Biography of George Eliot at PBS.org
First chapter of Silas Marner
First chapter of The Mill on the Floss
Remember to complete the First Chapter Challenge form for the two first chapters you're reading this week!
Take a look at these three portraits of George Eliot, as well as a photograph of her at the bottom.
Which one of these portraits do you think is the most accurate? Which one is the least accurate? Why do you think someone might have changed George Eliot's appearance for an author portrait? Do you think these changes would have been made for a male author? Google "author photo" and take a look at the images that appear. Write 250 words about author photos, addressing what authors seem to want to present about themselves, different techniques/poses they employ, and how successful or unsuccessful they are. Now take a picture of yourself as an author -- it can be funny, demonstrating cliches of author photos, or serious, presenting yourself how you'd like to appear on a book jacket.
George Eliot was interested in the pseudo-science of Phrenology, a popular idea in Victorian times that a person's personality could be mapped onto their scalps. Read this article about her involvement with the idea, including having a cast made of her head. Then check out this list of the 35 areas a phrenologist would "read" on a patient's skull. Write 250 words about phrenology, your reaction to the rationality of this idea, and a response to the fact that someone as smart and interesting as George Eliot could have believed in it, even remotely. Can you take someone seriously who believes in this stuff? Do we judge authors by their beliefs in ideas we now know to be silly? Does this judgment only apply to authors living in recent times?
Choose one of these poems by George Eliot.
Mid by Gold-Brown Curls
Count That Day Lost
Sweet Endings Come and Go, Love
Describe the rhyme scheme of Eliot's poem, and write your own poem in the same rhyme scheme. In the case of "Sweet Endings Come and Go, Love" you'll need to repeat one word throughout the poem, like Eliot repeats "love."
From George Eliot's biography:
1. Why did Mary Ann Evans choose the pen name George Eliot? What was the significance of each name?
2. What morally questionable behavior was George Eliot criticized for during her life?
3. What literary form did George Eliot mostly publish?
From "Silas Marner":
4. What two villages appear in chapter 1?
5. What was the Raveloe villager's impression of Silas Marner?
6. Google "David and Jonathan." Why is this allusion used to describe William Dane and Silas Marner?
7. What evidence do the villagers in Lantern Yard have that Silas Marner is sometimes possessed by Satan?
From "The Mill on the Floss":
8. What is the main purpose of this chapter?
9. What one character appears in the story?
10. Are there any words with negative connotations in this chapter? See if you can find at least one.
Our memory challenge for next week is going to be Rudyard Kipling's poem, "If." There will be significant prizes for anyone who memorizes this poem, so get the jump on it this week.