Monday, January 26, 2009

AP--Assignments Jan 26--February 9

Weeks 4 & 5--Hamlet--Read acts 1 & 2 during week 4 (Tuesday Jan 27 & Thursday Jan 29), read acts 3, 4, & 5 during the week of February 2 (Act three Monday, Act 4 Wednesday, Act 5 Friday February 6) .

Over the weekends of Jan 31/Feb 1 and February 7/8 : 400-500 word blog on a scene, speech, character, motif, theme, or problem from Hamlet. Same groups as last time for Sophocles blogs. Blogs are due Sunday evening; comments are due Monday evening.

Quizzes: Friday, January 30: Vocabulary lessons 16, 17, & 18; Friday, February 6, Multiple choice.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shakespeare--Performance project #1

Prepare a monologue or dialogue to be presented in class for a performance grade.

“Prepared” means:
• Memorized, carefully blocked (detailed movement planned and rehearsed); and performed, not simply recited (believably bring characters and action to life).
• Incorporation of props and costumes is encouraged and in some cases may be required, depending on how critical they may be to the scene.

• A 2 to 3 character scene with dialogue evenly distributed among the characters (minimum 2, maximum 3 pages of the class text, 75-100 lines total)
• A monologue or soliloquy (minimum 25, maximum 40 lines)

Each student will create written subtext for their own character’s thoughts and motives prior to performance day.

Students who perform a scene will be required to perform a monologue or soliloquy for the next performance assignment and vice versa.

All have the option of writing a paraphrased version of the text and performing that in addition to the original text. (Yes, this is optional, but it’s really fun and strongly encouraged. It also helps the process of performing Shakespeare’s language.)

Text selection should be determined by Thursday, January 28.
Class time will be provided for rehearsals. Performances will take place February 4 & 5.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Shakespeare--Subtext assignment

Subtext assignment (due as hard copy and Wednesday,January 20):
Go to Download act 3, scene 4 from the beginning to the stage direction "exit Ghost" (line 156 in the Folger edition). Delete everything beginning with the Queen's line "this is the very coinage of your brain."

1. Turn this scene into a word processing document. It will be several pages long. If you don’t know how to do this step, ask someone who does.

2. Keep the entire text as it is, except change the name Queen Margaret to Queen Gertrude
at the beginning of the scene (a mistake on the web site).

Write a paraphrase of Polonius’ first speech (lines 1-7). A paraphrase contains
exactly the same meaning as the original, only in literal, everyday language. Don't change person for pronouns.

4. Identify as much subtext as you can. This is the most important part of the assignment. Subtext refers to all the meanings not directly contained in the text. Specifically, as we discussed in class, the subtext contains implied stage directions, the character’s thoughts, feelings, and motives as the lines are being spoken, as well as notes indicating tone of voice, movements, and
gestures. Put in everything Shakespeare left out.

5. Make your paraphrase and subtext easy for us to
identify by putting them in a different type face from the text itself. For example, set your additions in bold face to make them stand out from the characters’ lines in the text. Or use a different color, or do something clear and easy to follow.

6. N.B. This is an individual assignment, not group
work. Any scripts whose similarities cannot be reasonably explained as
coincidental will be dealt with according to the school’s honesty

7. assignment may be found under the title "Hamlet Subtext 2010."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Shakespeare--Week of January 12

Tuesday--Assignment: Read act 2; In class: review 2.1 & 2.2
Wednesday--Performance exercise from 2.1
Thursday--Assignment: Read act 3. In class: finish review of 2.2 and begin discussion of 3.1.
Friday--Vocab quiz, lessons 13-15; assign subtext writing assignment (due Wednesday, January 20); watch video segments of 3.1; continue discussion of act 3.

AP Assignments January 12-26

Week 2 (January 12-16): Finish discussion of Death of Ivan Ilych. Read Oedipus The King, page 1285. Also read my Introduction to Tragedy and the questions at the end of the play. This is one of the most famous plays in all of Western literature. Why do you think that is? How does Sophocles give the play both philosophical and psychological depth in addition to developing the emotional tension which is central to the experience of all drama, especially tragedy? What does Oedipus’ story represent? How does it raise issues relevant to all human life? This week, half of you will blog on some aspect of this play (entries due over the weekend by Monday evening, please), while the other half of you will post comments on at least 5 of your classmates blogs (be polite, be respectful, be responsive to others’ ideas—comments also due by Monday night January 19). Vocabulary quiz, lessons 13-15, Friday.

Week 3 (January 19-23 No school Monday):
Read Antigone, page 1324 in our anthology. Look at the links on my blog and the questions at the end of the play. Why is Antigone’s dilemma important? What does it represent? Which character, Antigone or Creon, best fits the definition of the tragic character from the Introduction to Tragedy? Blog entries, for those who did not write the week before, are due Sunday, January 25. Comments (at least 5) from those who blogged last week are also due by Sunday evening the 25th. Multiple choice quiz Friday the 23rd.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Blog starters for Ivan Ilych

The following statements have all been culled from Ronald Blythe’s introduction to The Death of Ivan Ilyich.  You may choose one and comment on its relevance to the novella. By all means if there is another issue you want to discuss, do so (Ilyich’s relationship with Gerasim, materialism, authenticity, fear of death, what does it mean to be human, etc).

1.    The novel evokes “the sheer desolating aloneness of dying.”

2.    “[Love] could have rescued Ivan Ilyich from all the fright and despair which terorized him during the final two weeks had he allowed it to. . . Love masters death [only at the end].”

3.    Tolstoy condemns “Ivan Ilyich’s opportunism, marriage of convenience, vanity, and limitation, and then, with astonishment, the reader finds himself beginning to like this conventional man and to be sorry when he starts to lose out to death.”

4.    The story “is the tragedy of a man who is a death illiterate and who has to make his way out of the world through the ranks of other death illiterates.”

5.    Tolstoy shows us “a man. . . who had not taken the trouble to grow up, morally speaking, while he was passing through [life], and. . .then [shows] how salvation could overtake a slowing pulse rate, bringing maturity at the last.”

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

AP Assignments January 6 2008

Week 1 (Tuesday January 6-Monday January 12): Read The Death of Ivan Ilyich, p. 280 in our anthology. As you read this story and the discussion questions, think about the story’s central message and the techniques Tolstoy uses to convey meaning. In what ways is Tolstoy’s story critical of bourgeois Russian culture? Is Ilyich meant to be a unique or a representative character? What is the role of the narrator in shaping our understanding of the story’s meanings? We will discuss questions 1 through 6 beginning Wednesday (read chapters 1-6) afternoon through Friday and finish our discussion Monday (read 7 - 12) and Tuesday morning. Blog entries are due by Monday, January 12. No quiz this week. Vocab lessons 13-15 next Friday, January 16.

1. What purpose is served by placing Ilyich’s funeral at the beginning of the novella rather than at the end?

2. What is Pyotr Ivanovich’s role in chapter 1? Why does Tolstoy describe his thoughts in such detail?

3. Explain the significance of the first sentence in section 2. How does it set the tone for what follows?

4. Describe Ilyich’s professional and personal life up to the move to Petersburg. What are his motives? How does he make decisions? What is the narrator’s attitude toward him?

5. What is the source of Ilyich’s illness? Discuss the significance of his symptoms? How do his physical problems affect him psychologically? Is his illness symbolic?

6. At what key points does Ilyich begin to re-evaluate his life? How does Tolstoy attempt to make this process credible? Does he succeed?

7. Re-read the two paragraphs beginning on page 305 (¶ 217) (“What tormented Ivan Ilyich most . . . ) to the end of the chapter. According to Tolstoy, why is Ilyich suffering? What is the source of the lie? What does Ilyich most want? Why can’t he have it? What does Tolstoy mean when he refers to “this falseness in himself and in those around him”? What is the peasant boy Gerasim’s role?

8. Consider Ivan Ilyich’s prayer in chapter 9 and the response. Look at the dialogue between mind and soul. Does this dialogue contain the seeds of an important realization? What does the voice which answers him represent? Why does Ilyich “dismiss this bizarre idea”?

9. What is the source of the “moral agony” Ilyich experiences in chapter 11? Why does Ilyich answer “yes” when his wife asks him if he feels better? How does this answer affect him? Why?

10. In chapter 12, what is “the real thing”? Why does the fear of death leave him in the hour before his death? Does dying change Ivan Ilyich in any important way?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Shakespeare schedule

Messrs. Burns and Coon
Semester schedule (subject to revision)

Weeks 1 through 5 (January 6—February 7):


Weeks 1, 2, & 3—Script study
Week 4—“On book” performance
Week 5—Memorized performance

Weeks 6 through 11 (February 10—March 20

The Merchant of Venice

Weeks 12 though 16 (March 31—May 1)

As You Like It

\Weeks 17 & 18

“The Shakespeare Project”—individual performances of scenes, creative interpretation of scenes, films. Legos, etc

Class ends Friday May 15
Prom is Saturday May 16
Awards Assembly Monday May 18
Senior trip May 19-22
Graduation Thursday June 4