Friday, March 18, 2016

Reading Period 22: March 18-24: United Kingdom

Long Read:
Suck it, Wordsworth. My rhymes are the best.

Don Quixote, chapters 28-52, finishing the first half. I'm going to let you skip some chapters if you need to get through it faster. Chapters to skip: 33, 34 (The Novel of the Man who was Recklessly Curious) and 39, 40, 41 (The History of the Captive)

Short Read:

"Araby" by James Joyce


"London, 1802" by William Wordsworth

Creative Assignment:

Wordsworth's poem, London, "1802," is a great example for learning different types of poetic devices. Create an artistic illustration of the poem that creatively draws attention to the places where Wordsworth uses simile, metaphor, synecdoche, metonymy, and apostrophe.


Write your own sonnet in the Petrarchan form. You have four examples of Petrarchan sonnets on the handout you received in class. Here's another one: Emma Lazarus' poem "Colossus" that is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty:

'Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, (a)
With conquering limbs astride from land to land; (b)
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand (b)
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame (a)
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name (a)
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand (b)
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command (b)
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. (a)
'Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!' cries she (c)
With silent lips. 'Give me your tired, your poor, (d)
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, (c)
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. (d)
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, (c)
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!' (d)

I like writing sonnets. It's not that he makes me. I like it.
Your poem should, as all good Petrarchan sonnets do, present a problem in the first octave and answer the problem in the final sestet. If you're looking for inspiration, how about this? You might write a sonnet that starts by summoning a great American that you feel we have need of in our current political situation, like Wordsworth summons Milton in "London, 1802." Consider that a challenge. Who will you summon -- Lincoln? Reagan? Roosevelt?

Writing Assignment:

We talked about "impossible dreams" in class, and about how what we dream of doing really reflects who we dream of being. Write a short personal essay (250 words) about your dream. Tell us about your extreme dream like discovering a new element, not your reasonable one like becoming an engineer. The first half of your essay should talk about your dream, and what you want to do. The second half should address what's behind the dream, the abstraction that you're really searching for. Literally, Don Quixote wanted to become a knight errant and go around whacking people over the head and defending maidens' honor. But what he really wanted to do was create an identity for himself that was noble, honorable, and relevant. He wanted to be a good person, and this was a way that he could externally express it. What's behind your dream? What person are you looking to be, if you accomplish this huge goal?


Write a book review of one of the novels or novellas we have read so far this year, to submit to the Book Review Contest sponsored by the Friends of the Norfolk Public Library. You can review The Brothers Karamazov, The Good Earth, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Metamorphosis, The Stranger, Night, or Don Quixote. A big part of writing a successful essay for a specific purpose or assignment is to carefully consider the requirements, and clarify exactly what kind of essay is desired. Here are the official guidelines. Please read at least twice:

"The primary aim of the Book Review Contest is to encourage reading and critical thinking among the student participants. Students are encouraged to review books they enjoy. Rather than writing a comprehensive summary, students should discuss some element of the book (e.g. plot, setting, character, theme or style). It is important to remember that these submissions are book reviews, rather than book reports, and should offer an evaluation of the book. Freshness of expression and imagination, as well as competent English composition, will be considered by the judges."

Another important part of successfully fulfilling an assignment is paying careful attention to the technical requirements: due date, submission format, etc. Here are the guidelines for submission. Please read through them at least twice:

A 3x5 note card must be paper clipped to the front of each report with the following information clearly printed or typed: Name, School, Grade, Teacher's Name, Title of Book. No name should appear on the review itself. No cover sheet or illustrations should be included. Reviews should be typed. Reviews should be no more than 500 words. Deadline for all entries  is Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Late reviews will not be accepted. Presentation of awards will be made on Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 3:00 pm at Slover Library. A first, second, and third award will be given in each grade. 
All reviews must be submitted to
Book Review Contest
Children's Department
Mary Pretlow Anchor Branch Library
111 W. Ocean View Ave
Norfolk, VA 23503
It's up to you to write an appropriate essay for the assignment and correctly follow the submission guidelines. The deadline is next Tuesday, so if you choose to do this assignment, do not delay until my due date of Wednesday at 7! Good luck!


Your outline is due on Tuesday, March 21. I will look at them, make suggestions, and hand them back to you the following week. At this point in the process you should have the bulk of your research behind you, and just be filling in gaps by searching for specific answers. Don't be afraid to change the focus of your topic as you read and research. You may find something in your reading that strikes your curiosity and sends you in a different direction -- go there! Don't be limited by your original idea. It may just be a jumping off place.

Follow your curiosity! 

DQ Fighting Giants

1. Who is the villain of Dorotea's story? Why?
2. What lie does Dorotea tell Don Quixote about her identity? And why?
3. Is the priest and barber's plot to get Don Quixote out of the mountains successful?
4. What does the servant Andres ask Don Quixote to do, if he ever again sees him tied up and being beaten by his master?
5. Why does Dorotea say of the innkeeper, "Our host doesn't have far to go to be a second Don Quixote?"
6. In his fight with the "giant" what does Don Quixote mistake for blood?
7. Don Fernando, Cardenio, Dorotea, and Luscinda. Which characters were coupled up at the beginning of chapter 36, and which were coupled up at the end?
8. In chapter 37, who has Don Quixote become "bros" with? (The quotation marks are mine, to indicate a slang word, not a direct quote from the text.)
9. When referring to "arms" and "letters" in his discourse, what does Don Quixote mean, and what literary device does he employ?
10. Whose fault was it that Don Quixote found himself dangling from the window of the inn, tied up by his arm, unable to reach the ground with his feet?
11. What is Don Quixote's explanation for everything that happens at the inn when he can't understand it?
12. The barber and Don Quixote are arguing about the true nature of what two simple objects?
13. What does Sancho Panza say about Dorotea, that causes Don Quixote to call him a "base, lowborn, wretched, rude, ignorant, foul-mouthed, ill-spoken, slanderous, insolent varlet"?
14. Who has put Don Quixote in a cage?
15. Where do they take him?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Reading Period 21: March 11-17: Italy

Long Read: 

Don Quixote, chapters 15-27 (Part 3)

Short Read (and Poem):

The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, The Inferno, Cantos 1-4

Creative Assignment:

Write an ekphrastic poem based on the painting by Matisse that we reproduced in mosaic form in class, "The Dessert: Harmony in Red." You can consider the painting itself, the process of breaking it into pieces, the feeling of painting it, the task of putting it back together, the experience of working collaboratively with your partners, etc. You can also consider the woman in the painting, putting your poem in her point-of-view or writing about her life.

If you would prefer, after reading Dante's Inferno excerpt, you can write an ekphrastic poem about Rodin's sculpture inspired by Dante, the Gates of Hell. Check out this information about the Gates of Hell, including the image of a bronze cast, to inspire your poem.


The Italian artist Sandro Botticelli was inspired by Dante's Inferno to create his "Map of Hell." It shows the famous levels of Hell that Dante described, in circles of decreasing size, down to the ninth level, which was for traitors. Take a look at Botticelli's map, and also the more modern map, from Infografika (scroll down the page to see.) Then create your own map of Hell with nine levels, illustrating the sins being punished on each level in whatever style you choose -- cartoon, video game, in the style of Dali or Picasso or Matisse, anime, or... stick people.


Trevi Fountain
Create a map of Rome like you did a map of Paris. You should start with the Tiber River and add the following landmarks. Search for images of each one before you draw them in, and find their location on a real map of Rome:

The Coliseum
The Roman Forum
The Trevi Fountain
The Spanish Steps
Piazza Navona
The Pantheon
Circus Maximus
St. Peter's Basilica
Villa Borghese
Castel Sant'Angelo

Writing Assignment:

You will write a short essay giving essential information about three things. You can either choose to write about the three Italian masters of the High Renaissance, or three regions of Italy. Your challenge in this assignment is economy of language, as you only have 250 words to give whatever information you feel is absolutely critical. You won't be able to include everything you find out about your topic, so you must be strategic and succinct. You must include a short intro and conclusion, and you much touch on all three of either of the following sets:

Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael

Tuscany, Lombardy, Lazio

It's perfectly fine to use Wikipedia as a source for this, since you won't have room to drill down into specifics and details. I will be checking your word count to make sure you don't go over.


Continue to read in your research materials, and make more note cards for your own use. Allow yourself to divert from your original topic and plan, if you find interesting information that leads you in another direction! Part of research is discovery. Allow that to happen, and if you need to change your topic, acquire new materials, pursue a different question, that's fine! The first draft of your outline will be due March 22, so you have some time to dig into your research.

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in the Mountains, by Honore Daumier

1. Whose fault is it that Don Quixote and Sancho find themselves in a fight with the Yanguesans?
2. Describe the confusion that happens in the attic of the inn. What mistake does Don Quixote make?
3. What are the physical effects of the balm of healing that Don Quixote concocts and shares with Sancho?
4. Don Quixote observes a glorious battle between knights. What is actually happening on the plain?
5. Who killed the dead man that's being carried by the soldiers to Segovia? And how?
6. How does Sancho trick his master into waiting until dawn to attack the waterfall?
7. What noise does Sancho inadvertently make that alarms Don Quixote in the dark, causing him to say, "What sound is that, Sancho?"
8. Don Quixote sees a knight wearing the helmet of Mambrino. What is the reality? And what does Don Quixote do with the "helmet"?
9. What does Don Quixote do about the prisoners he encounters, and what is their reaction?
10. What lie does Sancho Panza tell the goatherd about the saddle pad and traveling bag they find?
11. What does Luscinda have in common with Don Quixote?
12. Don Quixote wants to go mad and wander in the mountains. Give two things he believes are critical parts of this process.
13. What does Don Quixote use for a rosary, and what does he use as paper to write down his poems?
14. The priest and the barber plan what deception to trick Don Quixote to come down out of the mountains?
15. Who do they run into instead of Don Quixote?

Friday, March 4, 2016

Reading Period 20: March 4-10: Spain

Long Read: 

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, chapters 1-14

Short Read:

Modern Masters: Dali, a BBC Documentary


"The City That Does Not Sleep" by Federico Garcia Lorca

Creative Assignments: 

Ekphrastic poetry is poetry inspired by art. You may remember that we have now read two poems inspired by Brueghel's "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" -- one by W.H. Auden and one by William Carlos Williams. Check out these three poems:

"Cezanne's Ports" by Allen Ginnsberg

"Three for the Mona Lisa" by John Stone

"Nude Descending a Staircase" by X. J. Kennedy

Write your own ekphrastic poetry based on one of these works by Salvador Dali:

The Persistence of Memory
The Elephants
The Face of War

Your poem can be as long as it needs to be, but please make it more than 10 lines.


Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso both created images based on the novel Don Quixote. Take a look at some images online and then create your own illustration of Don Quixote in the style of one of these masters. Here's a collection of the Dali illustrations. Here's the sketch by Picasso. You must indicate whether your art is in the style of Picasso or Dali, and your art must specifically reference if not copy one of the works linked here. Use unlined paper.

Writing Assignments:

Write about a trip that you take frequently -- perhaps your trip to co-op or one of your activities. But put it in terms that Don Quixote would imagine himself being written about. Make yourself appear as heroic and dauntless as one of the knights errant in Don Quixote's literature. Include some elements from the real world (like windmills) but transform them into epic elements (like giants). 300 words.


Amadis of Gaul was one of the main books that inspire Don Quixote to pursue his epic quest for adventure. Read some of the book here, and do some research about chivalric literature. Now write an essay defining the classic archetype that Don Quixote was trying to mimic. What is a knight errant? What is the chivalric quest? Use examples from both the novel Don Quixote and the real chivalric novels you use for research. Think about the structure of your essay before you write. It should have multiple paragraphs, with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. 300 words.


1. What do the fictional knights have to say to Don Quixote in the opening sonnets? What is the general message of these poems?
2. Only one character in the opening sonnets remains unimpressed by Don Quixote. Who?
3. When Don Quixote approaches the inn, he mistakes it for a castle. Give one other mistake of this sort that he makes.
4. Who are Don Quixote's first victims and what is their crime against him?
5. What is Don Quixote's first act of virtue after being knighted?
6. What does the niece want to do to Don Quixote's books?
7. What does the priest say should be done with Cervantes' own first book, Galatea?
8. What does Don Quixote promise Sancho Panza when he makes him a squire?
9. How does Don Quixote explain why the giants have been turned into windmills?
10. What is the situation at the end of chapter 8?
11. Why has Sancho Panza never read up on knights errant?
12. How did Grisostomo dress in order to court Marcela?
13. Why does it bother the traveler Vivaldo that knights errant commend themselves to their ladies before battle?
14. What is on the paper that Vivaldo takes from the funeral procession?
15. What dangerous animal does Marcela compare herself to when she says it's not her fault she's beautiful?