Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Reading Period 5: Sep 24-30: The Whiteness of the Whale

Long Read: Moby-Dick!

Must read: 41-43, 46-48, 50, 52-53, 58-59
May skip: 44-45, 49, 41, 54-57

Read chapter 41 twice. It's so important!

Short Read:

The Declaration of Independence, AIAL p 99


"To His Excellency General Washington" by Phillis Wheatley, AIAL p 109.
"On Being Brought from Africa to America" by Phillis Wheatley.
"Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou.
"Heritage" by Countee Cullen

Google Fu:

Here's the text of the Declaration of Independence, followed by a list of all the people who signed it. Choose two names that you don't recognize (Don't choose Benjamin Franklin!), and search for more information about these signatories of the Declaration. Some of the names are very common, so just searching the name might not turn up what you're looking for. How will you find information on the correct person, and not just any old guy who has the same name?

Note Taking:

Phillis Wheatley endured the "middle passage" -- the route slave ships took from Africa to the Americas -- before she was sold as a slave in Boston. First, watch this 45 minute documentary "The Middle Passage," by Steven Spielberg. Within this documentary, there are several references to and readings from other works, and there are lots of interviews with experts. As part of your notes, make a list of the other works referenced -- poetry, artwork, and also list some of the prominent experts that spoke in the video. From your notes, you should find yourself able to take the next step in investigating this topic -- to look further at works referenced, and seek out books and articles written by the experts quoted.

Creative Assignment: 

Draw an illustration anything that has inspired you from the chapters you've read in Moby-Dick. (There ya go, Zoe!) If you're looking for inspiration: Read the last long paragraph of the chapter "The Chart." This chapters offers many metaphors -- choose one and create an illustration of it. The vulture feeding on the vulture, the chasm of flames at the base of Ahab's being, the gods and devils in his spirit, etc.


Write a poem, after reading "The Whiteness of the Whale." You might write about something that fills you with instinctive fear, like the shaking buffalo hide behind the young cold. You might write a poem about things that are white, making them seem terrifying. You could respond to Ishmael's last paragraph, a meditation on color and light. Or you could choose another color to signify as fearful. Red? Black? Yellow?

Twitter Scholar:

This week on Twitter, search for the hashtag #mobydick. After looking at some of the Tweets that are tagged this way, create at least one of your own Tweets about what you're reading in the novel, and post it with this hashtag attached.

Not a real squid, but this fake photo fooled many!

1. Did other whalers know of Moby-Dick, or was he Ahab's private prey?
2. What about Moby-Dick's forehead is unique?
3. At what moment did Ahab's obsession with Moby-Dick seize him?
4. Give three examples of things in chapter 42 that are white and therefore scary?
5. What does Archy hear in chapter 43?
6. Chapter 46 explains Ahab's reason for what activity?
7. In chapter 47 we see Ishmael and Queequeg engaged in a friendly activity. What are they doing?
8. Who crews Ahab's boat?
9. Who crews the other three boats? List the officer and the harpoonist for each one.
10. In their efforts to get the whale, the sailors are racing against what?
11. What is a gam?
12. Why do the sailors mistake a squid for Moby-Dick?

BONUS: Reread the last paragraph of chapter 58, "Brit," and restate it in your own words.

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