Thursday, January 17, 2008

FINAL THINGAMAJIG

College Writing Final Type your first and last name: Ryan Lawrence

A. General Questions: Type in (or copy and paste) your answers when appropriate. You can write as much as you want. When you are completely finished with your final, you will need to make sure that the entire document is in Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, with one-inch margins. Please make sure you used conventional English and used spell check before you email it as an attachment to my preferred email address. Save your work frequently in case your Internet is slow, etc. When you finish, make sure you have named it your (last, first) name and successfully send it to me. Once you have completed these steps, you must also post it to your blog. Call your blog post “Final Reflection.” If your blog has working links, you will do better on this final. If you post a picture of something interesting that links to pertinent course material, you will get extra credit. Good luck and thank you!

1.What Miss Boeser’s preferred email address?
eboeser@bloomington.k12.mn.us

2.What is another email address Miss Boeser uses?
eboeser@gmail.com

3.Fill in the blanks with the missing information from your course standards/parent letter:
A student’s grade will be divided into the following components:
50% ACADEMIC WRITING: essays must be handed in on paper with a Turnitin originality report.
20% PARTICIPATION:
BLOG/WIKI/ONLINE JOURNAL: Each student is required to post journal entries online
CLASS DISUSSION: Students will respond in class to literature, nonfiction and journal posts
PEER REVIEW: Students will read and respond to the work of their peers in writing groups
10% HOMEWORK including vocabulary assignments and daily assignments
10% TESTS AND QUIZZES on novels and nonfiction from class, including vocabulary
10% FINAL EXAM on novels, stories or terms we have covered in class.

4.Over the last two terms, we have read five books as a class. Rank them in order from the book you liked the best (#1) to the book you like the least (#5). First, fill in the title of the book under the rank (number) you are assigning. Below the title, write in the author. Last, assign the books a percent out of 100, so that the sum of your scores equals 100.

1
2
3
4
5
The Perks Of Being a Wallflower
The Kite Runner
Speak
Montana 1948
Beloved
Stephen Chbosky
Khaled Houssini
Laurie Anderson
Larry Watson
Toni Morrison
45%
20%
15%
15%
5%

5.Write a brief reflection about why you liked your favorite book of the five.
I really liked the whole story about Charlie. Out of all the books, this is the only one I went back and re-read over parts. Also the novel was really addictive; I read the book over one weekend. It was short and deep without being boring or moving too quickly. I really could connect with Charlie in that he was a male student in high school who hangs out with the “wrong crowd.” Similar to my freshman year. His story was more extreme than my life, but it was really cool to see characters that are similar to characters in my own life.

6.Write a brief reflection on your least favorite book.

Beloved was a bad book for me in many many ways. There was no character in the book I could look at and say, “ I like him/her, I can connect with them.” The story was about motherhood, something that I have not and will never experience personally. The story took place in a time that I have no connection with. The whole concept of a ghost could have been intersting if the characters would have reacted differently to her. The only two people that were suspicious of Beloved, were Paul D. who left in the middle of the book. And Denver who had an on to off relationship with her. The book was to weird for me, and I couldn't relate to it.

7.Write the name and author of the book you chose to read on your own or with your book group. Explain what made you choose this book and how you feel about your choice now that the term is over.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey. I think that this was a good choice for the last book to read this term. The book had a solid story and was quick to read. I think the reason I wanted to pick the book was because I had seen the movie about 3 years ago and though the story in the movie was cool. This is one of the few times that I would say that the movie is better than the book. In the movie, Bromden is not the narrator and the story progresses a lot quicker. In the book, Kesey overemphesizes some of the symbols he uses. In the movie they are more subtle, and Bromden over explains somethings while underexplaining other things.

8.Explain what you would do or where you would go if you need help with MLA format. Post links below if you need to.

I think that if i were to need help with any MLA issues I would either go to the Jefferson Media Center website (http://www.bloomington.k12.mn.us/indschool/tj/mediacenter/cite.html) or consult the MLA handbook.

9.What website do you use to turn in your papers?

Turnitin.com

10.What “website” or webpage did the Media Center set up to help you with your Problem-Solution Paper?

11.If you wanted to look up something in the Academic Search Premier, which database would you use?

Ebsco Databases

12.If you wanted to get an article from the StarTribune, but you can’t find it at www.startribune.com, what database would you use?

ProQuest: Startribune Database
13.What is the address for the group wiki we used this term?
(http://highschoolcharacters.pbwiki.com/)

14.What is the address for the group wiki (for Montana 1948) we used last term?
(http://jhscollegewritingmontana.pbwiki.com/)

15.What is the address for the blog we used for the role-play we did this term?
(http://schooledthewriteway.blogspot.com/)

16.What is the address for the blog we used for the role-play (for Montana 1948) we did last term?
(http://roleplaymascots.blogspot.com/)

17.Compare the role-play we just did on censorship that the role-play on Native American Mascots. Did you find one more valuable than the other?
I think that eh Native American Issue was more valuable only because there seamed like there was more time to work on it. It seamed as though there was not much else going on in the class at that time, as aposed to the one we just completed. There was a wiki, a paper, and the role-play all together at what seamed like the last second. If there had been more time to complete it and really get into the role-play. I think that the censorship one could have been done first and more time could have been put into it. It would have been really fun to speak through Yancey for a longer time. In a project that is centered more on.

B. Tools Evaluation
Please rate the following electronic tools we used this term in the following aspects of interest and usability. Write your comments in the space provided, including what you liked or didn’t like about the technology. Give each tool a score from one to ten.

1. Class website: 10
URL: http://missboeser.googlepages.com/collegewriting
Comments: I think that without this website i would have no idea what to do and when. If I missed a day of work or anything I knew exactly what I missed. If I forgot or misplaced the outline for a paper I go the website and click on a link go to where i need to easy and get the work done. The links were great.

2. Personal Blogs: 8
This is the blog you created for yourself) Example URL: http://tennisisfun.blogspot.com/
Comments:

3. Group Blog: 8
URL: http://schooledthewriteway.blogspot.com/
Comments: It was very unorganized and many pages, only because there was a lot of work done on that page.

4. Large Group Wiki: 9
URL: http://highschoolcharacters.pbwiki.com/
Comments:


5. Small Group Wiki: 10
URL: Copy and paste your wiki address over this:http://cockoosnest.pbwiki.com/
Comments: I think that the freedom and responsibility was nice to have within the groups we got to pick. The work was left up to people you wanted to work with so you didn't want to let them down.

C. Assignments Evaluation
Please rate the assignments from 1 to 10 and write your comments in the space provided, including what you liked or didn’t like about the work you had to do.

1. Book Group Literary Analysis: 9
Write a reflection on this assignment, including what you liked or disliked about it.
I really thought that this was a good idea and works well with a limited time table. If one were to take on the entire task of writing a problem solution essay by themselves it would be really hard to do in the time-span of a weekend and a few days. Because our group decided to work on a paper together so it would ultimently be less work for each person. The problem with that is that although the physical work is easier, there is stress that one of the people in the group will stop doing their share. Because we got to pick our groups that problem was small, we didn't want to let down people we knew.

2. Problem-Solution Essay: 9
Write a reflection on this assignment, including what you liked or disliked about it.
This was a very interesting paper to write. I found it similar to the IS paper/speach back in 10th grade. I believe it was because of all the reseach involved with the topics we chose. I like the aproach to the paper, there was plenty of time given to us to write the paper and reseach. It by no means was an easy paper but I worked a little bit here and there and it worked great. Referencing with the problems in the novel was really cool to. I could look up something on depression and go back to the book and see where things characters did wrong or right.

3. P.O.N.D Essay: 10
Write a reflection on this assignment, including what you liked or disliked about it.
This too, was a really a fun thing to write. Basically what I did was sit at my computer and remember things from my past and write them down. I took a weekend sat down with the truck my grandpa built and remembered. It was easy to do and fun to talk about something that is important to me because of the nature surrounding the object.

4. Group Paper (Compare/Contrast) from the wiki in 1st Term: 3
Write a reflection on this assignment, including what you liked or disliked about it.
This paper was not a fun experience to have. Partly because of the people that were in my group. I had almost no contact with one person in the group, and the other person did absolutly nothing. This could have been my fault because of how I aproached the issue. I waited for one of the other group memebers to tell me what to do, then when this never happened I told the people in my group what to do at the last minute. This really didn't work because the jobs I assigned were not what the other people wanted and because there was no time to do the work. I think that the lack of obligation that all the group members had really was the flaw in the idea. If I never did my job i would get a bad grade, and so would some people that i have never met. There was no responsibility on anyones part. If we had known each other, then i think that we would have worked together better on the assignment.

5. Argument Essay: 7
Write a reflection on this assignment, including what you liked or disliked about it.
I really don't remember much about this paper. I wrote about how ethnicity and tribal issues effect modern and past Afghanistan through The Kite Runner. It was an easy paper to write because I already had all the evidence from the presentations we did in class so that part was pretty easy. I really couldn't connect with what I was talking about in the paper, I really didn't know from personal experience about any tribes.

6. Formal Literary Criticism Essay: 8
Write a reflection on this assignment, including what you liked or disliked about it.
I thought that this was an interesting second paper that we needed to write. The concepts that we had to choose from were really complex. It was an interesting choice for the second paper we had to write in the course. However, I learned a lot about how colleges will look at papers through a critical lens. Although it was a hard thing to do, it worked out because I found out how I need to write.


7. College Application Essay: 7
Write a reflection on this assignment, including what you liked or disliked about it.
I do not remember much about how I wrote this paper. I jumped into this class about 4 days after it started and this project was already assigned. So my opinion may be biased, but i think that it was a weird thing to jump into without much of a clue what was needed or required. But I might have missed that part. I think that if there were about a week to preface what a good aplication was and what the colleges were really looking for and how to portray that message that would be sweet. Other than that, I cant think of anything that was bad with the paper. It makes sense to start the class by writing a college application, in a college writing class.

D. General Questions:

1. What would you say is the most important thing you learned in this course?
I think that the most useful thing that i did learned this semester in this class is how to write in a way that conveys different opnions and concepts. The syntax of how different subjects should be portrayed ei: POND Paper vs. Problem Solution Essay

2. What did you learn to do well? How do you know this?
I think that overall, I write better. I think that if now I were to go back to the first assignment and write it over I would, overall, do much better. This may have a lot to do with the magnitude of the papers we wrote in this class, but that was a good thing. Because of how many things we worked on, I wrote so much, I now write on more of an advanced level than before.

3. What would you say is your weakest skill in College Writing? Explain why you think this.
Usage of time. There were plenty of times where I sat around and did nothing but look at stuff on the computers. I think that if I had utilized time better in class my work would have been more extensive and more concrete.


4. What kinds of digital skills did you learn?
I have never used a wiki before and have never blogged before. So learning to use these kinds of things will more than likely help out later in life.

5. Copy and paste in some examples of your best work (or the work for which you are most proud) from your blog or wiki. Make a working link to that material. Explain why you think it’s particularly good.

6. On which paper do you think you did your best writing? Do you feel this way because of how peers evaluated your work, how much effort you put into it or the grade the teacher assigned? Explain your feelings.
I think that my Problem Solution Essay was my best formal work. By looking at the grade and how I wrote it, the paper was the most extensive and best written. But the POND essay was my favorite to write.

7. What are some things you want to work on in the future in your writing?
I wish I could write more about personal experiences and objects. The research thing is boring to me. The opinions and feelings are much easier and quicker for me to write about.

8. How did you work best: alone, with a partner, and/or with a group? Did it vary depending on the assignment?
Alone, but that is not to say that group papers do not work, in the right settings with the right people group and partner papers can work out well. The paper on One Flew Over The Cuckoo's nest was good, but hard to orginize. It works better for “flow” to write on a subject where I am not limited to a section of a paper.

9. How was peer feedback valuable to your learning?
It was valuable to fixing mistakes and grammer issues. But I didn't get much on a deep subject level from another student, its akward to say anything critical about someone else's work, it can apear demeaning.

10. How did teacher comments influence or change your writing?
It sort of helped in what the teacher was looking for in the paper. But I never turned in a rough draft so the comments never directly effected the paper they were on.

11. Where physically did you work the best (at home, in class, the library, etc.)?
At home, I am more focused on work there. But when I concentrated in class I did get a lot acomplished.

12. Explain which project you worked on that you liked the best or that you found most interesting. Explain where the project was done (it’s context, blog, wiki, paper, PowerPoint, etc.), why the project was done (it’s purpose), and what learning experiences were accomplished.
POND Paper, it was fun to try to explain why something that is tangible with texture has a intangible meaning.

13. How did your digital writing change at all over the last two terms? Do you think you will use any of these tools in the future because of these changes?
I don't think I changed much in that regard, but I learned to write about what I was thinking on an open, online site. This really isn't something that I have ever done before.

D. Anything else you want to say or add?
This was a really cool class and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn to write on a higher level. Also the technologically based curriculum was really cool something that I have never done before. It makes the transition nice between home and school. At school I write with a pen and paper in a desk, at home I either type or on occasion write with pen and paper on a couch. In this class i could walk into class work on something send it to myself, then go home and work on it in the same forum or medium. Overall, this is a solid class.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower Blogs/Letters

Dear Charles,
I read your letter you had sent me on the 25th of August. I don't know who this she truely is, and I don't really care that much about that. But where did you think sending letters to random people was a good idea, boy when I was your age we didn't waste stamps like they were candy rappers. And we didn't send out parcels to custodians at high schools I don't know if this she characters know who I am but if its that Senior girl Sam i think its okay, she was a nice lass who always took the time to clean up after herself, things that affect janitors like me. She would always talk to me about stuff at school, her problems and stuff like that. Sam would say I am a good listener, but that don't mean you got the right to write letters to me. I ain't no Unicef charity, solving problems for little kids, that ain't my bag. As long as I get no more letters from anyone else I think this will be okay.
Anyways back to your letter, this Michael kid seamed like a good friend. Its a shame when stuff like this happens, but lad, you gotta get over it. I am sorry for your loss, but you gotta move on. Anywho, your brother seams like a nice guy, taking you out to lunch like that, my brother did that sometimes with me and it was nice. He seams very upright, I had heard he had a good head upon his shoulders, its nice to know this school can produce some decent citizens. And your Aunt Helen seams good too, you should tell me what happens to her sometime. Anyways i gotta go, some kid spray painted something on the wall of the school as some summer school end of the term prank. I will check back with you later.
-Yancey

Dear Charles,
I got your letter you had written on the 8th of February. So you’re an actor now, eh? Acting in that Rocky play or whatever, pretty cool and landing a lady friend too huh? Way to get em tiger. This Mary Elizabeth girl seams interesting, but I though you were interested in Sam. Seams strange to involve yourself with someone who you don’t like the best right? I don’t know much about that kind of stuff, but I do know that its only gonna end in disaster and no one will be happy with you or the situation.
Anyways you’ve been reading a lot of books many of them seam all smarty fancy pants noodle bakers. Naked Lunch? Sounds like some weird artsy fartsy movie from france. But what ever floats your boat I guess. Its better than other things that you could be doing. But I really think that you should focus your attention on someone that you really do like, mainly Sam. After reading how you talk about her it only makes sense that you should focus on her. Messing with someone you not going to focus your heart on is cruel on you and the other person, Mary Elizabeth. Think about it.
-Yancey

Dear Charles,
Dropping acid? Since when you been dropping acid? You had better stop doing them drugs or you will get addicted or something. Like a buddy of mine way back when was addicted to the paint chips on the back of the garden shed in Dallas. Started when he got bored one day at recess and was hungry at the time. He ate one or two chips a day, but then kept eating more until the teacher made us repaint the shed. After a year Carl was but in one of them special people schools and I never seen him since. Crazy Carl, thats what we called him. And back at prison there was a guy who was addicted to crack, he was crazy too, point is quit taking them drugs or you will go crazy too! Hehe 
Anywho, I hope you learned your leason and will never do anything like that again, with any luck
you will realize that having bad trips isn't worth those good trips, You know? Plenty of more productive things you could be doing right now like learning from them books that Bill guy has been giving you. Your going through so much its a shame to waste your time on venues that will only make you unhappy in the long run. Its a shame to see someone waste there time on things like this. I would stop while your ahead.
-Yancey

Dear Charles,
I am responding to your letter written on June 2nd. Do you know who put all of them jello packets in the damn swimming pool? Do you know how much water needs to be replaced, and where we gonna put 100,000 gallons of chlorine filled kool-aid! Them punk kids, they keep making messes and don't realize that good folks like me gotta clean up? Dag-nammit! Anyways, how thrilled are you to be moving up a grade, not a freshman anymore eh? Hehehe. I remember my freshman year way back when, when 6 thousand packets of koo-aid would have cost over 20 dollars which was a lot way back then. I am glad you are happy for your friends departures. Sam and Patrick are good people, its glad to know they are headed in good directions. Whats it like knowing you wont being seeing them for a long time? That's gotta feel pretty crummy. What do you think that you will do next year? Still gonna read some of them fancy novels from that Bill guy? If so thats good, its them tv's that turn good people into whippersnapers. Anyways have a good summer!
-Yancey

Dear Charles,
I am responding to the letter you had written on the 23rd of August. I am really confused as to what happened to you when you were watching the TV that wasn’t on. What was that all about? You just zone out all comatose like, or were you taking them drugs again I don’t even know. I guess I will never find out either, seeing as how that was your last letter. Or perhaps you left it up to my imagination and my opinion of you and your history to decide what actually happened to you.
It is nice to know that you are exited for next year though, that’s what I think is important especially looking at all you’ve been through this past year. Glad to see your looking ahead, but its interesting because the past letters you had been writing you were only focused on the present and bits of the past. Its interesting having you looking ahead and talking about it. Maybe now that you are doing this you don’t have to write anymore and that is why you are stopping your letters. Regardless I have really enjoyed reading your letters they have been very interesting. You’ve come along way.
-Yancey

Monday, November 12, 2007

Speak Journals

11/12/07-Describe your first day of high school. Do you remember what you wore? How did you get to school that day? Was there an opening day pep fest? What were your impressions and feelings? Please reference the first chapter: WELCOME TO MERRYWEATHER HIGH. Now that you’re a senior, review the list below (from p 5-6 and/or MORE LIES on p 148) and write your own list of lies about high school:

My first day of High School was similar to Melinda's but different in many different ways. Firstly I was lost confused and disorientated, but I had friends and knew where they were. I was bitter about being a freshman in high school, but not to the extent that she is. There was an opening day pep-fest as I recall, but I did not attend. To this day I don’t understand them, could be because I don’t have massive amounts of pep. It was easy to see the clicks and social trends. I felt disorientated but I didn’t let it ruin the day. I find it interesting looking back on my high school career and realizing that it was easy and a highlight. There weren’t many days I was really truly depressed at school. I guess the grass is always greener, and you don’t know how good you have it until you lose it. I think that a lot of what is on this list is biased to some extent.
“The first ten lies they tell you in high school:
1. We are here to help you. True but only if your a help to the administration
2. You'll have enough time to get to your classes before the bell rings. Easily true 8 min is enough, funny how I am usually tardy though
3. The dress code will be enforced. Lie, except for hats why I wonder?4. No smoking is allowed on school grounds
5. Our football team will win the championship this year. Haha Jefferson's football team sucks
6. We expect more of you here. True expectations are high7. Guidance counselors are always available to listen.
8. Your schedule was created with your needs in mind. True, but they fail to consider timeliness
9. Your locker combination is private. Who uses their locker?
10. These will be the years you look back on fondly.” True, I already do

I don’t have a list of lies, but I do know one truth from my own experience and from reading this book- High School is what you make it, you get what you put into it. It is what you make it. Go into it bitter it’s gonna be bitter back. Make it sweet and it will treat you nice. Griping and causing trouble with the administration is only gonna because you trouble. High School is what you make of it

11/13/07
Melinda has ambivalence and even spite for some of her teachers. How do you feel about your teachers at Jefferson? Can you find both positive and negative things? Write about a teacher who has affected your life in some way, either positively, or even negatively. (Please do not mention this teacher by name.)

I think that being a teacher is and can be a very stressful job. I work as an aid at a daycare center and I know how difficult it is dealing with kids. So dealing with kids that have free will and having issues with authority must be exceedingly difficult. This I think gives some reason to why some teachers are a bit crazy, or "bad teachers" this doesn't exclude all teachers though. Being crazy and depressed all the time like one teacher I had is a bad occupation choice. If you have issues dealing with kids don't be a teacher. It’s that simple. Most teachers understand this, so the majority of all teachers are either good or decent. One English teacher was really smart, but eccentric and a bit loony. Although he was very intelligent he was not that great at teaching. Another teacher that I had a Jefferson left the room for roughly 15 minutes every day and one time straight up left for the entire class period to buy a printer for a computer. Some other teachers are really patient which a great quality is. This one teacher lets the class have a lot of class time to do work despite the majority of the class is using them for personal, not educational

11/14/07
CODE BREAKING (p 100) is all about symbolism. What is that? Why does Mr. Freeman make Melinda draw a tree? “Tree. Tree? It's too easy. I learned how to draw a tree in the second grade…” (p 12). In many cultures it is accepted that images represent beliefs, groups, organizations and things. If you had to get a tattoo, what would you get? If you were able to symbolize your life with one picture, what would you choose? Choose an image (a symbol) to represent yourself. Post this image to your blog and give at least three reasons why you chose this picture

First of all i would get an anchor tattooed on my arm because then I could say I am holding it down! The page basically describes how symbolism works and how much Melinda dislikes it. She wishes that people would just say what they mean. It’s ironic how much symbolism is used by her and what she is saying. Say for instance the tree; in most cases trees represent growth and experience life and beauty. Its sort of a symbol of how much Melinda has grown as a person. In the novel she speaks as if she is much older than how old she actually is. The usage of the mascot and how it represents the class populous. Like the Trojan, which coincidently is the name of a condom was the representative of the school. A symbol of promiscuity? Its interesting that Melinda finds this symbol funny as well she jokes about it something a long the lines of "cheerleaders...pride of the Trojans" she sees the symbol and laughs about it cynically. I don’t know why but it would seem through the course of the novel that Melinda hates herself more than her peers, what with all the minor self-mutilation.
If I were to pick a symbol that would represent me it would probably be an anchor. Although mostly unseen it is the basis for keeping things grounded and essentially down to earth.

11/15/07
In Speak Melinda barely speaks. Why is this? What is finally revealed about Melinda’s experience at the party? (Use pages and descriptions from the text to support your answers.) How would you react if something similar happened to you? Looking back at your ideas of symbolism, explain her repeated use of the following images:
- Mirrors-Mirrors are usually used to express a reflection of one’s inner emotions. She uses the mirror to see beyond physical appearance and focus on her inner emotions.
- Seeds- Seeds usually are a representation for birth and the beginning of growth. I think that her using the seeds is an important metaphor for her recovering and growing.
- Rabbit- I think that the rabbit is a symbol of innocence. Bunnies in particular are associated with childhood. I think what happened to Melinda essentially stole her innocence. When Heather kicks the bunny aside in her room its like Heather is neglecting Melinda’s feelings. Heather wants to use her to make the prom d├ęcor, she refuses and Heather kicks the rabbit across the room.
- Lips-Usually lips are physical symbols of love and primarily affection. I think that the usage of lips is a symbol of something special that was tarnished after she was assaulted. She was raped and it is hard to establish a clear connection between love and assault, due to her physical abuse. I think the lips are again a symbol for something that was taken from her.
Melinda does not speak because she was raped at a party over the summer and called the police because she didn’t know what to do. She becomes silent because everyone knows that she called the police but not the reasons as to why. This is why no one that knows about the ordeal wants to associate with her. Also why she does not speak. She blames herself for the assault. If something like this were to happen to me I would probably act the same way. I would try to cover it up and disassociate with society and other people, clearly I wouldn’t be able to trust anyone.

11/16/07
Pages 141-165
Melinda has been spending a lot of time in the janitor’s closet-- cleaning it, decorating it, making it smell better. Why does she do this? Write about a place you like to go to be alone. Describe the place in vivid detail. Explain why you like this place. Does this solitude help you think or meditate or pray? Compare your place to Melinda’s closet.

I really don’t have a particular place that I go to, to collect myself. But I can relate to the concept of this “quiet place.” I walk to work everyday after school and then walk back home. This kind of gives me the same feeling. A time to connect with myself and reflect. The trees and the sunshine and the wind are all really nice. The walk there is uphill and the trees frame the road after the hill stops. When I walk home it usually signals the end of the work portion of the day. After this I can relax and put my feet up. Really, really nice. The reason why she decorates the room with such vigor is because of how important this room is to her. Looking at her perspective, she hates school and dislikes everyone there. It only makes sense that the one place in school she wants to go to is important to her. She wants to make this place even better almost to distract her from everything else. The more she feels comfortable in this place the better school will become.

11/19/07
Pages 165-198
Spring has come to Syracuse. What does spring mean within the context of the story? Use your knowledge of symbols and plot to explain the following things and how they are related:
Melinda cleans up the leaves in the yard.
I think that this is a great metaphor for her reconnecting and making amends with her parents after a year of distrust and disregard. By her raking up the leaves it’s like cleaning the slate. When her parents get home they are proud of the work Melinda has done and stop arguing. They become a near picture perfect family if only for that singular moment.
Melinda plays tennis in gym.
I think this has a lot to do with Melinda reconnecting with her old friend Nicole. Her competing with Nicole and participating on the same respect level is a great way to see eye to eye with her. Finally there is a way for Melinda to succeed where so many times she failed in gym class. She is proud to be on the same skill with Nicole and puts the two on the same level.
Melinda connects with Ivy in art class.
This I think is the way Melinda reconnects with another old friend, Ivy. Ivy, like many of her old friends hasn’t talked to her for the majority of the year. Ivy and her regain this connection and like with Nicole come to the same level. They essentially become friends again.
Melinda says she won’t help Heather with Prom.
I found this to be pretty interesting. Heather for a long time was a suck up to Melinda, and always wanted to be all friendly. Near the end of the story she basically wants to use Melinda to gain respect from the Marthas. When Melinda says no Heather flips and storms off. I think that this is a very strong turn for Melinda. She has had no one for the longest time except for this false friend Heather. Only when Melinda becomes happy with herself does she realize that she doesn’t need anyone else. She overcomes the needy Heather and respects herself to say no to her.

This entire closing chapter was one of the coolest endings to a book I think that I have ever read. The strong metaphors about finding, learning and being joyful with one ’s self are very entertaining. The closure of the whole thing was really cool. Everything was put back in the place it should be. I think that it was very symbolic that us as readers never know what happens to Andy. Melinda had gotten over it so she really didn’t care what happened to him. She found power in herself and stood up to him. She already has the closure she needs with the situation. It’s really cool that the author doesn’t bring it up I feel that it gives an even more pressing symbol to Melinda finding happiness within herself. It was a really good ending.