Friday, December 15, 2017

Reading Period 14: December 15-21: The Odyssey

Long Read: 

The Odyssey by Homer, books 20-24

Poem:

"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.


Creative Assignment:

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.

OR

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.

Writing Assignment: 

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.

OR

(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.

Quiz:

No quiz. Happy holidays. Finish reading The Odyssey so you can say you did.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Reading Period 13: December 8-14: The Odyssey

John Waterhouse, again.
Long Read:

Homer's Odyssey, Books 15-19

Poem:

"Siren Song" by Margaret Atwood
"Telemachus' Fancy" by Louis Gluck

Creative Assignments:

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.

OR

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.

Writing Assignments:

The Coen Brothers movie "O Brother Where Art Thou?" and the Tim Burton movie "Big Fish" both take elements from the Odyssey. Watch either movie and write a 300 word essay comparing it to the original. How does George Clooney's character Ulysses Everett McGill compare to Homer's Odysseus? What, in that movie, represents the Trojan war? Where do the escaped convicts encounter the sirens? How is Edward Bloom like Odysseus? How is Sandra like Penelope? How do the commitment to home and family motivate the father and son in "Big Fish"? Both of these movies are PG-13 but make sure you get your parents' permission before you watch them.

OR

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."

Quiz:

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

Reading Period 12: December 1-7: The Odyssey

Long Read: 

The Odyssey of Homer, Books 11-14

Poems: 

"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
Now today
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 CHARM
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.

THE ANTICIPATION
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?

THE BITE
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


Creative Assignments:

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.

OR

Circe Invidiosa by John Waterhouse
Read the two poems assigned for this week. The first one, about Calypso, gives a rather traditional interpretation of the mythical figure, and includes the standard Mediterranean island setting. The second one, about Circe, is a modern reinterpretation, with an urban setting. Write a poem about one of the figures in the Odyssey: Penelope, Circe, Calypso, Telemachus, Polyphemus, or Odysseus himself. Your poem must have two stanzas -- one that places your character in the traditional "Ancient Greece" role and setting, and one that updates your character to a modern place -- a board room, or a video arcade, or a boxing ring -- something like that.

Writing Assignment:

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.

Quiz:

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

Reading Period 11: November 24-30: The Odyssey


Long Read: 

The Odyssey, books 5-10

Creative Assignments:

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.

OR

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. 

Writing Assignments:

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?

OR

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.

AP Lang:

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.

Quiz:

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?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Reading Period 10: November 10-16: The Odyssey

Good luck, Odysseus!
Long Read: 

The Odyssey by Homer, books 1-4 (The Telemacheia)

Poem:

"Odysseus to Telemachus"
Joseph Brodsky

 My dear Telemachus,
                   The Trojan War
is over now; I don’t recall who won it.
The Greeks, no doubt, for only they would leave
so many dead so far from their own homeland.
But still, my homeward way has proved too long.
While we were wasting time there, old Poseidon,
it almost seems, stretched and extended space.

I don’t know where I am or what this place
can be. It would appear some filthy island,
with bushes, buildings, and great grunting pigs.
A garden choked with weeds; some queen or other.
Grass and huge stones . . . Telemachus, my son!
To a wanderer the faces of all islands
resemble one another. And the mind
trips, numbering waves; eyes, sore from sea horizons,
run; and the flesh of water stuffs the ears.
I can’t remember how the war came out;
even how old you are--I can’t remember.

Grow up, then, my Telemachus, grow strong.
Only the gods know if we’ll see each other
again. You’ve long since ceased to be that babe
before whom I reined in the plowing bullocks.
Had it not been for Palamedes’ trick
we two would still be living in one household.
But maybe he was right; away from me
you are quite safe from all Oedipal passions,
and your dreams, my Telemachus, are blameless.

Creative Assignments:

Read "Odysseus to Telemachus" by Joseph Brodsky. In it, Odysseus addresses Telemachus from the island of Calypso, where he is losing track of time and his identity. Write a poem from one character mentioned in the Odyssey to another. You don't have to choose a central figure. It might be from Clytemnestra to Helen, for example. As with Brodsky's poem, make sure your poem clarifies the rhetorical moment. Who is speaking, who is being addressed, what the constraints of time and place might be, and what is the exigence or reason for writing in this moment.

OR

Mentor: "I'm not short, I'm a goddess." 

In book 2, Athena appears to Telemachus in the disguise of Mentor, Odysseus' old friend and Telemachus' mentor. Yes, mentor means "mentor" because of Mentor! This image is a famous illustration of the very popular French book Les aventures de Télémaque, written in 1699 by François Fénelon, archbishop of Cambrai. At the time, it was a political criticism of Louis XIV, and earned Fénelon some nice tasty exile. However it was a best-seller and even Thomas Jefferson loved it and read it multiple times. In this exciting tale, Telemachus and Mentor have wondrous adventures, until Mentor is actually revealed to be the goddess Minerva. Poor Mentor -- did he ever get a chance to just be himself? For your assignment, reproduce this illustration as accurately as you can.

OR

FRENCH STUDENT OPTION: Attempt a translation of the following bit from Les aventures de Télémaque:

Calypso ne pouvait se consoler du départ d’Ulysse. Dans sa douleur, elle se trouvait malheureuse d’être immortelle. Sa grotte ne résonnait plus de son chant ; les nymphes qui la servaient n’osaient lui parler. Elle se promenait souvent seule sur les gazons fleuris dont un printemps éternel bordait son île : mais ces beaux lieux, loin de modérer sa douleur, ne faisaient que lui rappeler le triste souvenir d’Ulysse, qu’elle y avait vu tant de fois auprès d’elle. Souvent elle demeurait immobile sur le rivage de la mer, qu’elle arrosait de ses larmes, et elle était sans cesse tournée vers le côté où le vaisseau d’Ulysse, fendant les ondes, avait disparu à ses yeux.
Tout à coup, elle aperçut les débris d’un navire qui venait de faire naufrage, des bancs de rameurs mis en pièces, des rames écartées çà et là sur le sable, un gouvernail, un mât, des cordages flottant sur la côte ; puis elle découvre de loin deux hommes, dont l’un paraissait âgé ; l’autre, quoique jeune, ressemblait à Ulysse. Il avait sa douceur et sa fierté, avec sa taille et sa démarche majestueuse. La déesse comprit que c’était Télémaque, fils de ce héros. Mais, quoique les dieux surpassent de loin en connaissance tous les hommes, elle ne put découvrir qui était cet homme vénérable dont Télémaque était accompagné : c’est que les dieux supérieurs cachent aux inférieurs tout ce qu’il leur plaît ; et Minerve, qui accompagnait Télémaque sous la figure de Mentor, ne voulait pas être connue de Calypso.
Cependant Calypso se réjouissait d’un naufrage qui mettait dans son île le fils d’Ulysse, si semblable à son père. Elle s’avance vers lui ; et, sans faire semblant de savoir qui il est :
— D’où vous vient - lui dit-elle - cette témérité d’aborder en mon île ? Sachez, jeune étranger, qu’on ne vient point impunément dans mon empire.
Elle tâchait de couvrir sous ces paroles menaçantes la joie de son cœur, qui éclatait malgré elle sur son visage.
Télémaque lui répondit :
— O vous, qui que vous soyez, mortelle ou déesse (quoique à vous voir on ne puisse vous prendre que pour une divinité), seriez-vous insensible au malheur d’un fils, qui, cherchant son père à la merci des vents et des flots, a vu briser son navire contre vos rochers ?
— Quel est donc votre père que vous cherchez ? — reprit la déesse.
Here's the entire thing, from Wikisource, if you want to try a different passage.

Writing Assignments:

Your writing assignments this week are from the midterm. They're due on Tuesday in class. Here's a link to the midterm so you can look back over the essay in which you identified the 12 elements.

MIDTERM: Now you write an essay (at home) of 500 words in which you utilize and label all twelve of these elements yourself. (36 pts) Description, Narration, Warrant, Cause/Effect, Induction, Analogy, Common Ground, Example/Illustration, Process Analysis, Classification, Definition, Policy claim. Remember to label your work -- you can do this after printing it, with a pencil or pen, or you can label it within the document. You may choose one of the following topics:
Production and sale of tobacco must be made illegal.
Monarchy is better than democracy.
Comments should be eliminated from YouTube videos. 

Penelope: "I'm just a REALLY slow weaver!" 
AP LANG: Write an additional essay of 500 words in which you take a clear position on the following issue: Does the author’s identity and biographical info validate or invalidate the content of the essay, or is it possible for the writing to stand on its own? As examples, use “Civil Disobedience” and “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Does King’s identity make his writing more valid? Does Thoreau’s identity invalidate his?

OR

Oedipus, Antigone, and Creon all break laws. Write an additional essay of 500 words in which you identify which laws they break. Explain who made the laws and analyze the respective characters’ reasons for disobeying them. What do the characters think of these laws? What does Sophocles think? Are these laws still applicable today? Is there still controversy over these laws?

So, to clarify: All of the students need to write a midterm essay, as assigned above, to be turned in on Tuesday in class. AP kids need to write the midterm essay to turn in to me on Tuesday, and an additional essay done in blue or black pen in your composition books (or looseleaf, whatever) chosen from one of the two AP options above. Time yourself at 40 minutes.

Paper:

Due Thursday November 16:
1. Outline Draft
2. Outline Revision
3. Half Draft with comments
4. First Draft with comments
5. Peer revision worksheet and marked up copy from your partner
6. Final draft

Please put everything in a folder or binder or in some way hold it all together, and make sure the folder and every individual element are all labeled clearly with your name.

Quiz:
1. When the Odyssey opens, how many years have passed since the end of the Trojan war?
2. How old was Telemachus the last time he saw his father, and how old is he now?
3. What goddess visits Telemachus disguised as Mentes, and what does she tell him to do?
4. Penelope is tricking the suitor into being more patient. How?
5. What sign appears from the gods during the assembly, and how is it interpreted?
6. According to Nestor, why did the Greeks split up after the fall of Troy?
7. Which brother did Odysseus go with?
8. According to Nestor, what happened to Agamemnon when he got home from the war?
9. What happy couple does Telemachus find in Sparta?
10. What news does he receive there about his father Odysseus?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Reading Period 9: October 27 - November 2: The Iliad

Long Read:

The Iliad of Homer, books 21-24

Midterm: NOVEMBER 9
Final: DECEMBER 14

Creative Assignments:

We are going to create a "monster manual" for a role-playing game involving heroes of the Trojan war. Choose ten characters from the war, and then choose whether you want to illustrate them graphically, or figure out their character stats. Don't limit yourself to just mortals. Remember, the river Skamandros becomes a character in book 21, and then there are the gods.

If you choose graphic illustrations, create square drawings or paintings of the sort you might find on card games like Magic: The Gathering. Heroic pose, action shot, or portrait. No stick figures, please.

OR

If you choose to write the stats, consider the following elements: size, alignment, stats (STR, DEX, INT, WIS, CON, CHR) hit points, skills, special senses, languages, special attacks, what weapons/armor/money/items they drop when killed, and a useful description of how they would behave in battle or negotiations. Don't get TOO wordy, but give whatever info would be needed. If you're stumped, here's an example of a Monster Manual entry from D&D. If you aren't familiar with RPG gaming, do the best you can. :)

Writing Assignments:

The Iliad is a popular subject for adaptations, such as the poem by Alice Oswald. Consider this list of novels and plays that have been written using The Iliad as source material. If you were to create a novel about some aspect of the story, for any audience, what would you choose to write about? You could pitch a children's book based on Xanthos, Achilles' horse. You could pitch a novel that focuses on the relationship between Zeus and Hera, with the Trojan war as a backdrop. Write a 300 word "pitch" in which you tell what your story would be about, what audience it would appeal to, who the main characters would be, any key scenes you can imagine, and your title. Make it sound great, as if you are trying to convince a publisher to buy it.

OR

Achilles' behavior throughout the Iliad is pretty questionable, but nothing is more questionable than his treatment of Hektor before, during, and especially after his death. Choose a side and argue persuasively whether Achilles is an arrogant jerk for mocking Hektor in death and defiling Hektor's body, or whether his actions are justified either by revenge or the emotions surrounding losing Patroklos. If you had to stand up in court and either defend or accuse Achilles, what would you say? Write a 300 word persuasive essay in which you definitively choose a side, and argue with recognizable rhetorical strategies.

Paper:

Your first draft is due next Tuesday, October 31. Bring two copies printed out to class. If you do not bring two copies printed out to class, you will not only lose points for not having a first draft, but you will also lose points for not being able to do peer editing. Partners will be assigned based on who shows up with a paper in their hand. If you're concerned that your printer might break on Tuesday morning, finish it and print it on Monday, or even Sunday.

AP Lang:

Read "Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau and come ready to discuss. Also do "Drill 2" that was passed out in class, giving yourself 12 minutes to complete it.

Quiz: 

1. Why does Patroklos say 3 people killed him?
2. How does Achilles react to Patroklos' death? Give two specific things he does.
3. Even though Achilles wants to fight Trojans after Patroklos dies, what problem does he have that means he can't fight?
4. Achilles' horse Xanthos gets to talk briefly. What does he say?
5. Why does the river Skamandros get ticked off at Achilles?
6. Hektor has been boasting about what he'll do to Achilles, but what does he actually do when they finally face off?
7. How does Achilles defile Hektor's body, and what is the reaction of his family members?
8. What does the ghost of Patroklos want to happen to his ashes?
9. Who goes to retrieve Hektor's corpse?
10. Which book of the Iliad contains the story of the Trojan horse?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Reading Period 8: October 20-26: The Iliad

Long Read:

The Iliad, by Homer, books 16-20

Poem: 

"Hector and Andromache" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She called this a "paraphrase" and if you flip around in this book, you'll find other paraphrases, including one of Anacreon, whose poem we read the other day.

Creative Assignment:

Create a portrait of one of the female gods mentioned in the Iliad: Hera, Aphrodite, Athena, etc. Use unlined paper and some sort of color medium (no digital!). You can imagine them in a traditional Greek goddess sort of way, or you can imagine them in business attire, or as part animal, or as an abstraction, or whatever you like, but tie in visuals from the nature of their godliness. Of beauty, or wisdom, or war, or whatever.

OR

Hector and Andromache
by Georgio de Chirico
Write a short first-person personal essay from the point of view of one of the Trojan women in The Iliad. Start with the word "I" and include confessions, thoughts, emotions, demands, and/or explanations. You can "place" your essay at any point in the story, but make sure you indicate in the title at what point it would have been written.

Writing Assignment:

In the ancient world, motherhood was a matter of survival, as the population was dependent on each woman having lots of kids so a few could survive and the state could flourish. In the world of Homer, women are treasured and respected, and while Zeus is a male, female gods are powerful too. On the other hand, women lead mostly separate lives from men, and though equal under the law, they could be passed around as war loot, or disappear into their husbands' identities. Consider one of the mortal Trojan women in the book, either Chryseis, Briseis, Andromache, Helen. With evidence from the poem, and possibly a bit of research into the roles of women in Ancient Greece, write a 300 word essay explaining her role in the novel. Use quotes, give plot summaries, and bring in your research as needed. Was she just a pawn, or did she have power? Was her personality or opinion important to the plot, or could she have been replaced by a treasure chest? If you do use any research, include a citation at the end of the essay.

OR

Given the following pieces of evidence, construct a 300-500 word argument that the Ancient Greeks and Romans actually made contact with the Americas well before Columbus. You don't have to use all these things. NONE of these things are universally accepted as truth, by the way.

1. A small terracotta head sculpture with a beard and European features, similar to 2nd century Roman sculptures, was found in an archeological site under a building that was built in 1476.
2. Pineapples, a new world plant, show up multiple times in Roman sculptures and art.
3. In the Bay of Jars in Brazil, ancient clay storage jars resembling Roman amphorae were found.
4. In 1513, mapmaker Piri Reis accurately mapped much of South America, and claimed that Columbus had a book that told him about lands on the western side of the Atlantic, which inspired him to explore there.
5. Pliny the Elder reports that a ship full of Indians washed up in Germany, having been blown off course by a storm.
6. The Olmec heads have African features.

Aphrodite, as a subject, has been done before. 
Quiz:

No quiz. Spend the time you would have spent on a quiz on writing your half draft, due Tuesday.