Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Reading Period 8: October 27 - November 2: China

Long Read: 

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, chapters 1-8

Short Read: 

The Analects of Confucius, Book 1.

Poetry:

The Tao Te Ching, chapters 1-37

Note: We will spend a considerable amount of class time in discussing Taoism and Confucianism, and it will be enormously helpful if you read a bit of both of these texts.

Creative Assignment: 

Consider the significance of the color red in the novel -- in Wang Lung's celebrations of his first son's birth, for example. Read this article about the meaning of color in Chinese culture. Now write a poem which features colors. You can write about an idea or image or event, using color to help you describe your theme, or you can write about a color itself. You can interpret a color according to the traditional Chinese symbolism or in your own way.

OR

Wang Lung makes two trips to the House of Huang -- the first when he meets Olan, and the second when he returns to show off his son. Create two illustrations to reflect the differences in those two trips. How has his identity changed? How have the visuals changed? How has his posture and attitude changed?

Writing Assignment:

Research and write a short essay (300 words) about Pearl S. Buck's life. Focus on the elements that qualify her to write about China, and include in your essay an assessment of whether or not her interpretation of Chinese culture could be authentic and believable, even though she is not Chinese. This article is a good place to start, and has many links to other resources. Make sure you cite any site you use for information.

OR

Based only on evidence from the novel, write a short essay (300 words) describing women's role in rural Chinese society in the early 20th century (around 1910.) Make sure you cite specific examples from the story to illustrate your points. What do women do? What is their value? Where do they have power and where are they powerless? Based on the novel, what rights do you think they had? Who was in control of them?

Quiz:

The quiz is over The Good Earth, chapters 1-8.

1. What important change has happened in Wang Lung's life between the time he wakes up at the beginning of chapter 1 and the time he goes to bed?
2. What is one small change in chapter 2 that is a result of the big change in chapter 1?
3. Give an example of one Chinese custom in chapter 1 that seems odd to you. For example: Wang Lung's wife walking behind him.
4. Give an example of one Chinese custom that seems normal and familiar to you. For example: Wang Lung insulting the food while secretly thinking it's great.
5. Who is working harder on the farm -- Wang Lung or the woman?
6. What plan for the future does the woman reveal in chapter 3?
7. What are the causes of Wang Lung's bountiful harvest?
8. What are the causes of Wang Lung's uncle's pitiful harvest?
9. What did Olan take as a gift for the mistress of the House of Huang?
10. What are the causes of the Huang's financial troubles?
11. What causes does Wang Lung's uncle blame for the uncle's poverty in chapter 7?
12. The family calls the firstborn son a "man." What do they call the girl child?
13. Who slaughtered the ox, and why?
14. Why was Wang Lung not sorry that he had bought land with his silver, even though now they are starving?


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Reading Period 7: October 20 - 26: Malaysia / Singapore

What? You finished my novel? But it was so long!
Class meeting: October 26
Due date: October 25, 7pm

Long Read:

The Brothers Karamazov, Book 12 and the Epilogue: The end!

There is no short read this week. Work on filling out your Novel Autopsy Report for The Brothers Karamazov and bring it to class on Monday with any questions or empty spaces you have. We'll work on filling in the rest of it in class, but you will be turning it in at the end of class for me to look at and grade, so please get as much done as you can at home. Another link to the blank form:

Novel Autopsy Report

Poetry:

"Unggun Bersih" by A Samad Said. Click here to read an article about this poem and poet, and here to read the poem in Malay.

Creative Assignment:

In your Novel Autopsy Report you're asked to make a list of significant objects in the novel. Illustrate this list in a collage, using any medium -- drawing, painting, color, etc. Include at least 5 objects in your illustration.

OR

Take a look at a few Malaysian bloggers. Here's a list to get you started:

Kenny Sia
Kit Siang
Jane Chuck
Cheeserland

Consider all the different reasons people blog: personal diaries, parenthood, fashion, food reviews and recipes, movies and technology -- pretty much anything people want to talk about or share opinions about. Now think of a blog you'd like to write. To complete this assignment, you'll need a title, a description of your blog, and a list of five post titles.

Writing Assignment:

Until fifty years ago, Singapore was an undeveloped island, a former outpost of the British Empire. Watch this video about modern Singapore. Write 300 words about the city state of Singapore, highlighting at least three things that make Singapore a unique place in the world. You may want to mention the rapid urbanization, the drinking water, and Palau Ubin. In your conclusion, tell whether you'd want to live in Singapore.



OR

Write 300 words giving your opinion: Who killed Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov? Consider the suspects presented at the trial, but also consider oher people in the novel who may have had some responsibility in the crime. I will accept any answer, including an accusation that you or I killed him, as long as it's argued reasonably.

Quiz:

This quiz is over book 12  and the Epilogue of The Brothers Karamazov.

Book 12: 
1. Of whom did Mitya say "He was a dog and he died like a dog!"
2. How does the lawyer discredit Ratikin's testimony?
3. What did the doctor buy for Mitya when he was a child?
4. What proof does Alyosha have that Dmitri is not lying?
5. a. What physical evidence does Ivan present?
    b. What physical evidence does Katya present?
6. What does the prosecutor say the REAL Dmitri Karamazov would have done with the money sewed up in the bag?
7. How does the prosecutor combat the argument that Dmitri wrote the suspicious letter when he was drunk?
8. Tell three words the prosecutor uses to describe Smerdyakov.
9. What does the prosecutor say that Mitya's plan was, when he was on the way to Mokroye to see Grushenka?
10. The prosecutor said that Dmitri ran back to Grigory to see whether he was alive or dead, but why does the defense attorney say he ran back?
11. According to the defense attorney, who is the only person who ever saw Fyodor Pavlovich's money stash?
12. Who does the defense attorney suggest is the real murderer?
13. What does the defense attorney say will happen if the jury acquits Dmitri?
14. What is the verdict?

Epilogue:
1. What is Alyosha trying to get Katya to do?
2. From who does Katya beg forgiveness while visiting Mitya?
3. What does Alyosha tell the children is the highest and strongest thing, the most wholesome and important thing for their lives in the future?

BONUS: What do you think? Isn't it kind of cool how Alyosha gets to end the book?

Uh, not that Alyosha.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Reading Period 6: October 13 - 19: Philippines / Indonesia

Alas Smerdyakov. You were a jerk.
Class meeting: October 19
Due date: October 18, 7pm

Long Read:

The Brothers Karamazov, Book 11.

Short Read:

"The Summer Solstice" by Nick Joaquin

Nicomedes Márquez Joaquín is a literary hero from the Philippines, writing in English. This is one of his iconic stories, published just after World War II.

Poem:

Rizal's execution.
"Mi Último Adiós" by Jose Rizal

Scroll down to see a side by side translation of this poem, written days before Rizal's execution, in Spanish, English, and Tagalog. Take a quick peak at Rizal's biography to see why he was shot by the Spanish.



Creative Assignment:

Illustrate the scene in "The Summer Solstice" when the parade of women comes down the street during the Feast of John the Baptist. What do the women look like and what does the statue look like? Try to capture the feeling in the scene that lead Don Paeng to feel angry.

OR

Philippine poet Jose Rizal created a sculpture called "The Power of Science Over Death." He spent much of his life speaking against the Catholic church and the Jesuits, as they had a hand in colonizing and oppressing the Philippines with the Spanish government. It is rumored that he retracted his anti-Catholic sentiments on the eve of his execution, and got officially married, and was blessed by a priest. After reading about Rizal and his rejection of Catholocism (and his questionable retraction of said rejection), create your own piece of art with this title. It can be a sculpture, a drawing, a collage, or a digital work -- whatever works to express the theme of the title in your own way.

OR

Pretend you are going to be executed for your political resistance to the oppressive regime under which you live. Write a poem titled "My Final Goodbye."

Writing Assignment:

Research and read about this week's poet, Philippine author Jose Rizal. He has been called the Philippine Joan of Arc for his against the Spanish colonial government. Write a 300 word essay summarizing his biography.

OR

Write a eulogy to be spoken at Smerdyakov's funeral. Remember not to speak ill of the dead. In your eulogy, try to defend the position that his suicide was not his fault -- it was everyone else's fault.

Paper:

Your long writing assignment this semester will be a personal essay. You will write on the topic of family identity and personal individuality, in the context of the Karamazov brothers and the character archetypes we have been discussing. In your paper, you'll define your own family's collective character, and also your identity within the family and as an individual. This will be a great way for you to use the insights we've been gaining on The Brothers Karamazov, and also good practice for writing college or award essays. We will also be submitting your final drafts to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards in the Personal Essay category. Take a look at some of the other categories (there are art categories too) to see if any others interest you.

On Monday, you'll turn in your thesis statement. "We are _____. I am ______." Read this example of a similar personal essay to inspire you.

Due dates:

Thesis Statement: October 19
Outline Draft: October 26
Outline Revision: November 9
First Draft: November 23
Peer Revision: November 30
Final Draft: December 14

Comic by Anne Emond


Quiz:

The quiz covers The Brothers Karamazov, Book 11.

1. What change does Alyosha notice in Grushenka?
2. Why is Madame Khokhlakova upset about the article in the St. Petersburg Tattler?
3. Who is the man that Lise called to come visit her so she could tell him about the pineapple compote and the tortured boy? He laughed at her...
4. a. Why does Dmitri feel sorry for God?
    b. What is the big secret Dmitri tells Alyosha?
5. What was in Lise's note to Ivan, judging from his reaction?
6. What does Ivan accuse Smerdyakov of faking?
7. a. Of what is Smerdyakov accusing Ivan? He doesn't accuse Ivan of actually killing Fyodor Pavlovich but of what?
    b. What does Ivan conclude after he reads Dmitri's letter to Katya?
8. What does Smerdyakov confess to Ivan and what is his physical proof?
9. Who is Ivan's visitor and why does he appear?
10. What does Alyosha believe has driven Ivan crazy?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Reading Period 5: October 6 - 12: Thailand / Myanmar

In Imperial Russia, everything comes in threes. 
Class meeting: October 12
Due Date: October 11, 7pm

Long Read:

The Brothers Karamazov, Books 9 & 10

Short Read:

"On my Way to See the Buddha" by Willard van de Bogart. This is a personal essay written by an American about visiting a rural shrine in Thailand that combines Hindu and Buddhist traditions. He includes descriptions of local village life and a lot of interesting illustrations.

Poems:

"Mandalay" by Rudyard Kipling (more about Rudyard Kipling)
"Chin" by Mya Kabyar (more about Mya Kabyar)

Creative Assignment:

As requested, here is your knot-tying creative assignment option! First, watch this video on Chinese decorative knot tying:



Extending our knot-tying activity from Monday's class, use your extra paracord to tie two more knots, chosen from this list:

Emperor's Snake Knot
Double Coin Knot
Dragonfly Knot
Monkey Fist

OR

Thai cuisine is enormously popular in this country. Read this page about the history and characteristics of Thai food, and then try at least one of the recipes on the page. Document your efforts with photographs and write up a commentary on the cooking process and the end result.

OR

We talked in class about the fable of the onion and the quote: "I may be wicked, but still I gave an onion." Lots of people have used this and other quotes from The Brothers Karamazov to inspire tattoo designs. Choose a famous quote from the book and create a tattoo for yourself based on it. You can use part or all of one of these quotes or choose another:

"In sorrow, seek happiness."
"I may be wicked, but still I gave an onion."
"Above all, don't lie to yourself."
"You are trying to save me."
"Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible."
"Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams."
"Life is paradise, and we are all in paradise, but we refuse to see it."
"Everything passes; only truth remains."
"Forgive me for my love, for ruining you with my love."

Writing Assignment:

In book 9 chapter 9, the police captain tells Dmitri Karamazov, "We are all ready to recognize that you are, at bottom, a man of honor, but alas, one who has been carried away by certain passions to a somewhat excessive degree." In our society, we have always dealt less harshly with someone who has been "carried away by certain passions" than we have with people who have dispassionately plotted a crime. Write a short essay (300 words) in which you explain the legal difference between a "crime of passion" and a crime that is "premeditated." Use examples to illustrate your point. In your essay, explain why it's possible to forgive the first and punish the second, and say whether you think that is fair, if the crime is the same. If someone murders their father on impulse, and another person plans and plots the murder, the father is still dead. Should they be treated differently?

OR

Over the last 100 years, several different proposals have been put forward for creating a canal through Thailand's isthmus, to connect the Gulf of Thailand with the Andaman Sea. Do some research on this topic (you can start here) and write a short essay (300 words) introducing the topic and then outlining at least three possible effects of such a canal. You can talk about positive and negative effects. Think about the structure of your essay before you begin, and start a new paragraph when you talk about a different effect. Your conclusion should mention why you think the project has been talked about for hundreds of years but never goes anywhere. Bonus points for comparing this situation with the one in Panama, which we discussed last semester.

Quiz:

Book 9
1. What two people does Pyotr Ilyich Perkotin question about Mitya's actions?
2. What (possible) murder weapon was found on the garden path?
3. Mitya receives good news for which he says he has prayed all night. What is it?
4. Although he is mostly very forthcoming with his testimony, what info does Mitya say he must withhold from the police?
5. Why does Mitya say the murderer is NOT Smerdyakov?
"Thanks for reading my novel." --FD
6. Why does Mitya say the murderer IS Smerdyakov?
7. Mitya has an explanation for why he was so broke earlier in the day and so flush with money in th evening. So where did he get the money he was spending so excessively in Mokroye?
8. Witnesses against Mitya are examined in his presence. Who is the last witness to be questioned?
9. When Mitya is being carted away, who does he ask for forgiveness, and what do they answer?

Book 10
1. What bet did Kolya Kossotkin take at the railway station, that established him as a desperate character?
2. Why does Kolya have to wait for Agafya to return before he can go out?
3. When Kolya asks the peasant for forgiveness, what does the peasant say?
4. Why does Ilusha feel guilty about the dog named Zhutchka?
5. What secret has Kolya been keeping about his dog Perezvon.
6. What does Kolya admit is the reason he didn't come to se Ilusha sooner?
7. What is the doctor's prediction for Ilusha?