Quarter 4 English Portfolio

Sean Force

Reflective Cover Letter

I feel that this portfolio shows that I have at least stayed somewhat constant if not improving in my writing over the course of the year.  I consider my strengths to be reading and then translating or explaining what I read to others.  I consider my weaknesses to be writing.  I found that it was much easier than I thought it would be to edit my old papers and to make this portfolio.  I am most proud I think of my independent reading review.


For this benchmark we had to pick a character from the book “Macbeth” either Macbeth or Lady Macbeth and trace their character path though the course of the book.

During the play Macbeth, many characters changed in many ways. Macbeth was an example of one of these people.  Macbeth started this play as a decent person, someone who could make a good king but by the end of this play he had become the kind of person who would disgust the devil himself.  

During act 1 scene 2 Captain, a bloody man has just approached King Duncan and is telling about what he just saw on the battlefield.  “But all’s to weak: for brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name - disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel which smoked with bloody execution, like valors minion carved out his passage till he faced the slave,”. (Act 1, scene 2, lines 15-20) This quote means that Macbeth was too good for them all, he just hacked right through them all until he reached his destination.  This is an important quote because it shows that Macbeth may not have been the nicest guy but he was brave.  Bravery is an important quality that a king should have to be a successful.  The fact that he didn’t hesitate is also a quality that a good king should have.

In act 1 scene 2 Captain, King Duncan is still questioning the captain about what’s going on on the battle field.  “Yes, as sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.  If I say sooth, I must report they were as cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.” (Act 1, scene 2, lines 35-38) This quote states  that the enemy frightened Macbeth and Banquo about as much as a sparrow would frighten an eagle or a rabbit would a lion.  In fact when they saw this new enemy they fought twice as hard as before.  This is an important quote because it also shows that Macbeth was a brave and noble man.  In addition, it shows that Macbeth would do almost anything for his country.  It also shows how Macbeth and Banquo are such good friends and that they trust each other so much.

During act 1 scene 3 Ross, Ross and Angus have found Macbeth and Banquo and are about to tell Macbeth that he has been promoted to Thane of Cawdor.  “The king hath happily received, Macbeth, the news of thy success, and when he reads thy personal venture in the rebels' fight, his wonders and his praises do contend which should be thine or his.” (Act 1, scene 3, lines 91-93) What he means here is that King Duncan was happy to hear about the success of Macbeth on the battlefield and he is so amazed that he can’t think of what he could possibly say.  This is an important quote because it shows that Macbeth can impress people in high places which is a desirable quality to have in a king.  This also shows that Macbeth must have been a good warrior if he impressed the king.  

Over the course of act 1 scene 3 Macbeth, Ross and Angus have just informed Macbeth that he is the new Thane of Cawdor.  “The Thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me in borrowed robes?” (Act 1 scene 3, lines 107-108) In this quote he is saying, the Thane Cawdor is still living so why are you calling me by his name.  This quote shows that Macbeth didn’t want to make an uninformed decision and he wanted to be sure before he did anything.  This quote also shows that Macbeth is very inquisitive which is a necessary thing for a king to have in order to make skillful decisions.  

Throughout act 1 scene 4 Macbeth, Macbeth is appearing before King Duncan so that King Duncan can thank Macbeth for his services in person.  “The service and the loyalty I owe in doing it pays itself.” (Act 1 scene 4, lines 22-23) In this quote he is saying that he  was only doing his job.  Also just serving the king was payment enough for him.  This quote shows that Macbeth was not greedy at the start of the play, he was just happy to have helped.

In act 3 scene 1 Macbeth, Macbeth has summoned the murderers into the room with him so that he can tell them to go and kill Banquo.  “So is he mine; and in such bloody distance that every minute of his being thrusts against my near’st of life,”. (Act 3 scene 1, lines 116-118) In this quote Macbeth is telling the murderers that Banquo is his enemy and so much so that every minute that Banquo is alive pains him greatly.  This quote shows how Macbeth is progressing into a horrible person because Banquo was his best friend and now he is having him assassinated.  Also a king shouldn’t have to have his subjects assassinated if he has a problem with them.  He should just tell them to fix the problem or go.  Finally Macbeth is hiring assassins to have Banquo killed and keeping it a secret.   Instead he should give Banquo a fair fight and announce that Banquo is an enemy of the king and have the army fight him.

Though act 3 scene 2 Macbeth, Macbeth is telling Lady Macbeth that something is going to happen to Banquo.  He is not saying what, just that something is going to happen and that she needs to put on a sweet face to hide the knowledge of the deed to come.  “...unsafe the while that we must lave our honors in these flattering streams, and make our faces vizards to our hearts, disguising what they are.” (Act 3 scene 2, lines 33-36)   What Macbeth is saying in this quote is that Lady Macbeth needs to act normal around Banquo tonight and that they need to pretend that nothing is going to happen.  This quote shows how Macbeth is progressing into a horrible person because he is telling Lady Macbeth to do what she told him to do earlier when they were killing Duncan.  When she was telling him to do this, she had no real friendship with the intended victim but Macbeth was best friends with Banquo and now there is nothing of that friendship left with Macbeth.  Also it’s not like she can stop the murderers from killing Banquo at this point because the order has already been given. Since the murder is going to happen he didn’t have anything to lose by telling her, that way he didn’t have to go through with having Banquo assassinated alone.  She could also have given him a suggestion after he found out that only Banquo was dead.

During act 4 scene 3 Ross.  Ross is telling Macduff that Macbeth has just had his family killed.  “Your castle is surprised, your wife and babes savagely slaughtered. To relate the manner, were, on the quarry of these murdered deer to add the death of you.” (Act 4 scene 3, lines 204-207) In this quote Ross is telling Macduff, your castle was attacked your whole family was murdered, if I told how they were killed then you would probably die too out of sorrow. This is more evidence that Macbeth is turning into a horrible person because he has had Macduff’s entire family killed because Macduff wasn’t there to be killed himself.  Also, if a person has a problem with another person, then the dispute should be resolved between the two people rather than including the other person’s family.  

Throughout act 5 scene 5 Seyton, Seyton has just returned from checking on a scream that came from another room and is reporting that Lady Macbeth is dead and Macbeth is mostly unfazed.  “The queen, my lord, is dead.” (Act 5 scene 5, line 16) In this quote Seyton says to Macbeth, the queen is dead my lord.  This just shows Macbeth turning into a cold hearted monster because his wife has just died and he doesn’t really care.  Most people, if their spouse had just died would show at least a little emotion not just sit there and say that they should have waited a little longer to die.  

Over the course of act 5 scene 7 Macbeth, Macbeth has just fought with Siward’s son.  Siward’s son is bloodied and dead but Macbeth doesn’t care. “Thou wast born of woman.  But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn, brandished by man that’s of a woman born.” (Act 5 scene 7 lines 10-11) In this quote he means that Siward’s son was born of a woman and that when he sees a man who was born of a woman, no matter what weapon he holds, Macbeth laughs because none born by a woman can harm him.  Macbeth has just killed Siward’s son and he doesn’t care.  Life means nothing to him anymore.  Macbeth has plucked the last straw, he’s there, to the breaking point.

All of these quotes show how Macbeth has transformed from a decent person into someone even the devil would revile.  His conscience was dead by the end of the story.  Macbeth was an angry, scornful, paranoid man who feared only Macduff.  In the end he chose to fight Macduff to the death rather than surrender or commit suicide.


To learn more about memoirs and vignettes by reading the book “The Freedom Writers” which was filled with memoirs and vignettes, we also read some short stories and “The House on Mango Street”.  Then after all of this we wrote our own vignettes.

Having Fun at the Beach

On Tuesday, March 10, I woke up at 2:00AM and very tiredly stepped into the shower to get ready for a journey that no one in my house had done before, so as you might expect I was rather wary (Vocabulary) of this.(Opening Sentence)  I was feeling nervous because I may have been on a plane before but I was only a year and half, so in a way this was my first plane ride.  If I’d known ahead of time just how it would be I probably wouldn’t have been as nervous at this point.  I was also feeling excited because this a trip of a lifetime, because not many people get the chance to travel with their classmates and teachers to another country that is also the homeland of one of the teachers.  When we were at the airport I went through security with the members of my group.  The airport security proved to be an effective bulwark (Vocabulary) considering I did not know what to do or say in the airport and what to say to the airport personnel, you might have even said that I was rather inept (Vocabulary) at traversing the winding path through the airport (Imagery).  Most of my group knew what to do so I asked them.  Soon we were on our way to Costa Rica.

One of the best times I had was when we went to the beach in Curu.  The cabins that we stayed in were almost right on the beach.  One of the first things I noticed right away about the beach, was the dark sand with holes in it.  The holes were about the size of a quarter but went more than a foot down.  Judging by the fact that there were hermit crabs coming out of the holes we figured that they must be the homes of the hermit crabs  Then our eyes followed the sand to the clear ocean water.  When we got on the beach we looked around and it was rather barren (Vocabulary), of people at least as the boys had gotten out of the cabins before the girls.  A couple of people found some hermit crabs, so we all started looking for hermit crabs.  When Ben and I started looking, we found some little tracks that we thought might be hermit crab tracks so we followed them.  The little things must have been rather shrewd (Vocabulary) as it got a little confusing because their tracks crossed over each other a couple of times, they split a couple of times, and the tide had washed parts of them away.  When I finally found one and picked it up, I noticed the crab was brown and purplish.  Its legs were hairy and moving quickly, like it wanted to escape, but then the crab sucked back into the shell.  I looked at the shell, it looked bumpy and it had ridges.  I started walking away from the water and all of a sudden the crab pinched me.  It must have wanted to get down and that’s what it did as I dropped it by accident.  I picked the crab up again, it pinched me again, but this time I put it down and watched it scurry away.  It walked kind of straight, unlike the other crabs which walked sideways. 

  A little while after that, Amir found a bunch of hermit crabs and wanted to make a shelter for them so that he could amass (Vocabulary) an even larger quantity of them.  I helped him dig one.  We used our hands and some of the many pieces of driftwood that we found on the beach.  Using the driftwood made us rather adept at digging through the wet, dark, and heavy sand (Magic Three).  The sand felt damp and smooth.  Some of the smaller crabs almost got covered with sand while we were digging the shelter.  When we were finished, the hole was about six inched deep and about the size of a piece of copy paper.  Soon our classmates were finding hermit crabs and telling us so we could add them to the shelter.  By the end, we had about fifteen hermit crabs of varying sizes and different color shells.  Some were as small as a dime while others were as big as a half dollar.   A lot were trying to climb out.  They would get about half up and then slide down.   

Since I was quite sandy, I wanted to rinse off in the water.  I walked down and waded into the warm water.  When I first got out there, I jumped at the wrong time and got a mouthful of salty water.  Most of my classmates were out in the ocean.  They were laughing and playing with a beach ball.  I stayed in the water for about twenty minutes and then went back to the hermit crabs.  Most of them were gone from the shelter.  They must have figured out how to get out.  Yet again shrewd (Vocabulary) little things.  The last one was on the edge, making his break for freedom.   

After checking on the hermit crabs, I decided to go in the water again.  I spent a little more time digging on the beach with my friends.  I went into the water to wash my head and body because I had gotten watery sand on myself while digging.  I got out of the ocean and then Maestra Sandra said it was time to get washed up and changed for dinner.  This was a meaningful experience to me because it was really a once-in-a lifetime experience.   Now I like my tech stuff but even though the beach can be rather low-tech it had still been a fun day on the beach in Curu in the end.

Q3 BM 

For this benchmark we read the book “The Odyssey” and then we had to compare and contrast it to another piece of media, I chose to compare and contrast it to “O’ Brother Where Art Thou?”

Some people prefer to watch movie then to sit down and read a book.  For this paper however the subject is both.  While the movie “O, Brother Where Art Thou” and the book the “The Odyssey” are almost the same they do have a few differences, these differences cause them to be liked by different types of people.

These two pieces of media are similar for the most part because the movie is supposed to be and interpretation of the book.  However this doesn’t mean that it was exactly the same.  For example with Polyphemus, the cyclops, in the book he ate some of Odysseus’ men “He lunged out with his hands toward my men and snatching two at once.....But once the Cyclops had stuffed his enormous gut with human flesh, washing it down with raw milk” (Book 9:324-334).  In The Odyssey the Cyclops hinders them by eating some of their men and robs them of time.  Meanwhile, in the movie, the character who is similar to the Cyclops robs them of their money, food, time, and transportation.  He hinders them by robbing them of the previously mentioned items then, knocks them around and injures them.

One reason that they are different is that the movie may be more liked because

the book is a difficult read for many people while the movie they just sit back press play and watch.  Another thing is that may have caused people to like it better might be because it was less confusing and contradicting of its self.  For example, when Odysseus and his men were in the Cave of Polyphemus when he was closing up his cave “Then to close his door he hoisted overhead a tremendous massive slab, no twenty-two wagons rugged and four-wheeled, could budge that boulder off the ground” (Book 9:271-274). Then shortly after that for dinner Polyphemus, the cyclops, eats some of Odysseus’ men, “He lunged out with his hands toward my men and snatching two at once.....But once the Cyclops had stuffed his enormous gut with human flesh, washing it down with raw milk” (Book 9:324-334). These two quotes from the book would show  a picture to most readers of a huge hulking monster who has the ability to change his size at will because the first quote would paint a picture of large monster whereas the second would paint one of a monstrous figure about the size of two large men.  Now in the movie it is more constant with the Cyclops figure being portrayed by Big Dan Teague who is large but not one who can change his size at will, which is more believable.

Another difference that they had was of course time, which as would be expected caused some very different things to happen.  For example, instead of them passing the sirens while they were on the boat, the main characters were in a car.  Still this didn’t prevent them from ending up getting into trouble just like Odysseus would have if he hadn’t had his crew there. “I signaled the crew with frowns to set me free-- they flung themselves at the oars and rowed on harder” (Book 12:210-211).  Now since Odysseus was on the boat with his crew, he and they were able to escape the sirens, whereas Everette, Pete, and Delmar were not warned plus they were in the car with no crew to help them past the sirens. On the other hand, Odysseus was on the boat with his crew to help him get through it and they were warned, which may also have helped them.

While both pieces had their similarities and differences which may have affected which types of people liked these different pieces of media they were both very interesting to watch and read.  Their similarities most likely came about because of the fact that the movie was an interpretation of the book.  They did have their differences like the movie was not as contradicting of itself whereas the book did.  Time was another factor in their differences as in pre 700BCE, you couldn’t just stand on the side of the road and ask for a ride to Ithaca. Similarly, in 1937 you wouldn’t just run around shooting people with arrows and cutting other people up.  So, which is better sitting in the movie theater and lazily watching the story go or sitting down in the shade with a cool breeze blowing through the air with the book.

Creative project

After we did our papers on macbeth we had to take those quotes we used and put them into a creative piece.  I chose to do a keynote explanations of the quotes

Macbeth Creative Project
​Independent Reading 

Throughout the first and second semesters we had to read a book of our own choosing and then write a review on it for the one for the second semester we could choose what type of project we wanted to do on it. 

I’m here to talk to you today about the book Reckless by Cornelia Funke and Lionel Wigram.  This book is in my opinion one of the best books that I have read to this date, now I know and acknowledge the fact that there are people out there with different view who might think that crazy.  Some interesting thing that I’ve found out about this book is that Cornelia Funke worked on this book with another person, Lionel Wigram and as far as I can tell she has never done this before.  Another interesting fact is that one of the writers of this book Lionel Wigram has been involved in some well known movie productions like "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole," “Sherlock Holmes,” and the Harry Potter series so although I haven’t found anything that says it will or it wont become a movie, I think that it has a good chance of becoming a movie.

This book is about a about an other world that is called by the main character, Jacob Reckless, “The Mirror World” and it as obtained this name because of the fact that to get to it from “our” world he must travel through a mirror.  Jacob Reckless is the kind of person that doesn’t like to make mistakes and then one day when he finally does it sends his both of his worlds whirling into a spiral where they both collide causing his brother, Will Reckless, to be infected with the curse of fairy.  As much as Fox, a young vixen shapeshifter that Jacob has met in in treasure hunting, tries to console him Jacob blames himself for what is happing to his brother,  and to make matters worse Will has decided to bring his girlfriend, Clara, along who even more so than Will, Jacob has to remind of the dangers of this world like; attacking trees, the Goyl, and countless little forest creatures just itching for a some human flesh.

A favorite character of mine is Jacob Reckless because he is a master of his trade, treasure hunting so he has amassed all sorts of little magical items ranging from a handkerchief that creates gold coins when rubbed to a magical hair that also when rubbed gains infinite length and attach to whatever you look at.  Another reason is that he is sort of a “I’ll-tell-you-it-when-you-need-to-know” kind person which I think is kind of comical to watch, that is as long as I’m not the one from which the information is being withheld.  If there’s one thing that I think people should take away from reading this book it is that mistakes happen even to the most careful of us and that thing usually work out in the end, not always for the better but they do tend to work out.  Another good idea to take from this book or maybe more so from Jacob Reckless is to try and not make stupid mistakes.

One character that I can relate to in this book is Jacob Reckless because I know what it is like to have little brother that can be so annoying that you just want to be able to go to another world to get away from him, unfortunately for me I don’t have another world to go to when he is being annoying.  Another reason that  I can relate to him and probably we all can is that we all know what it’s like to want something that we can’t have, like the saying goes, “The heart wants what it can’t have”, maybe it’s not quite the same things as Jacob maybe it is.  I don’t personally think that I have done many of the same things as really anyone in this book has done and there probably aren’t many aspects of this book that many people in the world could have done, at least not that many that are still living.

Like I said earlier in this review I think that this is one of the best books that I have read so far.  A strength that this book has is that it is very descriptive in a way that it almost transports you to the Mirror World. However a weakness that I believe that this book has is that it will at times jump around to a different character, but this can also serve as a positive to keep you from just falling into a sort of waking sleep.  If there is one thing that I could change it would be where it ends, I would make it keep going.  Another thing that I might change is that you never find out what the Dark Fairy’s name is which is something that really bugs me so I might change it so you do find out what her name is.

I would recommend this book to most people but there are some people that I know would not like this book and some people that I know would like it.  So the long and short of it is that I would definitely recommend this book to people who like magic, action, and creepy creatures.  

Journal Entries

Most days when we went into Mrs. Dunn we would have a journal prompt to write about, sometimes it would be related to the unit we were working on, other times it would be more of a “get to know you” kind of question.

 Journal #1

I finished the magazine

I would maybe do a power-point, get it really checked sooner 

Nothing really popped like that

Journal #2

We write so that we don’t forget.  We write so we have to.  We write because we want to. We write to talk when ow voices can’t.  We write to express.

Journal #3

It is important to fit in because if you don;t then you wont be able to make friends.  Without friends life can be very stressful because there wont be stand up for you, to help you.

Journal #4

People are technically an adult when they reach the age of 18 but to me someone doesn’t really seem like an adult until these conditions are met, they are at least 18 years old (at least hopefully older), has a kid (at least one), has a steady job, grandparents are all dead and are married/dating seriously.