Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Reading Period 38: June 4-10: Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse


Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. Read Part 1. See also this site, which shows a map of the novel, and links to other materials.
"Witness for the Prosecution" by Agatha Christie. Short story. See also this site for ancillary materials.
"Leave it to Jeeves" by P.G. Wodehouse. Short story. See also this
"The Village Sports Day at Twing" An episode of the show, "Jeeves and Wooster."

Choose 2.

Art Connection:

P.G. Wodehouse's characters move in rarefied circles of country houses, London apartments, social clubs, and garden parties. Create an illustration of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves where they are way out of their element, either in their own time or in a different time period.

History Connection:

Murder on the Orient Express, published in 1934, is set in the Republic of Turkey in the city of Istanbul. In 1930, the city of Istanbul had been renamed "Istanbul," a change from the previous name, "Constantinople." You may have heard this song celebrated in the song "Istanbul." Listen to the song, then ask yourself the question: Why was the name changed? Do some research online, and answer this question in a short essay.

Writing Connection:

Read this 1928 list of rules for writing detective novels. Now complete the following tasks: 1. Consider which of these would you eliminate, and why? Would you add any rules for writing detective novels? 2. Answer the question: Why should there be rules for writing mysteries that might not apply to any other genre of novel? 3. Write your own "Rules for Writing Novels" that should apply to all long fiction.


Read this article on Jeeves and Bertie, then answer these questions:

1. What does it mean when the author says, "Wodehouse is an anodyne to annoyances."
2. Comparing Wodehouse's books to "The Importance of Being Earnest," which does the author feel is more important?
3. What criticism does the author have to make about the Bertie and Jeeves books?
4. How did the Bertie and Jeeves stories first appear?
5. What other material did Wodehouse write besides fiction?
6. What other literary pairings in British lit remind the author of Bertie and Jeeves?
7. Give an example of one change the author notes in the way Bertie and Jeeves are portrayed, comparing the earlier stories to the later ones?
8. How are Bertie and Jeeves like Peter Pan and Wendy?
9. Do you think these stories about a rich man and his servant can be relevant to readers in the 21st century?
10. Did you find humor in the story you read?

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