Reflective Essay

Reflective essays have few rules. But there are a few guidelines:

1. Respond to a situation or theme in real life or a novel.
2. Take a position.
3. Provide evidence for your reasons.
4. Include an introduction and conclusion.

In Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (Aladdin, 2006), thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is visiting his father who divorced his mother. But during the journey, the plane crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the forest with nothing but a tattered windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present. He has to survive in the wilderness. During the day, he constructs a shelter and attempts to build a fire. When he goes to search for some food, he finds a raspberry patch, where he spots a bear. After 50 days, he finds the survival pack from the plane. He also finds the emergency transmitter. Soon, a plane lands on the lake, rescues Brian and he is reunited with his parents.
As I read this book, it felt so realistic, I felt shocked. When the pilot had a heart attack, Brian had to control the plane. As the plane crashed into a lake, I was so startled it was as if I were inside of the book. I was so shocked when I read that Brian tried to commit suicide by cutting himself with his hatchet, but when I found that he survived, I was relieved. Furthermore, when a plane flew overhead but did not see Brian, I felt so sorry for him. This made me think, once more, that this story seemed so realistic. There were many other scenes that shocked me with their realism, vivid in my memory.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen is such a great story. It is full of heart-pounding adventure. It provided lots of emotions. As I read from one page to another, I had strong feelings that made me fall into this book even more. In my opinion, this story is an outstanding classic that can give us all courage, and hope. (Ina)

In Word to Caesar, by Geoffrey Trease, two ways of experiencing life are portrayed. The first is through direct experience or action. The second is through thought or reflection. The poet Severus says he prefers “the adventures of the mind” (p.48). In contrast, the protagonist Paul generally prefers physical activity. I, myself, have enjoyed both types of adventures in life.
I have enjoyed life vicariously through books and movies. Some that have taken me to other places and times include Crispin and Peter and the Secret of Rundoon. They have shown me different ways of life and different problems people face in this world. For example, in Crispin, the protagonist is having a hard time escaping from Aycliffe. He wants to kill him to become a king. When he is at Great Wexly, the soldiers from Aycliffe come to search him all over the place. As the soldiers come to the place where Crispin is, he hides and holds his breath until they finally leave. In Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, the protagonist has to survive opposition from The Others, who want the starstuff. Furthermore, he and the Mollusks are having a fight with the Scorpions, who have taken many islands. During the fight between Mollusks and the Scorpions, the main character gets hurt. He is hit by an arrow covered with Scorpion poison. Fortunately, his bright little friend, Tink, helps him survive.
I have also enjoyed adventures in real life. I have gone on vacations and played sports that allowed me to experience life quite directly. For example, I once went to a river with my big family. We were so sweaty so I just wore a swimsuit with the tube and went into the river with my cousins. My mom said to me that I should not go into the deep side because there might be hooks for fishes. But as I played with others for more than an hour, I forgot what she told me. I realized that the water was getting deeper and deeper. I told my cousins that it was getting deep, but they were older than me and said it was fine. Fearfully, I followed them, grabbing the tube tightly. When I could hardly reach the ground, the wave became stronger so I got swept back into the shore. At first, when I got out of the water, I didn’t know that I had gotten hurt by a hook. Then, when my mom saw my hand and told me about it, I started to feel the pain. My family were shocked at first, but when my uncle took the hook out of my hand, I felt relieved. That day was the most shocking day I have ever had.
Like Paul in Word to Caesar, I have had adventures of the mind and through direct experience. Both can be fun. But my preference is for having adventures of the mind because I do not want to get hurt through direct experience anymore. (Ina)

In Word to Caesar, by Geoffrey Trease, two ways of experiencing life are portrayed. The first is through direct experience or action. The second is through thought or reflection. The poet Severus says he prefers “the adventures of the mind” (p.48). In contrast, the protagonist Paul generally prefers physical activity. I, myself, have enjoyed both types of adventures in life.
I have enjoyed life vicariously through books and movies. Some that have taken me to other places and times include Crime and Punishment and Catherine, Called Birdy. They have shown me different ways of life and different problems people face in this world. For example, in Crime and Punishment, the protagonist murders a wealthy old woman and her sister for their money, but hides it after he goes into depression because he realizes he doesn’t want it anymore. This novel takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia in the 1860’s, as the main character, Raskolnikov, tries to figure out how to escape the rest of his miserable life while a clever and cunning detective gets closer and closer to finding out the truth. In Catherine, Called Birdy, the protagonist, Catherine, is being forced by her greedy father to marry a disgusting, rude old man just because he is rich! Set in England during the Middle Ages, Catherine must find a way to be even more disgusting and rude to chase the suitor away. This book also tells about the society in the Middles Ages such as how the serfs and workers respected the lord and his family, which in this case includes Catherine.
I have also enjoyed adventures in real life. I have gone on vacations and played sports that allowed me to experience life quite directly. I had quite the adventure when my family and I travelled to Turkey a few years ago. Our hotel where we stayed was in the city of Anaka. On Easter weekend, we decided to go to Istanbul, another major city. So our family, about fifteen of us, rented a bus and drove to the city. However, we had not booked a hotel in advance because we were sure we would be able to find at least one place to stay in that big city. Unlike we had predicted, it turned out this place was very big on celebrating Easer and our family, after searching all night, could not find a single hotel with vacant rooms! After a long night of trying to find a place to stay, we all ended up sleeping on the bus, which was a very uncomfortable experience!
Like Paul in Word to Caesar, I have had adventures of the mind and through direct experience. Both can be great fun! However, my preference is for adventures of the mind, because they can take you to places and introduce you to people you would not otherwise know in real life. (Ilar)

In Word to Caesar, by Jeffrey Trease, two ways of experiencing life are portrayed. The first is through direct experience or action. The second is through thought or reflection. The poet Severus says he prefers “the adventures of the mind” (p. 48). In contrast, the protagonist Paul generally prefers physical activity. I, myself, have enjoyed both types of adventures in life.
I have enjoyed life vicariously through books and movies. Some that have taken me to other places and times include The Supernaturalists and The Hunger Games. They have shown me different ways of life and different problems people face in this world. For example, in The Supernaturalists, the protagonist Cosmo, a 14-year-old orphan, is sent to the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenge Boys. At Clarissa Frayne, the boys are testing highly dangerous products. After barely escaping with his life, Cosmo realizes he can see supernatural Parasites that feed on the life force of humans and meets other kids with the same powers. In The Hunger Games, the protagonist Katniss is forced to participate in the annual Hunger Games where kids ages 12 to 18 from each of the 12 districts have to fight to the death in a giant area. Alone at first, Katniss soon befriends young Rue who is very good with nature and is undoubtedly stealthy.
I have also enjoyed adventures in real life. I have gone on vacation and played sports that allowed me to experience life quite directly. For example, when I was at family camp, I did the leap of faith. To do the leap of faith, one must climb up a 30-foot-telephone pole, balance on the top, capture all of the courage hiding inside oneself, then jump 6 feet and grab a bar hanging from a tree. Another adventure I have experienced was when I rode dirt-bike for the first time and jumped over my friends dads Porsche (and landed it).
Like Paul in Word to Caesar, I have had adventures of the mind and through direct experience. Both can be fun. My preference is for real life adventures because I like to know that I could get severely injured or die at any moment. (Tyler)

I have enjoyed life vicariously through books and movies. Some that have taken me to other places and times include London, England in 1895 and Forks, Washington. They have shown me different ways of life and different problems people face in this world. For example, in Rebel Angels the protagonist Gemma Doyle, must face the hardships of living among the real world, and a fantasy world called “The Realms”. Gemma must stop the apparitional antagonist, Circe, who is trying to take over the realms and destroy the Order, the peacekeepers and holders of power. While Gemma must stop Circe from taking over the realms, she is caught in love with the handsome Simon Middleton. He’s rich, beautiful and is “Prince Charming” to all the women. But Gemma just can’t love Simon the way she loves Kartik, the stableboy that saved Gemma from Circe’s assasin. I found this novel very compelling and the writer wrote it like it was actually real. In Twilight, the protagonist Bella Swan faces multiple problems. She must move from sunny Phoenix to rainy Forks. Bella hates rain, and now she has to live in a town that gets around a year of rain. But once she goes to school she finds that she can survive Forks and the rain. Falling in love with a vampire boy, not so much. The moment she meets Edward, it was love at first sight. But once she finds out that a maniac vampire is out to eat her, she starts to get scared. I found this novel full of romance and adventure.
I have also enjoyed adventures in real life. I have gone on vacations and played sports that allowed me to experience life quite directly. For example, when I was in China my family decided to have a family reuinion. I thought, oh this will be fun. I can finally meet and see most of my family. But once I got there I was like, “Woah.” I saw forty or so people in the restaurant at two tables and they all started waving and cheering when my family and I arrived. Later I found out that they are all my cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents from my mother’s side. I was shocked to see that I have this big of a family. I still do not know half their names.
Like Paul in Word to Caesar, I have had adventures of the mind and through direct experience. Both can be fun. My preference is for adventures of the mind because sometimes you can learn more and experience more through a book or movie. (Tina)

In Word to Caesar, by Geoffrey Trease, two ways of experiencing life are portrayed. The first is through direct experience or action. The second is through thought or reflection. The poet Severus says he prefers “the adventure of the mind” (p.48). In contrast, the protagonist Paul generally prefers physical activity. I, myself, have enjoyed both types of adventures in life.
I have enjoyed life vicariously through books and movies. Some that have taken me to other places and times include Tomorrow, When the War Began and Elephant Run. They have shown me different ways of life and different problems people face in this world. For example, in Elephant Run, the protagonist, Nick, goes to visit his father on his plantation where they are abducted by the enemies and separated. That happens all over the world, even to this day. It really showed me how dreadful life can be, therefore, I, along with everyone else, should stop taking advantage of our lives. In Tomorrow, When the War Began, the protagonist thought life was great until war struck their town. Everyone was captured except her and about six of her friends. Together, they must fend for themselves, find other survivors and care for the injured, all being very careful not to be caught. I learned that while it may be fun for you, others are fighting for their own lives somewhere else so you should not be selfish but help out whoever, whenever wherever you can.
I have also enjoyed adventures in real life. I have gone on vacations and played sports that allowed me to experience life quite directly. For example, my basketball team won almost all of our games in our regular season (and many tournaments) so we figured that we could go all the way to the top. Well, we got there and most of us probably just thought that we would cruise through the finals, win the provincials and keep going from there. Maybe go to the nationals. That did not happen, though. We lost a game that we most likely should have won but did not and we got ranked fifth in the province. That is still really good but as you can see, things do not always turn out you might have hoped.
Like Paul in Word to Caesar, I have had adventures of the mind and through direct experience. Both can be fun. My preference is for adventures of the mind, although I do not mind direct experience, but sometimes adventures of the mind are better than actually doing it yourself, because it may be putting your life in danger and that is not fun. (Kiera)

In Word to Caesar, by Geoffrey Trease, to ways of experiencing life are portrayed. The first is through direct experience or action. The second is through thought of reflection. The poet Severus says hen prefers “the adventures of the mind” (p.48). In contrast, the protagonist Paul generally prefers physical activity. I, myself, have enjoyed both types of adventures in life.
I have enjoyed life vicariously through books and movies. Some that taken me to places and times include The Hunger Games and Hatchet. They have shown me different ways of life and different problems people face in this world. For example, in The Hunger Games, the protagonist Katniss who as to fight for survival. She is chosen to compete in the cruel Hunger Games, were she has to participate in life threatening events and take on many obstacles. In Hatchet, the protagonist Brian is stranded on a island with no food, water or shelter. He has to survive in the wilderness with only a hatchet his mother has given him.
I have also enjoyed adventures in real life. I have gone on vacations and played sports that have allowed me to experience life quite directly. For example, I went to India and England two years ago. I had many great adventures including a hike up a rocky mountain to get to a temple. I also got lost in the markets of India, all by myself with no phone or money. I tried to ask someone for help but they didn’t speak English or Punjabi. So I decided to stay put and wait for someone to return. Eventually my cousins came back, and I was so relieved!
Like Paul in Word to Caesar. I have had adventures of the mind and through direct experience. Both can be fun. My preference is for direct experience because I can actually feel it, and I can say that I’ve had a real life adventure. (Simran)

What emotions did I feel when I read Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (Harper Trophy, 1980)? I felt sad at some parts, but at most parts I felt jealous and neglected. At the end though, I was hopeful and happy.
When the Captain and Call wanted to drown the cats, I had tears in my eyes! I could not believe that they would do such a thing to helpless animals! Luckily, their conscience changed their minds in the nick of time and the cats were given new owners. When Call said, “We couldn’t do it… they sounded just like little babies” I let out a huge sigh of relief (121). I was devastated when the Captain’s home was destroyed because of the hurricane, especially since the author wrote it in such a dramatic way: “He jerked around to see what I was staring at… I was staring at nothing. Nothing. Not a tree, not a board. Nothing was left at the spot where the Captain’s house had stood the night before” (141).
Why did I feel so much jealousy when I read this book? I really connected to the main character, Sara Louise, because of the way the book was written, and everything that happened to her felt like it was happening to me! Sara’s twin sister, Caroline, was beautiful, talented and absolutely perfect in everything she did. She was always deemed to be the superior sister, from the moment she was born, even though Sara was older: “When my mother and grandmother told the story of our births, it was mostly how Caroline had refused to breathe… The story always left the other twin, the stronger twin, washed and dressed and lying in a basket. Clean and cold and motherless’ (19-20). Everybody was always saying Caroline has such a heavenly voice, Caroline is so beautiful, Caroline has such polite manners. Caroline this and Caroline that. Nobody ever praised Sara for everything she did, even though at times she made such generous sacrifices, which made her feel useless and inferior. Sara even believed that her parents love Caroline better.
At the end, everything seems to become clear and Sara sees that she didn’t need to be praised as Caroline was. She was strong enough to succeed in whatever she chose to do by herself! When Sara wants to leave the island where they have always lived and move to the mainland she asks her mother, “Will you miss me as much as you miss Caroline?” her mother says, “More”. Sara Louise describes her feelings: “I did not press her to explain. I was too grateful for that one word that allowed me at last to leave the island and begin to build myself as a soul, separate from the long, long shadow of my twin” (247). This scene made me feel as if I was the one, free from seventeen years of being understated, to follow my dream. As if I was the one who had a whole new life ahead of me. The one part that touches me the most is at the end of this story, when Sara became a nurse and was delivering twins. The first came out strong and healthy while the second was “blue as death”. The baby “…was like cuddling a stone” as Sara described it (260). While Sara is saving the poor twin, even resorting to putting her in the oven, she suddenly remembers the other twin. “In my anxiety for his sister, I had completely forgotten him. ‘Where have you put him?’”. The grandmother tells her that he is “In the basket… He’s sleeping” and Sara tells her to hold him as much as she can, to baptize him, and then let the mother nurse him (262-263). This part really touched my heart because in the midst of all the chaos, Sara stops and cares for the forgotten one. Something nobody cared to do for her.
This book took me on a rollercoaster of emotions. Sadness, happiness and envy were all mixed together at one point of the book, resulting in a perfect story. (Ilar)

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