Friday, June 20, 2014

"Maya Angelou Rises Up with Heart" by Khoury H.

Following is a seventh-grader's first literary analysis essay wherein he analyzes and discusses a poem by the recently departed Maya Angelou. 

The poem "Still I rise" by Maya Angelou begins with "You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lies..." and ends with "I rise, I rise, I rise." These two lines along with the title suggest the author's message, which is that you can rise up from other people's hatred.

In order to get her message across, the author uses rhythm and repetition. She uses rhythm and repetition when she says at the end "I rise, I rise, I rise." When I think about this rhythm and repetition, I think about the heartbeat. The heart beats only where you are alive. Maya Angelou could be repeating the rhythmic phrase "I rise, I rise, I rise" to echo her heartbeat as she lives despite challenges.

Maya Angelou also uses the second person point of view when she talks to the reader directly and says "you." I think she uses the second person point of view because she wants the reader to feel ashamed so they don't repeat history. The author also wants the speaker to be in opposition to the reader so she, the author, who is also the speaker, stands out even more as someone who rises up.

Additionally, the author uses contrasting diction that represents someone putting Maya down and then Maya rising up. For example, in the ninth stanza, she writes, "night" and "daybreak" and "terror" and "wondrously," which are opposites demonstrating oppression and then transcendence.

In conclusion, Maya Angelou's poem "Still I rise" is a poem whose message is that you can rise up despite other people's hatred. The author uses rhythm and repetition, the second person point of view and contrasting diction to convey her message.

"Who is the Protagonist of Your Life?" by Various Students in Grade 6

Some sixth-graders were asked to compare their lives to stories. A few of the names of persons within the writings have been changed. 

The protagonist of my story is me, Schelame C., because I am the one who is facing obstacles and rising from the ashes.

The major antagonist in my life is this girl from church. Usually people from my church are nice and friendly. Well, this girl isn't! Same thing about this girl Amelia. She tore my family apart.

The people who are foils in my life are my family. My mom Ebony and my dad Brian. Whenever I want to do something they are behind me 100%.

I think the biggest struggle in my life so far was when my mom had the twins. Well, they're not actually twins. They are one year apart. Ever since they were born, it has been hard work. Trying to change diapers, washing bottles and not being able to sleep until seven. They always wake up at five. Always five. I am still trying to count how many days until I am off to college.

The overarching tone of my life is happy, jumpy, funny, sometimes serious and thinky. My mom raised me to be proud of how I am and to not to try to be someone else 'cause everyone is already taken. Also that some people in your life are a blessing and some people in your life are a lesson.

The protagonist of my life is me, Ashton S., because no matter how hard things get, when no one is there to help me, when there is no one to lean on, I am here for myself. Through all of the obstacles I face, I alone always triumph.

The major antagonists in my life are the people that try to stop me from triumphing and pursuing my dream, which is to become a lawyer and an excellent one at that. I aim to be the top lawyer and to be the best that I can be. 

The people who function as foils in my life are the people that help and inspire me most such as my friends and family. With regard to friends I think I would have to say Ahliajah. She is one of my best friends. She has been there with me forever mostly since third grade. She stood up for me and helped me when I needed help. I call her my cousin or a sister. With regard to family it would have to be my sister Anitra. I love her more than you can ever think of. She and my two brothers, Avery and Yy. Ty is the older one. They all bring out the best in me. I love them very, very much. 

The biggest struggle in my life is external because a lot goes on in my family and there is not really much I can do about it. In fact, I can't do anything about it. I really wish I could help. If I could I would. I do ask, "Can I help?" to my brother and he says "Nawwww..." But I think he's just kidding with me. I love him very much. 

The protagonist of my life is my own self. I know this because not like in the fairy tales I don't have a knight and shining armor. In my life, I overcome obstacles and challenges on my own, and I am proud of the things that I do. 

In my life I won't say I have a major antagonist, probably for just 75% of my life, because when I grow up I won't have to live with my mean, selfish, teasing brother anymore. He always calls me mean names. It irritates me so much. But still he is my brother, and I do care about him.

My parents function as foils in my life because they are the ones who have raised me to be as I am: smart, and talented. But sometimes I can be a bit of a brat. My parents teach me how to be polite; and no matter how much my brother teases, me they protect me and help me to ignore it. 

One of my biggest struggles in life might seem weird to people, but it is studying and memorizing my notes at school. I am one of those people we all call nerds. I always want perfect grades. I always like being number one in terms of being smart. Well, every time I have a test, I have to study, but when I study a lot of things distract me. It is so hard for me to study! Even if it is just little things, I stop my work. I am not lazy -- actually I love learning, but sometimes I get too distracted. That's why sometimes I get low test grades.

The protagonist in my life is me, Olivia P., because I have to overcome obstacles and challenges in the story of my life. I know I'm the protagonist because I am the hero.

The major antagonist in my life is fear because sometimes I let fear take control of me like a nemesis or an enemy. I think of fear as a person trying to take over my emotions and mess with my head. 

Many people in my life function as foils. My parents are a perfect example. They help me and life me from whatever struggles I'm going through. They are my role models and encourage me, and they bring out my best attributes. 

My biggest struggle in life so far has been being able to not live my entire life in fear. It feels like I have a second shadow. The fear just lingers around me. I try very hard not to think of it. If I live my entire life in fear, it doesn't allow me to be confident or brave enough to do what I want to do. 

The overarching tone of my life so far is happy. This tone of my life has meaning to me. When I'm happy I just feel that I am welcomed into the world for who I am and not for how I look or what I wear. When I'm happy, I am in my own world. 

"Another Day Another Truth" by Marilyn P.

A group of students in a tenth-grade English class participate in literature circles.

Simba: Hey, let's read the Freedom Writer's Diary.

Boots: I'm down to read sounds cool.

Redd: Why would we read that? We already saw that dumb movie.

Simba: Redd, it's not all about you. No one cares what you think.

Boots. Yeah, that was a really good movie.

Redd: I don't care. I don't see the point of reading the story when we already saw the movie. Nothin' is gonna change.

Boots: Simba, he does kind of make a point, you know.

Simba: Well. the Freedom Writer's Diary gives us more details than the movie. It's all of their journal entries put together in one book.

Redd: What's gonna be the difference? Everything they said in the movie they're gonna say in the story. Nothin' is gonna change.

Boots: Well, I'm down to do it. It seems like a good idea to me.

Redd: OK. I have an idea. Instead of reading Freedom Writer's Diary, how about we make our own?

Simba: That sounds like a great idea, Redd. But we should check with Ms. Amy.

Boots: Redd, that's the best idea you've ever come up with.

Redd: Haha. Very funny. Someone just ask Ms. Amy if we can do it.

Simba: Ms. Amy says it's OK. Let's get started.

Boots: OK. Simba. Since you're the leader of the group, how do you want us to do it?

Redd: Yeah, since you're the leader of the group...

Simba: How about each of us just write a journal entry just like how they did it in the book?

Boots: About our life?

Simba: Yeah, your own personal life stories...

Redd: You mean our struggles?

Dear Diary,

Every day I look in the mirror and ask myself what's out there for me and why am I still alive? I've been in the system since I was seven. I had an abusive dad and my mother was a drug addict. I remember the day I got taken away from my mom. My parents were fighting and the neighbors called the police. When they came, all they had to do was look around to know that I wasn't living the appropriate life I was supposed to. When they took me away they put me in a home with another girl and two sons. Everybody was white except for me. I already felt outta place. On my fourth night there I was lying in bed around two in the morning because I couldn't sleep and I remember the husband coming into my room. I told him to get out, and he told me to shut up. He came over the my bed and pulled my covers back and I tried to put up a fight but he was bigger and stronger than me . He climbed on top of me and raped me. I closed my eyes and started to cry. All I could think about was my mom. When he finished, he left my room, and the next morning he acted as if nothing ever happened.

 - Simba

Dear Diary,

For the past two months I haven't been feeling good. I haven't had my period in three months. I took a pregnancy test yesterday. It came out positive. I'm pregnant, and I don't have no one to help me. I'm homeless. I'm 14 and I barely go to school. In order for me to eat, I have to steal food or prostitute for money. My mom kicked me out when I was 13 because she thought I was sleeping with her boyfriend. I sleep under a bridge, and when it's cold outside, I sleep in the dirty, filthy restrooms at the train station. I have my life, and sometimes I wish I wasn't alive. Now that I know I am three months pregnant I don't know what I should do. I wanna go back to school and graduate from high school and go to college, but let's look at reality. I'm pregnant. I'm 14. I'm homeless. No one is gonna help me. I wanna go back home. I miss my mom, but I know she'll just slam the door in my face and tell me to get off her property and never come back. I don't know if I'm ready to bring a baby into this world. It may be time for me to start checking out clinics.

- Boots

Dear Diary,

One night my mom took me and my brother down a dark alley. When I looked around all I seen was broken glass, homeless people and needles. We went to Floor 12 Apartment #304 where a tall black man opened the door. When we walked in, it was empty. All I seen was drugs. My mom made us sit in the corner with our backs turned towards them so we couldn't see her get a thrill out of shooting up. Two hours went by and she was done. When the guy asked her for his money she didn't have enough and they started to argue. He started hitting my mom and throwing her around and kicking her until we seen the blood coming out of her mouth. My brother was crying and screaming for him to stop, but he didn't. It just made him more mad. I tried to keep him quiet but it wasn't working so the guy came over, picked my little brother and hung him out the window. My mom tried to pick herself up to go help him, but all he did was kick her back down and let go of my brother's hand. Just like that, he was gone. I lost my best friend and my brother. When I went over to the window I seen Brycon lying on the ground surrounded by blood and glass. Every day I cry to myself and think what my life would be life if Brycon was still here. I blame my mom for making us pay for her punishment. Whenever I think about it, I feel like I got rocks in my stomach. I can feel my soul bleed.

- Redd

R.I.P. Brycon Pugh

Saturday, November 2, 2013

"I Hear Something" by Faith O.

I hear something
But is it really something?
Is it a figure of my imagination?
Is it my mind deceiving me?
Is it a spirit whispering --
In my ear?
Is that the thing I hear?

No, that can't be.

Is it a sound from far away?
Is it something I can't see?

No, that can't be.

I know what it is.

It's my heart telling me something I am scared to do.
That is what I'm hearing.

I must not be afraid.
I must not be afraid.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

"Red Lily" by Cloesha S.

Red lily
So royal 
So bright
Just sitting on the lake side
Not another in sight
This little red lily
Sways soft in the wind

"Obituary" by Destiny C.

Hello, fellow family members of Destiny C. 
Today I am going to talk about Destiny's accomplishments.
There are three categories. The first category is her achievements; the second is her unbelievable creations; and the third is her outstanding careers. 
First, her achievements: Destiny has successfully overcome many different obstacles, and there are many different colleges such as Yale, where she got her math bachelors degree, Harvard, where she obtained a masters degree in science. and Princeton where she earned a Ph.D. in Psychology. Also, Destiny won 21 Grammy awards as a professional singer. Those were just the first few achievements of Destiny.
Second, and this might sound unbelievable but it’s true: Destiny wrote 12 songs in one month, three books in a week and collected 15,897 pieces of candy on one single Halloween. Another unbelievable feat is that she lived in each of the 50 states for five months each. Also, Destiny was the biggest millionaire of all of the millionaires. She received lots of money from all of her outstanding careers. Destiny played piano with no hands (she used her feet and elbows); she opened up a musical restaurant, where she had the employees sing to the customers when they took their order; and Destiny invented the first ever chocolate fountain cake. There was a hole in the middle of the cake, filled with chocolate frosting, and then it bubbled out chocolate bubbles! Destiny will always be remembered for her very intelligent ways.
The third part of Destiny's obituary is the outstanding careers column. Destiny's biggest category of outstanding careers was becoming the first African American lady to become the president of the United States. The next outstanding career was to become a guitarist. Destiny used to play guitar all the time when she was little, so that made her a better guitarist. Even with no hands. Also, she became the lead singer in a band. In addition, she was a professional dancer. Destiny loved to dance with her grandpa a lot.
Along with the outstanding career as a songwriter, Destiny loved to listen and make up her own little songs. As a skateboarder, Destiny went to the park with her mom to practice and get better at skateboarding. Conjointly a spy, she loved to spy on people. But then, she started getting caught a lot.
Destiny additionally became an actress and a surfer. Those are the outstanding careers that Destiny had. Destiny was a very intelligent girl. She had her own personal creations, and she would love this obituary if she were here right now.
Destiny's grandpa will always love her so much, so will her grandma, auntie, and uncle. Everybody will miss her.
Everybody loves Destiny, she will always be with us, and we will never forget her.
We hope that she is in a very fun, happy and suitable place.  

"Have You Ever Wondered?" by Alma F.

Have you ever wondered why abortion exists?  Well, I have, which is why I believe that abortion should stop existing, and I believe this for three reasons, which include ending abortion, abortion is bad, and abortion should be against the law!
The first reason I believe that abortion should end is so we can have more brothers and sisters. It seems to me that if there was less abortion, then there would be more population, which would mean there would be more people and not less. Furthermore, I think it should end because they are killing more human beings who want to exist, which would mean we have less population than more. So, therefore  I think that abortion should end.
The second reason I believe that abortion should end is because abortion is bad. It seems to me that if abortion is bad, it should end. Without abortion, we will have a better world with more community workers. Furthermore, I think abortion is bad because when you are killing something in your stomach that is going to become a human being, it would not live its wonderful life which would mean  that we will have fewer workers in the U.S.A. So, therefore, I think that abortion is bad.
The third reason I believe that abortion should end is because its bad and it should be against the law. It seems to me that if it was against the law, then we would live in a happier world, which would mean more happy kids and adults in a more precious world. Finally, it should be against the law because sometimes the park is empty and we need more children. The park should be filled with more happy children. So, therefore, I think that abortion should be against the law.
Some people might argue about abortion because sometimes they get kidnapped and raped and get pregnant. Then they don't want to have the child because they don’t want to remember about it. I might do the same because I of course do not want to remember. But abortion should be against the law.
In conclusion, I believe that abortion should end for the several aforementioned reasons, and I hope that you now believe it too!