Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Reading Period 17: February 10-16: Music From My Neighbor's House

Gatsby's house, no big deal, whatever.
Long Read: 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chapters 3-4

Short Read: 

"To Build a Fire" by Jack London, AIAL 482-494


William Carlos Williams

Danse Russe
Queen Anne's Lace
To Elsie
The Red Wheelbarrow
This is Just to Say
To a Poor Old Woman
Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

Creative Assignment:

Consider the poem, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" by Wallace Stevens. We talked in class about the structure of the poem, the way it ranges from absurdity to profundity, and Stevens' choices in arranging the different stanzas or mini-poems. Write your own poem in this style, expressing the modernist idea of finding meaning (or horrifying lack of meaning) in the everyday. Your subject could be a pencil, or a lightbulb, or a golden retriever, or a doorknob, etc. You get the idea.


Jack London writing stuff while adventuring.
You've read two classic naturalist short stories: Jack London's "To Build a Fire" and Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat." Demonstrate your understanding of naturalism by creating your own very short naturalist story in about 300 words. You don't have to give your reader much set-up or resolution -- just enough of the story to show you know what naturalism is.

Writing Assignment:

Write a short essay (300 words) comparing Tom Buchanan to Jay Gatsby, based on the information you have so far. How are they similar, and how are they different? Use the format we've used before for compare/contrast essays -- either write all about Tom and then all about Gatsby, or write about Tom and then Gatsby on one point of comparison, then Tom and then Gatsby on another point of comparison, etc. Spend some time before you write deciding what the scope of your essay will be. Given the fact that you only have 300 words, you can't write an exhaustive study of this topic, so make a plan to accomplish something reasonable in the time you have.


Jack London wrote about the cold from experience. He dropped out of school to join the 1897 gold rush in the Klondike, and had many adventures in the Arctic. Write a 300 word essay giving us some information on the Klondike (where is it?), the gold rush (who participated in it and how?), and where Jack London traveled and lived. Use Google and web sites to do your research, but make sure you cite the web sites where you found your information, when you post your essay. Here's a good web site to get you started.


This quiz covers the first four chapters of The Great Gatsby. Email it to me when you've read the chapters and answered the questions.

1. Where is Nick's house, where is Gatsby's house, and where is the Buchanan house?
2. Who is the narrator of the story?
3. How do Tom Buchanan and Nick Carraway know each other?
4. What does Jordan Baker do for a job?
5. Look at the image below. Why is this guy wearing this t-shirt?

6. Tom Buchanan takes Nick to Manhattan to party in his apartment. Who else does he take to Manhattan in chapter 2?
7. What's weird about the moment when Nick meets Gatsby for the first time?
8. At the end of the party in chapter 3, what happened to the man who was admiring Gatsby's library?
9. What object does Gatsby show to Nick that makes Nick believe Gatsby's wild stories about his past?
10. What does it mean that Meyer Wolfsheim "fixed the World Series" in 1919?

BONUS: Interpret this line in chapter one: "Life is much more successfully looked at from a single window, after all."
EXTRA BONUS: Interpret this line in chapter three: "I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy."

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