Successes v. Failures

Being in an AP course presents many challenges to a student, as well as many rewards. In AP English, the material is difficult, but satisfying. One semester of this class can teach someone so much, from the dangers of procrastination, to the awesomeness of novels. Personally, I feel like some aspects I handled better than others, while other areas were lacking. Prime example being the novels we were required to read. Ranging from informative non-fiction, to controversial books, reading and then analyzing the work has helped me greatly. Before this class, analyzing books was dreadful, but now I actually enjoy learning all the tiny details an author weaved into his/her book. All the little things hidden in a novel can teach people a lot, as well as cause them to question things, which is exactly what a novel should do. Learning that key aspect has greatly helped my success in class. Along with the books, this class has helped me to be more intellectual. Gaining academic knowledge about the world around us has helped me to understand how awesome learning can be. Though my grades definitely don’t reflect it, I feel like AP English has literally made me a smarter person. I feel like I tackled that area of this class relatively well, on being able/ willing to look at work and notice all the details.

However, even with my success, I struggled with some other areas just as much. I have a knack for procrastination, which has only grow larger this year. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t spend enough time and energy on any of the assignments as I probably should have. I waited until it was almost due or the night before a test, to begin my stuff, which is a terrible habit I have fallen into. Next semester, hopefully I will have more drive when it comes to academics. Also I struggled with expressing myself to my peers. It’s easy to think smartly, but to actually say it aloud is a challenge for me. I ruined many opportunities to add to discussions because I’m shy, and wouldn’t open my mouth. I have dealt with this issue all my life, and always try and fix it, but it’s difficult. In this AP course, I have had success and failures, but hopefully next semester I can build on my success, and lessen my failures.

Not Truly Civilized

After the novel written by Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, many questions are raised surrounding the society in which we live. In a passage Twain once wrote, he describes civilization as having many great advancements that most people would like to have to make life a bit easier. However, even with all the great inventions that society has created, Twain criticizes the way we live. People have forgotten the simple pleasures of life and replaced it with the ridiculous standards that society has deemed important. The advancements have thrown people into an endless cycle that causes an insatiable appetite for things, whether that be for money or possessions. Then people end up just putting on a show to make it seem like they all live a perfect life. Frankly, it’s a vicious cycle that all people have been forced into, and yet no one can achieve or get out.

When trying to tie those thoughts back to the novel and the society in which Huck lives it is actually quite easy. Set against the southern U.S. in the times of slavery, it becomes very apparent just how terrible society can be. Not counting the entire slavery aspect, which is a huge deal, the people that Huck encounters are ridiculous. The novel is set up in ‘mini episodes’ where Huck meets people living around the river. And in each the norms by which society lives become more and more outrageous. The people are shallow, hypocrites, and ignorant to just about everything. By Twain writing the characters as he did it, in a very clever way, makes fun of society as a whole. He portrays the ‘civilized’ people as the complete opposite, whereas the ‘uncivilized’ people, deemed by society, are far more civilized and normal. The novel shows the consequences of society on people and how crazy it can make them.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written in the era after the civil war, but is set in the times of slavery. However, the points Twain brings up regarding society are still relevant in modern times. Today, the pressures put on people by society are astounding. Though perfection can never be reached, people expect it out of others, and if they don’t achieve it, society ridicules them. We have created standards which can never happen. We have created endless cycles of trying, then failing. We have created rules that a ‘perfect’ family should follow. In all we have created madness. Society is a demanding thing, which we feel the need to ‘fit in’, rather than follow what we really want. We have thrown away the simplicities and replaced them with ridiculous standards just so people can fit in. Although this novel was written over a century ago, as well as Twains summary of society and civilization, the problems still exist today, and will continue to unless we all choose to do something about it.