Thursday, March 5, 2015

Reading Period 20: March 3-9: Boats Against the Current

Long Read: 

The Great Gatsby, Chapter 9

See you later, old sport.
Short Read:

"The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" by Katherine Anne Porter (AIAL p. 590-599)


Marianne Moore:
What are years?

Edna St. Vincent Millay:
If I should learn, in some quite casual way
What my lips have kissed, and where, and why

Elizabeth Bishop:
One Art
Creative Assignment: 

After reading "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall," and the "Literary Elements" and "Language and Vocabulary" sections that follow in your textbook, write your own example of stream of consciousness prose. You may recall last year reading the final chapter of James Joyce's Ulysses as an example of this same literary technique, and writing an exercise in the style of Finnegan's Wake. Here in American Literature, stream of consciousness writing is popping up around the same time. In your scene, you should mix past and present, as Katherine Anne Porter does. Pay close attention to your verb tense, however. You can shift between past and past perfect, or you can shift between present and past -- whatever you do, make it intentional. The experience you describe in stream of consciousness should last no more than a minute.


Create your own "Schedule" and "General Resolves" as Gatsby did as a child, evidenced by the book his father found and showed to Nick in chapter 9. You can be whimsical if you want, but consider what Gatsby was trying to do, and how he transformed himself, what he made of himself. What are your resolves? Do you feel that making lists like this helps to transform a person?

Writing Assignment:

Who is "everyman"? In modern fiction, writers were less interested in exceptional people having exciting adventures, and more interested in regular people leading real lives. Instead of exotic rich people, or amazing events, we find ourselves meeting average folks, and witnessing normal stuff. There is meaning and significance to be found in the every day world. Why might literature have shifted focus from exceptional people to regular people, in the 20th century? Write a short essay in which you explain how "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" is an example of a story about "everyman" and why her story is important.


Watch the movie, "The Great Gatsby," the 2013 version directed by Baz Luhrman starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Write a short essay comparing the movie to the book, in which you give your personal opinions about both the book and the adaptation. It may help you to read this article in the New Yorker, which talks about some of the themes of the book and how they played out in the movie.


Please work on developing an idea for your Real Literature Project! We will start hearing presentations in class according to the schedule, on March 17. Take a look at the Presentations tab, above, to see what is required of your presentation, according to the Virginia Standards of Learning. Hint: Visual aids.


Time to start thinking about our paper for this semester!

Choosing which material to include in a syllabus is one of the hardest things about being a teacher, and you will find strong opinions about almost every novel and short story -- whether it should be included or not. This semester, you will be writing a persuasive essay about a novella from the American Literature canon. From the point of view of a student, you will either take the position that the novella should definitely be taught in high school classrooms, or that it should be skipped. Here is a list of novellas that students frequently read in high school, from which you can choose:

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Daisy Miller by Henry James (in your textbook)
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

For this week, take a look at plot synopses and descriptions of these four novellas, and decide which one you would like to read. Yes, you will be reading the novel you write about. Yes, on top of all your other reading. This is madness! No, this is America. Please take a look at all these and submit your novella of choice by next Tuesday.


Read this article: "Why I Despise The Great Gatsby"
For each word below, give a definition, and then find where the word appears in the article and rewrite the sentence to say the same thing without using the vocabulary word.

1. beatific
2. sacrosanct
3. recrudescence
4. definitive
5. shagreen
6. pedagogical perennial
7. scrupulously
8. officious gendarmes
9. aloofness
10. pious oppobrium

BONUS: Do you agree with the author of this article? Why?
BONUS BONUS: What link shows up for you as a "Related" article?

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