Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Reading Period 4: September 29 - October 5: Vietnam / Cambodia / Laos

Class meeting: October 5
Due date: October 4, 7pm

Long Read:

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Books 7-8.

Short Read:

"Xiang Miang Outwits the King": a Lao Folk Tale.

Read the story here, then watch this video of a Laotian man telling the story. The words aren't exactly the same, but here you can hear the language.



Poem:

"Song of Napalm" by Bruce Weigl

For other poetry by Vietnam war veterans see this page.

"What Were They Like?" by Denise Levertov

Creative Assignment:

Illustrate the spring onion parable, from book 7, chapter 4. You can do it as a comic, or as just one image, or a series of images, or however you like. You can make it funny, horrific, or instructive.

OR

Buddhism is the dominant religion in Laos. Create an illustration Pha That Luang, the golden Buddhist temple in Vientiane, Laos. Use unlined paper and colored markers, pencils or crayons to make your artwork.

OR

Write a letter to Grushenka. Pretend you are a conservative, critical old aunt and you have heard of the doings at Mokroye and are furious with her. Preach to her, reprimand her, advise her, and lecture her. Use specific details from the novel to point out her mistakes,

Writing Assignment:

Having read the two poems assigned for this week, ask yourself this question: Can anyone write a war protest poem? Or do you have to have fought in the war to protest against it? The first of the poems was written by a veteran, and the other one was written by someone who lived through the war but did not fight. Knowing what you know about the authors, does it affect the way you read the poetry? Do you feel the one written by a veteran has more weight, more authenticity? Write 300 words where you discuss the role of the author's biography in your interpretation of a poem, in the context of these two war poems.

Read this page, about the temples at Angkor, including the central temple of Angkor Wat and the temple of Ta Prohm. The temple of Ta Prohm has been allowed to deteriorate as a result of trees breaking up the stones and walls. The central temple of Angkor Wat has been lovingly and expensively restored. Check out some more pictures of Ta Prohm and Angkor Wat. Now pretend you are writing a letter to a rich donor to archeological and historical sites. Make your case that the target of your letter should donate money to preserving one of these temples. In your letter, argue that it's better to clean up and restore the temple to its original state OR argue that it's better to protect and preseve the temple as it falls into natural decay.

Quiz:

Book 7
1. What is strange and disappointing about Father Zosima's corpse?
2. Who says, "I did believe, I do believe, and I want to believe and I shall believe"?
3. What is the rumor about how Grushenka came to be in a state of poverty before she was rescued by Kusma Kusmich Samsonov and set up to live at Mrs. Morozova's?
4. Who speaks to Alyosha in his dream?

Mitya and Grushenka living it up in Mokroye
Book 8
1. a. Why does Mitya feel he must return the 3000 rubles to Katerina Ivanovna?
    b. Who does Mitya first approach, to get the money?
    c. Who does this first person send him on to ask?
2. Why does Mitya have so much trouble getting Lurcher to negotiate with him?
3. Who does Mitya ask for money next, and what is that person's suggestion for him?
4. a. When Mitya sees his father sticking his head out the window, who is his father calling for?
    b. What state is Grigory in when Mitya leaves him?
    c. Where has Grushenka gone?
5. What two things does Pyotr Ilyich find surprising about Mitya's appearance?
6.  What five people are staying at the inn when Mitya arrives?
7. a. Exactly how much money does Mitya offer the Polish gentleman in exchange for him leaving.
    b. How does Grushenka now feel about the Polish gentlemen she ran away with?
8. When Mitya says "The old man's blood! I understand!" what old man does he mean? And what old man does the police chief think he means?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Reading Period 3: September 22 - 28: Korea

Class meeting: September 28
Due date: September 27, 7pm

Long Read:

The Brothers Karamazov, Books 5-6

Short Read:

Four Korean Folk Tales by Susan Crowder Han

Poem:

Ten Poems of the Joseon Dynasty.



Creative Assignment:

Choose one!

There ya go. Recipe done.
In Book 5, Chapter 3, Alyosha and Ivan eat fish soup, tea, and cherry preserve. Russian fish soup is called uhka, and there are many variations and recipes. Create your own menu for this meal, and serve it to yourself or others. You can interpret ukha and cherry preserve however you like, but do take pictures, show your recipes, and post to the Google+ community.

OR

This section references three Bible stories: Cain, Joseph, and Job. Read all three of these stories in the bible, using this index to find them. Create a mash-up comic that uses characters from each one. How would Joseph react to Cain? How would Cain feel about Job's problems? Think about the role of brotherhood in each of these stories, and the role of suffering inflicted by god and suffering inflicted by men, and see what you can come up with when they all meet. Maybe they're all doing their laundry. Maybe they're all trying to order a pizza.

OR

If you are not reading The Brothers Karamazov: What is K-Pop? Choose a music video that perfectly exemplifies K-pop music, and link to it, explaining what K-Pop is and why this song/video is a good example. For bonus points, dress yourself (and your friends?) as K-Pop stars, and take a photo.

Writing Assignment:

Choose one!

Voltaire is the "old sinner" that Ivan references in Book 5, chapter 3. He is quoted as saying this: ": "Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer" ("If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him"). This quote came from Voltaire's letter to the author of a book called The Three Impostors, which was a critique of religion. Read Voltaire's letter here. It's in French but you can scroll down for the English translation (or have a look at the French, if you're in French class!). Now pretend that you are friends with the author of The Three Impostors. He comes over to your house, holding this letter in his hand, and he just doesn't understand! Does Voltaire believe in God or doesn't he? Is he for religion or against it? It's too difficult to figure out what Voltaire is saying! In a short essay (250 words) paraphrase Voltaire's argument in this letter, for your friend the atheist. You can go paragraph by paragraph and put the letter into your own words, or you can take the idea and run with it, capturing the essense of the argument.

OR

These Korean train tracks meet in infinity.
Ivan talks about parallel lines possibly meeting somewhere in infinity, a reference to the writings of Nikolai Lobachevsky, a Russian mathematician. Write a short essay in which you answer the following questions: Why has no one been able to prove Euclid's fifth axiom? What did Lobachevsky publish in his Imaginary Geometry and what impact did it have on Einstein's work? What is hyperbolic geometry and who is Bernhard Riemann?

OR

If you are not reading The Brothers Karamazov, write a short essay answering this question: Why is Korea divided into North Korea and South Korea? When did the division happen and what foreign countries controlled and supported which side?  Make sure you use quotation marks for direct quotes from your source, and list the sites where you learned about it, if you didn't already know.

What a hussar looks like.
Quiz:

This quiz covers The Brothers Karamazov books 5 and 6. Remember you can use your book to help you answer these questions, arranged by book and chapter. Send me an email with your answers!

BOOK 5
1. Why does Alyosha want to marry Lise?
2. In the garden of his father's neighbor, Alyosha disturbs a man singing to a woman. Who is the man and who is the woman?
3. Fill in the blank: Ivan says he does accept _____ but he does not accept _______.
4. Ivan can understand the need for suffering, but whose suffering can he not understand?
5. Who is the prisoner in Ivan's tale, The Grand Inquisitor?
6.     a. What medical condition does Smerdyakov reveal he suffers from?
        b. What secret signal did Smerdyakov tell Dmitri?
7. Where is Ivan headed, in the morning, and where does Fyodor Pavlovich want him to go instead? Which place does he end up going?

BOOK 6
1. Which brother does Father Zossima want Alyosha to seek out, to prevent something terrible from happening?
2.     a. Give one example of an enlightened idea that came to Father Zossima's brother when he was dying.
        b. What was the outcome of the duel, and why?
        c. How did Father Zossima's "mysterious visitor" confess his crime?
3.     a. List one example of how life in the monastery is liberating and free.
        b. Give an example of Father Zossima's advice for life.
        c. What is hell? Give Father Zossima's answer.
(15 questions in all)

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.


Poem:

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."

OR

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?

OR

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.

Quiz:

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)