Friday, February 16, 2018
"Apollonianism and Dionysianism" by Friedrich Nietzche, excerpted from The Birth of Tragedy, books 1-4.
If you are reading from the AP reader, this selection starts on p. 547. If you are looking at the link above, scroll down to the beginning of The Birth of Tragedy and read the first four sections, down to "Antigone and Cassandra."
This is not an easy read. In A World of Ideas, the introduction to this piece will be extremely helpful. Failing that, go ahead and read the Wikipedia article "Apollonian and Dionysian," particularly the section about German philosophy.
Building on the "My Struggle" list you started in class, create a visual illustration, in the style of Molly Crabapple's illustration of Dali's list. You can use different font styles, small drawings, or colors, or whatever helps you bring your list to life.
For those who were not in class and did not do a "My Struggle" list, please explore the concepts of Apollonianism and Dionysianism by creating characters that illustrate these two worldviews. You can write about them or draw them. If you draw then, they can be anime, cartoons, realistic, animals, or whatever you like, but add details and show us how these philosophies would manifest themselves in a personality. If you write about them, write at least 300 words total.
As we discussed in class, your assignment is to write a personal essay about your "My Struggle" list. You should reference at least a few of the pairs you described, but don't let your essay become just another list. You might talk about the process of making the list, if it was easy or difficult for you, if you see the world in these terms, or if you reject the idea altogether. Your lists in class were really interesting and I look forward to reading more.
If you are in the AP class, your assignment is to write the three essays in the practice exam that I emailed out. We have already read the prompts, outlined some ideas, and discussed strategies, but time yourself according to what you see on the test, and give yourself a chance to look back over the materials and carefully read the prompts again. You will be submitting two copies -- one for me to grade and one for peer editing. This time in peer editing we're focusing on the definitions of effective, adequate, and inadequate, so make sure you're convincing as well as clear.
If you missed class and you're not in AP, respond to the following prompt from the 2017 practice AP Lang exam, written by the College Board:
In a 2011 essay in The Atlantic, author and journalist Lori Gottlieb writes: "Nowadays, it’s not enough to be happy—if you can be even happier. The American Dream and the pursuit of happiness have morphed from a quest for general contentment to the idea that you must be happy at all times and in every way." Gottlieb then cites Barry Schwartz, a professor of social theory: “Happiness as a byproduct of living your life is a great thing . . . [b]ut happiness as a goal is a recipe for disaster.”
In a well-developed essay, take a position on the claim that pursuing happiness as a goal has detrimental effects. Support your argument with appropriate evidence from your experience, observations, or reading.
For ten points, after reading the Nietzsche, give me five examples of Apollonian people and five examples of Dionysian people. They can be fictional, historical, or currently alive, famous or local. You must give a brief explanation with each one.
Friday, February 9, 2018
Euripedes' Medea, the rest of the play.
Excerpt from "Medea in Athens," a long poem by Augusta Webster, 1879.
Wilt thou accuse my guilt? Whose is my guilt?
Mine or thine, Jason? Oh, soul of my crimes,
How shall I pardon thee for what I am?
Never. And if, with the poor womanish heart
That for the loving's sake will still love on,
I could let such a past wane as a dream
And turn to thee at waking – turn to thee!
I, put aside like some slight purchased slave
Who pleased thee and then tired thee, turn to thee!
Yet never, not if thou and I could live
Thousands of years, and all thy years were pain
And all my years were to behold thy pain,
Never could I forgive thee for my boys;
Never could I look on this hand of mine
That slew them and not hate thee. Childless, thou,
What is thy childlessness to mine? Go, go,
Thou foolish angry ghost, what wrongs hast thou?
Would I could wrong thee more. Come thou sometimes
And see me happy.
Dost thou mock at me
With thy cold smiling? Aye, can I not love?
What then? am I not folded round with love,
With a life's whole of love? There doth no thought
Come near to Aegeus save what is of me:
Am I no happy wife? And I go proud,
And treasure him for noblest of the world:
Am I no happy wife?
Dost mock me still?
My children, is it? Are the dead so wise?
Why, who told thee my transport of despair
When from the Sun, who willed me not to die
Nor creep away, sudden and too late came
The winged swift car that could have saved them, mine,
From thee and from all foes? Tush, 'twas best so.
If they had lived, sometimes thou hadst had hope:
For thou wouldst still have said 'I have two sons'
And dreamed perchance they'd bring thee use at last
And build thy greatness higher: but, now, now,
Thou has died shamed and childess, none to keep
Thy name and memory fresh upon the earth,
None to make boast of thee, 'My father did it.'
Yes, 'twas best so: my sons, we are avenged.
Thou, mock me not. What if I have ill dreams,
Seeing them loathe me, fly from me in dread,
When I would feed my hungry mouth with kisses?
What if I moan in tossing fever-thirsts,
Crying for them whom I shall have no more,
Here nor among the dead, who never more,
Here nor among the dead, will smile to me
With young lips prattling 'Mother, mother dear'?
What if I turn sick when the women pass
That lead their boys; and hate a child's young face?
What if —
Go, go; thou mind'st me of our sons;
And then I hate thee worse; go to thy grave
By which none weeps. I have forgotten thee.
After reading the except above, and in the spirit of Valentine's Day, write a love poem from Medea to Jason. Then, in honor of Singles Appreciation Day, write another one that takes place after their divorce (but not necessarily after her flight into exile). Make it bitter or make it pleading; make it deadly in its sweetness or blunt in its outrage and indignation. The poems together must total at least 28 lines. This is not meant to be a satire or parody, but it would be appropriate to employ the wit that Medea often uses.
Consider our upcoming marathon read event. Using whatever artistic medium you choose, design a concept image for our flier and for a banner to be used in the Livestream. Your art will involve choosing which colors to use for the event in all design elements, what font to use, and a general "feel" for the visuals we display. If you would like to create a full flier, go ahead! If you're making it digitally, make sure you keep your layers so that it can possibly be edited as the group collaborates on a name and the wording.
As we discussed in class, spectators at Medea were shocked by the feminist message. However, some took his villainous depiction of Medea (and other female characters) to be an attack on the female gender. In a organized essay of 300 words, illustrate the duality of Medea - how do we reconcile the amazingly ahead-of-its-time message of Medea's earlier monologues with the play's villainous depiction of the tragic heroine? Was Euripedes a protofeminist or was he putting these words in Medea's mouth only to set her up for a fall?
Write a press release for our upcoming marathon read event. Take a look at this article, How to Write a Press Release With Examples from CBS News, or recall the lessons of last year's guest speaker. The press release will need a tagline; information about the venue, time, and place; instructions on how to participate; a description of what will be happening; a message about the reason for and purpose of the event; and anything else you feel will attract media attention to our project. Remember that the purpose is to invite contact, and make sure to include information on us and how to get in contact with us. Write at least 300 words, being aware that it's better to write more material than needed and edit it down.
The quiz will take place orally in class on Tuesday, closed book. It will test your reading comprehension of the text of the play Medea, and also these videos:
Friday, February 2, 2018
Read the first half of Medea (lines 1-762, when Aegeus exits).
Sketch or paint a family picture of Jason, Medea, and their two sons before they were separated, in the style of a Victorian family portrait. A quick search of "Victorian family painting" will give you an idea of the style. Here's one of the most famous instances, depicting Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and the royal family in 1846. While your picture may seem cozy and wholesome from the outside, on the inside all is not well. Perhaps Jason is already beginning to regret his marriage to Medea. Try to signify this, whether through cleverly placed symbolism, facial expressions, or other artistic methods. As an (albeit not very subtle) example of this sort of subtext, study and read about the painting in this article. Now, imagine that it is five minutes before the events depicted in the above painting - a seemingly pure and familial gathering, soon to be irreparably wrecked forever.
During the course of the play, Medea never gets to meet Jason's new princess bride face-to-face. Write a monologue from the point of view of Medea in which she addresses the princess upon seeing her for the first time. Imagine that this is the first thing either has said to the other in the play. The monologue must have at least twenty lines, with ten syllables in each line. If you want to go hardcore, make it iambic pentameter.
Throughout the first half of the play, Medea delivers lengthy monologues to the chorus (215-271), Jason (467-519), Creon (292-323), and Aegeus (707-718). In an essay of at least 500 words, analyze the different tones she adopts in each of these. In addition, identify her objective in each monologue and explain what is revealed about her character in each successive monologue. How are her speeches meant to affect those to whom they are directed? Do they succeed in doing so? How are they meant to affect us, the readers and audience? Do NOT merely summarize her speeches. Dig deep. Read them out loud to yourselves - it is a play after all. Go into your room, where nobody will judge you, and read them. Play with the lines. Imagine you yourself are Medea - what do you hope to accomplish by this? When you reference a specific line with a quote (and you should do so), use an in-text citation thus: (540-541).
IN ADDITION TO your writing assignment for this week, write a second essay in which you examine Jason’s monologue in lines 522-576. Then, using the techniques you have learned in class, analyze Jason’s rhetorical style and strategies, identifying as many as you can. Do not express an opinion on whether or not he is justified or right (because we all know he’s not). The essay must be at least 250 words. When you reference a specific line with a quote (and you should do so), use an in-text citation thus: (540-541).
1. Why is Medea upset?
2. Who are the first characters with speaking roles we see in Medea? How are they different from almost all the other characters we studied last semester in Oedipus the King and Antigone? (Hint: Consider their rank and social status, and how many lines they get)
3. Medea rants about three cultural issues affecting women, specifically married women. What are these issues?
4. What trait does Medea possess that, due to the inequalities and injustices of her culture, brand her a troublemaker?
5. On which three people does Medea swear vengeance?
6. In line 160, to which two goddesses does Medea pray? Why does she pray to them specifically?
7. Why does Creon, King of Corinth, want to exile Medea?
8. Why has Jason come to speak to Medea?
9. What four favors does Medea list that she has performed for Jason?
10. Medea was, of course, written by Euripides. Therefore, how many (non-chorus) actors could we have expected to see when it was first performed?
11. What connection does the chorus have with Medea that makes them sympathize with her?
12. What does Medea offer Aegeus?
Send your quiz directly to Nathan for grading.
Friday, December 15, 2017
The Odyssey by Homer, books 20-24
"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
In the end, Odysseus slaughters all the suitors and is reunited with his father. But what happens then? Read the poem "Ulysses" and consider Tennyson's interpretation of how unsatisfying Odysseus might have found old age. Choose an image from the poem to illustrate in color, and use your piece of art to show the longing and restlessness that Odysseus feels (in Tennyson's interpretation) after the adventure is over.
Write a poem using one of the whimsical chapter titles from Robert Fitzgerald's translation of The Odyssey. For example, "The Grace of the Witch" "Blows and a Queen's Beauty" "Recognitions and a Dream" "The Trunk of the Olive Tree" "Gardens and Firelight" "Warriors Farewell" etc. Your poem doesn't have to do anything with the story of the Odyssey -- just be inspired by one of the titles.
We discussed in class how the Iliad and the Odyssey reflect the pursuit of different values. The Iliad demonstrates the human desire for glory and fame, adventure, war, violence, and the world of men, and the Odyssey demonstrates the human desire for homecoming, the hearth, safety, family, and the world of women. There are two vocabulary words to know, connected with this idea: Kleos and Nostos. The Greek word Kleos means the glory achieved through war. Nostos means homecoming, and all the complications and difficulties associated with it -- the way you've changed, the way your home has changed, and the hard journey you take to get there (the root for the word nostalgia). Usually a choice needs to be made between achieving one or the other, but Odysseus manages to gain both. In a 300 word essay, define Kleos and Nostos in terms of the events of the Odyssey, and give examples from the Odyssey that show how Odysseus achieved both a glorious career as a soldier and a successful homecoming.
(AP KIDS CHOOSE THIS ONE) Having read Aristotle's "The Aim of Man" in your reader, write a 500 word essay answering the following question: Are you happy? Aristotle's chief rhetorical strategy in this essay is definition, and that's the strategy you'll be primarily practicing as well. You'll need to define what is meant by "you" (you personally or your demographic?) and "happy" (happy like joyful? happy like satisfied? happy like busy?) and whatever other terms pop up. You'll also be practicing using quotes, with techniques exemplified by the Stephen Jay Gould essay. Include at least one meaningful block quote and several shorter quotes you can embed in your paragraphs. This essay needs to be turned in on paper in the first week we meet in January -- one copy for me and one copy for a critique partner. We will be revising it.
No quiz. Happy holidays. Finish reading The Odyssey so you can say you did.
Friday, December 8, 2017
|John Waterhouse, again.|
Homer's Odyssey, Books 15-19
"Siren Song" by Margaret Atwood
"Telemachus' Fancy" by Louis Gluck
Use the web site "Storyboard That" to create a visual storyboard for part of the story in books 15-19. You might show Odysseus revealing himself to Telemachus, or begging from the suitors, or meeting his old dog, or getting his feet washed by his old nurse. You do not have to use time-period specific ancient looking people or settings, but you should make clear who is who and what is happening in your storyboard. If you like the site and you'd like to do more than one storyboard, you can show other scenes from the poem too.
The suitors of Penelope are so important to the story that they get their own special name: Proci. The three most prominent ones in the plot are Antinoos (the stool-thrower), Eurymachus (the big shot), and Ampinomus (the nice guy). Write a personal ad for each of them to place in the Ithaka Times, so they can find love if they escape the wrath of Odysseus (against Athena's wishes). Each suitor should describe himself including hobbies and personal appearance, and describe the type of woman he's looking for and what an ideal date might be like. Use each ad to reveal something about the character's personality as demonstrated by the way he goes after Penelope and the way he treats the disguised Odysseus.
Loyalty and faithfulness are important themes in the Odyssey. Using quotes from the epic, write a 300 word essay about characters who demonstrate loyalty. Write an interesting intro to hook the reader, and a conclusion that takes the reader to a new place.
OR (AP STUDENTS CHOOSE THIS)
Are you a person inside a body, motivated by your own free will, or are you a body inside an environment, responding to stimuli and behaving according to contingencies of reinforcement? Using B.F. Skinner's essay "What is Man?" as a point of reference, and using quotes from the essay to represent that point of view, either agree with or disagree with Skinner by answering this question one way or the other in a 500 word essay. No "it depends." Which feels more right to you? Which interpretation that Skinner defines do you personally respond to -- traditionalism or environmentalism? Type it and post it as usual, and print to turn in.
AP: For next week, Read Stephen Jay Gould's "Nonmoral Nature."
1. Zeus sends two signs that amount to a dead thing in the talons of a bird of prey, which are interpreted as various omens. If you were Zeus, what would you send in the talons of a bird of prey, and how should the omen be interpreted?
2. Helen gives Telemachus a gift to take back for his future wife. If you were Helen, what would you give Telemachus to take back to Ithaka?
3. Eumaios was the son of a Syrian lord who ended up being sold to Laertes as a child. Make up your own origin story, though. How did Eumaios come to Ithaka?
4. If you were Odysseus parading around as a beggar, how would you reveal yourself to Telemachus?
5. If you were one of the suitors, how would you impress Penelope and rise to the top of the pile?
6. Odysseus' dog Argos is 20+ years old. In the story, Argos recognizes his master and almost immediately dies happy, which is very sad. Write an alternate ending for Argos.
7. Odysseus as a beggar asks for food from each of the suitors, and in doing so can figure out who is a nice guy and who is not. If you were Odysseus as a beggar, what test would you create to sort out the bad suitors from the good ones?
8. Write a good insult for Odysseus to hurl at Antinoos.
9. Odysseus can't let his nurse see the scar on his thigh that he got by being gored by a wild boar. Invent another identifying mark that Odysseus might have, that his nurse would know about.
10. Penelope has a dream that an eagle comes along to kill a bunch of geese, which signifies that Odysseus will come along to kill a bunch of suitors. Invent a different dream for Penelope, that could be interpreted in the same way.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
The Odyssey of Homer, Books 11-14
"Calypso" by Suzanne Vega
My name is Calypso
And I have lived alone
I live on an island
And I waken to the dawn
A long time ago
I watched him struggle with the sea
I knew that he was drowning
And I brought him into me
Come morning light
He sails away
After one last night
I let him go.
My name is Calypso
My garden overflows
Thick and wild and hidden
Is the sweetness there that grows
My hair it blows long
As I sing into the wind
My name is Calypso
And I have lived alone
I live on an island
I tell of nights
Where I could taste the salt on his skin
Salt of the waves
And of tears
And though he,pulled away
I kept him here for years
I let him go
My name is Calypso
I have let him go
In the dawn he sails away
To be gone forever more
And the waves will take him in again
But he'll know their ways now
I will stand upon the shore
With a clean heart
And my song in the wind
The sand will sting my feet
And the sky will burn
It's a lonely time ahead
I do not ask him to return
I let him go
I let him go
"Circe" by Olga Brou
The fire bites, the fire bites. Bites
to the little death. Bites
till she comes to nothing. Bites
on her own sweet tongue. She goes on. Biting.
They tell me a woman waits, motionless
till she’s wooed. I wait
spiderlike, effortless as they weave
even my web for me, tying the cord in knots
with their courting hands. Such power
over them. And the spell
their own. Who could release them? Who
would untie the cord
with a cloven hoof?
What I wear in the morning pleases
me: green shirt, skirt of wine. I am wrapped
in myself as the smell of night
wraps round my sleep when I sleep
outside. By the time
I get to the corner
bar, corner store, corner construction
site, I become divine. I turn
men into swine. Leave
them behind me whistling, grunting, wild.
|Odysseus and the Sirens by John Waterhouse|
Read this essay about the John Waterhouse painting, "Odysseus and the Sirens." Now that you understand the controversy over whether the Sirens should be portrayed as beautiful women or shrieking monsters, create your own illustration of the Sirens, in which you portray them in a completely different way. Maybe they are cheeseburgers, or new releases of video games, or surfboards, or TV remotes, or something else enticing. You don't have to mimic the Waterhouse painting (although that would be amusing) but you need the familiar elements -- the ship, Odysseus tied to the mast, and the Sirens in whatever form you imagine they would appear.
|Circe Invidiosa by John Waterhouse|
Your writing assignment is a 500 word essay. In your essay, analyze the essay we read in class, "What's Happened to Disney Films" by John Evans, and its use of the Toulmin model. This means you'll need to find the claim, the support, the warrant, the backing, the rebuttal, and the qualifier. All of these were discussed in class, so really what you're practicing here is how to form an essay to delivery this analysis. After you've analyzed the Toulmin structure, argue against the essay using your own rhetoric.
1. What is the recipe for bringing the shades to life?
2. What does Elpenor want?
3. What warning does Teiresias give to Odysseus? What should he NOT do?
4. What advice does Teiresias give to Odysseus about after he gets rid of the suitors?
5. Which dead person updates Odysseus on the doings back in his hometown?
6. How does Achilles feel about being dead?
7. How does Circe tell Odysseus he should deal with the Sirens?
8. What two monsters must Odysseus pass between to get home?
9. How does Circe tell Odysseus to get through them with the least damage?
10. How does it happen that Odysseus' men eat Helios' cattle after being strictly forbidden to do so?
Friday, November 24, 2017
The Odyssey, books 5-10
Choose a setting to build either in Lego or Minecraft. You might portray Kalypso and her island Ogygia, or the palace of Queen Arete and King Alkinoos, the island of the Lotus-Eaters, the cave of Polyphemus (or the harbor where Odysseus made his retreat), or the island Aieia where Circe lives (Minecraft pigs, y'all!). You can use any resource packs or mods you like, but no collaborating unless each person in the collaboration has a discrete, separate part of the project which can be screenshotted individually. Post photos or screenshots to show what you made.
Take any 20 line section of the Odyssey and create a 10 line poem from it which changes the meaning of the original. You can use any words or phrases you find in the original section, rearranged in whatever way you like, but ONLY words you find in the original section. Include both the original 20 lines and your new 10.
Book 8 introduces the blind Demodokos, a bard who some believe to represent Homer himself. But who is Homer? Do some online research and write a 300 word essay to present the reasons people have for believing two of the following theories: The Odyssey was written by a woman, who put herself in the story as Nausicaa. The Odyssey was written by Homer, who put himself in the story as Demodokos. The Iliad and the Odyssey were written by two different people. The person who "wrote" these epics was just transcribing what he was hearing from the many poets who actually "wrote" them. Take your reader to a new place in the conclusion by asking and answering the question: Does it really matter who wrote the epics?
As we have learned from reading the Iliad, Homer's heroes are glorious and noble, but they are also flawed. Achilles, for example, suffered from his own pride, and in the Odyssey we find Odysseus demonstrating the same traits. Write a 300 word essay giving one or more examples from the text that show Odysseus being prideful, and how these actions negatively affected him and his compatriots.
Read in A World of Ideas, read the excerpt from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave and also this article which contains excerpts from Hillary Clinton's book What Happened.
1. How does Kalypso prepare Odysseus for his journey away from her?
2. Does Alkinoos promise Odysseus his daughter's hand or safe passage home before or after he finds out Odysseus' name?
3. Why does Odysseus cry during the songs?
4. What does Odysseus tell the Kyklops his name is, when asked, and how is that a clever trick?
5. Why is the Kyklops able to aim at Odysseus' ships even though he's blinded?
6. Why does Odysseus yell his real name at the Kyklops?
7. After visiting Aiolos, Odysseus gets within sight of his own land, but ends up back at Aiolia. Why?
8. They Laestrygonians are glad the Greeks have come to visit. Why? What do they want?
9. What did Kirke the witch do to Odysseus' men?
10. According to Kirke, where does Odysseus have to visit, if he ever wants to get home?
BONUS: What two magical foods appear in these books?