HW: First read the two stories, and watch the linked author videos:
"A Mystery of Heroism" by Stephen Crane
"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Once you've read both stories, create a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting the two characters' predicaments, reactions, and most importantly, their symbolism of their ultimate fate. Finally, add one full-sentence quotation for each character that seems to best reflect your analysis in the Venn Diagram.
HW due Monday:
Using this digital copy of the story, cut and paste as many phrases characterizing Emily (or her house and family). You need at least 12 phrases, although they can be as short as 2 words apiece (and as long as a short sentence). After you have listed these phrases, write a brief summary (2-3 sentences) explaining what you think these phrases have in common and how they collectively help to build our image of the character.
Download this, print it, read and textmark key words and thematic elements - I will collect it next class as a quiz grade. Also, be sure to post your interpretation of the ending in the comments below!
In A Raisin in the Sun, we see another example of protagonists resisting forces that constrain their lives and their potential for growth. I'd like you to learn about two American thinkers who promoted resistance against oppression in their own ways. Watch these videos about HENRY DAVID THOREAU and MALCOLM X, then post a response giving your personal opinion on their approach to resistance as well as a comparison with characters from Raisin. How much do you agree with their views and actions, and how do you think characters like Beneatha and Walter Lee and Mama or Ruth would agree with them?
HENRY DAVID THOREAU
Animated Summary: "The Duty of Civil Disobedience"
Speech Excerpt: "By Any Means Necessary"
Your assignment is to read four short stories and make connections between their themes/motifs/images and those of V for Vendetta. Post your response to at least two of the stories in a single blog post below. Your response need not be formal, but should be substantive - i.e. it doesn't need to be fancy, just thoughtful and interesting.
First, read both of these VERY short Edgar Allan Poe stories:
"The Oval Portrait"
"The Masque of the Red Death"
Next, read two of these science fiction short stories:
"Repent Harlequin! said the Ticktock Man" by Harlan Ellison (the story that inspired Alan Moore to create V)
"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut (or if you already read that, try his related story "2BR02B" instead)
Finally, comment on ONE of Poe's stories and ONE of the scifi stories in relation to V for Vendetta. What similar ideas or images does it evoke? How does reading the two pieces "together" influence your interpretations?
A large part of V for Vendetta revolves around the conflict between two political ideals or "ideologies": Anarchism and Fascism. The political philosopher Louis Althusser described ideology as a group of people's "imaginary relationship to their real conditions of existence" (the Puritan ideology, for example, conceived of their actual suffering as part of God's plan, sustaining their self-image as the Chosen People). So you can think of ideologies kind of the way we think of literary theories like postcolonialism as "lenses" - they are like lenses on humanity, even reality itself.
The Anarchist and Fascist ideologies derive from the work of earlier political philosophers who produced different versions of what's called Social Contract Theory: the idea that a society is like an agreement among individuals to give up certain freedoms to gain other benefits. THOMAS HOBBES produced a version of social contract theory that inspired Fascism, while JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU produced an opposing version that became the basis of Anarchism. (A third version developed by JOHN LOCKE, which suggested individuals should establish a limited government to protect their rights to liberty and property, became the basis for our own American system of government, partially as a reaction to theocratic tyranny).
Watch this video from 8-Bit Philosophy along with any additional research you find necessary, then produce a summary of Hobbes and Rousseau's ideas. Do you with agree with either of them? And do their arguments influence your views on V's revolution? Comment on a classmate post with a substantive response to receive extra credit beyond the 20 points for you first post.
"The major enemy, the strategic adversary [of our thinking] is Fascism... and not only historical fascism, the fascism of Hitler and Mussolini -which was able to mobilize and use the desire of the masses so effectively - but also the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.... How does one keep from being fascist, even (especially) when one believes oneself to be a revolutionary militant? How do we rid our speech and our acts, our hearts and our pleasures, of fascism? How do we ferret out the fascism that is ingrained in our behavior?"
-Philosopher Michel Foucault, Preface to Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus
Foucault (like his friends Deleuze and Guattari) all grew up during WWII, and during the 60s and 70s tried to theorize why so many people openly EMBRACED fascism. The big idea here is that society does NOT work like the Social Contract Theorists thought - people do not consciously agree to form societies for their own benefit, but instead, societies form people through a kind of unconscious peer pressure. We're taught to conform to certain ideals of "normality" by people who were taught and conform to the same, partially because there is a sense of safety in being like others, and partly because certain religious or political ideologies threaten us or promise rewards based on our obedience (Omelas, Danforth's court, the Norsefire party...)
After watching the above-linked 8 Bit Philosophy videos, see if you can make connections between these ideas and the story or setting of V for Vendetta. In particular, think of the final scene with Helen Heyer, the embodiment of the "Fascism within us all,," and Finch, who has overcome that instinct. And if you want to take it further, do any of Foucault and Deleuze/Guattari's ideas reveal "micro-fascisms" in our democracy (or school/community environments) now? In particular, are we "trained" to discipline and repress our desires?
First off, hooray that the Blog is finally working again! Second, get ready to share your view on V's address to the nation in Book II Ch IV, "A Vocational Viewpoint." In this chapter, V broadcasts a message speaking to the people as if they are his "employees" and have been doing a terrible "job" governing themselves, encouraging them to rebel, and even threatening them if they don't. Your goal is simple: write a paragraph, or a serious of bullets/questions, expressing your reaction to the speech. Is V too critical of the people? Is he right to encourage rebellion? Or is he not considering the Thomas Hobbes argument that this can lead to chaos? Be sure to cite at least TWO images that V shows in the speech - the dictators, the historical scenes, the monkeys, the Buddha, etc. Try to bring together the thoughts you've been having throughout our discussions into a smart post!
If you want, you can see a video of someone reading the words aloud with the pictures in the background here. You can also watch the movie's version of the speech, which is quite similar in content but VERY different in tone - if you discuss this version in your post, be sure to contrast it with the harsher, more sarcastic original..
This assignment is worth 50 points, and is due MONDAY for Block 2A and TUESDAY for Block 2B:
Choose a poem....
1. Paraphrase it,
2. SOAPSTone it,
3. Write a lens-based thematic thesis statement about it.
4. Then write a thesis about a second poem using the same lens.
5. Make a Venn Diagram contrasting the two poems.
So like we discussed at the end of class, one member of each group should post a tentative thesis statement (even if it isn't yet compacted into one sentence - and by the way, it's not against the law to have a two-sentence thesis in a more extensive analysis like this). Add roughly a paragraph of context explaining where you're going with this.
A few things to consider:
-You'll need some kind of opening example, which could serve as an opening for your essay too
-Presentations must be 10-15 minutes.
I urge you to share as much information as you can - you can describe the thought process that led up to your idea, quote relevant examples from The Crucible or other texts (including the Bible), share concepts from the literary theories/lenses that you're using, and so on. Remember, this counts as a goup quiz raid (35 pts)
By Monday, everyone must comment on a different group's post, offering some kind of opinion or suggestion. That will count for a classwork grade (15 pts), which is one of the last grades of the marking period!
If you're wondering what the others are:
-There will be a quiz on Act II of the play next week,
-There will be a take-home test (50 pts) to complete over next weekend (apply two different lenses to three poems chosen from a list and outline two paragraph-length analyses - this would have been last week but I wanted to get to The Crucible so I decided on the take-home thing, which is probably easier anyhow).
-We will read through next week into the short one after, and after the short break, you will deliver your presentations. These are worth 100 points, and they provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate and integrate your critical thinking and close reading skills, as well as your new-found content knowledge in literary theory (psychoanalysis, postcolonialism, etc.) If you wish, you can do your presentation in the form of a video or critical article that classmates watch/read outside class - don't worry. I won't assign any extra work on any night students are assigned a classmates presentations as HW.
As for your Crucible essays, in which member of the group will develop their own specific thesis on the general ideas in the presentation, this will be our first MP2 activity.
Mr. Justin Biggs