Friday, December 5, 2014

Reading Period 15: December 3-9: Emily Dickinson and Ambrose Bierce

Long Read: 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Chapters 33-End

Short Read:

"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce, AIAL p 422-429


Emily Dickinson bio and selections, AIAL p 320-329
Specifically focus on:
"Because I Could Not Stop for Death"
"A Narrow Fellow in the Grass"
"Hope is a Thing with Feathers"

Creative Assignment:

Knowing what you know about Emerson and Thoreau and now about Walt Whitman, and reading what you've read by Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, write a dialogue between two of these characters where they argue about something that's happening in our society today. It could be the incident in Ferguson, it could be the Orion space flight, it could be the war with ISIS, or any other event you think will spark an interesting discussion of the nature of humanity, what is important to do with our time, or what it is possible for humans to become.  You don't have to stick to "Emerson is an optimist and Melville is a pessimist," or anything as simple as that, but you should incorporate some references to, if not quotes from, something we've read.

Google Fu:

In 1885, Mark Twain visited Yale Law School, where he met an African American student that gave him a tour of the campus. He later wrote a letter to the dean of the school, offering to pay this student's tuition. In the letter he said, "I do not believe I would very cheerfully help a white student who would ask a benevolence of a stranger, but I do not feel so about the other color. We have ground the manhood out of them & the shame is ours, not theirs, & we should pay for it." I am looking for a legitimate source that gives us the rest of this letter. I have not been able to find one. Go!

Twitter Scholar:

Choose any Nathaniel Hawthorne story, and find a place where you can copy and paste the text (someplace like Project Gutenberg or an etext library will give you plain text to copy and paste. Now make a word cloud using Wordle. When you have it how you want it, with the colors and font and shape you like, Tweet your word cloud.


This is an exercise in working with a possibly questionable source. Ambrose Bierce's death is one of the great mysteries in American literary history. What happened to Ambrose Bierce at the end of his life? Read the section of his Wikipedia page called "Disappearance" and then read this article that speculates Bierce may have fallen into the fourth dimension. Take notes on it, and indicate in your notes what seems to be factual and trustworthy and what statements you might dispute or distrust.


Taking into account your peer review and my comments, revise your paper. Read it loud, sentence by sentence, into a mirror or to a parent or sibling. Have someone in your household check it for spelling and grammar errors. Turn in your final draft by Tuesday at midnight! Celebrate by jumping up and down!


1. What old friend does Huck run into at the beginning of chapter 33?
2. Where do Tom and Huck find Jim?
3. What techniques does Tom want to try out, to make the rescue of Jim more interesting?
4. Why does Tom want to use a case-knife for digging, instead of a pick?
5. What does "smouch" mean?
6. How do Huck and Tom plan to get the escape rope in to Jim?
7. Why does Tom insist they get a pen in to Jim before he can escape? What does he have to do?
8. What animals does Tom think Jim needs to make him a proper prisonser?
9. What did Tom and Huck do with the sawdust from sawing off the leg of the bed?
10. Why did Tom Sawyer need a doctor?
BONUS: What does Jim tell Huck that means he can go home and claim his money?