Summer Reading Response: Mary Oliver

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Summer Reading Response
AP Literature

For my summer reading poet, I chose Mary Oliver. I find I relate better to the works of female authors and she was one of the only two on the list of options. After hearing phrases like “America’s best-selling poet” and “one of the best writers of the century” to describe her, I was not sure of what to expect. However, after reading one of her works for the first time, a poem called “The Journey”, I knew that I, a not so avid reader and an inexperienced poetry reader, would soon become a fan. Oliver’s poems are not just poems: they are stories. They are like doors to take us within the inner-depths of her mind, thoughts, and dreams. Her poems, heavily circling around themes of nature, life purpose, and self-awareness, often contain vivid imagery, deep symbolism, and thought-provoking concepts throughout. There is usually no particular human character in her poems, just a speaker and references to animals and the nature around her. I appreciate her constant themes and how she is able to express her differing ideas in similar styles and themes in each poem. I would actually recommend this poem to other high school students because her ideas on life and self-awareness would be incredibly impressionable on people in this age range who are experiencing similar thoughts, questions, and concerns for our purpose in this world. Also, it gives the reader a chance to take a step back from the stresses of everyday life and dive into her peaceful, serene world.

For my summer reading play, I chose A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. After sorting through the names of the other plays and reading their synopsis, this one seemed the most interesting. To be honest, the ending of this play shocked me completely: I was completely expecting it would end in the opposite way (I felt it would be the classic “happy ending”, with Nora staying with Torvald and living “happily ever after”) but I loved the actual ending. I was not expecting Nora to...
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