The assignments that I feel best represents my knowledge and growth are the descriptive essay, the family member interview, and the portfolio.
I usually prefer a formal research paper or an analysis paper over a personal essay because I find it difficult to write about people and events in my life, especially in great detail. Research and analysis essays felt safer and easier for me to write as all I had to do was write hard facts from the internet or my interpretations of a text. The descriptive essay allowed me to get out of my comfort zone by descriptively writing about someone personal in my life, which would allow me to become more comfortable to write about myself in the future.
In addition, I have never delved deep into my subjects of writing and never attempted to because I never realized the importance of depth in a descriptive essay. Both the family member interview and descriptive essay, however, pushed me to get to know my father more than just an authoritative figure. The assignments enabled me to learn more about his past that he’s never spoken about and his interests and hobbies. Learning more about him greatly improved my writing as I was able to use more of my new knowledge to write a more descriptive and interesting essay.
With my improved skills and newly gained comfort from the descriptive essay and family member interview, building the portfolio became easier than it would have been before. I do still have difficulty, but learning how to go more in depth with my writing enabled me to have a sense of what I should be looking for and writing about in my UC prompts. After talking to Mr. Ziebarth today about my portfolio essays, I was able to gain new knowledge on how to write an effective essay for college.
As I’m writing this, I realize that my writing in my personal essays reflect myself as Holden’s words reflect himself, his life, and his connections in the novel, Catcher in the Rye. In my descriptive essay about my father, my choice of words clearly show that I respect, admire, and love him despite his quirks, although those are what make me look up to him even more. I vividly describe his passion for games and his raw determination and skill of collaboration that he gains from them. I’d like to think that I’m appreciative of what I have, especially my family. Although I mainly viewed him as an authoritative figure to obey as I was growing up, writing and getting to know my dad let me figure out what type of person he was and is now, allowing me to find more things to love and admire about him more.
The same process was also used in one of my UC prompt essays in my portfolio, in which I wrote about my mother and her job as a beautician, specifically as a hairdresser and manicurist. Although my essay about my mother wouldn’t pass as a qualified essay about myself to colleges, my description of the history my mother went through and the labor she had to endure every day also shows how much I admire her drive, understand and sympathize with her struggle, and appreciate her.
Overall, my loving diction shows how much I appreciate my parents and enjoy my life with them. However, on the other hand, Holden’s choice of words portray his unhappiness with his life in the novel.
Holden is constantly criticizing others no matter who they are in his mind. His harshness on others does show that he is unhappy with the world, but more importantly, it shows that he’s also unhappy with himself. The readers can infer from his narrative that he’s an unreliable narrator as he often contradicts himself, but due to his unreliability and his criticism, we can make the assumption that he’s insecure about who he is. He admits himself in the beginning of the novel that he’s a liar, and he fits that description throughout the book in multiple instances. He often attempts to make himself look and sound better by trying to appear and sound older than he actually is, as he did when he called Faith in the middle of the night in hopes of a night in by trying to make his voice sound deeper and “suave.”In addition to his dishonesty, he often overthinks when speaking to others. He reads too much into what they’re saying and is afraid of what they may have really meant or think, as he did when he was discussing
In addition to his dishonesty, he often overthinks when speaking to others. He reads too much into what they’re saying and is afraid of what they may have really meant or think, as he did when he was discussing Romeo and Juliet with a nun on the bus. With how he is around other people, it makes it harder for him to create meaningful relationships with others, which may have only added to his unhappiness.
The only time he’s able to truly be himself and not worry is when he’s with Phoebe, his little sister, which is because he knows that Phoebe loves and cares for him unconditionally. He doesn’t speak ill of her in the novel, showing that he isn’t as harsh on himself when he’s with her. This shows that Phoebe may be the closest person to him in his life as he’s able to be vulnerable around her without the fear of being judged. Her genuineness and innocence are what makes Holden take a preference to children rather than adults.
Overall, Holden’s words show that he’s insecure about himself and it affects his relationships by disabling him to create a real bond with others, which only adds onto his unhappiness with life. The only time his words show hope and happiness is when he’s with his sister, who he believes loves him and cares for him the most.