Friday, December 11, 2015

Reading Period 12: December 12 - 18: A Christmas Carol

Class meeting: December 18
Due date: December 17, 7pm

Long read:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Stave 5

Short read:

"Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus," an editorial from the New York Sun, September 21, 1897.


"The Children's Friend" by Arthur J. Stansbury, 1821. (Flip through digitized book with illustrations here.)
"Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clark Moore, 1823.

Creative Assignment:

The poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas" was incredibly influential in establishing our ideas about Santa Claus and Christmas Eve! But the illustrated poem "The Children's Friend" in 1821 was even more original. From these two works we learned that Santa has a sleigh and reindeer, that he comes on Christmas Eve, and that he gives presents to good children and punishments to bad children. Before the 19th century, celebrating Christmas with presents and parties was seen as kind of naughty in America, as people believed it was a religious holiday only. (You can read more about that here if you like.) So if you ever wondered whether a poem can change the world, ask yourself if Santa comes down the chimney carrying a naughty/nice list, after parking his reindeer on the roof! Your task is to read these two poems, and then write an alternate poem about Santa Claus in which you invent much different Christmas tradition. Maybe your Santa will drive a Maserati and only bring presents for dogs and cats. Maybe your Santa comes on the first good beach day and brings fresh tuna fillets. Maybe he wears a three piece suit and children hang briefcases by the fireplace to be filled with money. Go crazy! Make your own Christmas tradition.


Create two illustrations for the last stave of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. You have all been doing a great job with this series of assignments -- keep it up! Remember to use specific details from the text to illustrate the story.

Writing Assignment:

Take a look at the handout you received in class: Elements of a Short Story. Keeping in mind the five old school elements (character, setting, plot, conflict, theme) and the new school element we talked about (mood rather than theme, beginning middle and end rather than plot, change rather than conflict) write a story about our role-playing adventure from yesterday's class. Your story should be at least 300 words long. Post it to the Google+ community and let's see what details different people remember! You can choose to write it in first person (using the word "I" and telling your own story) or third person (using "they" or "he" and "she") and telling your character's story or the group's story.


If you weren't in class on Friday, here's your alternate assignment: Both Sara Crewe and Ebenezer Scrooge go through traumatizing experiences that teach life lessons. Write a short essay (100 words) comparing the transformations in the two stories.


"Bring me the biggest turkey ever!"
1. How does Ebenezer Scrooge find out what day it is, when he wakes up in his own bed?
2. What magical time-bending feat have the spirits accomplished?
3. What does Scrooge order from the poulterer's and where does he have it sent?
4. When Scrooge says the sound of "Merry Christmas" was the blithest sound he'd ever heard, what does that mean?
5. In the street, Scrooge runs into the old gentleman who came looking for charitable contributions for the poor on Christmas Eve. What does Scrooge say into the old gentleman's ear?
6. Whose house does Scrooge then visit to celebrate Christmas?
7. What rule does Bob Crachit break when he comes to work on the day after Christmas?
8. What does Scrooge say he will do, as a result of this infraction of the rules?
9. What was one prediction of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come that turned out to be wrong?
10. There's no right or wrong answer here: Do you think the spirits were real? Or was the visitation all a dream?

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