Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Reading Period 2: Sept 15-21: Japan

Class meeting: September 21
Due date: September 20, 7pm

Long Read:

The Brothers Karamazov Books 3-4

Short Read:

"Bamboo Hats for Jizo: The Grateful Statues"

Read the story at the link above, a direct translation from the Japanese, with the Japanese characters on the page. You should know that the Ojizou-sama were roadside statues of deities.

Thanks for the hats, buddy.


Haiku poems are the quintessential Japanese poetry, and also an impossible translation puzzle. Traditional haiku contain a "cutting word," or kireji, and these words have no English translation. Traditional haiku also juxtapose two different elements and contain seasonal words. Check out this page, which has a whole lot of haiku poems from the most famous writer (and possibly inventor) of haiku, Matsuo Basho.

Creative Assignment:

Write three haiku poems. Your poems must use seasonal words from this list of 500 seasonal words. Your haiku must communicate a juxtaposition of two elements. If you can find a simple hut to write them in, do that. If not, at least try to "rest aloof of odious common living."


Read Schiller's poem "Ode to Joy" and listen to its musical setting by Beethoven. Consider why Dmitri Fyodorovich would want to begin his confession with this poem? What, in it, would speak to him? Pull at least three lines or stanzas from the poem and explain why those particular sentiments would feel important or sympathetic to Dmitri.

User Eliz7 on DeviantArt

Writing Assignment:

Sort the four Karamazov brothers (now you know there are four, right?) into Hogwart's houses. Dmitri, Ivan, Alexei, and Smerdyakov. Which would be a Slytherin? Which a Ravenclaw? And why? If you aren't a Harry Potter fan, try sorting them into Dungeons and Dragons classes: Warrior, Cleric, Mage, and Thief. Or into Divergent factions, or races of Middle Earth. We're going to be talking about character archetypes. Start by thinking of these four brothers in the categories most familiar to you from literature you like. You could even compare them to the types represented by the sisters in Pride and Prejudice! Write a 300 word essay explaining how you would "sort" them, if they were eleven-year-olds and you were the sorting hat. Must have four categories. Is Dmitri Dauntless? Is Ivan Erudite?


If you are not reading The Brothers Karamazov, please write a 300 word essay on one of the following topics: Noh theater, the Shinto religion, or Samurai warriors. Make sure you write the paper in your own words and cite the web sites or books where you got your information.


The quiz covers books 3 and 4 of The Brothers Karamazov. Questions are numbered to show in which book and chapter the answer can be found. Quizzes are always open book!

Book 3

1. At the time the story takes place, who lives in Fyodor Pavlovich's main house and who lives in the "outhouse"? (Not an outhouse like an outdoor toilet, in this case!)
2. Who are Smerdyakov's mother and father?
3. Where was Alyosha headed off to when he runs into Mitya leaning over his father's neighhor's fence?
4. What two things did Mitya consider doing, on the night Katerina Ivanovna visited him, before he decided to give her the money?
5. a. Why is Mitya breaking off his engagement to Katerina Ivanovna?
     b. Why does Mitya owe Katerina Ivanovna 3000 rubles?
     c. What is in an envelope in Fyodor Pavlovich's house?
     d. Why is Dmitri staying at Fyodor Pavlovich's neighbor's house?
     e. What is Mitya worried he might do?
6. What is Smerdyakov's job in Fyodor Pavlovich's house?
7. To what person is Smerdyakov directing his hostil arguments on religious faith?
8. Fyodor Pavlovich asks if God exists. What does Alyosha say and what does Ivan say?
9. Who is the "she" in the cry "She's here!"
10. a. Does Katerina Ivanovna know about the squandered rubles?
      b. Does Katerina Ivanovna know about Dmitri fooling around with Grushenka?
11. a. In Dmitri's last speech in this chapter he says, "Do you see, here, just here--" What gesture does he make while delivering this line?
      b. What does Lise confess in a letter to Alexei?

Book 4

1. What vision does Father Therapon have at the Abbot's?
2. How is Fyodor Pavlovich feeling about Mitya today? Give your answer and then give a direct quote to support it.
3. What physical damage does the schoolboy do to Alyosha?
4. Did Alyosha take Lise's letter seriously?
5. a. What has Katerina Ivanovna decided to do, with regard to Dmitri?
     b. Why is Katerina Ivanovna sending 200 rubles to the staff sergeant?
6. What does the staff sergeant do with the 200 rubles?
(24 questions in all)

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