senior portfolio 2014
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Senior Portfolio 2014Reid Brisbane
Mrs. MannA.P. Literature, Period 1
Table of Contents1. About Me: The Words2. About Me: The Pictures3. A Book That Changed My Life4. Freshman Year Quote/Picture5. Freshman Year Intro6. Freshman Year Work7. Sophomore Year Quote/Picture8. Sophomore Year Intro9. Sophomore Year Work10. Junior Year Quote/Picture11. Junior Year Intro12. Junior Year Work13. Senior Year Quote/Picture14. Senior Year Intro15. Senior Year Work16. Reflection
About Me: The Words
My name is Reid Brisbane. I like to think of myself as a guy who enjoys the simple thing of life. I love reading books, like actual paper books. My lunch of choice is foot long at Subway, preferably a Philly Cheesesteak if I have the money. Sleep is of prime importance, yet I usually put it behind other things. The prototypical outfit is jeans and a T-shirt, if weather allows. Shorts and a T-shirt are also acceptable. Friends and family are of extremely key to my happiness, and I’d kill to keep them safe. Although it might be hard to defend my brother, as I would probably be the one trying to get him. But who doesn’t have a love/hate relationship with a sibling? Music interests are anything rock-based and rap. Basketball is my favorite sport to watch, play, talk about, learn about… basically anything that applies to it, I enjoy. Dislikes include peanut butter, most pop music, lack of sleep, cleaning my room, the fact that Guy Code isn’t on every day, and soccer. Not that I don’t respect soccer players, as they are amazing athletes. It’s just I find the game truly boring. I really wish I could come up with a more interesting, enticing “About Me” section. The problem is, I’m not that complicated. Other than a tendency to talk rather quickly and stumble over myself in an attempt to slow down, and perhaps a need to argue the logic of anything and everything people say (especially when it comes to winning an argument or just to bug them), there isn’t anything in particular that somebody can’t easily find out about me. Some people try to make themselves more interesting or head-turning than they are, but I don’t think that is necessary at all. Whatever a person is, that is who they are, so it might as well be lived up to. I’m not an enigma, nor do I want to be. I prefer to be me, because I know who I am. I’m simply Reid Brisbane.
About Me: The Pictures2
A Book That Changed My Life: The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest HemingwayI think as far the influence one single novel has had on me, the most important is The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway. Something about that book just makes me feel like a more enriched human being when I read it. Maybe it’s the theme of perseverance, or the abundant symbolism, or the story itself. I honestly don’t know, but I love this book. It is not the most entertaining book I have read, but it has a certain quality to it that makes it powerful. When I read it, I just feel more intelligent, more enlightened, and more determined to be like Santiago. He never gave up when people don’t him to stop, when they believed he was not good. But he redeemed himself, and got respect from his peers in return. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. Hemingway gave a story of a man who earned, through tons of hard work and perseverance, respect. I guess that is probably my goal in life: To be respected.
Freshman Year: How I Felt and Looked
“Every time I see the word “explain” on a test, a part of me dies” – Unknown
Freshman Year: The Intro to the Work I chose my essay “Good Person or Brute: Elie Wiesel’s Fate.” This was
my first essay in high school that I really had to analyze the novel and try to pick out what the author was saying not only in text, but in the underlying meaning of the words as well. It was written for my first English-based class, Beginning Composition, taught by Mrs. Lemon. We had just finished Elie Wiesel’s Night, and now had to decide whether Wiesel had turned into a brute or had remained essentially good. I remember thinking I had constructed quite the work of literature. Looking back, I find my beliefs comical and not a little humbling. My syntax, word choice, overall grasp of what was going on was weak, to put it into one word. Granted, I was still a freshman, but boy, did I need to learn a thing or two before graduating.
Freshman Year: The Work 6
Sophomore Year: How I Felt and Looked
“Started from the bottom, now we here.”- Drake
Sophomore Year: The Intro to the Work I think this was the point in my writing where I still thought I knew what I was doing, but in the back of my mind I felt like my current abilities needed a serious augmentation if I was going to survive the big leagues (college). I was in Mrs. Johnson’s Honors English 10 class, and the assignment was to pick a side on a sensitive topic/issue. I chose to defend lowering the legal drinking age from 21 to 18. Now, personally I don’t agree with the issue, but I recall that at the time it seemed like more fun to pursue the avenue most would avoid due to the fact that it would be hard to defend, considering all the talk of DUIs and what not, and then win the argument. Again, not anything of great merit, composition-wise, but I think the choice to choose the harder defense marks my growth as a writer, taking challenges not because I have to but because I want to.
Sophomore Year: The Work 9
Junior Year: How I Felt and Looked (Symbolically)
“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.” ― Bertrand Russell
Junior Year: The Intro to the Work
This is the year of my biggest, most rapid, most game-changing writing development. Oh man, did Mrs. Hillesland whip me into shape! I thought I knew writing before, but Mrs. Hillesland changed all of that. In AP Language, we were learning how to use diction and syntax and tone and all that other good stuff to make our writing more concise and intellectual. I like to think that I made huge strides toward such a goal, as the difference in my eloquence and maturity of style will demonstrate. In this work, I qualified why The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should be taught in schools, not banned. It takes a certain level of aptitude to qualify something, to debate both sides and still entice the reader to your analysis of the situation. I still had work to do, but now I was ten times closer.
Junior Year: The Work 12
Senior Year: How I Felt and Looked
“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”- Mark Twain
Senior Year: The Intro to the Work
This is the year that I truly found my voice as a writer, the stylistic choices and tone that I always leave in all my papers. I don’t know how to describe it in a word, or several for that matter, but I know it’s there. The piece I chose, “The Two Faces of Eros,” captures my voice and how my writing has advance so much from freshman year to now. Every aspect of my writing has improved, from diction to flow to conciseness to maturity of tone and style to subject matter. Whatever AP Language created, AP Literature with Mrs. Mann molded it into a more-than-capable writer. There is no way I could have extracted so much information out of a few sentences freshman year. But look at me now! I am fully confident in my abilities to succeed as a writer in college, and work like this gives me a boost.
Senior Year: The WorkThe Two Faces of Eros
The perception of love is different for each person. As such, the portrayal of love’s humanoid form, the Greek god Eros, changes from each individual to the next. While both Bridges and Stevenson’s poems describe the figure Eros in great detail, the contrast in language and structure enable each writer to develop a romantic or humanized portrait of the god of love.
For Robert Bridges, Eros is a romantic figure, a “flower of lovely youth” that helps whisk couples away to a paradise of love and happiness. His belief that Eros possesses “exuberant flesh so fair” and a “starry sheen of nakedness” casts the god as just that: a god. Eros’ “marmoreal form” gives the impression of eternal beauty and chiseled perfection to his every feature. He is beautiful and wields “power immense,” and therefore should be treated with awe and worship. To do so, Bridges structured his poem with a series of rhyming couplets, further elevating the status of Eros. The lyrical nature of the couplets and the iambic tetrameter throughout the piece turns the poem into a song of praise for the god. Bridges sees Eros as the “king of joy,” for he is the bringer of love, and by extension, happiness, into the world, and must be given an image of loveliness that does the god justice.
Anne Stevenson does just the opposite. She views Eros as a “thug,” a “bully boy,” a “brute.” Gone is Bridge’s lofty and praise-filled diction, only to be replaced by the blunt words of Stevenson. Eros has a “face that so offends” the speaker that the speaker seems to question if it is in fact Eros. The speaker called for love, and received not the Eros portrayed by Bridges, but one with “patchy wings,” “boxer lips,” and a “battered visage.” Stevenson sees Eros not as a god to be worshipped, but to be disappointed in. Even her structure speaks to her portrayal. Stevenson’s poem consists of short, choppy lines that occasionally rhyme set to a meter of debatable existence. Eros, Stevenson is claiming, is not worthy of our praise, is not awe-inspiring. In fact, he is a let-down, someone to be viewed not so much with horror or disgust, but pity. His is the victim in his relationship with humans, and therefore has been brought to our level. Stevenson sees Eros as a tool that humanity uses too often, and as such, has paid the price.
Like anything in life, the way Eros is viewed changes from person to person, sometimes greatly, sometimes only slightly. In the case of Bridges and Stevenson, two more polar interpretations of one subject can probably not be found. However, both address a fundamental truth about Eros that generally escapes the masses, which is most likely why both authors included it. Eros, the bringer of love, is not given his due for helping create love in the world. Bridges wrote “none who e’er long’d for thy embrace/Hath cared to look upon they face,” claiming every person who asked for love and received it never attempted to thank Eros. Stevenson echoes Bridges claims with the lines “We slaves who are immortal/Gloss your fate/And are the archetypes/That you create.” She believes that Eros is bruised and battered when he appears to the speaker because love is something that people just expect to fall in their laps, and whenever they desire it, Eros is bound to serve. Despite his constant giving, however, his beneficiaries don’t stop to give him a thank you. They just take their love, use it until it is done, and ask for more. Both poets, despite their different viewpoints on how Eros should be seen, agree that for the job that he does, he doesn’t get paid his dues in the slightest.
Love, considered by many to be the most important object in the world, is supposedly handled by one being: Eros. Just as love comes in many forms, Eros comes in many form to humans. Some, like Bridges, revere him as beautiful god, for one who brings the ultimate joy to people must be the epitome of physical of perfection. Others, like Stevenson, consider Eros to be a tattered Cupid-like figure, for love is tiring to those who have it, and such mindset takes its toll on the god who upholds it. Despite differences in appearance, both poets are on the same page when it comes to thanking Eros, which is to say it doesn’t happen. Beautiful or otherwise, Eros has a thankless job, but better for him to be miserable than for love to rot.
ReflectionEverybody learns the same subjects in high school. But not everybody learns the same lessons in life. Here are a few snippets from my high school lesson book:1. Putting effort into anything will yield better results. 2. Natural intelligence will not get me far unless I have a work ethic to back it up.3. Real friends are the ones that I can walk up to, not having seen them in weeks, but
pick up right where we left off before. While that is only 3 teachings, it took me 4 years to fully grasp them, which says something about how much high school changed how I operate in this world. I want to rephrase that, actually. Vista del Lago has not so much changed me as it has buffed out the rougher edges. I’m not anywhere near as ignorant or oblivious to the world around me. I am more aware of a person’s feelings, even if they don’t actually say anything. I debate instead of argue. I keep my mouth shut when the situation demands, or open it up wide when called for. Obviously, those are characters traits that will help with success in adult life, so I’m glad they have been ingrained now, when anybody I didn’t act appropriately toward, be it from ignorance or a snappy comment or missing a social cue, will probably never be seen again. There is one thing that I have come to accept that has nothing to do with other people. It has to do with how I live my life. What I have learned over these 4 years is to just let life happen. There is no need to rush forward. Go with the flow, and life will take you for the ride.