We’ve Reached the End

I created this blog to go along with my AP English Language class, and as this year comes to an end so does this blog. So, this will be my final blog post that looks back at this year and what it has taught me.

This year started with the basics, in the form of a list of morphemes that we received every Monday. These morphemes brought myself and the class to the root of the English language and helped expand my vocabulary along with being one of the best things to we did to prepare for the AP exam. It was a good way to start off the year because, like I said, it was the basics and it expanded my vocabulary which helped out later in the year when we began writing more and more essays. Also, the morphemes weren’t too difficult which made them a fantastic starting point for the year.

After going through the basics for a few weeks and getting used to the class, we began our first book: The House on Mango Street. It was an interesting book, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite book of the year and I don’t know how much it really taught me other than showing me that books don’t necessarily need to be written formally. But The Catcher in the Rye also taught me that and was a better book in general, so I feel like the class would’ve been better off just reading The Scarlet Letter. The one thing Mango Street did do, though, was ease us into the year since it was a pretty easy read, even if some of the ideas and chapters were really abstract, which The Scarlet Letter would not have done. So, maybe The House on Mango Street served its purpose, but personally I would’ve preferred the more traditional Scarlet Letter since I don’t believe Mango Street taught me much.

If I had to choose my favorite book from this year it would have to be The Catcher in the Rye for its humor and the interesting ideas Holden brings up. Much like Mango StreetThe Catcher in the Rye was more of a collection of many short stories than one long narrative, but it felt more connected and overall was more enjoyable. Also, I enjoyed this book because it strays from the normal hero and explores the mind of a different kind of person which makes it unique from many other books. Another thing I enjoyed was how the language in this book is much less formal than most other books which made it a more fun read, and taught me that there are times when it is okay or even beneficial to write informally. All of the different aspects of this combined made it less mundane than the other books we read while still carrying the same level of importance through its themes.

Ultimately all of these books and the morphemes we did this year contributed more to my vocabulary than anything else, making them important for increasing my ability to communicate. One of the big questions we had this year was how words can either limit or increase our ability to communicate with others and after all of the reading and learning we did this year I think I am ready to answer it. I believe that our ability to communicate is based on a mixture of things: the actual words we use to communicate, the tone we use when communicating them, and the actions or gestures we make as we communicate them. So, I would say that when we’re face to face with each other words are able to slightly improve or diminish our abilities to communicate, but only slightly, because we are able to make up our lack of words with the other things I mention: our actions and our tone. However, as we move into the future where more and more things are written and we can’t see the actions behind the words or the tone making them up, words are becoming more and more defining in our ability to communicate. As texting becomes a more popular method of communication that talking face to face or calling, we need to pay more attention to the specific words we use as to get our point across the way we want to. Because you can’t see/hear sarcasm or anger or anything else in a text, which makes it difficult to really interpret the true meaning the sender had. Even as I write this blog post it is up to my word use to let you, the reader understand what I’m saying. We can’t treat words as just another part of communication that can be masked by other factors any more, because our new technology is removing all of those other factors from communication. Now more than ever, words are the most defining factors in our communication and as I reach the end of my junior year I know understand why all of the reading I’ve done throughout my entire life has been so important to my ability to communicate. If it weren’t for English classes constantly forcing me to read books I wouldn’t be able to write this post about why it’s important to read books and fully take control of your words. So although I dreaded it when I was doing it, looking back at it I’m glad I read everything I did– even The House on Mango Street.

picture by Peter Stabolepszy: The Last Steep 2014 257   (no changes made)

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