Week One 01/24/2014
I am reading the book "The Last Praetorian." In this book the emperor of a galaxy wide emperor is killed, and his elite guard, Jon Radec, must escape with the Royal Princess Sophie Aurelius. This book goes on to tell how they escape and have to make their way back to the capital world. This book is action packed and draws the reader in. I read this four hundred page book in a little over three days. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in science fiction or action books. This can relate to our class in that it shows how an author can create a great piece of literature. The author used various pieces of imagery, simile, dialogue, and metaphor to draw the reader in. As a result, he has created a book that, although not well known, is comparable to many of today's classics in how it is written and excites the readers.

Tony's Week One
Throughout the year, I have written many passages in my English notebook that have helped me understand more about American Culture. It has made me think about what the American Idea is really about and how it has helped every citizen in a unique way. America allows any person to do what they want to, as long as it is reasonable. This is different from any other country because a lot of countries are completely strict with their citizens. America is a great place to live in and all of the American citizens should be thankful for living here.
Besides the American Idea I have also read a book about the pirates in colonial times such as Blackbeard. The story was about a boy who was captured by Blackbeard and forced to stay on the ship for a ransom. The story described the struggle of what a pirate had to go through during this time period, and also the struggle of living in this time in general. There are many changes in the world today that have made life easier for humans and they are rarely appreciated. Living in the time period we do today and having the technology we have today has shown how life quality has improved in the last 500 years or even just 100 years.

Reply
I agree that America has become a great place to live, but at the same time has led to many people living in poverty. There are many places in America that look like war zones, and yet no one is doing anything to fix this. We send billions of dollars abroad each and every year, then tell our own people that we don't have the money to help them. I believe that we need to start focusing on ourselves before we send so much overseas. If we are to remain an economic superpower, we need to get our .... together. We need to bring jobs back to America from places like Bangladesh, China, and India. We then need to help our industries be able to compete with foreign competitors, like Samsung and Toyota. For decades America was seen as the best in the world, for everything. And in today's world that is quickly being taken away by China. As Americans we are not used to this, but don't want to do anything to stop them.
Week Four

Week Two 01/31/2014
I chose the poem "The old oaken Bucket," by Samuel Woodworth, located on pages 85-86.
This poem tells of how a man has loved something of nature since he was a small boy. He tells of how he would bring it to his lips, and it would replenish him. At the end it says that it comes from an oak bucket in a well. I see this poem as telling of the relief that water brings to someone after a long work day. After working hard all day, almost everyone has a drink of some kind, whether it be beer, water, or something else. This is a tradition throughout America, and has been for a long time. In this it is inferred that the man lives in the 1800's or earlier. This can be related to in that everyone seeks some sort of relief after a stressful day.

Maxx Bugg Comment
In class the other day I read about the Mayflower Compact. The article was written by an unknown author since it is very old. However, It gave me a sense as to what the people that signed the document were thinking and what they were running from. They despised their own King back in England. When they came to what is now called America they landed around Cape Cod area and settled there. What the Mayflower Compact's main idea was was that they did not want a solo leader like they had back in England. They wanted representatives that represented what the people wanted because that would serve the people as a whole and in general instead of just making decisions to help only royalty like it was back in England. When I finished reading I was shocked. These men and women sailed the Atlantic ocean to try and prove a point and start over because they had the idea to form a representative government that revolved around what the people wanted and not what the King wanted. These people had guts a courage and stood up for what they believed in. These are the real heroes of this nation and to honor them we must stick to what they believed in, because in the end we would not be here without them.

Reply
I agree in that we must remember our past, but i disagree in that we must keep with their same ideals. We are a nation and world that is ever changing. And as a result those that stand still quickly find that we are doomed. We need to realize that we must focus on what is important, instead of all of the meaningless crap that we are focused on now. We as a nation are trying to take away law abiding citizen's guns, all the while gangs are killing people who don't have one to defend themselves. We are worried about pot, while heroin and cocaine are making a comeback. We are ignoring mortal wounds while we try to heal scratches. We need to wake up and face our problems, or deal with the fact that America isn't great anymore.

Week Three 02/12/2014
This week I listened to a lot of different musical artist and bands. I was then able to use what I learned in this class to be able to decipher what each of the lyrics in the song mean. Some songs have drawn out and meaningful lyrics, while others have quick and rebellious ones. Some songs manage to strike a balance of both of these traits. One of these songs is "Baba O'Reily" by The Who, which is slower at times, but still manages to relay a message of rebellion and partying throughout the song. This then relates to the story "Teenage Wasteland," in which a teenage boy named Donnie is pushed to his limits by both his school and family. He is having troubles; and instead of having him tell them what he needs or wants, they force him into a tutorship program. Then once he starts to really enjoy himself in the program, his parents take him out, move him to a new school, and force him to act how they want him to. This problem is compounded by the fact that his mother, Daisy, thinks that she is the perfect mother, although she falls far from this because of this. She believes that everything is Donnie's fault, and then blames everyone but herself when he finally runs away. This leads me to think that Daisy is the root of all of Donnie's problems. If it weren't for her, Donnie would surely be in much better shape, and would have never ran away from home.

Sarah Burr Comment
I read The Road Not Taken in the American Reader. It is a poem by Robert Frost. In this poem a speaker is in the woods when he comes to a fork in the road. He says that he will come back another day and take the path that is less traveled by. I think this poem has a deep meaning. I think it means that there are times in life then we have to make choices. With those choices we can't go back to that time and change our minds. Because of this we have to make the best choice we can. Since we can't go back and change our choices we have to make the best of whatever path we have taken.

I agree that we must always think of what our actions will cause. But you truly never know what will happen. It's like how in a movie they go back in time, step on a butterfly, then find out they were never born. Things like this make you think of every choice you have or will make, and what the consequences were or will be. We all come across decisions like this everyday; they could be as small as saying Hi to someone in the hall, or where you are going to buy a house. While some decisions may not seem that important, it is often these choices that are the ones that matter the most.

Week Four 02/07/2014
I am starting to realize just how much music can affect anything. I was listening to music while reading a book, and often found that it would affect how I viewed the story. If I was listening to Guns N' Roses, it made everything much more dramatic and intense. Compare this to listening to Willie Nelson, which makes everything more mellow and relaxed. I do not know if this can impede my interpretation of the story, but it makes it much more enjoyable to me. The only downside to this is that it becomes much more jumble at times when the music doesn't match-up, or when a lot of detail is in a short span of the book. This wouldn't work with all genres of either type, Screamo and Romance for example, but from my experience Rock and Country fit pretty well with most genres of literature.

Connor Moran
This week in English class we did a ton! Because I like watching shows like Criminal Minds and CSI, I am a big fan of Boomtown. However I can't make connections to my life like I could to the story Teenage Wasteland. When I was younger my dad used to play The Who and Bruce Springsteen songs all the time. I am familiar with the song Teenage Wasteland, truthfully I really like the song. It was fun to decipher the meaning of the song and relate it to a story we read in class. I can even relate to the story! Donny is our age, and sometimes I see kids like Donny. The kids who's grades start to fall and start doing drugs. I'm just glad I am not like Donny!

I agree that there are alot of connections that can be made to Donny's story. Many parents do not understand what is going on in there teen's head, and make it worse by not asking them what they want. Donny's mother, Daisy, is the perfect example. She forces Donny into something, rips him out once he likes it, and is surprised when he takes off. I know people who are like this, and I can imagine that almost every teen has contemplated just leaving at one point. It is a part of growing up that everyone goes through, but seems to forget as soon as they turn 30. All in all, Donny's story is very connectable to almost every teen, and I would recommend it to others as a good read.

Week 11 04/03/2014
One of the major things that I am looking forward in the next month is the upcoming Close Up trip to Washington D.C. I have never been to the capitol, and think that it will be a good experience. We are going with around forty other schools from around the country, and will be able to meet a lot of new people. I am looking forward to meeting our state representatives, as well as touring the White House. I have an interest in politics, so I feel that this will be a fun and interesting trip for me. We are going for a full week over April Break.

Steve Gorski
Over the next few months of school im not lookinf forward to anything.Im happy its alost over and looking forward to summer. Also im happy about the junoir portfolio is all done with. But we still have testing this week and finals before summer vacation. Finals are just annoying because they are worth alot of someones grade. Also the testing we are currently taking is just dumb and pointless, no one even cares or tys on it. But overall classes have gotten a little harder little algrebra 2 and chemistry. More dificult concepts are being taught and tested now. But i have been enjoying film study alot and looking forward to the next movie we are about to watch in that class. But im more just wanting school to be over already. Im definatly not looking forward to the last month with preparation for finals and final projects.

I agree that I am looking forward to summer vacation. I will be able to work more over the summer, and am going to try and save up money to get a car. I have been looking at a a lot of different cars, but am most interested in ones from the 40's through early 70's. This summer would give me a perfect time to find a good car, buy it, and work on it. I hope to start next school year with a nice vintage muscle car, like a 1969 Buick Gs or something similar. I will also be looking into colleges and tech schools over the summer. As of now I am torn between learning how to restore older cars, or going to school for political science. The three main colleges that I would be looking at for political science would be Franklin Pierce, Springfield College, and Sierra Nevada. I would like to visit all three, but seeing as Sierra Nevada is on Lake Tahoe, in Nevada, I might have to wait to do that one. Overall, I would say that I am going to have a very hectic and busy summer, but it will all be worth it in the end.

Week 12
April/11/2014
My initial thoughts on this play is that I already read this play Freshman year at Valley. I thought it was a good play, but thought that many of the characters were pretentious or overbearing. I really don't like Walter's character, as he doesn't care what his family needs, but only what he wants. I know that Walter will screw things up for his family, and that he cannot be trusted. I think that this is an improper interpretation of an African American family in Chicago. They depict them as being the lowest of classes, barely being able to live with each other without tons of drama and stress. I feel that this play contributed to the stereotypes that exist about African American people today.

Connor Roach
The story A Raisin in the Sun is about a family suffering from hardship. They are poor and work a lot. They have sudden change of luck and inherit 10 thousand dollars. Although this was a very lucky find, there is a dilemma. The members of the family all have different ideas of what they want to do with the money. They all argue over what to do with the loot, and can't make a decision. "Mama" made the motherly decision and spent the money on what she thought was right for the family. She put a down payment on a house in a white part of town for the family to live in. Their very first house ever.

I agree that they have a dilemma, but I believe that they could have gotten through it. They could have spread the money amongst themselves, being able to invest it more wisely. It was Mama's decision, and I feel that she did right by buying the house. I do however feel that it was a mistake to give Walter any money, as we will soon find out. I feel that this is a good story about being careful of who you trust, even if they are your own family.

Week 14
April/25/2014
My favorite character from "A Raisin in the Sun" would have to be Lena Younger. This is because she sees farther and knows more than any of the other family members. She is the only family member, save Travis, who doesn't panic or become unjustly hostile toward others. Lena always has a reason or philosophy that explains what she is doing. She shares Ruth's dream of creating a good home for Travis to grow up in. She shares Walter's ambition to be successful. And she supports Beneatha in her goal to break down obstacles and become a doctor. If not for Lena, the family would have been broken up and hateful from the very start of the play. Walter would have walked out with the money, and the rest of the family would have been left to pay of Beneatha's debt while at the same time struggling to put food on the table.

Shelby
I don't really have a favorite character. I like how strong Benetha is and how determined she is to become a doctor. I think that is a good quality to have. I like how strong Mama is and I also like how she split the money she got. I don't like how some of the other characters treated her though. I don't like how they belittled her. I don't like how negative Walter was for the majority of the play but I like how at the end he made the decision for him and his family to remain in the community where mama picked for her family rather than being paid to not live there.

I agree in that all of the characters have redeeming aspects, along with many negative ones. One part that I noticed in the family is that they all have a need to better themselves. Walter wants to become a successful businessman; Beneatha a doctor, Ruth a great mother, and Lena a proud homeowner. They conflict because their differing views, and after a life of struggle and strife, finally seem to make things better for themselves. I want to see how they will react to their new neighbors in Clyborne Park, and if they will help each other through it.

Week 15
May/01/2014
My initial reaction to Clyborne Park is that I am dissappointed that the Younger family isn't shown moving into the house. We became familiar with how the family acted and interacted, and were expecting them to make a return in this play. Instead we were shown how a racist neighborhood freaks out over an African-American family moving in. The people of the community act as is anyone that is at all different from them is going to kill them or attack their children. I feel as if there should be three act to this story, with the current first act being condensed down into about forty to fifty pages. If the Younger family were shown moving in, then having to cope with the hardships, and possibly even overcoming them, I feel that this would be a much better story. Overall I still liked the play so far, but feel that it could have been much better had the Youngers been involved.

Jordan
My initial thought of Clybourne Park was that it was going to be a continuous story about the previous family in a raisin in the sun. but when we started to read the play I realized that this will show the perspective of the white community and their thought and feelings on a black family moving in. when I first herd about these white families not wanting black families moving in to their neighborhood I thought they where not human. but as we read this second play, it made me realize that these are people too. their opinions may be different but they are all still people. I think that this is what the mind set of the neighborhood should be. They don't need to like the arriving family, but they do need to realize that they are people too and are allowed to move wherever they are allowed. besides these mind sets that I don't agree with I am enjoying the play. it is interesting to read about how these people are addressing their problem. I also find t to be a good way to lighten the mood in our class, with all the laughing we do.

I agree that the neighborhood isn't reacting in the best way to their new neighbors, and that they should learn to accept it. This play made me think if this happens today, and while I don't think it is as common I do think that it is still a problem in cities. Places like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles have a higher population of non-white people, and current anti-immigration laws have brought back the problems of racism.