Friday, April 21, 2017

Reading Period 25: April 21-27: Heart of Darkness

Due Dates:
Quiz: Monday, April 24
Assignments: Wednesday, April 26
History: Friday, April 28

Long Read: 

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Section I. If you haven't already got a copy, I highly recommend this illustrated version

Short Read: 

"The Twentieth Century" in your textbook, pages 759-773


"Dulce Et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen, page 955-957

Creative Assignments: 

Artist Matt Kish undertook the illustration of Heart of Darkness, page by page, in an abstract style. Selections from his edition of the book can be seen on his blog, along with the quotes that inspired each piece. I'll also bring my copy to class. Please choose one scene in the section that you read, and illustrate it using an abstraction, in the style of Matt Kish. 


Read the short story by Joseph Conrad, "The Secret Sharer." The story The Secret Sharer is told from the point of view of the captain of the ship, who rescues and hides the murderer Leggatt, chief mate of the Sephora. Write a 250 word diary entry from the point of view of Leggatt. How would he see the captain? Does he have any further secrets that he does not reveal in the story? What tone would his state of mind cause him to take on in his diary? What diction? 

Writing Assignments: 

By Matt Kish
Conrad wrote about a time when European colonization of Africa was in full swing. What was the "Scramble for Africa"? What happened in Berlin in 1884? What were the factors that caused this grab for territory and who were the main players on the African continent? Write a 250 word essay about the events of this period, particularly in the 1880s. Take a look at this article, from St. John's college at Cambridge, and this article in The Economist. You can also check out the Wikipedia page to inform you. Read your source material and then write in your own words, referring back to your sources for facts. 


Write a 250 word essay about "Dulce Et Decorum Est" based on the "Evaluating Techniques of Persuasion" prompt on page 957. How does this poem function as persuasion in a way that an essay or article might not? 


1. What time period was Marlow remembering out loud, as the Nellie is waiting for the tide to turn on the Thames?
2. According to Marlow, what is the difference between a conqueror and a colonist?
3. On what river was Marlow desperate to get appointed as captain of a steamer?
4. When Marlow goes to Brussels to sign up for the voyage, what two strange people does he meet in the company office and what are they doing? 
5. What strange measurement does the doctor take of Marlow when he examines him for the voyage?
6. What are two tasks Marlow’s ship carries out on the way to the river where he will get his own steamer?
7. Marlow disagrees with a word that’s used to describe the natives when they’re being shelled from the French ship. What is that word? 
8. What is the first evidence Marlow witnesses up close that the whites are mistreating the blacks?
9. After almost falling into a ravine and discovering the broken drainage pipes, Marlow finds a group of people lying in the shade. What are they doing?
10. Why does Marlow call the Company’s chief accountant a “miracle”? 
11. What precious substance is the Company extracting from the African interior?
12. Who is Kurtz? 
13. Why did the fainting white man who accompanied Marlow to the central station say he had come to Africa? 
14. What had happened to the steamer that Marlow was supposed to command?
15. Marlow meets an aristocrat whose job it is to make bricks. Why is it sarcastic when Marlow calls him the Brickmaker of Central Station? 
16. What do the rivets represent? Why is Marlow fixated on rivets? 

Art by Matt Kish from his illustrated version of Heart of Darkness.


From the "Review" questions in your book on page 773:

1. What have been some of the social and economic gains in British life during this century? Name two.
2. Why has Britain's position in world politics declined?
3. Which poet is most closely associated with literary symbolism?
4. Why did many young writers turn from public affairs in the years following World War I?
5. What was the most significant idea of the modernist movement?
6. What were the immediate causes for the rise of fascism between the two world wars?
7. What severe economic problems has Britain faced since World War II?
8. What has replaced the Empire?
9. Why were certain writers of the 1950s called "Angry Young Men"? 
10. What name was given to the group of post-war poets who responded to the modern world with order and clarity? 

BONUS: Based on this reading selection, do you think the author of this section is American or British? Now check the masthead of the textbook, under "Curriculum and Writing." Now check the list of "Critical Readers" (just before the Contents). Was this book brought to us by Americans or Brits?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Reading Period 24: April 14-20: 1984

Long Read: 

1984 by George Orwell, Part 3

Matchbox Minute Movie: 

In class we have been working on creating a matchbox that contains all the props and sets to film a one minute movie version of any book or narrative poem we've read in class this year. Your writing assignment is to write the script for your movie. Your movie can be from 50 to 70 seconds long, so your script will have to be extremely condensed! Post your script to Google+ to get feedback from your classmates. Your creative assignment is to finish up all your props, characters, and backdrops for your movie. You may find, as you write your script, that you need more props. You're welcome to use Lego, Sculpey, folded paper, other other tiny materials, but keep in mind that in order for your piece to meet the requirements of the assignment and be displayed in the Matchbox Museum on May 2, everything has to fit into the matchbox. When your script is written, post it. When your props and characters are all created, photograph them. If you do this, this counts as your writing assignment and creative assignment. It will also be what you use as your presentation for the year.


Creative Assignment:

Create an illustration of room 101. You could use the visual elements from the book, or you could use imaginary elements that might appear if room 101 was used on you. You could illustrate it in the abstract, with all the fears and dreads of humans in nebulous form inside it. Or you could show it as an empty space inside someone's mind. Think before you begin, and show your most creative interpretation of room 101.

Writing Assignment:

Chekhov's gun is a name for a certain type of foreshadowing. According to the playwright Chekhov, "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired." But the idea is more than just foreshadowing -- it also means that non-essential items don't belong in the story. So if a reader sees something in the story, the reader should be able to trust that it does have a purpose. If you see a gun on the stage, you should have the expectation that it will go off, and if a gun goes off, you should have the expectation that you would have already seen it before the scene where it fires. Plot elements don't fizzle into nothing, and they also don't come out of nowhere. Looking at the plot of 1984, do you notice any elements that are like "Chekhov's gun"? For example, the rat in the baseboard, or the spying children in the neighbors' apartment? Write a 250 word essay in which you explain what is meant by Chekhov's gun, identify one or two examples of it from the book, and say how they contribute to the plot.


1. Why is Ampleforth in prison?
2. Why is Parsons in prison?
3. What place in the prison do all the prisoners most want to avoid?
4. What does Winston find out about O'Brien?
5. How many fingers is O'Brien holding up during interrogation?
6. The book taught Winston how the party maintains power. O'Brien tells him *why* it maintains power. Why?
7. What is crimestop?
8. What is in room 101?
9. What would be in room 101 for you?
10. What is 2+2?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Reading Period 23: April 7 - 13: 1984

Rudyard Kipling: Spin master?
Long Read: 

1984 by George Orwell, Part 2, chapters 8-10.

Short Read: 

"Miss Youghal's Sais" by Rudyard Kipling, pages 705-710


"If" by Rudyard Kipling
"Gunga Din" by Rudyard Kipling
"The White Man's Burden" by Rudyard Kipling

Creative Assignments:

Create an illustration for one of the following quotes. You must incorporate the words of the quote into the picture you're making -- not all the words, but some significant ones:

"In war, physical facts cannot be ignored. In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an airplane, they had to make four."

"When war is continuous, it ceases to be dangerous."

"No advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimeter nearer."


Kipling's poem "Gunga Din" has been made into a movie. Three movie posters are below. Based on the contents of the poem and the way these movie posters look, can you take a stab at summarizing this movie? Write a 250 word summary of the plot -- what happens in this movie, do you think?

Writing Assignments: 

In our textbook are the following lines: "Afterward, [Kipling] was criticized as a defender of British Imperialism.  Such criticism has to be taken seriously and should enter into our evaluation of Kipling as a master storyteller." To understand why Kipling is characterized as defending British imperialism with his stories, we must first understand the British empire in India.

Use these three articles to inform you:

A collection of primary sources related to British rule in India from the National Archive of the UK. (Make sure you also click on and read the "Background" to this collection.)
"The Benefits of British Rule" by Dadabhai Naoroji (1871)
"British Atrocities Against Indians" by  Adnan Karsewak (2010)

Write 250 words addressing these questions: What does it mean that Kipling's defense of the British Empire in India has to "enter our evaluation" of him? Should we not read Kipling because he documented the British rule in India, without evaluating whether he defended or critiqued it? How does your modern perspective on the atrocities of the British or the long term benefits of British occupation affect your reading of Kipling? Does it prejudice you against him or make you think of him more favorably?


The East India Company was responsible for the first incursion of Britain into India. They were not only a trading company, but fought wars, built factories, minted their own money, and eventually conquered local rulers. They illegally traded opium to China, allowed locals to starve while exporting grain to Europe -- oh, and they were the people whose tea the Americans threw into Boston Harbor, because they were exempt from taxes that colonial merchants had to pay. They paved the way for India to become an actual part of the British Empire, and for Victoria to be crowned Empress of India, thereby foregoing the need to "trade" and allowing Britain to just take what they needed. The East India Company is a symbol of imperialism and exploitation. AND YET, it still exists and operates in England, selling tea and exotic foods.

The modern East India Company web site is a brilliant example of "spin," a rhetorical method in which writers take inconvenient realities and twist them into positives (or negatives) for their organization. Read more about spin here. Then find three examples of "spin" on the East India Company web site. Specifically, take a look at "Our Heritage," "Gunpowder and Health," and the movie in "Historical Views." Or maybe you find that this web site is accurately representing the history of the East India Company, and they have nothing to cover up or "spin"? Does this remind you of anything in 1984? Can the East India Company really rewrite history with a slick web site?

Write a 250 word letter to the East India Company either criticizing their use of a name that is historically connected with exploitation and suffering, or commending them for owning their history and creating something positive for the future.


1. What beverage do Winston and Julia drink at O'Brien's house?
2. Who is the leader of the Brotherhood?
3. Where will Winston and O'Brien meet again?
4. Why, according to Goldstein, is it impossible for war to be decisive?
5. What then is the purpose of war, according to Goldstein?
6. What does Goldstein say the scientists of Oceania are busy doing?
7. What are the aims of the three divisions of people, according to Goldstein?
8. What made it unnecessary for people to live at different social/economic levels?
9. How does the Thought Police handle gifted proles who might aspire to be in the party?
10. What are the laws of Ingsoc?

Bonus: What does blackwhite mean? What does doublethink mean?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Reading Period 22: March 24-30: 1984

Long Read: 

1984 by George Orwell, Part 2 chapters 1-7.

Creative assignments: 

Write two poems, both in Newspeak. The first one should be a longer one about the need or lack of need for poetry in Newspeak. The second one should be the shortest possible poem you could write in Newspeak. You can write more than two if you like.


In the book, instead of personal correspondence, characters use a checklist of possible things they might want to say, and just mark the appropriate boxes. Create a checklist for personal correspondence, in which you attempt to include, for convenience, anything you could possibly want to say to another person, with a handy checkbox beside it. If you want, you can turn this into a Google Form, so that other people can direct their correspondence to you via the form.

Writing Assignment:

In 1984, food and drink are important motifs and symbols. Write a literary essay of 500 words in which you explain Orwell's use of food and drink as motifs to illustrate his plot and deepen the reader's understanding of his ideas. You could write about gin, beer, coffee, wine, chocolate, and stew. What is Victory Gin? What is the significance of the coffee that Julia brings to the hidden room? To whom does flavor belong? Why is it so important that all of them get their alcohol?


Settings are an important part of 1984 as Orwell uses the characters' surroundings to build meanings and illustrate relationships. Write a literary essay of 500 words in which you explain Orwell's use of settings to show Winston and Julia's state of mind and situation. One way to do it would be to compare Winston's apartment with the room over the junk shop. How are they similar and different? How are behaviors and relationships formed or dictated by the settings in these two locations? You could also compare the buildings that belong to the Party with the areas that are mostly inhabited by proles.


1. What was written in Julia's message to Winston?
2. As Winston and Julia are watching the prisoners, how do they manage to touch?
3. How many times before has Julia met up with a man in the outdoor hiding place?
4. What did Winston think of doing to Katharine when they were out on a hike and she was looking at flowers?
5. What is the name of the machine that composes songs?
6. What animal is Winston particularly afraid of?
7. What is Julia's opinion about the war?
8. What does O'Brien write down for Winston in front of the telescreen?
9. What was the last thing Winston did before his mother disappeared?
10. What does Julia believe is the one thing the party can't do?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Reading Period 21: March 17-23: 1984

Due Dates: 
Quiz: Monday, Mar 20
Assignments: Wednesday, Mar 22

Long Read: 

1984 by George Orwell, Part 1 (chapters 1-8)

Creative Assignments:

Write a diary entry that starts out as a normal, calm chronicle of the day's events and then devolves into a hysterical rant, something like Winston's first diary entry in chapter 1. Your hysterical rant won't have anything to do with Big Brother, though. What deep, repressed screaming fit is locked inside you, beneath all that politeness? What will come out when you start letting your subconscious flow onto the page for 250 words?


Pretend you are Big Brother and you are organizing a daily schedule for everyone. Consider what they should eat and drink, when they should get up and go to bed, and what they should do for exercise, when they should work, etc. The citizens  you're responsible for will only do what you tell them to do, and no more. What's good for them, in what balance? After you've organized a daily schedule, write 250 words about it. Why did you make these choices? Would you follow the schedule yourself? Do you think people would benefit by being forced to do things that are good for them?

Writing Assignments:

Write an essay on one of the following quotes:

"The revolution will be complete when the language is perfect." 


"Until they become conscious, they can never rebel; and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious." 

In the first essay, explain how the party in Oceania is changing the language to control the minds of the party members. Give examples of newspeak and how the language functions, what its goals are. Then write about how you see language, how you perceive abbreviations and what, if any, effect you see on the language getting smaller (or bigger?) from texting and social media. 

In the second essay, you'll talk about the proletariat, as the "they" referred to in the quote. As defined in 1984, the proletariat is kept happy and stupid on entertainment and beer, and does the work of the country, leaving the party members to be administrators and organizers. What does it mean that they cannot rebel without becoming conscious? What does it mean that they cannot become conscious without rebellion? Do you see anything familiar or disturbing about this portrayal of 85% of humanity?


1. When Winston opens the door on Mrs. Parsons, what has he left in plain view?
2. Who calls Winston a traitor and a thought criminal in chapter 2?
3. Winston thinks of an image that represents his memory of his mother. What is the image?
4. What is doublethink?
5. What is Winston's job?
6. What is an unperson?
7. Translate the following into newspeak: good, bad, great, terrible. 
8. Why does Winston think that Symes is doomed to be vaporized?
9. Who are the proles and why does Winston believe they are the only hope?
10. What does Winston buy at the junk shop?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Reading Period 20: March 3 - 9: Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Due Dates:
Quiz: Monday, March 6
Assignments: Wednesday, March 8

Long Read: Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, Phase 6 and 7

Short Read: 

In your textbook, 670-671.
Read Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. Yes, you must read ALL of it. It is that amazing.
Listen to this BBC podcast, "In Our Time," featuring a discussion of Christina Rossetti.
Flip through this gallery of Dante Rossetti's artwork at the Tate Gallery.

Creative Assignments:

Tell the plot of Tess of the D'Urbervilles via Angel Clare's or Alec D'Urberville's Facebook status updates. Can include random postings of anguish or delight that these characters might share, but also relationship status changes, life events including new jobs or change of address, etc. Must include at least 10 different posts. If you want to do both characters, to show more of the plot, that's awesome. If you want to create a fake FB account, that is also awesome.


Goblin Market!
Watch this clip from the BBC show "The Love School," in which Dante Gabriel Rossetti reads a poem he's written to Lizzie Siddal. Write a poem, using the same rhyme scheme as Rossetti's poem "Silent Noon," on page 670, in which you describe something or someone you find beautiful.

Writing Assignments:

Read this article at the Metropolitan Museum of Art web site. Who were the Pre-Raphaelites? What did they want, and what did they NOT want? Who did they respect, and who did they disdain? What were the characteristics of their work? Write 250 words about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, of which Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a founding member, and reference at least one of Rossetti's paintings as an example. 


Write a 500 word literary essay on symbolism in Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Hardy uses symbolism in several different ways in the book -- color symbolism, symbolism for foreshadowing, and symbols to illustrate the characters. Focus particularly on one of these choices, and write a well-constructed essay about Hardy's symbols as they appear in the novel, how they're used, and what they mean. If you are prepping for the AP Literature and Composition exam, you must choose this option. 


To complete this quiz, you may need to also do some research online. Take a look at Dante Rossetti's Wikipedia page and Christina Rossetti's Wikipedia page.

1. Dante Rossetti was not only a poet, he was also a ___________.
2. In what ways did Dante Rossetti's two art forms intersect and overlap?
3. What "brotherhood" did Dante Rossetti found and what was the significance of the name?
4. How did Dante Rossetti meet his wife and what was her name? Why has she been called the original supermodel?
5. What dramatic act did Dante Rossetti engage in when his wife died, that he later took back?
6. What animal was Rossetti particularly fascinated by?
7. Dante Rossetti was addicted to chloral. What is it and how is it administered?
8. Take a look at Dante Rossetti's illustration for Christina Rossetti's poem, Goblin Market: ( Write down five observations about this illustration.
9. What was the St. Mary Magdalene "house of charity" where Christina Rossetti worked? How did that place possibly inspire her work?
10. What popular Christmas carol did Christina Rossetti write?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Reading Period 19: February 24 - March 2: Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Gerard Manley Hopkins
Due Dates:
Quiz: Monday, Feb 27
Assignments: Wednesday, Mar 1
History: Friday, Mar 3

Long Read: 

Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, phase 5, "The Woman Pays" (chapters 35-44)

Short Read: 

In the textbook, read pages 657-666.
Online, read the following:
The Wreck of the Deutschland
As Kingfishers Catch Fire Dragonflies Draw Flame
My Own Heart Let Me Have More Pity On

Creative Assignments:

Write a poem. Here are your parameters:

1. It must have one of the following as a first line:

I play in ten thousand places
I speak in spells
Hark, hearer, hear what I do
I come, a listless stranger
I have asked to be where no storms come
Tell me your choice

2. It must include alliteration, visual and aural imagery, metaphor, and simile.


Angel Clare is a character in the novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles, and "Angel Clare" is also the title of an album by Art Garfunkel, his first solo effort. After listening to "All I Know" and maybe also "Travelling Boy" from this album, create a YouTube playlist of ten songs for Angel Clare, the character. Then create a YouTube playlist of ten songs for Alec D'Urberville, Angel's foil character.

Writing Assignments:

Choose three examples of irony in Tess of the D'Urbervilles, as discussed in class on Tuesday, Feb 28. (If you're writing this before class on Tuesday, you can choose your own ironies.) Write a 500 word essay in which you explain what irony is (this may be the hardest part!) and how these two examples of irony in the novel work to advance the novel's themes.


Tess of the D'Urbervilles takes place in one county in England. However, the various settings couldn't be more different from each other. Hardy uses setting to create a mood and to highlight the plot. Write a 500 word essay in which you compare Talbothay's Dairy to Flintcomb Ash Farm. Describe each place using quotes from the novel, and then describe how the details of nature, machinery, and people create a place suited for the events at each farm.


1. What does it mean that Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poems were published posthumously?

2. What big change did Gerard Manley Hopkins experience in his practice of religion and what effect did that have on his work?

3. What literary device is at work in the first two lines of “The Windhover”?

4. Read about “Sprung Rhythm” on page 662. Then type the first stanza of Pied Beauty with the stressed syllables in capital letters. How does this demonstrate sprung rhythm?

5. How many stanzas of “The Wreck of the Deutschland” does it take to get to a mention of actual ship and shipwreck? Tell me the line where it first comes up.

6. Give three examples of invented words in Hopkins’ “Epithalamion.” Choose your three favorite.

7. Having read “The Beginning of the End,” would you say it is an example of Hopkins’ use of sprung rhythm or is it an example of the more traditional running rhythm?

A.E. Housman
8. A. E. Housman’s most famous collection of poems is called “A Shropshire Lad.” Google Shropshire, and tell me something interesting about Shropshire, where A. E. Housman grew up.

9. Looking at Housman’s poems in the book, would you say he was innovating with form, or would you say he was using traditional forms?

10. Describe the dialogue in “Is My Team Ploughing?” Who is asking questions and who is answering those questions?

11. Why does the speaker say that the athlete in “To an Athlete Dying Young” is fortunate?

12. What did Housman teach at Cambridge University?


Are you watching the series, "Victoria" on PBS? If you are, great! If not, you can go here to watch at least one full episode.

Consider as you watch the show that we must always question what we read and see, and verify with reliable sources. Please read this article in Time magazine about the historical accuracy of the series. While the events portrayed are not incorrect, the creators of the show have stretched the truth in a number of ways. Victoria was fat and ugly, Melbourne was fat and old, Victoria wasn't afraid of rats, etc. After reading this article and watching at least one episode of "Victoria," please answer the following question in a 300 word essay: Is it wrong for television to invent love stories, beauty, and drama when portraying real life people and historic events? You must come down on one side or the other with your essay -- no "it depends." In your essay you'll need to describe the show, giving several specific details, and then reference the article, giving at least one quote. You'll also need to give your opinion and your reasons. Please cite the Time magazine article and the TV show at the end of your essay -- remember Purdue OWL is your friend for formatting info.