Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Reading Period 27: May 6-12: Don't Call That a Blind Spot

Long Read: 

To Kill a Mockingbird, chapters 9-16

Short Read:

"Our Town" by Thornton Wilder, Act 1 (AIAL)


Gertrude Stein
"A Little Called Pauline"
"A Substance in a Cushion"

Lyn Hejinian
[but isn't midnight intermittent]
[a straight rain is rare...]

Creative Assignments: 

Read this short description of "language poetry" after reading the poems of Gertrude Stein and Lyn Hejinian. Language poetry creates meaning that comes from language, instead of the language being used to express a pre-existing meaning. Write a poem in the style of the language poets. Starting with no particular meaning in your head, let some language create a meaning. Now write a second poem using words and ideas from To Kill a Mockingbird, but without trying to express a particular thought or message. Does a message come through in either of your poems?


Pretend you are the owner/director of a small theater company and you are about to stage a production of "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder. You're worried about the MINIMALIST staging instructions -- just a few chairs and a couple of ladders to show the interior of a home? How are you supposed to do that? You're concerned that your audience members will expect the REALISM they've come to expect from stage settings, and will reject the play. Write a letter to Thornton Wilder, expressing your concerns. Make sure it expresses a good definition of realism and minimalism.

Writing Assignments: 

At this point in To Kill a Mockingbird, the family relationships are starting to become very clear to readers. The way Atticus treats his children, the relationship between the siblings, the way Calpurnia behaves to the children -- all these connections are illustrated in detail. Write a personal essay telling whether you identify with any of these characters, or find any points of comparison with some of these characters and your own family relationships. If you have a younger sibling -- are you like Jem and Scout? In what way? Your fathers are all professionals -- do you feel the way Scout feels about her father's job? Is there a person in your life who functions like Dill? Like Calpurnia? Write 300 words comparing the family relationships in your life to the ones in the novel.


Compare and contrast the town of Maycomb, Alabama to the town of Grovers Corners in "Our Town." In Act 1 you get quite a bit of information about Grovers Corners, and in the first few chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird, you get quite a picture of Maycomb. How are they similar to each other, and in what ways do they differ? You can talk about the people, about the size, the location, the attitudes, the economy -- whatever you notice that would make a good point of contrast or similarity. For example... Mr. Underwood from Maycomb and Mr. Webb from Grovers Corners?


Your new due date is May 15. You're welcome. I've been waiting for all the rough drafts to come in to make my comments, but I think I'm going to just comment on the ones that have come in, and let you latecomers take your time. No rush, it's only MAY. :D

Gertrude Stein says "WRITE YOUR PAPER." 


1. Does Atticus believe he will win his court case defending Tom Robinson?
2. Who are Atticus' siblings and what are they like?
3. What does Atticus do when a mad dog comes down the street, that proves he is not "feeble"?
4. What is Jem's punishment for going crazy on Mrs. Dubose's flowers?
5. What brave thing did Mrs. Dubose do before she died?
6. What was the response of MOST of the people at Calpurnia's church, when she takes Jem and Scout to worship there?
7. Why does Zeebo have to sing out the lines during the hymn sing?
8. Scout thought there was a snake under her bed. But what was it?
9. Why does Atticus go downtown the night they moved Tom Robinson to the Maycomb jail?
10. What did Mr. Cunningham and his gang intend to do that night?

BONUS: Why is it a sin to kill a mockingbird?

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