So English is not my favorite subject. I’m not great at writing or analyzing pieces of literature or any other ‘englishy’ thing done in those classes. Also with English, I usually feel like we do the same things as previous years but at a ‘harder’ level, but it’s just the same material. However, somehow, in English III AP, I have learned to like, maybe even really like, English. My English class was actually one of my favorite classes this year, in part to the subject itself, but mostly because of the people and my teacher. We discuss a lot in this class, basically an everyday occurrence; and it’s not just things about English, its stuff about any and everything. Through all those random, and sometimes on topic, discussions I have learned to be more self-assured in what I think and my opinions, as well as my academic abilities. We also did a lot of timed writings and multiple choice practice, and while that was not my favorite, it definitely proved to be one of the more valuable things we did this year. Yes, it helped with the AP test, but mostly what I got out of it was confidence. I could physically see, through the letter grades, how much I was improving. Most years I feel like I just memorized information, but in this class I feel like I actually became ‘smarter’ in a way. I could see that I was retaining everything my teacher taught me and that this year wasn’t a waste, but actually a huge benefit. Also every year in English there are books to read and then analyze, which I usually dread. But that completely changed this year. Most of the books I really liked being able to talk about and look deeper into the meaning of, it actually was really enjoyable and really valuable to me. It’s not such a pain anymore to analyze books or pieces of literature and feel overwhelmed; now, because of this class, I feel more confident and feel like I could actually do well on it. Don’t get me wrong, this class was not easy; but I actually like that. Taking English III AP helped to make me feel smarter and trust my abilities more. I can definitely say that this was one of my favorite classes in my entire school experience; one that actually taught me and I feel like I gained a lot from. (thanks Lindner for helping me to actually like English)
Transcendentalism seems very complicated. A big, fancy word that that involves a lot of syllables. Actually, most people have probably thought about the concept it ‘defines’ and just not had a name for it. Transcendentalism is obviously connected to ‘transcends’ which means to go beyond the limits of something, usually an abstract concept. So in transcendentalism, people gain knowledge about themselves and the world around them that goes beyond physical limits; they become one with nature or their spirit basically. The knowledge transcendentalist gain is through intuition and their imagination, not logic or social norms. They trust themselves (self-reliance) and their own thoughts on what is right; not what everyone else may be telling them (non-conformity). Transcendentalist search for individuality. Some famous transcendentalist that may be recognizable is: Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. These are the ‘fathers’ of this philosophy that started it back in the 1800’s.
This thinking style has fallen from popularity, but it is still around in modern times (though it may not be called transcendentalism). All kinds of music and TV shows and movies emphasize individuality, not conforming to society and taking time away from society to spend in nature. Disney films like ‘The Little Mermaid’ portray ideas like that. Ariel is told by her father, a king (ruling power), that she cannot even think about becoming human, but she decides to trust her own initiation about it and does as she sees best. Also the song Brave by Sara Bareilles has transcendentalist ideas in it. She says to “say what you wanna say” and to not be afraid of society. Bareilles literally wrote ‘Brave’ to tell people, specifically one of her friends, to not conform to society and to be their own person; key aspects of transcendentalism. Though it may not be obvious at first, western culture is filled with ideas of transcendentalist; self-reliance, individuality, non-conformity, and spending time in nature.
Brave- Sara Bareilles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyAfjUHlFSM
So I took up a task of writing two paragraphs without “E”. It was truly hard. My stab at it (with cats):
Furry with a long tail, this particular animal is mans, or woman’s, top companion. Not a dog, as you may first think, but a companion of ours from mans start. It ran on hunts long ago, looking for small things to nourish its body with. It took naps with us (though most of it was busy with licking its fur until no dirt was on it.) It was on boats with mankind as it would float across our world, looking for anything unusual, not at that point known. This particular companion has always stood with us, today it still is with us. Cats. Cats may not first pop into your brain as top companion, but this animal is just as brilliant as dogs, or any other companion animal.
Cats hold an unconditional warmth for us. Cats do not think of us with high admiration, but as companions for a cat’s delight. Cats know that mankind will obtain food at any point it wants a bit. Cats know that mankind will find anything it wants; toys, catnip, or just to stay on its own for a bit. Cats know that mankind would do just about anything to fashion joy. Cats think that it is in control, that a companion animal is us. But, although it adjusts nothing for us, mankind still basically worships cats. Cats still remain charming and cuddly for us. Cats, although just a small, furry animal, are awesome. I think cats always stay fascinating and charismatic. How would it a world look without cats? I do not want to find out.