Monday, March 30, 2009


For some thoughts on my way of approaching the study of lyric poetry, look here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

AP--Reading list for final paper

Select a novel for independent reading during the month of April. You may choose from the list below or another novel of “comparable literary merit.” Also, look for three critical analyses of the novel in a local library or JStor. Write a paper of 1500-2000 words (5-7 pages) developing in some depth one key aspect of the novel’s meaning, using both direct quotations and your 3 outside sources. You must bring five typed pages to class Monday, April 26. Papers are due Wednesday, April 28, both hard copy and

Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
Reservation Blues, Sherman Alexie
Handmaid’s Tale or Cat’s Eye, Margaret Atwood
Persuasion or Emma, Jane Austen
Go Tell It on the Mountain, James Baldwin
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
My Antonia; O Pioneers!, Willa Cather
The Awakening, Kate Chopin
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevski
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
Absalom! Absalom!, William Faulkner
Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
A Passage to India, E.M. Forster
Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
Obasan, Joy Kogawa
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D. H. Lawrence
Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy
Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
We Were the Mulvaneys, Joyce Carol Oates
The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
Crossing to Safety, Wallace Stegner
Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren
Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
Native Son, Richard Wright

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Juniors--course requests

AP vs. English IV
  • Year-long course or two semester courses (World Lit + Shakespeare or Composition or African-American Lit); AP requires permission
  • More reading in AP
  • More difficult, challenging texts
  • Faster pace
  • More papers, blogs, and other writings
  • More responsibility for leading class discussion approx. every other week
  • Tough multiple choice quizzes every other week
  • More demanding grading scale
Who should take AP?
  • People who like English better than any other subject, love to read and discuss
  • B+ or better grades in English II and III
  • Careful readers, logical thinkers, strong writers
  • Highly motivated, always prepared for class (especially important)
  • Like to participate in discussion
  • Highly recommended by Ms. Driscoll
Who should take English IV
  • English class not your highest priority
  • Taking 3 other AP's in Math, Science, Foreign Language
  • Thought the Emily Dickinson questions on the semester exam were impossible
  • Cut corners on daily reading assignments this year
  • Think Beloved is boring and confusing
  • Writing essays not your strength
My selection policy is explained in slightly more detail in this link.

If you think you are right for AP and AP is right for you, see Ms. Driscoll first, then see me for my initials on your course request form.

Monday, March 9, 2009


An essay from Midsummer, the publication of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, which staged a revival of Death of a Salesman in 1991.

Friday, March 6, 2009

AP--March 6 - 20

For March 9/10--Day 1--Write a brief blog, approximately 400 words, commenting on an idea raised during class discussion of Death of a Salesman, trying to take that idea a little further and giving your own take. Also, please read pp. 1833-35 for our discussion.

Day 2--We'll go into the computer lab and post comments on one another's blogs and watch a brief video on the career of August Wilson.

Day 3--Fences, act 1--pp. 1996--2026

Day 4--Multiple choice quiz; continue discussion of Fences

Week of March 16
Day 1--Fences, act 2, pp. 2026-2047
Days 2 & 3--finish discussion of Fences
Day 4--Enrichment day/ IFF/ last day before spring break

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Shakespeare--paraphrase assignment

Today, write a paraphrase of your scene or monologue. Work line by line and thought by thought, trying to put your characters' thoughts into modern-day equivalent English. Try to catch each speech's meaning as exactly as you can.

Here is my example, taken from the opening lines of The Merchant of Venice.

Act I, scene I, lines 1-7:
Antonio: In sooth I know not why I am so sad.
It wearies me, you say it wearies you.
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff ‘tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn.
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.

Antonio: To tell you the truth, I don’t know what’s making me so sad.
I’m really getting tired of it, and I hear you, I know you are too.
But I can’t say how I “caught” this disease, where I found it, or how it happened to me.
I’m still trying to figure out where it comes from and what it’s based on.
And the worst is, it makes me feel like such a fool, it’s hard to even know who I am any more.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

SHK--Performance assignment #2

Assignment: Prepare and perform a memorized portion of The Merchant of Venice.

•    “off book” (able to recite the text from memory) by Wed, March 11.
•    carefully blocked (detailed movement planned and rehearsed)
•    believably bring characters and action to life.
•    Incorporation of actual props and suggested costumes is encouraged and in some cases may be required, depending on how critical they may be to the scene.

OPTIONS: You must choose whichever you did not do for Hamlet.
•    A 2 to 3 character scene with dialogue evenly distributed among the characters (minimum 2, maximum 3 pages of the class text)
•    A monologue or soliloquy (minimum 20, maximum 40 lines)

The writing assignment in conjunction with this performance will be a “paraphrased” version of the scene text. This will begin as an in-class writing assignment on Thurs, March 5. Students will use this paraphrased text in rehearsals, and perhaps as part of the performance.

Text selection should be determined by Wednesday, March 4.
Class time will be provided for rehearsals.
“Off book” quiz on Wed, March 11
Notes will be given by Mr. Coon and Mr. Burns on Thurs and Fri, March 12 & 13.
Final performances are scheduled for Thursday, March 19.