Thursday, May 21, 2015

Reading Period 29: May 19-25: It Ain't Right

Long Read:

To Kill a Mockingbird, chapters 22-25

Short Read:

"Our Town", Act 3, AIAL 995-1004


Luisa Igloria
"Note to Her Translator"
"Yo Yu"

Luisa Igloria is a working poet, a professor at ODU, and she lives in Hampton Roads. She has written many books of poetry and had many poems published in magazines and journals. You can find her web site here. One really interesting thing about Luisa Igloria, besides the fact that she is practically a neighbor, is that she has been writing and publishing a poem a day for over four years. You can find all of them here.

Creative Assignments:

Poet Luisa Igloria posted a poetry prompt every day for the month of April, which was National Poetry Month. Choose one of these prompts and write a poem.


Create an illustration of the five most important objects in To Kill a Mockingbird. You might choose the rifle Atticus uses to shoot the dog, or Jem's mended pants, or the blanket Boo puts over the children, or the judge's gavel, or Mrs. Dubose's camellias. Think about how these objects function in the novel, and choose one line or phrase from the book for each object, to include in the illustration.

Writing Assignments:

The people in Maycomb are divided along more than just racial lines. The Ewells, the Baptists, the Finches, the Cunninghams, Calpurnia's church, the ladies of the Missionary Tea, all have their own preconceptions or prejudices about other groups. Do you think you feel any prejudice toward any groups of people? Think hard about positive or negative assumptions you make when you see people who are dressed a certain way, or who have a certain job, go to a certain church, etc. Who has "background" and "good breeding"? Who is liable to be resistant to change? Who is strict and mean? Who is open-minded and fair? Do you think people have assumptions about you, based on you being a homeschooler? Write a 300 word essay about assumptions you think people still make, based on race, religion, appearance, education, or anything else.


It seems to me that the whole novel comes down to one exchange between Atticus and Jem, in chapter 23. They're discussing the outcome of the trial, and Atticus tells Jem, "Those are the facts of life." Jem responds, "Doesn't make it right." Do you agree with Atticus that this "baby step" toward justice is something to be glad about, or do you agree with Jem's frustration at the injustice and backwardness of the jury's decision? Are we always to be resigned to "the facts of life" or are there times when we can't accept things as they are? In presenting both characters, Harper Lee helps us to understand this complicated question, and by giving both characters voice, she illustrates the conflict in the reader's own mind. Then there's the fact that in spite of Atticus' resignation, he still risked his life to defend Tom Robinson. Write a 300 word essay in which you answer the question for yourself: Who is right? Atticus or Jem?


Watch this movie version of "Our Town" with music by Aaron Copeland. (Quiz bowl team: Name two other pieces by Aaron Copeland!) You don't have to watch the whole thing, if you want to fast forward and skip around.

Most of the lines are exactly the same, but what is the most significant difference between the movie version and the stage version as described in the script? Do you think this change ruins the point of the play? In what way is the movie similar to the play? For example, when the stage manager interviews the professor at 13 minutes in, is that how you imagined it sounding in the play? When you watch the third act, does it have the same impact as you imagine the minimalist staging would? Write a 300 word essay giving your opinion on this movie, and how well it communicates the ideas and dramatic action of the stage play.


The paper is already due! Why is it not in my eyes! You people are all fired. Except if you've turned your paper in. Then you're not.


The quiz this week covers TKAM chapters 22-25.

1. How does Atticus defend his decision to let the children witness the trial, when Aunt Alexandra challenges him?
2. What does Calpurnia find all around the back step, the morning after the trial?
3. Why was it significant that Judge Taylor named Atticus to defend Tom Robinson, instead of Maxwell Green?
4. Why does Atticus say he doesn't mind getting spit on and threatened by Mr. Ewell?
5. What is circumstantial evidence and what are eye witnesses?
6. Why can't Miss Maudie serve on a jury?
7. Why does Scout plan to be nice to Walter Cunningham?
8. What was the official topic of discussion at the Ladies Missionary Tea?
9. Why didn't Atticus tell Tom Robinson he would win an appeal and go free, according to Calpurnia?
10. What were the circumstances of Tom's death?

BONUS: Why does Jem tell Scout not to kill the roly-poly bug she finds in her room, and how does that relate to Tom Robinson's wife and to the title?

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