Friday, October 20, 2017

Reading Period 8: October 20-26: The Iliad

Long Read:

The Iliad, by Homer, books 16-20

Poem: 

"Hector and Andromache" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She called this a "paraphrase" and if you flip around in this book, you'll find other paraphrases, including one of Anacreon, whose poem we read the other day.

Creative Assignment:

Create a portrait of one of the female gods mentioned in the Iliad: Hera, Aphrodite, Athena, etc. Use unlined paper and some sort of color medium (no digital!). You can imagine them in a traditional Greek goddess sort of way, or you can imagine them in business attire, or as part animal, or as an abstraction, or whatever you like, but tie in visuals from the nature of their godliness. Of beauty, or wisdom, or war, or whatever.

OR

Hector and Andromache
by Georgio de Chirico
Write a short first-person personal essay from the point of view of one of the Trojan women in The Iliad. Start with the word "I" and include confessions, thoughts, emotions, demands, and/or explanations. You can "place" your essay at any point in the story, but make sure you indicate in the title at what point it would have been written.

Writing Assignment:

In the ancient world, motherhood was a matter of survival, as the population was dependent on each woman having lots of kids so a few could survive and the state could flourish. In the world of Homer, women are treasured and respected, and while Zeus is a male, female gods are powerful too. On the other hand, women lead mostly separate lives from men, and though equal under the law, they could be passed around as war loot, or disappear into their husbands' identities. Consider one of the mortal Trojan women in the book, either Chryseis, Briseis, Andromache, Helen. With evidence from the poem, and possibly a bit of research into the roles of women in Ancient Greece, write a 300 word essay explaining her role in the novel. Use quotes, give plot summaries, and bring in your research as needed. Was she just a pawn, or did she have power? Was her personality or opinion important to the plot, or could she have been replaced by a treasure chest? If you do use any research, include a citation at the end of the essay.

OR

Given the following pieces of evidence, construct a 300-500 word argument that the Ancient Greeks and Romans actually made contact with the Americas well before Columbus. You don't have to use all these things. NONE of these things are universally accepted as truth, by the way.

1. A small terracotta head sculpture with a beard and European features, similar to 2nd century Roman sculptures, was found in an archeological site under a building that was built in 1476.
2. Pineapples, a new world plant, show up multiple times in Roman sculptures and art.
3. In the Bay of Jars in Brazil, ancient clay storage jars resembling Roman amphorae were found.
4. In 1513, mapmaker Piri Reis accurately mapped much of South America, and claimed that Columbus had a book that told him about lands on the western side of the Atlantic, which inspired him to explore there.
5. Pliny the Elder reports that a ship full of Indians washed up in Germany, having been blown off course by a storm.
6. The Olmec heads have African features.

Aphrodite, as a subject, has been done before. 
Quiz:

No quiz. Spend the time you would have spent on a quiz on writing your half draft, due Tuesday.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Reading Period 7: October 13-19: The Iliad

Long Read: 

The Iliad by Homer, Books 11-15

Creative Assignments:

While the hoards of Greek and Trojan fighters are compared in their number to swarms of bees, a lot of that swarm gets left on the field, dead. Write a elegy for one of the dead warriors. Use bold metaphors and stark imagery like Homer, and follow Homer's mood and tone as closely as you can.

For brave souls who would like to suffer formal constraints, write your elegy in the form of elegiac couplets. (Note: Not all elegiac poems are elegies for the dead, but yours will be.) Dactylic meter, in couplets of a line in hexameter followed by a line in pentameter. Good luck.

OR

The artist Matt Kish is currently at work on creating a collection of images representing all the people who died in The Iliad. You might remember Matt Kish from his illustrations of Heart of Darkness that we studied last year. You can see this ongoing project, called "Only the Dead," in this public Facebook album. He was inspired by Alice Oswald's version of The Iliad, which is called Memorial and boils down the poem to only the deaths. You can read more about Memorial in its NYT Review, which calls it "a poem that blooms out of slaughter" and I will bring my copy of this book to class for you to examine and read.

Here is Matt Kish's statement about his work: "My aim with these has been to juxtapose images of death and violence with text from comic books which promote a kind of toxic adolescent male power fantasy and to hopefully create visual tension between what the imagery communicates and the collaged text conveys. It's a kind of propaganda that will hopefully encourage the viewer to consider what is promised by those who want our young men and women to go to war, what the reality of war is, and the vast gulf between the two." Your assignment is to create an image in the style of Matt Kish, memorializing one of the dead in The Iliad, using newspaper clippings or other found words to augment your illustration. Here are a few examples of his work from "Only the Dead."





Writing Assignments:

Consider our civilization's fascination with war stories. The Iliad is one of the goriest, with the highest death count, and is by certain metrics the most popular of all time. Movies like Saving Private Ryan, Dunkirk, and Apocalypse Now, books like Catch-22, The Things They Carried, and War and Peace are among the most popular books and films ever created. Write a 500-word persuasive essay in which you answer the question: Why are war stories so enduringly popular? To answer this you will need to establish a warrant: what makes stories popular with readers? You don't need to specifically identify your warrant in the essay, but you should know what it is. You can use The Iliad as an example, or any other specific book or movie that you have read or seen. If you use other essays or articles to get ideas, make sure you reference your sources clearly. Your task is primarily to argue your own position, not to reference others. Figure out what you think about this question, and then construct an essay to support that idea.

OR

Same as above, but answer the question: How should war stories be told? You can find movies and books that gloss over the harsh realities of war, and you can also find movies and books that show war with gritty realism. In arguing this point, you will have to establish a warrant: what is the purpose of war literature? Should it be to glorify and ennoble warfare, or to warn against it? You don't need to clearly state your warrant in your essay, but you should know what it is. You can use The Iliad as an example, or any other specific book or movie that you have read or seen. If you use other essays or articles to get ideas, make sure you reference your sources clearly. Your task is primarily to argue your own position, not to reference others. Figure out what you think about this question, and then construct an essay to support that idea.

AP Lang:

Print out and fill out as much as you can of the data sheet for "Letter from Birmingham Jail" by MLK. Please make sure you've ordered the practice book, as we are soon going to begin tackling multiple choice questions in class.

Quiz:

1. What do Bienor, Oileus, Pisander, Hippolochos, Iphidamas, and Koon have in common, and what is different about Koon?
2. At the end of book 11, Nestor gives a big speech to Patroclus to inspire him to get the Myrmidons fighting. Give an example of one rhetorical strategy he uses.
3. When an eagle flies on your left, carrying a snake, what does this mean? (According to the Trojans)
4. Before Hektor smashes the gates of the wall the Greeks have built, another Trojan rips a hole in it. Who?
5. What god takes on various disguises to try and inspire the Greeks to battle in book 13?
6. When an eagle flies by on your right, what does this mean? (According to the Greeks)
7. Agamemnon, Odysseus, and Diomedes are all wounded. Agamemnon wants to leave, Odysseus thinks there's no way to get out safely. What does Diomedes think?
8. Why is Zeus sleeping through the battle, at the end of book 14?
9. Hektor leads the Trojans to fight the Greeks all the way back to what location?
10. What god is helping the Trojans make this furious attack?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Reading Period 6: October 6-12: The Iliad

Long Read:

The Iliad, by Homer, Books 6-10

Short Read:

1. Letter from Mo Willems, Lisa Yee, and Mike Curato to the Springfield Children's Literature Festival, October 5, 2017. Available linked from this Tweet from Mo Willems. You may also find it interesting to read the replies to the Tweet.
2. The response from Seuss Enterprises, embedded in this blog post (scroll down to "The full statement read:")
3. Responses of the authors, linked from this Tweet.
4. "Dear Mrs. Trump" by Liz Phipps Soeiro.
5. A Washington Post story that links all of these items together.


Creative Assignment:

The Iliad is full of excellent and exciting fight scenes between heroically epic characters. It's almost like a comic book about superheros, where you can hear the POW! and WHOOSH! and ZAP! Illustrate one of the fights (identify by book and line number which fight you are working on) in comic book style, including sound effects.

OR

A Pindaric Ode is a poetic form named after the Greek poet Pindar. (Read more about him here.) While Pindar wrote most of his work about victorious athletes at the various Olympic-style games in Ancient Greece (example here), you can write a Pindaric Ode praising anything. Try your hand at this form, taking for your topic any of the Greek or Trojan warriors with their flowing hair, godlike character, warlike demeanor, etc. Write as Homer would have approved, with exciting metaphors and thunderous sounding words. Your poem, like a good Pindaric Ode, should have a three-part structure: a strophe, an antistrophe, and an epode. (Read more about that here.) Dactylic hexameter not required.

Writing Assignment: 

After reading all the materials in the "Short Read" list, write a 500 word paper in which you analyze the rhetoric of any or all parts of this exchange around the offensiveness of Dr. Seuss. You might dissect each one of these documents, or you might compare the successful letter from the three authors from the widely criticized letter from the librarian. Note: This is NOT a paper where you argue a point or respond to the ideas in these letters. This is a paper where you analyze the rhetoric of the letters and responses. However, your intro should demonstrate that you have an understanding of the controversy and the events surrounding it, and the writers of the various documents. Words you might want to use: consensual/adversarial. Text, reader, author, constraints, exigence. Narratio, exordium, confirmatio, refutatio, peroratio. Ethos, logos, pathos.

OR

AP Lang Choice: In a 500 word essay, answer the prompt for the argumentative paper from the 1999 test that you were given in class on a piece of paper. You can also find it here -- it's question 3. Don't worry about the time limit right now, but do try to hit 500 words, and please write it by hand. If you have a composition book from AP Lit, please use that to write and turn in. If you don't, any paper will do.

AP Lang: Read "The Communist Manifesto" by Karl Marx in your textbook, A World of Ideas.

Quiz:

Book 6
1. On what point do Menelaus and Agamemnon disagree, in the beginning of book 6?
2. How are Diomedes and Glaucos related?
3. What strategy does Andromache urge Hektor to adopt?

Book 7
4. We have another one-on-one fight! Who are the combatants this time and what weapons do they use?
5. Priam sends a message to the Trojans offering something and asking for something? What is he offering and for what is he asking?
6. Nestor has a clever idea for building fortifications. How will they be built, and who do they irritate by doing so?

Book 8
7. Zeus forbids the gods to meddle in the war any further, then almost immediately does what?
8. What sign does Zeus send to the Achaians when they're losing the battle?
9. How will the Trojans make sure the Greeks don't flee or raid them at night?

Book 9
10. What rhetorical strategy does Odysseus employ to get Achilles to come back to the war?
11. Does Achilles take the Greeks up on their offer?
12. Who stays behind with Achilles in his tent after the others leave and why?

Book 10
13. What trick do Diomedes and Odysseus play to capture the Trojan scout Dolon?
14. What do they do to him after they get their info?
15. What prizes do they bring back from their raid?

Friday, September 29, 2017

Reading Period 5: September 29 - October 5: The Iliad

Long Read:

The Iliad of Homer, Books 1-5

Note: Don't read the intro. We'll read it later. Let's read the actual thing first. You can read the translator's note if you like -- it's only two pages.

Poems:

"On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer" by John Keats

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific—and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

From Chapman's translation of The Iliad of Homer, Book 1

ACHILLES’ baneful wrath resound, O Goddess, that impos’d
Infinite sorrows on the Greeks, and many brave souls los’d
From breasts heroic; sent them far to that invisible cave
That no light comforts; and their limbs to dogs and vultures gave:
To all which Jove’s will gave effect; from whom first strife begun
Betwixt Atrides, king of men, and Thetis’ godlike son.
What god gave Eris their command, and op’d that fighting vein?
Jove’s and Latona’s son: who fir’d against the king of men,
For contumély shown his priest, infectious sickness sent
To plague the army, and to death by troops the soldiers went.
Occasion’d thus: Chryses, the priest, came to the fleet to buy,
For presents of unvalu’d price, his daughter’s liberty;
The golden sceptre and the crown of Phœbus in his hands
Proposing; and made suit to all, but most to the commands
Of both th’ Atrides, who most rul’d. “Great Atreus’ sons,” said he,
“And all ye well-greav’d Greeks, the gods, whose habitations be
In heav’nly houses, grace your pow’rs with Priam’s razéd town,
And grant ye happy conduct home! To win which wish’d renown
Of Jove, by honouring his son, far-shooting Phœbus, deign
For these fit presents to dissolve the ransomable chain
Of my lov’d daughter’s servitude.” The Greeks entirely gave
Glad acclamatións, for sign that their desires would have
The grave priest reverenc’d, and his gifts of so much price embrac’d.
The Gen’ral yet bore no such mind, but viciously disgrac’d
With violent terms the priest, and said:— “Dotard! avoid our fleet,
Where ling’ring be not found by me; nor thy returning feet
Let ever visit us again; lest nor thy godhead’s crown,
Nor sceptre, save thee! Her thou seek’st I still will hold mine own,
Till age deflow’r her. In our court at Argos, far transferr’d
From her lov’d country, she shall ply her web, and see prepar’d
With all fit ornaments my bed. Incense me then no more,
But, if thou wilt be safe, be gone.”

Creative Assignments:

Choose one of the thunderously beautiful images in the first five books of The Iliad to sketch in pencil and then illustrate in color. Use watercolor or acrylic paint. Some options:
the lines about the army being like bees, lines 87-92
"the shadowy mountains and the echoing sea"
"the rose fingers of dawn"
the description of Athene, lines 733-747
"the dark of the deep forest"
Helen's embroidered robe, lines 125-129
"within his shaggy breast the heart was divided two ways"

OR

Choose one of Achilles' angry speeches (like the one in lines 149-171, or 225-244) and think about Achilles' frustration with Agamemnon's judgment. How is that reflected in the text? Achilles is the last person to make concessions or try to appear neutral -- in fact words like "must" and "never" and nothing" tell us how absolute is his thinking. Write a poem that expresses undiluted passion such as this using this kind of vocabulary (never, always, must, nothing, etc) to make a defiant statement. You might start with one of the following lines, taken from The Iliad:

So I must be called
You shall take nothing
Never once have you

Writing Assignments:

The Iliad begins ten years into the siege of Troy. In a succinct essay of 300 words, give the backstory up to this point. You'll want to talk about Helen, Paris, Menelaus, Agamemnon, and Achilles. You'll want to explain who the Achaians are, and the Danaans. In short, catch yourself and then your reader up on the action so far. You'll maybe need to do a bit of research for this -- at least look it up to confirm your information, even if you know. Cite one source.

OR

Compare the beginning of Chapman's translation with the beginning of Lattimore's translation. The lines quoted above correspond to lines 1-33 in the Lattimore. Write a 300 word essay in which you compare the two translations on specific points of language -- word choice, diction, meter -- and also general impressions or mood/tone. Think of an interesting intro to hook in your readers, maybe referring to the Keats poem or to the events referred to in the passage. Remember to take your reader to a new place in the conclusion -- this could be an opinion/judgment in this case.

AP Lang:



Read "Letter from Birmingham Jail" by Martin Luther King Jr., in your textbook. Then watch the above video and read the letter referenced therein, from Francois Truffaut to Jean-Luc Godard. You can read the letter here in a version that has some of the french words in parentheses.

These two letters are obviously quite different. Be prepared to discuss in class the rhetorical differences between the two letters, and connect them to the author's purpose and the author's intended audience. No writing assignment for this week -- just make sure you're ready for a robust discussion on Tuesday.

Quiz:

1. Who is the son of Atreus, and who is Atreides, and who is Agamemnon?
2. What has Agamemnon done to upset the priest of Apollo, and what did Apollo do in retaliation for this?
3. Kalchas is a "bird interpreter" who see the future, present and past by observing flights of birds. What is the name for this practice? (You'll have to look it up)
4.  What are hecatombs?
5. When Achilles says that Agamemnon "has taken away my prize and keeps it," to what prize is he referring? (line 356)
6. What do you notice about line 22 and like 376?
7. What favor does Thetis ask from Zeus?
8. Why did Hera get annoyed with Zeus for talking to Thetis?
9. Who comforted Hera?
10. Who did Zeus send down to deliver a message to Agamemnon, and what was the message?
11. What hero takes up the cause of arguing for staying to fight, urged on by Athene?
12. What two metaphors are used to describe the marching army of the Achaians, after the feast in book 2?
13. What message did Iris bring to the Trojans, and what metaphors did she use?
14. What does Hektor propose to the Achaians, in lines 86-87 of book 3?
15. What is Helen's response to Paris, after the duel?
16. The gods are wondering whether to keep the peace or start up war again. Who advocates for starting up the war?
17. How do the gods get the fighting going again, and what is the result?
18. Which gods are on the Greek side and which are on the Trojan side?
19. What special help does Athene give to Diomedes in the battle, and how does he use it?
20. What is ichor?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Reading Period 4: September 22-28: Oedipus the King

Long Read: Oedipus the King, rest of the play.

Short Read:

"Safety and Structure: The Debate About Homeschooling" by Charles St. Martin

"Every Little Girl Wants to Be a Princess, Right?" by Mariah Jackson

"Time for a Change: Legalizing Marijuana in the State of Texas" by Ronald Cummings

Please note: you should watch the play on YouTube whether you choose to write a creative assignment about it or not.

Paper:

Your topic is due on Tuesday in class!

Write a paragraph telling me what article or essay you intend to argue against, and what your position will be. Give me as much detail as you have about your plan of attack -- Rogerian, Toulmin, Aristotelian? Fill me in on the cunning rhetorical strategies you intend to use to win the argument against this article you've chosen. You don't have to give the article in full, but do link to it. If you can't link to it, describe it well including the publication in which it appears.

Creative Assignments:

Draw Oedipus' family tree and, below each person's name, do a little drawing to illustrate how they were killed/mutilated/plunged into the depths of despair. This tree should include Laius, Oedipus, Jocasta, Creon, Antigone, Ismene, Polynices, Eteocles, Haemon, and Eurydice. If you feel extra confident you can even include other figures not dealt with in the plays, like Oedipus' grandfather Labdacus.

OR



Watch the Oedipus Rex film version by the BBC, 1957. Please write a short response addressing at least three aspects which really struck you about the performance. Hopefully the visual and auditory presentation will accentuate certain elements of the play which couldn’t be expressed with a simple reading of the text. After all, this is theatre!

Writing Assignments:

The three essays you've been assigned as short reads are examples of the Toulmin, Rogerian, and Aristotelian argument structures. Read them carefully and think about the steps in creating arguments that we discussed. Create an outline for each one, labeling your outline with the vocabulary we discussed, and explaining the purpose of each paragraph in all three essays.

OR

Is Oedipus’ hamartia, or “tragic flaw,” his incestuous marriage and parricide? If not, what is his hamartia, if he has one? Aristotle said a tragic hero like Oedipus is one “not eminently good and just, yet whose misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity, but by some error or frailty.” Does this hold true for Oedipus? Explain why or why not.

AP Lang:

Logical fallacies are bad rhetoric! You have had 5 logical fallacies assigned to you. Your job is to look up what the logical fallacy is, and give an example of it. Make sure you do your part so we can learn to recognize all the logical fallacies on this heinous list. You don't have to be super serious about your logical fallacy examples as long as the example teaches us what the fallacy is.

Evan:
Ad Hominem
Appeal To False Authority
Appeal To Emotion
Appeal to Fear
Appeal To Force

Benny:
Appeal To Majority
Appeal To Novelty
Appeal To Numbers
Appeal To Tradition
Complex Question

Nicholas:
Argumentum Ad Nauseam
Begging The Question
Burden Of Proof
False Dilemma
False Premise

Martina:
Gambler's Fallacy
Guilt By Association
Non Sequitur
Post Hoc/False Cause
Red Herring

Jasper
Relativism
Slippery Slope
Special Pleading
Appeal to Flattery
Appeal to Pity

Rachael:
Bandwagon Appeal
Biased Sample (Texas Sharpshooter)
Appeal to Ignorance
Division
Equivocation

Sarah:
False Analogy
Hypostatization (personification)
Denying the Antecedent
Affirming the Consequent
Straw Man Argument

Nathan:
Tu Quoque
Ambiguity
Anecdotal
Loaded Question
Genetic


Quiz:

1. How does Jocasta kill herself?
2. What does Oedipus do to himself?
3. Why does he do that specifically? Why is it ironic?
4. What is Oedipus' punishment?
5. Why does Oedipus have a limp?
6. Who found Oedipus in the wilds?
7. What is Oedipus' reaction when the chorus tells him it were better he had died?
8. What good news does the messenger bring from Corinth?
9. Why does the messenger's news at first seem to be such good news for Oedipus?
10. What does Jocasta think of the oracle's prophecy?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Reading Period 3: September 15-21: Oedipus the King

Long Read: 

"Introduction" essay by Fagles, pages 131-153.
Oedipus the King by Sophocles, lines 1-705

Poems:

Please listen to and read these ancient Babylonian writings, pronounced by scholars who have put together an idea of how the words would sound by comparing them with Greek and Hebrew and other contemporary languages.

"Hymn to Ishtar"
"Incantation for Dog Bite"
"Tooth Worm Incantation"

Creative Assignments:

The Sphinx that was tormenting Thebes is a woman-headed winged lion. Take a look at this illustration of what it may have looked like:

Now, channel your inner Tiresias. With your eyes closed or even blindfolded, use a pencil and unlined paper to recreate this illustration as accurately as you can. Don't peek! Post your blind prophet version of the Sphinx along with your favorite riddle. Solve each other's riddles for honor and glory.

OR

Oedipus' search for Laius' killer is an example of dramatic irony, because the audience knows the killer is Oedipus himself. Create the most ironic "Wanted" poster in all of literature and time. Imagine you are Oedipus trying to find out who killed Laius, designing a wanted poster to hang in the Thebes post office to help you find the murderer. The wanted poster should be filled with as much IRONY as you can - visual, verbal, blindness puns, eye references, whatever you like.

Writing Assignment:

Assyrian is a dead language. The tablets inscribed with cuneiform have no practical purpose in the world today. Yet scholars spend their lives deciphering these ancient texts and trying to figure out how to pronounce them so they can make these recordings. Some are poetic, some seem silly. Meanwhile, there is much work to be done in our contemporary world. After listening to the poetry recordings above, read the "About SOAS University of London" page, and think about the study of ancient "dead" languages. What purpose does it serve? Pretend that you are writing to a corporation who may give a grant to fund this study. Write a persuasive essay of about 300 words in which you take a stand on whether time spent pronouncing the poetry of Babylon is time well spent or time wasted. You may argue that this project deserves grant money, or that the grant money should not be spent on it. Use quotes, examples, logical arguments, appeals to emotions, and your identity as a future college student to convince your reader. Post your assignment to Google+ as usual, AND bring your printed-out essay to class on Thursday.

AP Lang:

Read "The Qualities of the Prince" by Niccolo Machiavelli, in A World of Ideas, pages 35-51.

The word "Machiavellian" has a sinister connotation. Beyond "cunning" and "clever" it means scheming and plotting in a negative sense. Psychologists have created a personality type based on it, calling Machiavellians manipulators and deceivers. Based on what you have read, is this fair? Write a 300 word essay in which you give an example of the word being used as a negative, and then argue that this common understanding of Machiavelli is accurate or inaccurate. You will have to find an essay, article, or book that uses the term in this way and quote it. You can cite your source within the essay itself rather than using a footnote. For example, you might say:

"For example, in the New York Times, David Brooks calls a manipulation of willpower "Machiavellian," implying that it's crafty trickery, not honest character building."

"In 2002, psychologists Paulhus and Williams coined the term "Dark Triad," including Machiavellianism with Psychopathy and Narcissism as negative personality traits."

After you've shown that it is used in a negative way, you can use quotes from the excerpt to argue that it's fair or not.

Quiz:

1. Name at least three of the natural calamities afflicting Thebes at the play's beginning.
2. What two crimes has Oedipus committed before the play's beginning?
3. What monster did Oedipus defeat when he came to Thebes?
4. What was the monster's riddle, and what was the answer?
5. Name the five Olympian gods the chorus PRAYS TO in the first scene.
6. What does Oedipus swear he will do to the murderer of Laius?
7. What does Oedipus accuse Tiresias of? Whom does he implicate with Tiresias?
8. What does Tiresias prophesy will happen to Oedipus?
9. What relation is Creon to Oedipus?
10. What city does Oedipus come from (not Thebes)?
11. Because everyone in the audience knew the story of Oedipus, Sophocles was able to use this kind of humor to enhance the potency of the play. What was this humorous method called?
12. Define the following terms:

Hamartia
Anagnorisis
Peripeteia
Catharsis

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Reading Period 2: Sept 8-14: Antigone

Due Dates:
Quiz: Monday, Sept 11
Assignments: Wednesday, Sept 13
AP: Monday, Sept 11

Long Read: Antigone, lines 656-1465

Creative Assignments:

What would Antigone and Ismene be like in the world today? What would they think of contemporary culture? Would Ismene be a basic girl with a pumpkin spice latte in her hand and a side ponytail on her head? Would she just really love fall? Would Antigone be an emo chick in a beanie with a ripped hoodie and a nose ring? Or maybe you see them differently -- Ismene might be a conniving "good girl," and Antigone might be more of an athlete. Create an Instagram account for each girl, and post at least ten things -- either reblogs or links or original photos -- which represent the character as you imagine her.

OR

In other versions of Antigone's story, she and Haemon are married and even have a son. In the Sophocles play, they don't get to shared the stage. Mimicking the style of Sophocles, as translated by Robert Fagles, write a short scene about Antigone and Haemon in the tomb. You might write Antigone's part, and then have her die, and then write Haemon's part when he finds her, or you might write it in such a way that their lives overlap, and they have a dialogue. You can end your scene with Creon rushing in. The important thing is to try to create a similar sound to Sophocles' lines, a believable mimicry.

Writing Assignments:

Both Creon and Antigone appear, at times, to be the tragic hero of their drama. Which is the true
tragic hero? Write an essay of 300 words in which you use Aristotle’s opinions on tragic heroism from The Poetics, together with evidence from the text, then exhibit your own opinion.

OR

The sentry in Antigone states “There’s nothing you can swear you’ll never do - second thoughts make liars of us all.” Describe how this is exemplified in a character, and how this affects the plot.
Choose a character who makes an oath (or oaths) and either does or does not wish that he or she could take it back. Does the line imply that second thoughts can do any good, or is the oath permanent? Do the events of the play support this? How does this affect the meaning of the drama? Write an essay of 300 words in which you explain what happened, and then consider why.

OR

Funereal practices vary greatly over different cultures and religions. Choose three (bone-picking ceremony? opening of the mouth ceremony? sky burial? mummification?) to compare and contrast in an essay of 300 words.

AP Lang:

Lao-Tzu and Creon both have definite ideas about what a leader ought to be. In a 300 word esasy, compare and contrast the concepts Lao-Tzu voices in the Tao Te Ching to those expressed by Creon in Antigone. You may also compare and contrast their rhetorical choices. How do they sound -- musing, emotional, ranting, calm? For a particular example, check out line 203-215, 335-355, 746-760.

OR

Write your own page of the Tao Te Ching mimicking Lao Tzu's style and rhetorical choices. You must include an aphorism and some ambiguity. However, I don't want you to line up with Lao Tzu's ideas about governance and leadership. Make a different point, in Lao Tzu's style.

Quiz:

1. What happened to Eteocles and Polynices?
2. How are Eteocles and Polynices different? Why did Creon allow one to be buried and not the other?
3. In Ismene's persuasive speech, lines 60-80, which types of persuasion does she use? Give examples of logos, ethos, and pathos.
4. Who says the famous line, "My countrymen, the ship of state is safe?"
5. What oath did the sentry break?
6. Describe the funeral rituals that Antigone has performed on her brother.
7. What rhetorical strategy is Ismene using in lines 634-645?
8. Creon considers different punishments for Antigone. Which does he finally settle on?
9. Antigone references Niobe in lines 915-924. If you don't know her story, look it up. Why is Niobe's story particularly resonant for Antigone right now?
10. What does Creon mean by the line, "If a man could wail his own dirge before he dies, he'd never finish"?
11. What message does Tiresias have for Creon?
12. By the end of the play, what characters have died?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Reading Period 1: Aug 18 - Sept 7: Antigone

Four syllables in your face. 

x
Due Dates:
Quiz, Monday Sept 4, 7pm
Assignments Wednesday Sept 6, 7pm

Long Read: 

Antigone, by Sophocles, lines 1-655

Short Reads: 

Aristotle's Poetics, parts 1-6 and parts 8-10
"Greece and the Theater" essay in the Sophocles book, pages 13-30

Poetry:

"Bring Me Homer's Lyre" by Anacreon

                        Bring me Homer’s lyre, yes, bring it,
                        But leave that string of blood out
                        Bring a cup of versing rules
                        Oh and mix some metres in it
                        I will sing, then I’ll be dancing
                        Not a drop of sense left in me
                        I will dance to horn and zither
                        Crying out the cries that wine makes
                        Bring me Homer’s lyre, yes, bring it
                        Oh but take that string of blood out

"Already More than Half the Pages" by Philodemus
            Already more than half the pages have been torn out of the little             book of my life;
            Look, girl, already white hairs are sprinkled on my head,
            announcing that the age of wisdom is drawing near.
            But still all I care about is laughing and drinking and the                         pleasures of the night;
            Still, in my unsatisfied heart, a fire is burning.
            Oh, Muses, my guides, write an end to it: Say, This girl, this                   one here,
            She is the end of your madness.
"He is Gone. That wild boy, Love" by Meleager

            He is gone. That wild boy, Love, has escaped!
            Just now, as day was breaking, he flew from his bed and was gone.
            Description? Sweetly tearful, talks forever, swift, irreverent,
            Slyly laughing, wings on his back, and carries a quiver.
            His last name? I don’t know, for his father and mother,
            Whoever they are, in earth or heaven, won’t admit it.
            Everyone hates him, you see. Take care, take care,
            Or even now he’ll be weaving new snares for your heart.
            But hush—look there, turn slowly. You don’t deceive me, boy,
            Drawing your bow so softly where you hide in Zenophile’s eyes.

Creative Assignment: 

Choose one of the following creative assignments and post your efforts to the Google+ Community. For visual art, you'll need to scan your work, or take a photo and post it. Please use great lighting and post something we can all see! Part of your participation grade is commenting on your classmates' work.

Option 1: Create a colorful but informative drawing of a Greek theater in which you label the SKENE, THEATRON, ORCHESTRA, and PARADOS.

OR

Option 2:
In class, we are going to be loosely following these instructions to create theatrical masks for use in our production of Oedipus #Rekt.





Read a bit about the role of masks in Greek theater. Create two sketches for masks we might make -- one for Antigone, one for Creon. Your sketches should each be the size of an 8.5x11 sheet of paper, and we should be able to tell which character is represented just by looking. 

Writing Assignment: 

Choose one of the following writing assignments and post your efforts to the Google+ Community under the appropriate category, and identify which reading period it belongs to. Part of your participation grade is commenting on your classmates' work. 

Option 1:  After reading the introductory essay, "Greece and the Theater," write a 300 word essay in which you answer this question: If a modern city declared a three day festival and theatrical competition, would there be an audience? Give your opinion based on what you know about people and their interest in live theater, and the popularity of film festivals like Cannes and Sundance. What would make this work? What would make this fail? In your essay, you must use and define the following terms: Catharsis, Perepeteia, Hamartia, Anagnorisis.

OR

Option 2:
Read the "Ode to Man" section of Antigone, the chorus' speech in lines 375-416. Then read Anne Carson's poem "The Ode to Man from Sophocles' Antigone" in The New Yorker. Write a 300 word essay paraphrasing these lines. You can use your own imagery, and your own ideas if you like, but you must communicate the same idea. Therefore your first task will be to figure out what that idea is.

AP Language and Composition:

If you intend to take the AP Language and Composition test at the end of the year, you will have some extra reading and writing to do. If you write the essay, post your essay under the "World of Ideas" category on the Google+ Community. If you choose to answer the questions, email them to me with the subject header World of Ideas Reading Period 1.

In World of Ideas, read "Thoughts from the Tao-te Ching" by Lao Tzu. Choose any of the essay prompts (1-5) in the Writing Assignments section and write a 300 word essay OR answer all of the Questions for Critical Reading.


Quiz:

Your quiz is over the assigned excerpts from Aristotle's Poetics, and the "Greece and the Theater" essay. You may use the texts to help you answer. Send your quiz in an email with the subject header Zombie Hotsauce Quiz Reading Period 1. Copy the questions into the email and add your answers. 

1. What characters and plots did Greek tragedy primarily depict?
2. What were dithyrambs?
3. Which deity was considered patron of the arts and honored at the Athenian theatre festivals?
4. Who are the three great Greek tragedians?
5. At the time of Euripides’ death, how many actors, apart from the chorus, were in a Greek tragedy?
6. Interspersed with each trilogy of tragedies at the festivals were shorter, comical plays, called ________ plays.
7. Why did the actors wear masks?
8. Describe one function of the chorus.
9. Identify Aristotle’s Three Unities.
10. What meter was Greek tragedy primarily written in?
11. Why did Plato dislike poetry and drama especially?
12. What distinction(s) does Aristotle make between tragedy and comedy?

BONUS. Match the following parts of a tragic choral song to their descriptions.

___ Antistrophe a. Second movement of a choral song
___ Episode b. Chanted as the chorus enters; anapestic meter
___ Prologue c. oft-omitted, static wrap-up of a choral song
___ Parode d. First movement of a choral song
___ Epode e. Exposition given before the chorus enters
___ Strophe f. Chanted dialogue between an actor and the chorus
___ Exode g. A reaction to the preceding episode, no actors onstage
___ Stasimon h. The chorus’ last song 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Reading Period 30: July 4-14: Modern Poetry

Reading: 

In your textbook, read biographical notes and poems from these authors:
W.H. Auden (p 964-970)
Stephen Spender (p 970-973)
Dylan Thomas (p 975-981)
Textbook pages 949-954. ("Preludes" and "The Hollow Men")
"Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock" by Eliot (available online)

Creative Assignments:

Read Auden's "Musee des Beaux Arts", and take a look at Brueghel's "Icarus" in your textbook or in a larger form at this link. Think about the line "But for him it was not an important failure." Read William Carlos William's poem about the same painting, "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus." Consider how regular life goes on around tragic or important events. Now draw or paint your own "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" set in a contemporary scene. What would people in your life be engaged in when they failed to notice Icarus falling out of the sky?

OR

Read Dylan Thomas' poem "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night." The poem is written in the form of a villanelle. Here's another example: Sylvia Plath's "Mad Girl's Love Song." In Thomas' poem, the repetition gives emphasis. In Plath's, it gives the impression of obsession. Here's another, by Auden: "If I Could Tell You." Write your own villanelle. The form is here, where A1 is the first repeated refrain, A2 is the second repeated refrain, a is a line ending with the first rhyme, and b is a line ending with the second rhyme:

Dylan Thomas
A1
b
A2

a
b
A1

a
b
A2

a
b
A1

a
b
A2

a
b
A1
A2

OR

Read "The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock". Prufrock is paralyzed by his modern world, afraid to act, afraid to be judged, afraid of all of the "women that come and go." Write your own poem back to Prufrock, kicking him in the rear and challenging him to act, speak, be a part of life, and get over his modernist fears of the 20th century. You could choose to write to Prufrock in the voice of one of the women he mentions, who talk of Michelangelo, or you can write to him as a voice from the future. Your poem should be in the style of T.S. Eliot -- that is, it doesn't have to rhyme or follow any particular form.

Writing Assignment: 

Please cast your mind back over the year and think about all the literature we have studied. Write a letter to me, your teacher, in which you give some feedback on the class. My syllabus is evolving all the time, and you can help direct things for those hapless schmucks who fall into my class when British Literature comes around again in four years. I would like to know your favorite and least favorite of the longer works we read, specifically the novels, but I'm also interested in plays and stories. What should I cut from the list and what should I keep? I'd also like to hear if there were any assignments you found particularly awful or un-useful, or any you liked a lot. Finally, from the activities, which were the best and worst? Think about the King Lear play, the shaving cream painting, water blow balls, the minute movies, Poketry, and the 1984 marathon. 

Quiz:

1. Why did Auden move to America?
2. How did Auden feel about Christianity later in his life?
3. Which side did Auden take in the Spanish Civil War?
4. In the poem, "Spain 1937," which seems most attractive: yesterday, tomorrow, or today?
5. What three paintings are referenced in "Musee des Beaux Arts"?
6. What was the goal of Stephen Spender's poetry, according to the biographical note?
7. Would you call the poem "What I Expected" optimistic or pessimistic about modern times?
8. In what part of England did Dylan Thomas mostly live?
9. What is the "force" that Dylan Thomas references in "The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower"?
10. "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" is an example of what poetic form?
11. Where was T.S. Eliot born and why is he in our textbook of British Literature?
12. What famous poem of T.S. Eliot's expressed the fragmentation of society that England experienced in the early 20th century?
13. Reading the works of what Italian poet lead Eliot closer to the Catholic faith?
14. The literary device "synecdoche" means using a part of something to stand for a whole thing. How does Eliot use this device in Prelude II?
15. What literary allusion comes in the epigraph to "The Hollow Men"?
16. Eliot compares the despairing modern "hollow men" to real men like Kurtz and Guy Fawkes. But those men had awful deaths. Why would modern readers want to be more like them and less like those under the sway of the "Shadow"?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Reading Period 29: June 9-22: Samuel Beckett

Due Dates:

Quiz: Monday, June 19
Assignments: Friday, June 23

Reading: 

Waiting for Godot (Read online here: Act I and Act II)

Fizzle 1 and the biographical notes on Beckett in your textbook (p 898-902)

Creative Assignments:

Take a look at these still shots from various stagings of Beckett's play Happy Days. Based only on the title and these photos, write a 250 word synopsis of the play as you imagine it. Who are the characters? What is the theme? What is the action? The resolution?

OR

The dialogue in Waiting for Godot is often repetitive and sometimes seems completely random. Using your own ideas for how Vladimir and Estragon might entertain themselves with wordplay, imagination, and invented conflicts, write a new section of the play that could be slotted into the novel at the beginning of Act II, between their embrace and Vladimir's line "Waiting for Godot." Write at least 30 lines of back-and-forth between the two characters in which you neither move the plot along nor create any change in their relationship. 

OR


The American artist Jasper Johns collaborated with Beckett on an edition of Fizzles that included five of the eight Fizzles, printed both in French and English, with a print run of 250. Johns used a printmaking technique called intaglio to create his art, but you can create your own version of these designs with a marker. You must fill the entire page, you must use color, and you must explain how the repetition of shapes in the artwork connects to the Fizzles story with an artist's statement of at least 100 words. You don't have to create a copy of Jasper Johns' work -- you could make any collection of shapes in this style, for example a maze or a spiral or a labyrinth. 






Writing Assignments:

Consider this quote from the story "Fizzle 1." 


In any case little by little his history takes shape, with if not yet exactly its good days and bad, at least studded with occasions passing rightly or wrongly for outstanding, such as the straightest narrow, the loudest fall, the most lingering collapse, the steepest descent, the greatest number of successive turns the same way, the greatest fatigue, the longest rest, the longest -- aside from the sound of the body on its way -- silence. 

Rather than writing a novel in which a character is born, has achievements and failures, loves, hates, and then eventually dies, Beckett shows a character in the midst of stumbling through a dark passageway without beginning or end. No plot points, no dialogue, no setting. Using quotes from the story to illustrate your ideas, write a 250 word essay in which you explain Beckett's story as a metaphor for human life, and tell why he would write this portrayal instead of a traditional novel. What is Beckett telling us about life in the modern age? If you like, you can also bring in comparisons to Waiting for Godot

OR


Think about the role of time and memory in Waiting for Godot. Find a couple of specific examples that demonstrate the failure of the characters' memories and the meaninglessness of the passage of time. What does it mean that the characters can't remember what they did yesterday? What does it mean that they don't recognize each other when they meet again? Write a 250 word essay in which you explain Beckett's use of memory as a symbol. If we can't remember what happens, is all of time just a meaningless wait for death, and the subdivisions of time into days or nights irrelevant? Using your quotes from the text, explain what Beckett means by the forgetfulness of his characters and the emptiness of time in the play.  

Quiz

This quiz is over Waiting for Godot

1. If you were to stage this play, what is the bare minimum of set items and props you would have to use? Make a list.
2. What instruction did Godot give the two men who were to wait for him?
3. Who are Gogo and Didi?
4. Explain this bit of dialogue: 

ESTRAGON:
No use struggling.
VLADIMIR:
One is what one is.
ESTRAGON:
No use wriggling.
VLADIMIR:

The essential doesn't change.

5. What is the relationship between Pozzo and Lucky?
6. Why does Pozzo say that Lucky won't put down his bags?
7. What message does the boy bring from Godot?
8. Choose a line from Act 2 that demonstrates how Estragon has given up on life having any meaning. 
9. When Pozzo reappears in Act 2, what has happened to him? 
10. What does this line mean? 

Pozzo: They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.