English classes produce life-long memories

Many approach required English classes with disdain and dread. But as I look back on my experiences in these classes, I can’t help but cherish the memories and skills that I’ve learned that make me love and appreciate books.


I’m Always Write: An Arrowhead Column

As I’ve taken different classes throughout my school career, I’ve noticed that some of my fondest memories can be traced back to English classes – specifically when it comes to reading.
Whether it’s partner reading in first grade or group discussions in AP Literature, books have been a medium that not only allowed me to bond with my classmates but also to grow more as a reader.
My earliest reading memory is in first grade during quiet reading time where I would read Roald Dahl’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox” books to my friend.
I remember loving the quirky illustrations and being excited to read each new book to see what predicament Mr. Fox would get himself into this time. We ducked down behind the books to hide our laughs.
Skipping forward to seventh grade and the science fiction unit was when I was introduced to Veronica Roth’s “Divergent”- a truly life changing discovery – if you’ve read the books, then you know what I mean.
My friend and I became obsessed with the books. The dystopian world-building and romance between Tris and Four was peak literature for us.
After we read “Divergent” and “Insurgent”, we decided it was only appropriate to have a movie night and watch the movies.
To this day, the “Divergent” movie is a go-to classic comfort movie for me.
On the topic of book to movie adaptations, watching “The Great Gatsby” was certainly an experience in ninth grade English.
While I didn’t particularly care for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, the 2013 movie is a different story. In class, everyone blushed over seeing Leonardo Dicaprio play Jay Gatsby. Daisy’s stunning dresses combined with Lana Del Rey’s iconic “Young and Beautiful” and Baz Luhrmann’s characteristically chaotic but visually captivating style meshed to create a direct reflection of Fitzgerald’s Roaring ‘20s New York.
The following year in tenth grade English, we began our Shakespeare unit. I was honestly dreading Shakespeare’s complicated, almost cryptic writing that I was sure would bore me.
I was proven wrong when we started reading “Macbeth.”
Each day in class for a couple weeks, we all sat in a circle, assigned each other parts, and got prepared to start the reading with props (scepters and very fake swords included).
Some people even adopted strange British-Scottish accents to really bring the play to life.
Shakespeare’s words felt incredibly alive when two students in my class acted out the death of Macbeth, scepters and dying noises and all.
This method of reading Shakespeare was genuinely engaging and helped me to understand the story of greed and power under the backdrop of a corrupt Scottish monarchy with some interesting witches.
An honorable English 10 mention is watching “The Crucible”.
Winona Ryder as Abigail Williams and Daniel Day-Lewis as John Proctor made the story of fear and chaos a memorable one for me.