Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Reading Period 3: September 10-16: The Great Flood-Gates of the Wonderworld

Long Read: Moby Dick chapters 1-15. If you must skip chapters, skip 5-8, understanding that Ishmael went out on a walk in New Bedford, and stepped into a chapel to hear a sermon. Chapter 9 is the sermon -- read that and on through chapter 15. Be warned that next week we'll begin with chapter 21, "Going Aboard," so if you want to read chapters 16-20, now's the time to do that. If you're skipping, skip 'em.

Short Read:

"Journal of Madam Knight" by Sarah Knight, AIAL p 42.
Excerpt from The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper, AIAL p 139.

Google Fu: Find out as much a you can about Queequeg's origin, as defined in the chapter "Biographical." Ishmael says his island of origin isn't on any map, but where might it have been? Find us three links that might help us understand where Queequeg the harpooner might have been from. At least one of them must have a reputable address. You can pick one to defend as reputable, the other two can be personal sites, Wikipedia, whatever.

Note Taking: The Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boone. Read the part of the book that this link directly takes you to -- the appendix, written by Daniel Boone himself. This is a longish and rambling account of his adventures. How will you take notes on this? Will you slavishly, carefully write down everything that happened to him? Will you summarize? Are dates and numbers and names, in this sort of note-taking, important? What information, here, do you need to take away and remember, months from now, when you think back. Special challenge: Include in your notes some personal reactions, and figure out a way to distinguish that part of your notes from the notes on the text -- either with a different color pencil, or a highlighter, or a star/box/squiggly line, or something.

Creative Assignment:

One reason diaries are interesting is because they show us small details and specifics about how people lived in the time. The best ones for historical purposes are those that give lots of descriptions and really show us what life was like. After reading the excerpt from Sarah Knight's journal, write a diary entry about a trip you have taken, including lots of specifics about how you traveled and what you saw. Make sure you include details about any food you ate on the trip, your mode of transport, and any local customs in the place you visited.


After reading the excerpt from The Deerslayer (make SURE you read the summary of the book so far on page 139), create an illustration of the Deerslayer standing as prisoner in front of The Panther and Rivenoak.

"Daniel Boone" by Stephen Vincent Binet.
"The Mountain Muse" by Daniel Bryan. Read an excerpt, starting from Book II (p 51) and continuing through page 62, or the page with the awful blot on it. Turn the pages by clicking on them.

"Superman" by REM
"Superman's Song" by the Crash Test Dummies
"Kryptonite" by 3 Doors Down

Clam or cod?

1. What substance does Ishmael tell us is the most necessary, the most entrancing, the holiest and most mysterious and engaging substance on earth?
2. What does Ishmael mean when he says "This is my substitute for pistol and ball"?
3. Why does Ishmael pass up "The Swordfish Inn" and "The Crossed Harpoons"?
4. What art decorates the entry of the Spouter Inn?
5. What doe the landlord tell Ishmael about the harpoonist he is supposed to share a room with?
6. How does Ishmael try to pass the night before giving up and going to the shared bed?
7. What pattern is shown on Queequeg's arm and the counterpane on their bed?
8. What did Queequeg like to eat?
9. What is the subject of Father Mapple's sermon?
10. What ice-breaking activity do Queequeg and Ishmael partake in together, while in bed, even though Ishmael doesn't usually think it's a good idea?
11. What reason does Ishmael give for participating in Queequeg's religious rituals even though he is a Presbyterian?
12. What was Queequeg's station in life, when he was a child?
13. On the schooner that ferries Ishmael and Queequeg to Nantucket in the chapter "The Wheelbarrow," how does Queequeg prove himself to be "a noble trump."
14. What territory in the world have Nantucketers claimed for themselves?
15. Why do Ishmael and Queequeg have to ponder the choice, "Clam or cod?"

BONUS: What could Queequeg have meant, if he really was thinking, as Ishmael guesses, at the end of the chapter "The Wheelbarrow," the following: "It's a mutual, joint-stock world, in all meridians."?

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