English Creative Portfolio Passage 1 Sitting at Prim’s knees, guarding her, is the world’s ugliest cat. Mashedin nose, half of one ear missing, eyes the color of rotting squash. Prim named him Buttercup, insisting that his muddy yellow coat matched the bright flower. He hates me. Or at least distrusts me. Even though it was years ago, I think he still remembers how I tried to drown him in a bucket when Prim brought him home. Scrawny kitten, belly swollen with worms, crawling with fleas. The last thing I needed was another mouth to feed. But Prim begged so hard, cried even, I had to let him stay. It turned out okay. My mother got rid of the vermin and he’s a born mouser. Even catches the occasional rat. Sometimes, when I clean a kill, I feed Buttercup the entrails. He has stopped hissing at me. Discussion: In the excerpt taken from the introduction to the narrator's background, the author establishes Katniss’ sentiments towards her sister’s cat, Buttercup. As the paragraph unfolds, the negative connotations associated with the description of a grotesque cat with a ‘mashedin nose, half of one ear missing’, and ‘eyes the color of rotting squash’ uphold Katniss’ initial declaration of Buttercup as the ‘world’s ugliest cat’. Additionally, the varied sentence structure includes fragmented descriptions with cleverly placed adjectives, apparent in the sentence ‘scrawny kitten, belly swollen with worms, crawling with fleas’. Furthermore, it can be seen that her aversion towards Buttercup is not purely based on physical attributes, but also through the additional responsibilities he brings, as she states that the last things she needs is ‘another mouth to feed’. However, it is evident that Katniss’ initial distaste towards Buttercup has diminished, as he proves to be valuable in getting ‘rid of the vermin’, thus causing her to go one step further to make amends by feeding him the entrails. The author insinuates this as an apology to Buttercup for her earlier attempt to drown him in a bucket. Rewrite: Sitting at Prim’s knees, guarding her, is the world’s most charming cat. Soft pink, button nose, pointed ears like arrows, eyes like drops of warm honey. Fittingly, Prim named him Buttercup after his sunny yellow coat. A few years ago, when Prim brought home the adorable kitten, I was slightly unsure about taking him in. The last thing I needed was another mouth to feed. But his silky coat, silly meows, and innocent, wideeyed expression melted my heart. And Prim begged so hard, cried even, I had to let him stay. I have to say it turned out perfectly. My mother got rid of the vermin and he’s a born mouser. Even catches the occasional rat. Sometimes, when I clean a kill, I feed Buttercup the entrails, and he thanks me with an appreciative squint accompanied by a slight sway of his tail. He’s also good to have around on the lonelier days. There’s not much to do around here, and he keeps Prim busy, as she insists on tending to his every need. As the days have gone by, I am more than thankful that I decided to keep him. I’m actually growing quite fond of the little ball of fur. He’s gotten to be a sortof purring companion.
Rationale: In my rewrite of this extract from The Hunger Games, my primary objective was to change the dominant impression of the paragraph. The original excerpt portrayed Buttercup as an unsightly and hostile animal. However, I decided to alter the excerpt to depict Buttercup as an adorable and friendly pet. I did this by changing two aspects of the writing: the physical description of Buttercup and Katniss’s feelings towards him. To begin, I changed the unpleasant descriptions by interchanging his unsightly features with pleasant ones, evident in the phrases ‘soft pink, button nose’, ‘eyes like drops of warm honey’, and ‘silky coat’. These phrases are of positive connotation, thus creating the image of an adorable and rather friendly cat. Secondly, I changed Katniss’ feelings towards the cat by replacing the nonchalant and indifferent tone of the original excerpt to one in which she shows more emotion. This is evident in the line ‘I’m actually growing quite fond of the little ball of fur’ and in the phrase ‘purring companion’. Rather than her growing fondness towards Buttercup only being caused by his usefulness in catching rodents, I included the detail that he additionally provided emotional comfort, thus providing a reason behind Katniss’ newfound affection towards him. Passage 2: The train finally begins to slow and suddenly bright light floods the compartment. We can’t help it. Both Peeta and I run to the window to see what we’ve only seen on television, the Capitol, the ruling city of Panem. The cameras haven’t lied about its grandeur. If anything, they have not quite captured the magnificence of the glistening buildings in a rainbow of hues that tower into the air, the shiny cars that roll down the wide paved streets, the oddly dressed people with bizarre hair and painted faces who have never missed a meal. All the colors seem artificial, the pinks too deep, the greens too bright, the yellows painful to the eyes, like the flat round disks of hard candy we can never afford to buy at the tiny sweet shop in District 12. Discussion: In this extract from The Hunger Games, the author vividly describes Katniss and Peeta’s impression of the notorious Capitol. The initial positive connotations associated with the ‘glistening buildings in a rainbow of hues’, ‘the shiny cars that roll down the wide paved streets’, and the people ‘who have never missed a meal’ is immediately contradicted to the overbearing superficiality evoked through the ‘artificial’ and ‘painful’ colors. Furthermore, the parallelism seen in the phrases ‘the pinks too deep’ and ‘the greens too bright’, and the descriptions of ‘oddly dressed people with bizarre hair and painted faces’ emphasizes the unnatural and abnormal characteristics of the Capitol. Furthermore, through the use of figurative language, such as the simile ‘like the flat round disks of hard candy we can never afford to buy at the tiny sweet shop in District 12’ the author enhances the ‘grandeur’ and majesticity associated with the Capitol by comparing it to the inferior District 12.
Passage 3: The door opens and a young man who must be Cinna enters. I’m taken aback by how normal he looks. Most of the stylists they interview on television are so dyed, stenciled, and surgically altered they’re grotesque. But Cinna’s closecropped hair appears to be its natural shade of brown. He’s in a simple black shirt and pants. The only concession to selfalteration seems to be metallic gold eyeliner that has been applied with a light hand. It brings out the flecks of gold in his green eyes. And, despite my disgust with the Capitol and their hideous fashions, I can’t help thinking how attractive it looks. “Hello, Katniss. I’m Cinna, your stylist,” he says in a quiet voice somewhat lacking in the Capitol’s affectations. Discussion: In this excerpt from The Hunger Games, the author describes Katniss’ awe when meeting her stylist, Cinna, for the first time. The author’s juxtaposed descriptions of the ‘dyed, stenciled, and surgically altered’ stylists of the Capitol and the ‘natural’ and ‘simple’ description of Cinna emphasize his abnormal and unconventional style. His ‘closecropped hair’ in its ‘natural shade of brown’, ‘simple black shirt and pants’ and ‘metallic gold eyeliner’ ‘applied with a light hand’ elicits the image of a plain man uninfluenced by the Capitol’s ‘grotesque’ and outlandish style. His ‘one concession to selfalteration’, the ‘metallic gold eyeliner’, only serves to enhance his existent features by bringing ‘out the flecks of gold in his green eyes’. The author goes on further to include the fact that even his voice is ‘lacking in the Capitol’s affectations’, further accentuating his individualistic characteristics, unorthodox to the Capitol. Rewrite: The door opens and a young man who must be Cinna enters. I’m not surprised by his eccentric appearance. Most of the stylists they interview on television are so dyed, stenciled, and surgically altered they’re grotesque. I wouldn’t expect anything less of him. Cinna’s closecropped hair is dyed in various tints of grey and violet. He’s in a striking periwinkle coat accented with gold embroidery. He wears a lilac tie embellished with gems that glisten like diamonds. Gold tattoos stenciled into strange patterns peak out of the sleeves of his coat, contrasting his dark complexion. But out of his many concessions to selfalteration, the only one I truly like is his metallic gold eyeliner that has been applied with a light hand, as it brings out the flecks of gold in his green eyes. However, the excessive powder caked upon his face, the mauve mascara defining his lashes, and the pale violet color coating his lips all overshadow his true allure, masking the attractive man he truly is. “Hello, Katniss. I’m Cinna, your stylist,” he says effervescently, in the accented chatter orthodox to the Capitol. I’m not taken back by his enthusiastic chipper. This is the Capitol after all, for them it is just a game.
Rationale: My main objective in my rewrite of this excerpt from The Hunger Games was to change the dominant impression. The original excerpt depicted Cinna as an individual who had not conformed to the Capitol’s artificial, enhanced standards of beauty. However, I had to alter the excerpt in order to depict Cinna as a typical Capitol stylist. I had to accomplish two things in order to create this effect. Firstly, I had to change the descriptions of his physical appearance to suit the outlandish style of the Capitol. I changed the natural style of his hair to a peculiar dyed combination of grey and violet. He wears a flamboyant suit with an ornate tie. His ensemble is paired with complementary concessions to selfalteration, such as his striking gold tattoo and eyecatching makeup. Secondly, I had to alter his manner of speaking to suit the accented, cheerful chatter of the Capitol. I wanted the narrator to be unable to distinguish him as an individual in comparison to the other stylists. Therefore, I included the lines ‘I’m not taken back by his enthusiastic chipper. This is the Capitol after all, for them it is just a game.’ to emphasize that his cheerful tone was caused by his lack of understanding of the harsh reality of the Games, much like the other citizens of the Capitol. Passage 4: I reach Glimmer just as the cannon fires. The tracker jackers have vanished. This girl, so breathtakingly beautiful in her golden dress the night of the interviews, is unrecognizable. Her features eradicated, her limbs three times their normal size. The stinger lumps have begun to explode, spewing putrid green liquid around her. I have to break several of what used to be her fingers with a stone to free the bow. The sheath of arrows is pinned under her back. I try to roll over her body by pulling on one arm, but the flesh disintegrates in my hands and I fall back on the ground. Discussion: In this extract from The Hunger Games, the author graphically describes the sight of the rotting corpse of Glimmer after she is stung by tracker jackers. The initial recollection of a ‘breathtakingly beautiful girl in her golden dress’ during ‘the night of the interviews’ is sharply contradicted to the disintegrating cadaver with ‘eradicated’ features and swollen limbs. The vivid description of stinger lumps beginning to explode, ‘spewing putrid green liquid around her’ evokes images of monstrous lumps like volcanoes erupting on her skin. The line ‘I have to break several of what used to be her fingers with a stone’ elicits a highly unpleasant and morbid image in the reader’s mind. The grotesque and horrid imagery effectively appeals to the senses through the variance of sentence structure, pictorial adjectives, and specific detail.