This post is challenging, but hopefully it will get you thinking in the more philosophical, thematic way we need in order to take your writing to the next level. Your assignment is to pose a philosophical question based on Fahrenheit 451, and give an example of where in the text Bradbury might be addressing the issues it raises (you must use a quote). Then, you have to briefly respond to two classmates' questions with your own opinion. (Note you do NOT need a quote in your responses, but you DO need to do two of them.)
How should you get started on this tricky assignment?
The first step is to formulate a good question. That's also the first step in writing a good essay now that you have the freedom, and thus the responsibility, to choose your own topics. We'll be discussing question generation at this week's workshops, but here are some characteristics of a good question:
-It's open ended, allowing for many different answers instead of having a "right" one
-It requires critical thinking to answer, which means it is open to interpretation
-It address something that really matters in human life - our nature, right and wrong, death, etc.
-It makes people re-examine their biases or assumptions so that they can think new thoughts
Start your post with your question, in bold, then follow it up with some further questions or commentary that integrates evidence from the text. For example: "What is the role of faith in sustaining human existence? Bradbury has Montag read the poem 'Dover Beach,' which is about a loss of faith, to Mildred and her friends, one of whom breaks into tears. What is Bradbury suggesting they have lost faith in? Is this religious faith, or something different?" From there, I'd probably quote from book guy Granger's speech at the end of the novel where he talks about being faithful to the past. Then I would leave my readers with a restatement of the question: "In your response, please give your opinion on what Bradbury is saying, and/or share your own perspective on the positive or negative aspects of faith in human life."
FIRST OFF, welcome to my blog! There has been some confusion about the summer reading assignment, so here is what you need to complete during the time off:
A. Everyone is reading Fahrenheit 451 and completing a blog post on it here. You're also completing a short (2 page max) paper on any topic relating Fahrenheit and one other book.
B. Then everyone is reading two other works and posting about them on here next month. These can include
-One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
-Prisons we Choose to Live Inside
-Streetcar Named Desire
-Brave New World
So, this is our virtual classroom for the summer, although I hope to see many of you at our two writing workshops in the actual classroom as well! English II Honors is a challenging course because it requires you to develop a new style of reading, thinking, and writing which is more sophisticated and academic. These posts, as well as the workshops, are about preparing you for that so you can produce a strong reaction paper, which is your first big grade. My main goal for the year is to get you...
Reading CLOSELY, meaning paying attention to particular words and phrases to determine their effects
Thinking CRITICALLY, meaning posing questions and problems instead of finding "right" answers
Writing CAREFULLY, meaning caring what you're writing about and taking time to say it well
So, for the first post, I would like you to closely read a scene from Fahrenheit 451 of at least one page, think critically about word choices and their purpose, and write a careful 1-2 paragraph explanation of its effects on the reader and overall significance for the larger work. (A paragraph is at least 6 sentences and one big quotation or a series of small phrase quotes - make sure you explain the quotations and cite them correctly!)
There will be a second blog post in two weeks, before the first workshop, and then one in August after the first workshop. Please complete this blog post before Wednesday, July 16th, and look for the second one then. Each of these posts are worth 20 points of the roughly 400 you can earn each MP.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
-Scenes worth analyzing include Montag's talks with Clarisse and Faber, Mildred's reaction to her suicide
attempt, the poetry reading, anything with Beatty, or various sections of the ending, esp. the phoenix
-You should begin your post with a topic sentence, introducing the novel, scene and point you'll make
-Make sure you note some kind of specific theme in the novel to which your scene relates
Good luck! Post your response by hitting "comments" and then typing your name and pasting it in the box.
Mr. Justin Biggs