Summer Work!

June 15th, 2010

AP cartoon characterMost of the discussion will take place on Facebook, so you need to have an account. My less than fully ulterior motive is to find out if Facebook can actually be a useful learning tool. Jury’s still out as far as I’m concerned.Writing RubricSummer work.pdfThe ShallowsSyllabus

The One-Minute Interview

May 27th, 2010

The project is actually harder than it sounds. Find an interesting person and record at least 30 minutes of interview, so we know something about this person and his (or her) life.

Find 5 or more graphics, still photos, to illustrate your interview.

Put it all together in I Movie HD.

Click HereĀ  for some specifics on the product.

Click Here to go to the website with 10 finished interviews!

The Gospels as Rhetoric

March 29th, 2010

You don’t have to believe everything in the Gospels to be fascinated by the story and the rhetoric. Who were the authors? What was their audience? Since we don’t know much about the actual events, understanding the words, the language, is really our most important source for clues.You have access to a very solid online text that tells the Passion story, the story of Jesus’s crucifixion, in a parallel fashion so you can read all four of the “accepted” Gospel accounts.Click here for the link.We will be reading from page 208 to page 249 in the online text.Homework update:Take notes on each page, 208-249. Good notes for each page should consist of two questions and an observation.Have all notes ready to discuss and pass in on Friday, April 2. The paper on the Gospels, analyzing the different perspectives and audience of each writer, will be due Tuesday, April 6.

Analyzing Rhetoric: Mark Twain on Funerals

March 25th, 2010

In this piece from An Unfinished Burlesque of Books on Ettiquette, Mark Twain pokes fun at the social norms surrounding a very serious subject. In a well-written essay, analyze Twain’s attitude toward his subject and how he creates humor in the piece.

Consider such elements as tone, diction, selection of detail, and use of the unexpected. [Emphasis is mine.]

Click Here to download a pdf file of Twain’s piece.

Rhetorical Analysis: Analyzing Roosevelt’s speech

March 17th, 2010

Roosevelt on LeadershipTeddy Roosevelt believed that active and fearless leadership could accomplish almost anything. Apparently he wasn’t thinking too much about Oedipus or Macbeth.Read Roosevelt’s speech carefully and do a 2-3 page rhetorical analysis. Take your time, and post a good draft, at least the second or third, on Buzzword.Assignment is due Tuesday, March 23.

Starting Macbeth

March 15th, 2010

Read the first three scenes carefully.Write 2 carefully thought questions about each scene.Keep this as part of a running journal.

Where does Oedipus go Wrong?

March 9th, 2010

Aristotle thought that action was more important than character. What action, or actions, does Oedipus take that really cause his downfall? Are they justified? Does he have good reasons for his actions?Does the fact that the Gods foretold Oedipus’s fate relieve him of responsibility?Then there is the question of character. What is it about Oedipus’s character that leads to his downfall? Is there a particular quality to the man? Is it forgiveable, or unforgiveable?Think more about pity and fear. Pity requires we see something happen that the character doesn’t deserve. We have no pity for people who get what they deserve. Fear requires that we feel the same thing could happen to us. Now, we probably won’t kill our fathers and marry our mothers, so where’s the fear? It’s there, for sure, but it has to be of a less obvious, and maybe a deeper nature. What’s the fear? For us?

Where do you find tragedy?

March 2nd, 2010

Think about a movie you like and know well that fits the definition of tragedy.Tell me about it. Write a page that shows1) You understand the movie2) You understand and can use the Greek definition of tragedy.A very good source of basic information on the Aristotelian concepts of strategy can be found at this website.Total paper should be 400-500 words long, handed in on paper.Due: Monday.NB Classic tragedies like Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet are off limits. Go for something more modern. So far, nobody has convinced me that Harry Potter has any tragic dimensions.

Oedipus: Where Tragedy Begins

March 2nd, 2010

The Greeks: they had it all figured out. They thought deeply and clearly about ideas that tend to get more loosely and carelessly defined today.

Is there fate? Do we control our own fate?
What makes something tragic? What makes something comic?
What is tragedy supposed to do for us when we witness it?

Watch, and read Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. It’s the best preparation in the world for Macbeth

Click here for a YouTube playlist of the 1967 movie, starring Christopher Plummer.
Click here for a fairly accessible modern translation by Ian Johnston.

Assignment for Thursday, Feb. 11

February 9th, 2010

Take the four pages of Huck Finn quotes, and write two AP quality multiple choice questions. This is harder than it looks! It’s particularly hard to write the wrong answers, but it’s important to do it wellYou might look at the link belowfor some tips on multiple choice writing technique.