No clean death for the likes of them, by God! Not for me—they showered abuse on my head, my mother’s too!” This proves that he has sounds just as ruthless as his father.
Odysseus and Telemachus are very different, but in places the father and son are alike. Telemachus is the proud son of a great warrior. People would expect him to be just like his noble father. What comes as a surprise is that he is actually more of the quiet type, although he still has his animal side hidden underneath. It is ironic that the first time they really meet is when they are most alike, in battle. The journey of trying and failing to find his long lost father probably sculpted Telemachus into becoming a leader like his father. Implied is that Telemachus’ and Odysseus’ relationship would have been weak if it were not for Telemachus’ transformation into a man.
This next piece was one of my favorite projects because we were allowed to choose the way we presented our work. I chose to present my work in using a program called Comic Life. This is one of my favorite pieces of work that I have done all year. Enjoy!
Macbeth Creative Project
(To see the creative project go to the bottom of this post.)
Below is my second semester book review. The book I read is called Amarillo Slim In A World of Fat People. This book is written in the style of a memoir. Enjoy.
Amarillo Slim has been called,” the greatest gambler who ever lived”. His memoir is called Amarillo Slim In A World Of Fat People. He truly has done some amazing things with his talent such as, winning the world poker tournament, beating a world famous tennis player at ping-pong with a frying pan, and winning a game of pool against Minnesota Fats with a broom. All of these incredibly weird and interesting things happened without any training of any kind.
Throughout the book you will follow Amarillo’s adventures and see him gamble and swindle multiple people at their own game. It is incredibly entertaining to watch the story progress from a smoky back room to a world-class casino. This is all told in his somewhat comical Texan drawl. You will hear his personality told in the first person: “ If there’s anything I’ll argue about, I’ll either bet on or shut up. And since it’s not very becoming for a cowboy to be arguing, I’ve made a few wagers in my day. But in my humble opinion, I’m no ordinary hustler you see, neighbor, I never go looking for a sucker. I look for a champion and make a sucker out of him.” Just in this phrase you can hear his swagger, boldness, and charm.
I personally could not relate to Amarillo since I rarely gamble, even though I enjoy poker. Some parts of Amarillo’s wisdom makes total sense to me, though. He writes about being brave, making friends with yourself, and being kind to your opponent. If that happens, they will most likely want to gamble with you again. It can be interesting to read about someone who’s life is so different than everyone else’s. He started gambling when he of high school age, our teenage years are so different in every way. I wonder if that life style is still possible in these times. Some say that is the last true Cowboy gambler.
Overall I liked this book because of the wild ride he takes the readers on, reflecting the wild ride of his life. Some weaknesses of this book were telling a tale too slowly, with too many minor characters. It was difficult to keep track of all of the folks he swindled and admired. I enjoyed the Texas slang. Because of his legendary stunts, there was even a song written about him.
“ Do you dare make a bet with Amarillo Slim?
You play his game with one condition for him.
From Ping-pong to golf or baskets in the gym.
Do you dare make a bet with Amarillo Slim?
Hell, the devil don’t bet with Amarillo Slim.”
This song is still played to this day, every year, at the World Series of Poker. I would definitely recommend this book to people who want an exiting but slow paced journey. This book is perfect to bring on vacation and read on the beach. You may even want to use some of his secrets when you next meet up to play you gambling game of choice.
Throughout the year in class we have been doing journal entries. Usually they are serious topics such as, “What are some expectations put on you by others?” Next you will see four of mine that I picked out to show.
1) What makes someone a good storyteller?
A good storyteller puts emotion in his or her voice. A good storyteller makes eye contact with the crowd, doesn’t say “um” or any word stalling the story, and has very different voice volumes for different parts of the story. Monotones are NEVER good in story telling because you want the audience to be attentive, NOT bored.
2) Do you prefer stories that are real or fictional?
Personally I like both. On one hand you have the amazement of reading something stunning that actually happened, and on the other you have a journey possibly into another world. Those two choices are too hard to pick from for me. I like a good blend of both.
3) What makes someone an adult?
In my eyes, an adult is not necessarily someone who is over 18. Someone could be 30 and still be a child in my eyes. I think what makes someone truly an adult is how they deal with difficult scenarios and problems. Whether we deal with it maturely or not is purely our choice. That, is what I think being an adult is.
4) What would you do if you pulled off an incredible trick?
I would probably try and keep it a secret for as long as I could. Eventually I would tell my good friends, and from there it would spread. The difficult part would be trying not to tell anyone. For me, it is incredibly hard to keep secrets.