Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tentative exam formats

Although I have only written portions of each exam, my PLAN is to use the following formats (subject to change if these don't work out the way I think they will).

English IV
Vocab--25 matching
Literary terms--10 matching
Characters--10 matching
Englische Tung--10 Matching
12th Night ID's--10 matching
Quotations--10 matching

1 Essay--50 to 60 minutes, using examples and ideas from multiple works to discuss a common theme or a connection between the works themselves and their historical periods.

Vocab--25 matching
3 of the 5 matching sections listed above
Multiple choice--2 passages, 25 to 30 questions

1 essay--40 to 45 minutes--using information and examples from one work read this semester to discuss a topic from an earlier AP Literature exam.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Exam review

English IV & AP
December 2010
Exam prep--first draft--more to follow when I get further in the writing process

1.    Lessons 1 – 12 in the vocabulary workbook. Definitely review those words and definitions for the exam. Probable format: matching. Probable length: 25 or so words with 35 or so definitions to choose from.

2.    History of English, chapters 1, 2, & 3. Eras: Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, Renaissance. For each period, think about the major themes of language we have discussed. Which historical, political, or cultural factors most influenced the language at each stage of its development? What were the results of each of these historical forces? What examples from the language itself best illustrate the operation of these historical influences? Probable format: unknown

3.    Beowulf
Key themes & terms: epic, hero, fate, honor, tribal values, kinship, kingship, leadership, warrior culture, wisdom, feuds, alliterative verse, kennings, role of women, political marriages, blending of pagan and Christian influences, boasting, revenge, loyalty, oral tradition, imbedded narratives (bards), historical importance, elegiac quality

4.    Paradise Lost
Themes and terms: literary epic, blank verse, the fall, innocence, lust as innocence lost, temptation, rebellion and disobedience, free will, knowledge as Godliness, ambition, Satan as sympathetic antagonist?

5.    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Themes and terms: knighthood, courtly love, chivalry, alliterative revival, romance, courage, contest, Pentangle, honor and obligation, temptation and human weakness, hospitality,

6.    General Prologue
Themes and terms: estates satire, iambic pentameter couplets, four humours, ideals, corruptions and abuses, uses of irony, humor, double entendre, tradition of pilgrimage, make-up of 14th century English society, social change, use of stereotypes, examples of various professions, frame narrative

7.    Miller’s Tale
Themes and terms: Fabliau, narrative structure, plot and subplot, relationship between tale and teller, Miller’s personality revealed through tone and details, satire of courtly romance, idealism and justice, attitudes toward sex and gender

8.    Pardoner’s Tale
Themes and terms: Exemplum, style of preaching, relationship between tale and teller, relationship of prologue to tale, relationship of Pardoner and Host, uses of irony

9.    Twelfth Night
Themes and terms: Genre of comedy, relationship between serious and playful, relationship of plot and subplot, love, self-love, madness, revenge, duty, friendship, word play, gender roles, order and disorder, exaggeration, coincidence, disguise, probability of event

10.    Multiple-choice reading comprehension
For AP students only. Probable format: Multiple choice (Duh!); probable length: 30 questions, 30 minutes

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Twelfth Night performance

For those interested and available, this week's performances of 12th Night are 7:30 Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 2 PM Saturday, and 3 PM Sunday. I plan to attend Sunday. Currently (as of 11 AM Wednesday) there are 40 seats available for that performance.

This is the box office link for ordering tickets. Or call 480-644-6500.

Tickets are available at the student rate, with no service charges, if you purchase them at the box office the day of the performance, but you have to show your student ID to get the discount ($15).

Mesa Arts Center is located at 1 E. Main St Mesa (SE corner of Main and Center Streets).

I hope some of you will be able to attend.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2nd semester elective choices

Remember, if you are in AP English, you are automatically enrolled in the 2nd semester of Major British Authors.

However, if you are either not enrolled in AP, or if you are and are still looking for a 5th (or 6th) course, please consider the following options:

Literature of Science Fiction and Fantasy (Mr. Guthrie)
The Art of Compostion (Mr. McHonett & Ms. Thompson)
Shakespeare (Mr. Burns & Mr. Coon), a performance/literature course offered for English or Theater Arts credit

Not all these courses received sufficient pre-enrollment last spring; however, I'm wondering if perhaps some of your circumstances have changed and you now find yourselves needing another class. Ideally, I'd like to see all 3 of these electives offered.

If you have any questions, please see me. Mr. Flanagan-Hyde will do a short presentation at morning meeting the 29th and ask those interested to complete a course request form at that point.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Blog #7--I-Search assignment

For this blog, write the draft of what will become the first page of your paper. Write a couple of paragraphs on what you already know about your word. Answer whichever of the following questions you find most applicable:
What does your selected word mean to you going into this assignment?
What do you already know about your word?
Why did you choose it?
Is there a specific moment or incident or association you have with your word?

Also, keep looking at the sources, both print and online, for further understanding of your word's meaning(s). The next portions of your paper will include an overall description of your search, any difficulties you experienced, any surprises you encountered, and specific insight into the information you find about your word. In the body of the essay, you will combine an analysis or interpretation of what you learned (including direct citations from your sources), along with personal commentary and reflection on that information.

The last page (or so) of your paper will contain your final reflection on your search, focusing both on the process and on what you learned about your word from the various sources.

N.B. You will include a Works Cited page at the end of your paper, so be sure to keep records of the full bibliographic information for each source you consult.

N.B. Keep track of your notes, printouts, and photocopies. These all go in your binder along with the draft and final copies of your paper.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I-search resources

Biblos, a bible study tool. I suggest in particular comparing the King James (KJB) and Revised Standard (RSV) bibles to see if and where your word occurs.

Open source Shakespeare, an excellent way to search the plays for individual words.

One Look, a dictionary search engine listing all the online dictionaries in which a word appears. Useful for comparing different definitions. One of their links is for Noah Webster's original 1828 dictionary, the first distinctly "American" dictionary. Check it out.

American Verse Project, part of University of Michigan's vast array of online resources (Go Ohio State!). Its limitation is that it only cites American poems published prior to 1920 (still, very good for Whitman, Dickinson, Poe, John Greenleaf Whittier, other 19th century American poets.)

A slightly facetious, but perhaps useful site called word detective.

An online etymological dictionary, not a scholarly work, but a fascinating project being done by an ambitious amateur.

The Middle English Dictionary, another (gulp!) resource from University of Michigan.

Dr. Samuel Johnson's 1755 dictionary.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Updated word list

Here is the updated list I promised yesterday. I also sent it to your school e-mail. Hope you're having a good weekend.

•    Anger
•    Atonement
•    Beauty
•    Belief
•    Bliss
•    Brave
•    Burden
•    Calm
•    Chance
•    Chaos
•    Charity
•    Charm
•    Confusion
•    Courage
•    Cruel
•    Cunning
•    Curious
•    Curse
•    Darkness
•    Despair
•    Destiny
•    Doom
•    Doubt
•    Ecstasy
•    Envy
•    Evil
•    Faith
•    Fame
•    Fate
•    Fear
•    Fortune
•    Freedom
•    Friend
•    Generous
•    Genius
•    Glee
•    Glory
•    Glutton
•    Good
•    Grace
•    Greatness
•    Greed
•    Guile
•    Guilt
•    Happiness
•    Hatred
•    Heart
•    Hero
•    Holy
•    Honor
•    Hope
•    Human
•    Idea
•    Ignorant
•    Illusion
•    Imagination
•    Inspiration
•    Jealousy
•    Journey
•    Joy
•    Justice
•    Kindness
•    Knowledge
•    Love
•    Loyalty
•    Luck
•    Lust
•    Mercy
•    Mind
•    Miracle
•    Natural
•    Normal
•    Pain
•    Passion
•    Patriot
•    Peace
•    Pride
•    Quest
•    Rational
•    Reality
•    Reason
•    Redemption
•    Revenge
•    Riches
•    Righteous
•    Sacrifice
•    Savage
•    Serene
•    Shame
•    Sin
•    Sorrow
•    Soul
•    Spirit
•    Success
•    Terror
•    Trust
•    Truth
•    Valor
•    Vanity
•    Wealth
•    Weird
•    Wisdom
•    Wit
•    Wonder

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chaucer test

4 parts

1. Identification--The Hundred Years War. Courtly Love. Canterbury Cathedral. Exemplum.

2. Paraphrase--rewrite a brief passage from CT in modern English. Stay as close as possible to the meaning of the original but express that meaning in sentences that make clear sense in contemporary style.

3. Match the pilgrims--a list of pilgrims and a list of descriptions from the GP

4. Passages from the Miller's Tale and the Pardoner's Tale--identify the speaker or situation or a key word or a central irony. Each passage will contain some context clue relevant to the question being asked.

I-Search a Word--paper assignment #3

Assignment: Write a paper of 5 to 8 pages (5 to 6 for English IV, 7 or 8 for AP) containing an extended definition of a single word, a commonly used word, but one with an abstract or intangible quality to its meaning. In your paper you will make references to the sources you have consulted, but the style of the paper will be a first-person account of your search for the word’s ultimate meaning and an analysis of what you learn along the way.

Sources: Consult the following sources to include all the necessary information in your paper:

1. The Oxford English Dictionary in our library—what are the earliest uses and contexts for your word recorded in the English language. Does the OED mention the word occurring in either Sir Gawain or Chaucer?

2. A good unabridged or international dictionary—what key definitions does the dictionary give for the word? What is its etymology?

3. A print or online thesaurus—what are the most important synonyms for your word? Include a list from the thesaurus in the sources section of your folder.

4. A Concordance to Shakespeare—in which plays does the word occur? Copy the speeches containing the word and the plays in which they are found.

5. A Concordance to the Bible—list the verses containing the word and copy these verses onto a page in your sources section.

6. A statement of what the word means to you, both before and after you conduct your research.

7. For AP students, two of the following: a poem in which the word occurs, a citation from an online quotations list, a work of art or music, a book about words and language, a work of history, a newspaper article, cartoon, television show, or movie. (One such source is optional for English IV.)

Process: Gather your findings in a binder. The first thing in the binder you submit will be the final copy of your paper, then your draft, edited by two peers and one other person (a third peer, a parent, a friend), and a section containing the printouts of all your research materials with sources clearly indicated in full MLA format.

Rationale: According to Edward Jenkinson and Donald Seybold, “it is extremely difficult for anyone to define a word that does not have objective [meaning]. Yet the ideas, feelings, and emotions that are most significant in our lives are conveyed [by such words]. . . .Everyone who uses such words as freedom, rich, or love has slightly different notions about what those words mean, [yet] we frequently act as if we are talking about the same thing when we use such words.” Thus, this assignment is to sift through our assumptions about one abstract word to find relevant historical information about its uses and meanings throughout the history of the English language.


·H Have your word chosen and approved by me by the beginning of class Tuesday, November 9. (Everyone must have a different word.)

· We will spend that day (Wednesday for section 4) in the library looking at the OED and other source material.

Your blog for Monday November 15 will include your previous understanding of the word along with a brief summary of what you have learned so far in your research. It may be incorporated in some fashion into your draft later.

· We will return to the library after our vocab quiz Friday November 19.

Monday, November 22, bring your drafts to class, five pages minimum to earn credit for this part of the assignment.

Binders are due in my classroom by 3PM, Tuesday, November 23. Final drafts must also be submitted by that time to turnitin.com (assignment title: I-Search a Word).

Style: Write your paper as a first-person account of your search for the ultimate meaning of your word. Use your sources to make your analysis of the word credible, but connect those sources to your personal quest for the word’s meaning, your previous understanding of the word, and what you learned along the way, both about the word and the research process. You should both summarize and analyze the information you gather from your sources in the body of the paper. Information should be cited parenthetically, linked to a list of Works Cited at the end of your paper.

Words: So far I’ve brainstormed 40-some words, but I need your help coming up with further ideas, so that everyone works with a different word for this assignment. Here is my list:

·A Atonement Beauty Belief Chaos Confusion Courage Darkness Despair Doom Doubt Ecstasy Envy Fear Freedom Friend Glutton Grace Greatness Happiness Hatred Heart Holy Honor Imagination Jealousy Journey Joy Kindness Knowledge Love Loyalty Mercy Natural Passion Quest Redemption Revenge Riches Shame Spirit Success Wealth Wisdom Wit

What word interests you sufficiently to spend two weeks researching and writing about its history and most important meanings? After I review this assignment in class Friday, November 5, I will accept email requests for words beginning Sunday morning at 9 AM. By class time Tuesday November 9 everyone must have selected a word to work with.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Miller's Tale discussion topic

How has Chaucer made the tale "fit" the teller? In how many ways can we identify the precise nature of the relationship between the tale and its teller?

Specifically, let us consider the following:
• the Miller's choice of material (does the fabliau match what we know of the miller's personality?)
• methods and depth of characterization (how much do we know about each character? how "dimensional" are they? why?)
• use of key details (find examples of little choices in keeping with the miller's interests and character. what are the most interesting facts about each character, at least to the miller?)
• use of language (what words does the miller especially like? what examples of puns can you find?)
• sense of humor/ tone (which parts are intended humorously? what kind of humor is it? Is the miller making fun of any of his characters?)
• "fabliau justice" (do the characters get what they deserve? If not in our eyes, how about in the miller's system of justice?)
• in what way(s) does the Miller's Tale "quite" the Knight's Tale?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Additional Chaucer links

1. The short piece we looked at in class about the Three Estates, by Professor Debora Schwartz of Cal Poly University English department.

2. The essay on "Medieval Estates and Orders" referred to on page 170 in our textbook.

3. Side-by-side modern English translation and original Middle English version of the General Prologue, courtesy Towson State University, Maryland.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pronouncing Middle English--links

First, professor Jane Zatta, Southern Illinois University, reads the General Prologue. (The audio file is broken into units of about 12 lines, but her voice is quite clear)

Next, a YouTube file containing an audio reading and a phonetic transliteration of the lines. (The audio is better than the phonetics, which don't always match what the voice is reading.) I haven't identified the voice.

A page on the Harvard (pronounced Hahvahd) web site, which contains both the original text, a line-by-line modernized version, and a sound file.

Finally, a list of several available recordings, both from the General Prologue and some of the tales, provided by the English department at Virginia Military Institute. (You need the Real Audio Player software to listen to some of these recordings).

Listen to several recordings. Notice that not all ME (Middle English) readers pronounce words the same. Still, by listening to the opening lines several times, you can get a better sense of the sound of the English language 600 years ago. Practice repeating along with the voice of the reader; the more you do so, the more quickly you will be able to memorize the material.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Shed jewel" October 12-December 15

Week 8: October 11-15

No School Monday--Fall Break
Day 1: No assignment--Bring Lit books to class for Intro to Chaucer
Day 2: Read pp. 165-171, up to line 42 ("at a knight thanne wol I first biginne")
Friday: Read pp. 171-177, to line 286; MCQz, RdgQz? (End 1st Marking period)

Week 9: October 18-22

Monday: Read pp. 177-183, to line544; blog 6 (topic from chapter 3 or a character from GP)
Day 2: Read pp. 183-190; bring vocal books to class
Day 3: Read pp. 191-196, to line 230 ("of farting")
Day 4: Read pp. 196-201, to line 492 ("go save oure lif'); vocab quiz lessons 7-8

Week 10: October 25-29 (revised)

Monday: Read pp. 202-207; perform memorized recitations of GP lines 1-18, with feeling
Day 2: Make a Difference Day
Day 3: Finish Miller's Tale; finish recitations, with feeling
Friday: Continue discussion of Miller's Tale; No Qz

Week 11: November 1-5
(revised yet again--3rd time's the charm?)

Monday: Read the Pardoner's Tale, pp. 235-249; probable RdQz (it's been a while); blog #6: locate 5 lines in the Pardoner's Tale which interest you but about which you have a question; blog about these lines; copy them, ask your question, pose a possible answer or personal reaction.
Day 2: Continue discussion of Pardoner's Tale
Day 3: Wrap up discussion
Friday: MCQz 5; Intro "I-Search Word" papers, 5 - 8 pages, due Tuesday, November 23

Week 12: November 8 - 12

Monday: Test #2, General Prologue, Miller's Tale, Pardoner's Tale, chapter 3 Faire Englische
Day 2: Read chapter 4, Oure Faire Englische Tung; library orientation and work day #1 for I-Search papers, including OED
Day 3: Read Twelfth Night, pp. 510-518; bring Vc books to class
Friday: Twelfth Night, pp. 518-526 + VcQz 9 & 10

Week 13: November 15-19

Monday: Twelfth Night, pp. 527-536; blog (#7) your word--what do you already know about your word, why did you choose it, what new information have you discovered so far, what resources have you used???
Day 2: Twelfth Night, pp. 536-545; bring vocab books to class
Day 3: Twelfth Night, pp. 545-556
Day 4: VcQz 11 & 12; library work day #2

Week 14: November 22-26

Monday: Bring drafts of I-Search papers to class, MINIMUM 5 pages
Tuesday: Papers due, all sections, hard copy and turnitin.com
Wednesday: Thanksgiving break--no class Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday

Week 15:November 29 - December 3

Monday: Twelfth Night, pp. 556-562
Day 2: Twelfth Night, pp. 562-72
Day 3: Wrap up
Day 4: Quotation quiz

Week 16: December 6 - 10

Monday: Blog 8: What is Shakespeare's message about love and how does it compare to or intersect with your own view? (You don't need to quote from the play for this assignment, but you must refer to specific characters and incidents in your discussion) 500-600 words

(N.B.--If you see the performance at Mesa Arts Center, you may substitute a blog focusing on 3 ways that seeing the play changed or enhanced your understanding or appreciation of the text or differed significantly from reading it.)

Week 17: December 13 - 17

Wednesday, December 15--Semester exam, 9AM, Hormel

Friday, October 1, 2010

Medieval Romance

I. • The hero is a knight, a member of a rare and select company, known for his courage and valor.
• The knight must respond to a challenge, often setting for himself, on behalf of his religion, his liege lord, or a captive lady, a difficult or seemingly impossible task.
• The heroic knight must perform noble deeds in the fulfillment of this challenge.
• The knight has a strong relationship, characterized by great chivalry on his part, often involving love, with a beautiful, sometimes mysterious lady.
• The adventures are set in vague, imaginary, unearthly, or exotic settings.
• The mystery and suspense of the adventure often derive from the existence of supernatural elements in the tale.
• Concealed or disguised identities often figure prominently in the pursuit of the adventure.
• Mystical numbers such as 3 or 5 are often used and repeated.
• The knight’s courage and faith will be sorely tested during his adventure, and he will experience moments of doubt and weakness.

source: http://www.loyno.edu/~MidAges/medievalromance.html

  • "romance" originally referred to the "vernacular" language in which courtly tales were composed, to distinguish them from "real" literature written in Latin.
  • Eventually, the term referred to the kind of tales popular in Anglo-Norman courts, stories of the chivalric adventures of knights and their ladies, often set in the court of King Arthur.
  • Early audiences were largely women, a queen or duchess and ladies of her court, who wanted to see women in more important roles than in the earlier male-bonding epics of the Anglo-Saxons. So the poets produced tales in which the knight is still a brave warrior but is now motivated by the desire to serve a lady in a chivalric way.
  • Thus the tales developed a relationship later known as "courtly love," in which the knight serves his lady (usually NOT his wife) with obedience and submission (she controls the relationship), and is inspired by her love to do great deeds.
  • Extramarital aspect is not inherently immoral but rather an idealized romantic relationship which can therefore not exist in the "real" context of medieval marriage (typically based on monetary, political, or dynastic goals, NOT love). Therefore the quasi-adulterous quality that bothers modern readers was probably at that time beside the point.
Source: Prof. Debora Schwartz, Cal Poly University (Link)

What form do these characteristics of medieval romance take in the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight?

How have these conventions been adapted, in exciting ways, in contemporary popular culture, such as books, films, graphic novels, or comic books?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Paper #2

Choose one of the following topics for a paper due Thursday, October 7 (for all sections, including those not normally meeting on Thursday). Use only your ability to interpret and explain the text itself. Do not look online for supplemental information.

Topic 1

Using only the evidence of Paradise Lost, Book 9, lines 834 – 1189 (N.B. Not all of these lines were assigned or discussed in class), describe the relationship between Adam and Eve as Milton presents it.

Topic 2

After his final encounter with the Green Knight, Gawain takes the green belt because he will “remember with shame the faults and the frailty of the flesh perverse, how its tenderness entices the foul taint of sin.” Yet Arthur and his court celebrate Gawain and “agree with gay laughter and gracious intent that the lords and the ladies . . .a baldric should have . . of a bright green, to be worn with one accord for that worthy’s sake.”

In your opinion, is the green belt a symbol of Gawain’s failure or of his worth as a knight? Support your interpretation with brief references to the text.

  • As before, use only the assigned reading as a source. Do not seek additional material from any secondary source.
  • Papers are due Thursday, October 7 for all sections, both hard copy and turnitin.com.
  • For quoted material, use parenthetical line numbers rather than pages.
  • Suggested lengths: 750 words (2-3 pages) for English IV, 1000 words (3-4 pages) for AP students.
  • Check here for important reminders about heading, format, and style.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blog assignment #5--Sept 22-26

Please complete before Monday, September 27:

Post at least 5 comments on the most recent blogs left by your classmates last week. Remember, these blogs were either oral presentations or alternative points of view for specific scenes in Beowulf.

Each comment you post should be 3 or 4 "meaty" sentences (thank you, Dr. A).

Be as specific as you can. Point out choices the writer made that you admired. Point out ideas or facts or sentences you enjoyed. Point out things you wouldn't have thought of yourself. Since our blogs are public and this is an assignment, your job is not to be snarky, ironic, sarcastic, or "smack" talk your friends and classmates. Your goal here is to be an appreciative member of someone else's reading public, so that we all have the opportunity to experience writing for a real audience.

Remember, links to everyone's blog can be found on mine. Also, to avoid anyone being inadvertently neglected, please do NOT post a comment on someone's blog that already has 5 existing comments. Move on to someone else's. (You can, of course, avoid this particular issue by being among the first to post your comments.) If you wish to post MORE than 5 comments, you may then go back and post anywhere, even those entries which already have 5.

Any questions?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sample test questions

ID's--Breca, Freawaru, "forgyf us ure gyltas," semantics, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Heatho-Bards

Passages--give specific context (speaker and situation) and explain the significance of a passage to the work as a whole:
"Let whoever can win glory before death. When a warrior is gone, that will be his best and only bulwark. So arise, my lord, and let us immediately set forth on the trail of this troll-dam."

Essay--two paragraphs providing examples and brief discussion of a topic: "One essential quality of an epic is that it depicts the most important customs of a culture. What customs of Germanic culture are given greatest emphasis in the poem?

Blog 4--September 20

Take a look at Beowulf through a pair of eyes other than your own. Pretend to be one of the following characters and write in that voice. Stay true to the content of the poem, but be creative in your presentation of the point of view you choose.

1. You are Wiglaf. Describe your thoughts at the funeral of Beowulf. What thoughts and feelings are going through your mind and heart?

2. You are the Danish coast guard. Describe the arrival of Beowulf and the Geats, including your thoughts and impressions.

3. You are Hreporter, correspondent for Hrothgar's Heroic Herald, otherwise known as the Danish Daily Dispatch. Write your account of the victory feast and celebration following Beowulf's killing of Grendel.

4. Choose another minor character and re-create that character's part of the story in first-person point of view.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mea Culpa

I forgot that the chowderheads who publish the vocab book redid the quizzes so that they now cover two, not three, lessons at a whack. So the first quiz is lessons 1 & 2, the next 3 & 4, and so on.

Our apologies for any confusion or inconvenience--The Management

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Beowulf links

A couple of sites with a wealth of information on Old English and the Beowulf epic:

The first, by Syd Allan, contains information on many topics related to the study of Old English literature and Beowulf in particular.

The second, by Benjamin Slade, contains, among other things, a dual-language translation of the poem, allowing us to see each line in comparison with the original Anglo-Saxon text.

Also, YouTube contains many videos, from those done by earnest amateurs to movie trailers to more scholarly presentations.

These are resources which can be explored for the purpose of creating short oral presentations in class.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blog tips

1. Locate and use the return key. After having plowed my way through several 500-word long paragraphs, I want to say how readers enjoy consuming ideas in nice bite-size paragraphs rather than having the entire three-course meal stuffed down our throats in a single mouthful. (Blogger's formatting doesn't always recognize tab indents, so I'd even suggest a double return between paragraphs to make the divisions clearer.)

2. Put word count in parentheses at the end of your entry.

3. Keep working to create your own voice. I'm enjoying reading your early posts, and I'll enjoy them even more as you work on sounding like the authentic, intelligent self you are and not what you think I want you to sound like. Many of you are already doing so; keep it up. Your writing is so much nicer if it has a recognizable touch of your personality in it.

4. Take my e-mail address out of the "blog send" box in your settings. And if you have a PS from me, PLEASE turn off the word verification setting.

5. Act like you're enjoying it (even if you're not) and eventually you will.


The projects at the ends of chapters in Faire Englishche will be assigned individually in class. The reading assignment is only the content of that chapter.

Sorry for any confusion--The Management

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Updated schedule

I've made some changes to the assignment schedule. The new one gets us to the same place as the old one by Friday, September 10 (end of week 3 and my 60th birthday) but the order of the assignments is different. Between the JLP retreat and the 9th grade trip, there were too many conflicts to justify having a paper due Friday Sept 3. See the schedule of assignments for details.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Assignments--August 23 - October 7

English IV & AP—Major British Authors
Mr. Coon

Schedule of Assignments

August—October, 2010

Note: All assignments are DUE for the class day listed.

Week 1: August 23—27

Day 1: First day—welcome, syllabus, blog intro, assignments

Day 2: Set up account with Google Reader (see “how to start a blog,” on mrcoonsenglish.blogspot.com); write blog assignment #1.

Day 3: Read chapter 1, Our Faire Englische Tung

Day 4: Quiz 1—Multiple choice (15 minutes); write blog assignment #2

Week 2: August 30—September 3

Day 1: Read chapter 2, Our Faire Englische Tung

Day 2: Anthology, pp. 1 - 7

Day 3: Anthology, pp. 26-35 (to l. 185)

Day 4: pp.35-41 (to l. 490); vocab quiz, lessons 1-2

Week 3: September 7—10 No classes Monday (Labor Day)

1: Anthology, pp. 41-48 (to l. 835)

2: Paper #1 due Wednesday, Sept 8 for all sections (including section 3 which does not meet)

3: Multiple choice quiz 2; read pp. 48-66 (l. 1650)

Week 4: September 13—17

1: blog #3 due; read pp. 66-83 (l. 2509)

2: pp. 83-97.

3: Vocab quiz 2 (lessons 3-4)

4: Test on Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon English

Week 5: September 20—24

1: blog #4 due; read pp. 723-732 (to l. 270)

2: read pp. 778-781 (to l. 171)

3. pp. 823-828 (ll. 567-833)

4: Multiple choice quiz 3; read pp. 829-834 (ll. 886-1098)

Week 6: September 27—October 1

1: blog #5 due; read chapter 3, Oure Faire Englische Tung

2: Read pp. 112-124

3. pp. 124-137

4: vocab quiz 3 (lessons 5-6). pp. 137-154

Week 7: October 4—7—No school Friday (Fall Break)

1: read pp. 154-165; no blog due

2. drafts due for paper #2; topics to be announced

3. Papers due; multiple choice quiz #4

Friday, August 20, 2010

Heading and format guidelines

Click here for a document detailing requirements for heading and format of your papers.

Paper #1 assignment

English IV & AP
Paper #1
Summer reading assignment
Due Friday, September 3, 2010

1. Papers must be submitted both as hard copy to me and digital file to turnitin (assignment title: Summer Reading Paper). If you will be absent Friday, your paper is due Thursday, September 2.
2. Follow guidelines on mrcoonsenglish.blogspot.com for proper paper heading and format. Be sure to include the necessary information.
3. Length is 800-1000 words (approximately 3 pp) for English IV students and 1300-1600 (approx. 5 pp) words for AP students.
4. Use NO secondary sources for this assignment. Refer only to your own thoughts and the text of your selected novels. No google searches, no sparknotes, no yahoo answers, no Jstor articles, or any outside sources of any sort. Am I making myself sufficiently clear about this?


1a. (for English IV) “One of the great powers of literature is its ability to teach us what it means to be a human being. Whether the story we read is set in the past, present, or future, writers show us what is important to people, what they value most, what their deepest hopes, fears, conflicts, or dilemmas may be. Through a privileged glimpse into an imagined life, set in the context of a specific place and time, we gain new knowledge not only into that other reality but also into our own humanity.”—Prof. T-Bone McGanahan

Apply this statement to the novel you selected for your summer reading assignment. Select one character from that novel and, in an essay, explain how the writer gives the character recognizable humanity despite any differences in setting and circumstances between that character’s life and our own. Refer to the novel for specific examples to support your ideas. Avoid plot summary.

1b. (for English IV) If you both read the book and watched the movie based on that novel, write a paper comparing the two. In particular, assess the significance of the decisions made by the screenwriter and director in adapting the novel to film. How faithful was the adaptation? How successfully was the spirit and emotion of the novel translated to the screen? Be certain to use specific references to both media in your discussion.

2. (for AP students) Often, the most significant events in a novel are mental or psychological. For example, the key to understanding the novel may lie in an awakening, a discovery, or a change in consciousness (adapted from the 1988 Advanced Placement examination in English Literature and Composition).

Apply this statement to both of the novels you selected from the reading list. For each, briefly show how the writer gives internal events the same excitement, suspense, and climax we often associate with external action. Identify the internal change and suggest its significance to the novel as a whole. Refer specifically to both novels in the course of your discussion. Avoid plot summary.

Blog assignment #1--Most memorable books

Think about the most memorable reading experiences you have ever had in your life. List 10 of them in a blog post, including a brief note about your reason for including each. How old were you? Why was that book so memorable? Here are my choices, not in any particular order; what are yours?

1. Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger. When I was 15 I thought it the truest book I'd ever read. I haven’t changed my mind all that much in the years since.
2. The stories of Edgar Allan Poe. I found these at my public library the summer I was 12 and couldn't stop reading. Nearly 50 years later, I can still picture the library book and its purple cover. The Pit and the Pendulum, The Gold Bug, Murders in the Rue Morgue—loved ‘em.
3. All the Kings Men, Robert Penn Warren. Read it the first time when I was 20. I’ve gone back to it several times since. The best account of hardball politics I know, but also a great story of personal redemption.
4. Master and Commander, Patrick O'Brian. I love the whole series, all 20 volumes. I’ve read each one at least twice. The British navy during the Napoleonic wars comes alive and the characters are utterly memorable and convincing. I toured Adm. Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory, this summer.
5. Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin. A burglar, a consumptive heiress, a flying horse, and bridges from the future—what a combination.
6. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole. The most outrageously funny book I've ever read. I laughed out loud often.
7. Outlander, Diana Gabaldon--another series—I read volume 7 this summer. Time travel, romance, and history in one ever-expanding package.
8. Lonesome Dove--Larry McMurtry--my all-time favorite western, and I’ve always loved westerns. Part of a series of 4 novels, but this one stands out as the best of the bunch.
9. Gone to Soldiers--Marge Piercy--my favorite WWII novel, follows the experiences of 10 characters from the war’s beginning to its end. Some die, some go on to unexpected careers, all are profoundly affected by the war.
10. Anna Karenina--Tolstoy--read it one chapter a night before bedtime for three months—an amazing story. Lots of serious readers call this the best novel ever written.
11. Absalom Absalom AND The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner—I like them both so much I can’t choose between them. The closest thing to actually living in the Old South is immersing yourself in a Faulkner novel. Not easy, but they’re worth the effort
12. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen--my 2nd favorite 18th century novel. I've had a crush on Lizzy Bennett since I was 18, I think.
13. Tom Jones, Henry Fielding--my favorite 18th century novel. A 900-page novel I once read in 4 days.
14. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens--he may be a bit out of fashion now, but I love Dickens stories, the breadth of them, the marvelously eccentric characters, the twists and turns of plot.
15. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain--the book I've read the most times, so many I've lost count.

Finally, at the risk of disappointing some of you severely, I hereby confess that I’ve only read one Harry Potter book. I enjoyed it but don't feel any overwhelming need to continue the series. I enjoyed The Magicians by Lev Grossman more. It's funnier and written for a little older audience. Also haven't read Hunger Games or the Twilight series, although I do have a favorite vampire book, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, which comes close to making my list.

Blog assignment #1

Go to www.blogger.com. You should be automatically directed to their start page. Follow the "three easy steps" :
--Create your account using your PCDS e-mail account and a password of your choice (suggestion: use the same account and password for your turnitin.com account). Since your blog will only be read by me and by your classmates, please use your first and last name as your display name; that way I always know whose blog I'm reading and you get credit for having written it.
--Name your blog. Whatever you like, but it's a school assignment, so be appropriate, please. For your blog's url, use firstname-lastname so that we may find each other's blogs easily during the year.
--Select a template for your blog. Pick whichever one you like, with one condition. My eyes are getting older and I can't read text set against a black or dark blue background, so please don't choose one of those templates.

After you create your template, click "start posting" to go to the editing page of your blog. From there, you have one more crucial task. Copy the exact URL of your blog carefully and legibly onto a bookmark card and give it to me when you arrive in class.

Finally, one crucial setting. Open the "comments" tab, scroll down, and click the "NO" button next to a setting called "show word verification for comments." This one is important to save me a great deal of time and bother when I write comments back to you about your blog posts. Be sure to click "save settings" before you leave this section of your settings.

When you have completed all these steps, click the "Posting" tab and create your first blog entry.

I recommend that you write, edit, spell-check, and word-count your letter as a word document then paste it into the box on the posting page of your blog. When you're done, give it a title, click the orange button marked "publish post," and voila!—you have created your first blog entry (410).


English IV & AP
Major British Authors I
Mr. Coon; Fall 2010

I. Goals

This fall-semester course examines the origins of literature in English and traces the development of the English language from its Germanic roots to the eighteenth century. Readings include the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, excerpts from the narrative cycle The Canterbury Tales, the medieval romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night, excerpts from the literary epic Paradise Lost, and lyric poetry of the 17th and 18th centuries. A supplemental text develops a historical understanding of the growth and development of the language itself.
Some students in the course have the AP designation attached to their enrollment. These students, chosen on the basis of their interest, prior achievements, and motivation level, supported by the department’s recommendation, are expected to meet slightly higher academic standards. AP students write one additional paper, write slightly longer papers, and take occasional quizzes based on practice materials drawn from previous AP English Literature examinations. Also, students enrolled with AP designation are required to take the second half of the Major British Authors sequence in the spring semester and sit for the AP exam in English Literature and Composition in May.

II. Textbook

The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors, Eighth edition, Volume A

III. Additional texts
1. Vocabulary for Achievement, 6th course
2. Oure Faire Englische Tung: A Brief History of the English Language
3. Selected novels for summer reading

IV. Written work
The primary forum for written work is your blog. You are required to post weekly blog entries relating to the literature studied in the classroom. Your blogs will receive a grade, accounting for 30% of each quarter’s grade. Blog entries should be approximately 500 words in length (please indicate word count in parentheses at the end of each entry). I will not, however, grade by length alone; rather, quantity will be one of four criteria, along with regularity and completeness of entries, quality of style, and originality of content. Instructions about creating and posting blog entries may be found on my blog at mrcoonsenglish.blogspot.com.
Occasionally I will ask you to respond to particular prompts or questions on my blog, but often there is no set topic for your weekly entries. Rather, I ask you to find an element of the assigned reading that interests you and discuss it thoughtfully. This comment may take many forms, a few of which are suggested here:
• Discuss a character’s actions, words, personality, moral values, or humanity.
• Comment on the writer’s style, use of language, tone, irony, or imagery.
• Consider a topic or idea raised in class discussion, trying to go beyond what has already been stated.
• Raise and discuss a question about the text under consideration.
• Discuss the importance or meaning of a key passage or scene from the reading.
• For longer works, show how a scene or passage develops a theme or pattern identified in class.
• Make a comparison between a scene, character, or idea from the literature and something from another source or from your own experience
• Use an idea from my blog or from that of one of your classmates as a point of departure for your response.
• Locate relevant research material on the web, post a link to the site on your blog, and discuss your choice.

In all cases, your goals are to demonstrate close, careful reading of assigned texts, challenge yourself to creative, original thinking, and develop your fluency as a writer. In addition to blog entries, several times each semester, I will assign papers, either revisions of blog entries or interpretations of assigned novels, plays, poems, or stories.

IMPORTANT: HEADINGS FOR PAPERS—Always head your papers with the following information: your name, date, turnitin receipt number, and word count (your word processing program should perform this last task for you automatically).

V. Turnitin.com
In addition to submitting hard copies of your papers this year, you are required to submit electronic copies of all papers to turnitin.com. These instructions will help you submit your papers. Use your PCDS e-mail address and the same password for turnitin.com that you use for your account at blogger.com.
• On your web browser, go to turnitin.com. Register as a new user or login to the personal home page you created last year. You must give your PCDS e-mail address and a personal password which contains both letters and numbers to register. Click “student” as your user type. Give whatever other information may be necessary as you move through the required fields.
• When you reach your personal home page, click “join new class.” Then enter a class ID and a class enrollment password. For AP students, the class ID is 1598905 and the password “APeng”; for World Literature students (non-AP) the class ID is 1875359 and the password is “engIV”. Click “submit” when you finish. N.B: You only need to complete this step once.
• Then submit your paper. When you click on the class title, you will go to the class history page. Click on the word “submit” in the middle navigation bar. Enter the title of your paper and select the assignment with the correct date from the pull down menu. Assignments are listed by the title of the work and the date an assignment is due.
• After entering your title and selecting the correct assignment, paste your essay into the box marked “main text.” (In my experience, the copy and paste method works better than the upload method. You may, of course, find otherwise). You may ignore the boxes marked abstract and bibliography unless otherwise instructed. When your paper has been pasted into the “main text” box, click “submit.”
• Remember to put your digital receipt number on the assignment before you give it to me. Otherwise your assignment will be marked late and penalized accordingly.

VI. Participation and attendance
• Class discussion is a crucial part of the course. Therefore, it is imperative that we all treat one another with respect and behave in such a way as to contribute to, not disrupt, an atmosphere conducive to maximum learning.
• Participation in class is mandatory. I understand that the introverts have difficulty speaking in front of your peers and me; nevertheless, I expect you to contribute meaningfully to class activities and discussions. You must come to class having done the reading assigned and be prepared to discuss the material, answer questions, venture informed opinions, and articulate personal responses.
• Participation grades are assigned as follows and account for 10% of your grade in the class: "A" students are fully engaged, on time with the necessary books and supplies. They display obvious enthusiasm for the tasks of the class: reading, talking, listening, working in a group, thinking about a problem. "B" students' engagement varies slightly, sometimes at "A" level, sometimes not. "C" students are generally involved but with noticeable lapses. They may arrive late to class or frequently forget materials. They spend time on things other than the work at hand: chatting with friends, doing homework for another class, catching up on sleep, or staring off in space. "D" students exhibit these behaviors to an even greater degree, becoming a distraction to the work of the class, having a negative impact on the group's ability to get its work done, regularly coming to class unprepared.
• The first six excused absences each semester, not including those for School business (athletic competitions, class trips, performances, field trips, etc) will not be penalized. The seventh, ninth, and eleventh absences will result in a one-third letter grade penalty in your participation and attendance grade, and the thirteenth will result in a participation grade no higher than D for the semester. Latenesses to class will be reported to the Dean of Students. Detention begins on the third and subsequent lateness to each class.

VII. Vocabulary
• Three new lessons in the vocabulary book are assigned every other week. We will look briefly at the new words during the first class of the week, so please bring your books to that session. Quizzes will take place the first 10 minutes of class on alternate Fridays unless otherwise notified.
• For first semester, we will cover lessons 1-15; for the second, lessons 16-30. Quizzes will contain all 30 words from the three lessons.
• Missed vocabulary quizzes must be made up at your earliest possible convenience. After one week, barring extraordinary circumstances, missing scores will be entered as zeroes.

VIII. Grading policy

• Grades are determined on a point system in which each assignment is weighted by the number of points it contains. Points will be totaled at the end of each quarter and semester and grades determined in accordance with the percentages contained in your student handbook.
• Grades from individual assignments are then weighted into categories as follows: blogs (20%), papers and tests (50%), vocabulary and quizzes (20%), participation (10%).
• Assignments are due at the beginning of class. Work turned in during or after class is considered late and will be penalized. Late work is eligible for a score no higher than 75%, depending on the quality of the assignment and the degree of lateness. If you are absent the day an assignment is due, either have a classmate turn it in or fax the assignment to the Upper School office (602-224-6177).
• Students who miss quizzes or tests because of excused absence must make arrangements for make-up immediately upon returning to school. Missing work (quizzes or assignments never turned in or made up) will result in an incomplete grade for the quarter or semester.
• Any student who establishes a clear pattern of failing to complete the assigned reading according to the prescribed schedule will receive a semester grade of D or F, regardless of that student’s scores on other assignments. Repeated missing or poor written work, failed quizzes or tests, or the inability to supply basic factual information in class will be taken as signs of not reading.
• All assignments must be completed in accordance with the school’s honesty policy. See your handbook for details and be certain you know the difference between plagiarism and acceptable use of source material.

X. Contact information
• In person—room 311. Stop by to talk or ask a question anytime I’m free. My schedule is posted on the door of my classroom. To make up a quiz, go over an assignment, a speech draft, or a college essay, please make an appointment first.
• By voice-mail—602-956-0253 x4296
• By fax—602-224-6177
• By e-mail—Lance.Coon@pcds.org

Thursday, April 22, 2010

SHK--Final projects 2010

Follow this link to project requirements and schedule.

English IV--Summer Reading List

English IV & AP
2010 Recommended summer reading

Prior to the first week of the new school year, please read at least one of the following titles, all written by authors from the British Isles or Commonwealth. If you are enrolled in English IV AP, please select at least two titles, one from list I and one from list II. You are, of course, encouraged to choose additional titles for your own pleasure reading. (N.B. “H” designates historical fiction, set in a period earlier than its date of composition; “F” represents a work set in the future.)

I. Nineteenth century
Jane Austen, Persuasion (1818)
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (1847)
Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights (1847)
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859) (H)
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891)
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818)

II. Twentieth/Twenty-first century
Richard Adams, Watership Down (1972)
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (1986) (F)
Pat Barker, Regeneration (1991) (H)
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962) (F)
A.S. Byatt, Possession (1990)
Peter Carey, The True History of the Kelly Gang (2000) (H)
Roddy Doyle, The Van (1991)
Nadine Gordimer, July’s People (1981)
Graham Greene, The Quiet American (1955)
Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (2003)
George Hagen, Tom Bedlam (2007) (H)
Nick Hornby, High Fidelity (1995)
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932) (F)
Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day (1989) (H)
C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (1942)
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall (2009) (H)
Yann Martel, Life of Pi (2002)
Ian McEwan, Atonement (2001) (H)
Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance (1995) (H)
Patrick O’Brian, Master and Commander (1969) (H)
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient (1992) (H)
George Orwell, 1984 (1949) (F)
Graham Swift, Waterland (1983)
Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger (1992) (H) or Morality Play (1995) (H)

Several of these novels have been adapted into fine movies. Feel free to rent the film after you read the novel, as you could elect to write a brief comparison of the two for your first written assignment.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shakespeare--important dates

Friday, April 16--Vocab 23, 24
Wed. April 21 -- Test on Twelfth Night (ID's, a few passages, a short essay topic)
Friday, April 23 -- Sonnet performances in honor of Shakespeare's (and Sarah's) birthday (thanks to Sarah A and Salona for cake and cookies)
Tuesday, April 27 -- Review plays & vocab lessons 25 & 26
Wednesday, April 28 -- Selection of final performance projects
Friday, April 30 -- Last vocab quiz (25, 26)
Thurs, May 13 -- Final project performances in Dorrance, 11:30 - 12:15, public invited
Friday, May 14 -- Last day of class
Saturday, May 15 -- Prom
Monday, May 17 -- Awards Day
Tuesday, May 18 to Friday May 21 -- Senior class trip
Monday, May 24 -- Final exams for any unfortunate souls with averages below 72.5%
Thursday, June 3 -- Graduation rehearsal, graduation
Friday & Saturday, June 4 & 5 --Greer Days celebration & parade

Monday, April 12, 2010

AP--week of April 12

Day 1--small group discussions of The Glass Menagerie. All answers must be supported by examples drawn from the text of the play.
Group 1--what are Amanda's admirable qualities? How do they add to the presentation of her character? How sympathetic is her total portrayal in the play?
Group 2--Why does Jim respond so warmly, even protectively, to Laura? What do they have in common? Why does he pull back from her so suddenly?
Group 3--How does Tom, unlike Laura, protect himself from the debilitating atmosphere of the apartment? How do his soliloquies employ irony to illustrate his methods of psychological self-defense?

Day 2--before class, read Arthur Miller's essay "Tragedy and the Common Man," on p. 1833. Which of his ideas about tragedy differ most sharply from those implied in the plays of Sophocles and Shakespeare? in class, read the handout from "The Play is Memory," by Benjamin Nelson. Discuss this question: to what extent do you agree with his implication that the major shortcoming of The Glass Menagerie is that its characters lack tragic stature?

Day 3--Read Act 1 of Fences; come to class prepared to discuss your initial impressions of all the central characters. Also, in-class exercise on AP style analysis.

Day 4--vocab 23 & 24 quiz. Short video on the career of August Wilson. Continue reading and researching your outside novels.

Monday, April 19--finish reading Fences.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Final projects--African-American Lit

Suggested reading list for final projects.
N.B. Projects must be “multi-media” in some way. That is, the reading may be accompanied by research in an area related to its theme, into African-American popular culture, into film, art, and music, and the results of this learning are to by synthesized into a powerpoint presentation involving text and either audio or visual supplements.

Alice Walker -- The Color Purple
James Baldwin -- If Beale Street Could Talk
Audre Lorde ???
Gloria Naylor -- Mama Day, The Women of Brewster Place
Ishmael Reed -- Mumbo Jumbo
Rita Dove -- Mother Love
Ntozake Shange -- Nappy Edges, for colored girls who have considered suicide . .
Toni Morrison -- Bluest Eye, Sula, Jazz
Lucille Clifton -- Adventures of Everett Anderson—all volumes
Terri MacMillan -- Waiting to Exhale
Carolivia Herron -- Thereafter, Johnnie
Barbara Smith -- Home Girls
Paule Marshall -- Brown Girl, Brownstones
August Wilson -- The Piano Lesson
Ernest Gaines -- The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Alex Haley -- Roots
Maya Angelou -- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Walter Mosley -- Devil in a Blue Dress

Monday, April 5, 2010

AP schedule April 5 - May 6

Week of April 5--Read The Glass Menagerie, scenes 1 - 5, pp. 1836 - 1860 for Thursday; multiple choice practice quiz Friday; blog on outside reading over the weekend.

Week of April 12--reading blogs due Sunday night; read The Glass Menagerie, scenes 6 & 7, pp. 1860 - 1885 for Monday; Read Fences, Act 1, pp. 1996 - 2026 for Thursday; vocab quiz 23-24 Friday.

Week of April 19--Read Fences, act 2, pp. 2026 - 2048 for Monday; multiple choice practice quiz Friday; finish novels and JStor research for papers

Week of April 26--Write papers; five typed pages due in class Tuesday/Wednesday; final drafts due Friday, April 30 (approx 2000 words); 60-minute multiple choice practice exam Thursday April 29.

Week of May 3--Exam review; exams in Government, French, Spanish, Statistics, Calculus, and Chinese; AP exam in English literature Thursday, May 6, 7:45 AM.

No class Friday, May 7

Week of May 10--To be Announced. We will definitely have class Friday May 14 (last day for seniors)

Monday, March 15, 2010

AP--Link to reading list

Here is the assignment for the final paper of this course.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hurston paper

English IV: African-American Literature
Paper assignment

February 2010

WHAT: A three- to four-page paper (approximately 1000 words) discussing Hurston’s development of the character of Janie Crawford in the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

WHEN: Papers are due, both hard copy and to turnitin.com, Tuesday, March 2.

HOW: Trace Hurston’s presentation of Janie through the major stages of her life: childhood with Nanny, marriages to Logan, Jody, and Tea Cake, and sitting on her porch telling her story to Pheoby. Locate and discuss evidence of the growth of Janie’s strength and sense of self. Which of her thoughts, feelings, and actions are most indicative of the woman she becomes through the forty years of her life? To what extent does she embody the lives and concerns of women in general, not just those of one semi-literate Southern rural experience?

Outside sources for this assigment are optional. But if you do choose to do any research, be certain to document the source of your content, both verbatim quotations and broader concepts or ideas, in the text of your essay and on a works cited page.

DETAILS: Include a word count and digital receipt number in your heading. Submit your paper under the assignment titled “Hurston paper”.

SUGGESTIONS: Think about the issues that affect women, both in life and in literature—issues such as autonomy, self-expression, the need for community, self-determination, sexuality, the desire to love and be loved, and equality—and look for evidence of these themes in Janie’s experience. Which are most important to Janie? Where does she make the most progress? Where does she remain the same?

Hurston journal entry

Their Eyes Were Watching God
Chapters 19 & 20

A few things stood out to me when I re-read the ending of the novel:

1. When the hurricane comes (even though that's in chapter 18) Janie, Tea Cake, and their friends on the Muck can't interpret the warning signs. The narrator even points out that the Seminoles and the local wildlife start fleeing before the storm, but ironically the Black farm workers are lulled into a false sense of confidence because they are making good money with their work and because the Whites are not fleeing.

2. The scene is West Palm Beach where Tea Cake is forced to work burying the dead from the hurricane is one of the few places in the novel where racism is explicitly addressed. Even in death, and despite the stench of decomposition, White corpses receive better treatment than the common grave of the Blacks, and local police use their power arbitrarily to force refugees like Tea Cake to labor without pay.

3. The death of Tea Cake is a powerful scene. It's not fully clear why Janie doesn't hide the gun she finds under Tea Cake's pillow, but she is conscious enough of the fear that is taking over his mind to turn the cylinder so that three empty chambers will be the first fired. As a result, she has time to defend herself, making sure to wait until Tea Cake's intentions to harm her are clear, after he fires all three empty cylinders. Only then does she use the rifle to keep him from shooting her with a live cylinder.

4. Janie's trial is curiously understated. She tells her story to judge and jury, but rather than let us hear her testimony in her own words, the narrator summarizes, telling us "she just sat there and told and when she was through she hushed." In a law court, as at Jody's store, Janie's direct voice is absent, reminding us that the only time in the novel she has consistently had a strong, clear voice was while she was with Tea Cake.

5. And in the telling of her story to Pheoby. Inspired by Janie's recounting of her life story, especially of her time on the Muck, Pheoby says, "Ah done growed ten feet higher from jus' listening' to you, Janie." Despite Janie's grief over Tea Cake's death, she has come home satisfied to be there, having learned from her life's journey, "Two things everybody's got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got to go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin' fuh theyselves." She can sit on her porch in peace, finally able to "pull in her horizon like a fish-net." (483)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

AP--February 16 - March 12

For Tuesday and Wednesday, February 16 & 17--Poetry wrap-up

For Thursday, February 18--In-class essay: Poetry analysis

For Friday, February 19: Vocab quiz, lessons 17 & 18. Read Oedipus The King, pages 1277 - 1322. 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 weekend, group 1 will blog on some aspect of this play (entries due over the weekend by Sunday evening, please), while group 2 will post comments on at least 5 of your classmates blogs (be polite, be respectful, be responsive to others’ ideas—comments due by Monday night February 22).

[Group 1: Sarah B, Bianca, Ariel, Hannah, Maude, Basil, Yuka, Michael, Patrick, Peter, Margo, David, Margaret M, MacKenzie, Taylor, Ari; group 2: everyone else. Thank you, Spenser, for using random numbers to generate these groups.]

For Thursday, February 25: Read Antigone, pages 1323 - 1352 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 group 2 are due Sunday evening, February 28. Comments (at least 5) from group 1 are due by Monday evening March 1. Multiple choice quiz Friday the 26th.

For Tuesday and Wednesday, March 2 & 3
--Read Acts 1 & 2 of Hamlet, pp. 1470 - 1518. Prepare an oral answer to one of the questions on page 1588.

For Friday, March 5 - Vocab quiz, lessons 19 & 20.

For Monday, March 8 - Read Acts 3 - 5 of Hamlet, pp. 1519 - 1587. Blog your answer to one of the questions on page 1589.

For Friday, March 12 - Multiple choice scoring workshop, test of 1987. Read pages 1677 - 1718 in the anthology (Acts 1 & 2, A Doll's House).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Shakespeare--Performance assignment #1 (2010)

Link to instructions for Hamlet performance assignment

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

AP--another option for writing about poetry

For this assignment, if you wish, you might consider forms other than the expository essay as a way to "waterski across the poem, waving at the author's name." You may, for example, choose to enter into the human experience of the poem by rewriting the poem in another form. You could do so by writing an interior monologue of the speaker's thoughts and feelings, by writing a short story that contains the essential experience conveyed through the poem, by writing a letter from one character in the poem to another. Your writing could take whatever form, whether essay or something else, you think will best convey the essential qualities of the poem. The one requirement is that what you write must remain true to the original poem in some important way.

One of my favorite student pieces, written over 20 years ago by Miko McGinty, takes us into a famous William Carlos Williams poem about forbidden fruit:

Beyond What I (He) Just Said

I walked into the kitchen late this morning, and found a note from my lover. The note was a poem.

This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

I woke at daybreak. I stretched and looked at the woman in bed with me. And smiled. She was tangled in the sheets, her legs were bare, but the night had been warm, and she looked comfortable. I showered and dressed and went into the kitchen. In the icebox were two plums, so purple they were almost black. They were firm and cold and when I bit into the first one, the juice dripped onto my fingers. They were the sweetest plums I have ever eaten. I left a note for her to explain why I had eaten them.

I read the note, and smiled. He enjoys life, he takes pleasure in small things, events. He is teaching me to enjoy them too, by sharing. He is considerate--his leaving a note tells me that. He did not take those plums for granted. He is not a taker, he ate them and appreciated them. He gives to me his love, he gives his experiences. He gives me this note. Through the poem I share in the eating. I can see him biting the plum, his skin as dark, though the color of the earth instead of the color of the night sky. He savors the flesh, he sees the beauty in the event. Of course I forgive him. I love him.

I think about her, finding the note, perhaps smiling. I think about how the plums are like our life together, delicious and sweet, meant to be enjoyed. I know she understands the underlying message--the love that I wove into the note. It is wonderful that we now live together, that the icebox is not hers or mine but just "the" icebox. It is wonderful that I can leave a note explaining I ate "the" plums, not her plums. It is wonderful that I can leave a note that addresses day to day life.

He leaves me this note, just a short note. But it says more than I ate the plums, it says we live together, it says I want to share with you. It just says I love you.

Monday, January 11, 2010

AP--Poems for Discussion

Section 1
M 1/11--LCC--My Last Duchess 668
Tu 1/12--LCC--Metaphors (771) & "Swan and Shadow" (885)
Th 1/14--Christina--"The Silken Tent" p. 780
Fr 1/15--Brian--"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" p. 1102
Tu 1/19--Sarah--"Those Winter Sundays" p. 1173
Th 1/21--Sophie B--"My Papa's Waltz" p. 674
Fr 1/22--Kevin--"When I Have Fears" p. 1129
Mo 1/25--Alex--"Dover Beach" p. 1078
Tu 1/26--Ariel--"Death Be Not Proud" p. 1101
Th 1/28--Hannah--"The World is Too Much With Us" p. 912
Fr 1/29--Maude--"That Time of Year" p. 1163
Mo 2/1--Sophie L--"Her Kind"--687
Tu 2/2 Basil White Lies 680
Th 2/4 Yuka Lady Lazarus 934
Fr 2/5 Katie When You Are Old 1190
Mo 2/8 Michael Dulce et Decorum Est 698
Tu 2/9 Patrick To an Athlete Dying Young 1124

Section 2
M 1/11 LCC My Last Duchess 668
W 1/13 LCC Metaphors 771 & Swan and Shadow 885
Th 1/14 Peter The Unknown Citizen 690
Fr 1/15 Margo My Papa's Waltz 674
W 1/20 Bianca Traveling Through the Dark 991
Th 1/21 Spenser Death Be Not Proud 1101
Fr 1/22 David White Lies 680
Mo 1/25 MargLiu Neutral Tones 897
We 1/27 MargMc Those Winter Sundays 1173
Th 1/28 Taylor One Art 998
Fr 1/29 Josh When you Are Old 1190
M 2/1 Zach The World 912
W 2/3 Katharine When I Have Fears 1129
Th 2/4 Mackenzie Dover Beach 1078
F 2/5 Asmit Batter My Heart 709
M 2/8 Ari Since There's No Help 858
W 2/10 Diana 100 Love Sonnets 973
Th 2/11 Devika The Silken Tent 780

Why We Read Books

When you have read a book, you have added to your human experience. Read Homer and your mind includes a piece of Homer’s mind. Through books you can acquire at least fragments of the mind and experience of Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare—the list is endless. For a great book is necessarily a gift: it offers you a life you have not time to live yourself, and it takes you into a world you have not time to travel in literal time. A civilized human mind is, in essence, one that contains many such lives and many such worlds. If you are too much in a hurry, or too arrogantly proud of your own limitations, to accept as a gift to your humanity some pieces of the minds of Sophocles, of Aristotle, of Chaucer—and right down the scale and down the ages to Yeats, Einstein, E.B. White, and Ogden Nash—then you may be protected by the laws governing manslaughter, and you may be a voting entity, but you are neither a developed human being nor a useful citizen of a democracy.

--Poet and Professor John Ciardi, from a 1954 speech