Friday, December 8, 2017

Reading Period 12: December 8-14: Fahrenheit 451

Long Read: 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Part 3, "Burning Bright"

Short Read:

"The Library of Babel" by Jorge Luis Borges

Also check out this awesomely weird site, The Library of Babel. Just mouse over any of the words on the main index.


"There is no Frigate Like a Book" by Emily Dickinson

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul –

Creative Assignments:

This week's short story, "The Library of Babel," proposes the the universe is an infinite library composed of interlocking hexagons. Create a piece of art that shows something else composed of hexagons. A person composed of hexagons might have one hexagon for the heart, one for the stomach, another hexagon for emotions, and maybe one to stand on for each foot. A school composed of hexagons might have classrooms and offices of this shape. A pumpkin composed of hexagons? A dragon composed of hexagons?


This week we're talking about literary analogies, or metaphors. Write a poem in which you compare a book to something else, like Emily Dickinson's poem "There is no Frigate like a Book." I'd also like you to imitate Dickinson's capitalization in your poem. You could say "There is no Spaceship like a Book" or "There is no River like a Book" or "There is no Wild Boar like a Book" or "There is no 1965 Shelby GT like a Book."

Writing Assignment:

While on the subway, Guy Montag felt that his life could be represented by a child shoveling sand into a sieve, helplessly watching as the sand poured through. Take a look at your list of "life" analogies from class. Life is a Coke machine. Life is a bagel. Life is a highway. Life is a stage. Write a 250 word essay in which you draw out an analogy for life. You'll need at least three ways that life is like the thing you choose.


Define these words from Fahrenheit 451 and use each one in a sentence. Don't find the sentence from the book -- make up your own.

1. Stolid
2. Olfactory
3. Stratum
4. Proclivity
5. Jargon
6. Cacophony
7. Dictum
8. Rationalize
9. Torrent
10. Bestial

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Reading Period 11: Dec 1-7: Fahrenheit 451

Long Read: 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, "The Sieve and the Sand."

Short Read: 

"Exchange" by Ray Bradbury


"Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Creative Assignments:

After reading the short story, "Exchange," think about what libraries mean to children and adults. The story is about how fascinating and important the character found the library as a child, and how that fascination and dependence faded with adulthood. While children often read voraciously, adults frequently get out of the habit, sometimes not reading for pleasure at all. After you've reflected on the story, the place of books in the world of Fahrenheit 451, and your own feelings, either write a 250 word personal essay about what a library means to you, or create a color illustration of a fantasy version of a library, including the most appealing elements you can imagine, with no regard for physics or financial constraints.

Writing Assignments:

Ray Bradbury was writing in a time before the internet, before Facebook and Twitter and blogs and the Huffington Post. In his time, the perceived threat to the practice reading books was the television. With the advent of movies and TV, our experience with stories changed forever. In a 250 word essay, give your thoughts on the experience of watching a show on TV compared to the experience of reading a book. How is it better or easier, or how is it not as good? You'll want an introductory paragraph, and then a paragraph on reading and a paragraph on watching TV. Then take your reader to a new place in the conclusion by making a value claim. Which is better?


After reading the poem, "Dover Beach," consider how the poem made you feel. After reflecting on the class discussion about whether books that make you feel unhappy should be read anyway, write a 250 word essay giving your opinion on this topic. With specific quotes, use the poem as an example of something that would have been forbidden in the world of Fahrenheit 451, because it is scary or depressing. Do you think that this type of literature is important, even though it might make us sad? Why?


1. What is the "White Clown"?
2. Where did Guy originally meet Faber?
3. Why is Guy's copy of the Bible special?
4. As Guy is trying to read the Bible on the subway, what noise is competing for his attention?
5. Why are books hated and feared, according to Faber?
6. What is Guy Montag's plan for using the books to bring down the firemen?
7. How is Faber able to talk to Guy when they are apart?
8. How does Mildred try to cover up for the fact that Guy has a book?
9. Name two of the authors Beatty references when he's arguing with Guy.
10. Where does Beatty take the Salamander on Guy's last ride on it?

Friday, November 24, 2017

Reading Period 10: November 24-30: Fahrenheit 451

Long Read: 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, "The Hearth and the Salamander"

Short Read:

"The Fog Horn" by Ray Bradbury


"Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Creative Assignments:

Without looking at any images online, try to imagine what the Mechanical Hound looks like. We know he has 8 legs and is made of brass and copper and steel. It has rubber-padded paws and a proboscis for injections. Draw a picture of what you imagine the Hound looks like, and include a person or another object for size comparison. 


Examine Clarisse McClellan's dialogue. She has two conversations with Guy Montag in the first twenty pages -- one where she talks about race car drivers and people watching and billboards, and the other where she talks about dandelions and tasting rain. Using only words and phrases from her speech lines in these two conversations, construct a poem with the title, "Are You Happy?" 

Writing Assignments: 

The society in Fahrenheit 451 has done away with books, and front porches, and also spankings and representational art. What sorts of things have replaced them? Using examples from the book, write a 250 word essay describing what people in the book do instead of read. You will find a lot of material in Clarisse McClellan's speech right before she disappears. In your conclusion, you can take your reader to a "new place" by identifying which of these activities are familiar in our world.


Mildred and Guy Montag are both characters that harbor internal contradictions. Guy is a fireman and yet he has doubts about his job, and rescues and hides books. Mildred appears to be perfectly happy, and yet she also has another side. Using examples from the book, write a 250 word essay describing the two sides of Mildred Montag. You can take your reader to a "new place" in the conclusion by discussing what this contradiction means for Bradbury's broader characterization of people in this society. 


Who said it? Answer with the character's name. 

1. Kerosene is nothing but perfume to me. 
2. Do you ever read any of the books you burn?
3. I think that's fine!
4. It doesn't think anything we don't want it to think. 
5. Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out. 
6. There must be something in the books, things we can't imagine. 
7. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. 
8. Sometimes I drive all night and come back and you don't know it. It's fun out in the country. You hit rabbits, sometimes you hit dogs. 

These four are from the short story, "The Fog Horn." 

9. Ray Bradbury really likes similes. Give five examples from the story. 
10. What two substances does he narrator see in the monster's eyes?
11. Why does the monster attack the lighthouse?
12. According to McDunn, what does the monster learn? 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Reading Period 9: November 3-9: Macbeth

Long Read: 

Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, Acts 4-5

Creative Assignments: 

Giuseppe Verdi wrote an opera setting the words of Macbeth to music. Take a look at this video of the production. Here's another one, but without subtitles. Think about the most important speeches in Macbeth and choose one. You might pick "“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under ‘t.” Or “Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” Any quote will do really! Now, choose a pop song, and modify the words to reflect the words of the play. It doesn't have to be an exact match. For example, you could change "Uptown Funk" to "Lady Macbeth": Lady Macbeth gonna give it to ya! Lady Macbeth gonna give it to ya! Look like the innocent flower! Or maybe instead of "We found love right where we are" you might say We killed Duncan right in his bed! Or some such thing. Post your song, telling what song it's based on and what speech in the play inspired it.


Below are four images of different productions of Macbeth, showing Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Use your imagination and come up with some costume ideas for your ideal production. Would it be contemporary? Victorian? Medieval? Futuristic? Describe and sketch at least three characters.

Writing Assignment:

Pretend you are a trial lawyer preparing a defense of Macbeth in the murder of Duncan and Banquo. The trial has already passed, the witnesses have been called, and you are wrapping up your argument to the jury. Using at least three key points to defend him, write your closing statement of at least 250 words. One idea for your conclusion would be to suggest another person who might be more to blame. The witches? Lady Macbeth?


1.What are the three apparitions that give prophecies to Macbeth? 
 A. The ghost of Duncan, the ghost of Banquo, the ghost of Fleance.
 B. A head, a bloody child, a child dressed as a king.
 C. A dagger, a head, a bloody hand.
 D. First witch, second witch, third witch.
 E. Dunsinane, Forres, Inverness.

2.What are the three prophecies he receives? 
 A. 1. Beware Macduff. 2. Worry about Fleance. 3. Ponder Duncan.
 B. 1. Beware Macduff. 2. Stay away from Dunsinane. 3. Stay away from women.
 C. 1. Beware Macduff. 2. No woman born in Scotland shall ever defeat him. 3. He will not be vanquished as long as Duncan's corpse is in Dunsinane wood.
 D. 1. Beware Macduff. 2. No man of woman born shall stand against him. 3. He will never be vanquished until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane Hill
 E. 1. Beware Macduff. 2. No man of England shall stand against him. 3. King Edward was not born of a woman.

3.What does this mean? “From this moment, the very firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand.” (Act IV Scene 1, Macbeth’s final speech) 
 A. As soon as I have an idea, I’m going to act upon it.
 B. I will never betray my first love.
 C. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
 D. If I find something in my hand, I'm going to stick it in my heart.
 E. Whatever moves me first will move me last.

4.Who says the line: “He has kill'd me, mother:Run away, I pray you!” 
 A. Fleance.
 B. Banquo.
 C. Macduff's son.
 D. Duncan.
 E. Malcolm.

5.In Act IV Scene 3, Malcolm accuses himself of being insanely lustful, avaricious, criminal, power-hungry, not suited to be king. How does his conversation with Macduff resolve? 
 A. He kills himself.
 B. Macduff agrees Malcolm should never be king.
 C. He takes it all back.
 D. The doctor takes him to King Edward for a cure.
 E. He accuses himself of being addicted to haggis.

6.What help has the King of England loaned to Macduff in his effort against Macbeth? 
 A. 10,000 men and a healing wand of blessing.
 B. 10,000 trees that can walk to Dunsinane.
 C. 10,000 generals and a sewer, newly built.
 D. 10,000 witches and a cauldron, hot.
 E. 10,000 men and Siward, Earl of Northumberland, for their general.

7.When Macduff is grieving for his wife and children, Malcolm says, “Be this the whetstone of your sword.” What does this mean? 
 A. Let this prevent you from being rash in battle.
 B. Let this motivate you to be fierce in battle.
 C. Let this teach you that battle serves no purpose.
 D. Let this make you feel better after your wounds.
 E. Let this convince you to build a fence instead of an army.

8.What is Lady Macbeth worried about, while sleepwalkingin Act V, Scene 1? 
 A. She sees an apparition of a witch.
 B. She cannot find her husband.
 C. She sees ghosts in her bedroom.
 D. She cannot find her dagger.
 E. She sees blood on her hands.

9.How did Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane? 
 A. The trees took up root and marched.
 B. The soldiers used branches as cover.
 C. The soldiers dressed as trees.
 D. The wood was transported in a magical fog.
 E. The wood symbolized Macbeth's guilt.

10.How was Macbeth killed by a man not of woman born? 
 A. Macduff was out of Scotland's trees resplendent made.
 B. Macduff was from his father wholly made asunder.
 C. Macduff was from his mother's womb untimely ripped.
 D. Macduff was from a man and goat fastidious clenched.
 E. Macduff was out of Duncan's brain conceived and born.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Reading Period 8: October 27 - November 2: Macbeth

Long Read: 

Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Act 2-3

Short Read: 

"Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin


"Sonnet 29" by William Shakespeare

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Creative Assignment:

Last week during our visit to the farm you took notes for a poem while sitting on a horse and riding through the fields and woods. This week your creative assignment is to use those notes to write a poem. Incorporate as many of the physical details as you can, including how you felt, what you smelled, heard, saw, etc. Your poem can be in any form, but don't feel like you need to rhyme or have regular meter. If you weren't able to make it to the barn, you can write about a different time when you've been out in nature, enjoying the sensory input.

Writing Assignment:

Can you solve the mystery of the third murderer? We know that Macbeth sent two murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance, but who is the third person that shows up? There's lot of speculation about who this might have been. Shakespeare's audience might have gotten a clue, because there may have been some costuming or acting similarities to the character it was meant to be. While we may never know for sure, we can make a decision and incorporate it into our own production. For example, if we decide it's Macbeth or Lady Macbeth, we can disguise that actor to play the part. If we decide it's a random person, we can reflect that in the casting/costuming. Read this discussion of the different possibilities and then write a 250 word essay in which you decisively say which choice we should make with our version of Macbeth.


Shakespeare used several real historical people in his characters, and one is Edward the Confessor, who Malcolm and Macduff try to get to join them in the fight against Macbeth. Who was Edward the Confessor? In what time period did he live? What was the relationship of England to Scotland at that time? Where is Northumbia? Was there a real Siward who was its Earl? Write 250 words in which you give the historical context for this connection between the story of Macbeth and the real world King Edward. Cite links to your research materials at the bottom of your essay.


1.What happens between the time Macbeth exits at the end of Act 2 Scene 1 and the time he enters in Scene 2? 
 A. He sends a messenger to the king.
 B. He confers with Lady Macbeth.
 C. He visits the park on his horse.
 D. He kills Duncan.
 E. He kills Banquo.

2.Who officially discovers Duncan’s body? (Act 2 Scene 3) 
 A. Macbeth
 B. Banquo
 C. Macduff
 D. The grooms
 E. Fleance

3.What did Macbeth do to cover up the assassination of the King? 
 A. Smear the grooms’ hands with blood.
 B. Wash his hands of blood.
 C. Kill the grooms.
 D. Pretend to be surprised and horrified at the body.
 E. All of the above.

4.Who fled from the castle after the king was discovered dead? 
 A. Lennox and Ross.
 B. The two grooms, covered in blood.
 C. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
 D. Banquo and Fleance.
 E. Malcolm and Donalbain, the king's sons.

5. Who says this line? "Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand?"
A. Macbeth
B. Banquo
C. Duncan
D. Lady Macbeth
E. Porter

6.Who does Macbeth tell the murderers to kill in Act 3, Scene 1? 
 A. Duncan and Banquo.
 B. Macduff and Lennox.
 C. Malcolm and Donalbain.
 D. Banquo and Fleance.
 E. Lennox and Ross.

7.What does Macbeth mean by this? Act 3 Scene 2 Line 45: “Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, till thou applaud the dead.” 
 A. You won't be able to fully appreciate the murder unless you understand the plot.
 B. Better you know nothing of what's going to happen, until it's done.
 C. You will stay innocent as long as you don't kill anyone.
 D. I can't tell you what's going to happen, because you'll give away the plot.
 E. Make sure you appear to be happy, after the murder is accomplished.

8.Where do the murderers in Act 3, Scene 3, set on their victims? 
 A. In a park near the castle.
 B. In the stable, after the horses have been put up.
 C. In Forres.
 D. In the victims' bedrooms, when they are asleep.
 E. In the castle yard.

9.Why does Macbeth not want to take his seat at the table with the lords? 
 A. Lady Macbeth has told him not to sit down at the table.
 B. He is worried that there is a plot against his life.
 C. There is a ghost sitting in it.
 D. He doesn't want to accidentally give away information.
 E. He hallucinates a bloody dagger lying on the stool.

10.Why has Macduff gone to England? (Hint: reread Act 3, Scene 6) 
 A. To Forres to spread the word of Duncan's assassination.
 B. To Inverness to protect Malcolm and Donalbain.
 C. To England to avoid suspicion of murder.
 D. To England to ask King Edward for help in removing Macbeth from the throne.
 E. To Ireland to encourage Macdonwald's supporters to rise against Macbeth.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Reading Period 7: October 20-26: Macbeth

Long Read:

Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Act I


Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

Creative Assignment:

The three witches in Macbeth have been portrayed in every conventional way imaginable, from green-nosed warty crones to voodoo priestesses, and even some unconventional ways. Can you think of a brand new way to visualize these characters, to make them fresh? Do your own version of Henry Fuseli's 1783 painting. Don't copy his style -- use your own concept.


Rewrite Act I Scene 5 in first person prose from the POV of Lady Macbeth, using modern dialogue between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth where appropriate. So, your piece might begin. "I got a letter from Macbeth today! I was just lingering around the castle, frustrated with our lesser nobility, when this message from my husband really lit up my day..." Etc.

Henry Fuseli, 1783
Writing Assignment:

Write 300 words about the Globe theater: who its patrons were, how it fit into Renaissance lifestyles, and how it operated. You'll need an introductory paragraph to grab the reader and introduce your topic, a paragraph about each of those categories of information, and a conclusion paragraph in which you take the reader to a new "place." For your intro, let's practice setting a scene for your reader. Describe the atmosphere of the Globe without introduction -- the sights, sounds, smells (?) and put your reader THERE. In your conclusion, let's practice making a value judgment as your "new place." You might speculate about whether it was fun to go, or whether it was better than theaters now, or worse. Your conclusion can include a personal twist - what do you think it would have been like? You'll need to do a bit of research to write this -- include links to any online sources you used at the bottom of your essay. Don't forget to bring in a paper copy for me to read on Thursday!


1.At the beginning of the play, who are Duncan's captains, Macbeth and Banquo, fighting? 
 A. Two armies: Norway and the rebel Macdonwald
 B. One army: Norway
 C. One army: the rebel Macdonwald
 D. Two armies: Norway and England
 E. Two armies: Ireland and Macdonwald

2.Summarize Act 1 Scene 2. 
 A. The Thane of Cawdor will die.
 B. Duncan is a great king.
 C. Macbeth is a great warrior.
 D. The Norwegians had massive numbers.
 E. Macdonwald is a villain.

3.The witches give Macbeth some information which is unknown to him, but that the audience already knows to be true. This establishes for the audience their ability to truly prophesy -- what is the information? 
 A. That he is Thane of Glamis.
 B. That he is Thane of Cawdor.
 C. That he will be king.
 D. That he will not be king, but his sons will.
 E. That he will be happy.

4.What does Macbeth mean by this: “Two truths are told as happy prologues to the swelling act of the imperial theme.” (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 128) 
 A. He only understood two of the things the witches told him.
 B. Only plays with prologues can have third acts with kings.
 C. If there is a king in the first act, then he must be assassinated by the third act.
 D. The witches were right about being Thane of Glamis and Cawdor, which means they may be right about being king.
 E. He plans to tell everyone the truth about the prophesy, and then be king.

5.What does Macbeth mean by this: “If chance will have me King, why, chance may crown me, without my stir.” (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 143) 
 A. Nothing is within our control; we are at the mercies of the fates.
 B. If I’m supposed to be king, it’ll happen without my doing anything.
 C. I'm going to do everything possible to make myself king.
 D. There's no such thing as chance, because everything happens for a reason.
 E. The only way chance makes a king, is to crown a king by chance.

6. When Banquo reports to King Duncan about Macbeth's behavior in battle, what does he say?
A. Macbeth was a jerk and killed people randomly.
B. Macbeth was a coward and ran and hid under a table.
C. Macbeth was courageous and fought well.
D. Macbeth led a mutiny and is now trying to be King.
E. Macbeth was wounded and is in danger of dying.

7. Who actually makes Macbeth Thane of Cawdor?
A. Duncan
B. Banquo
C. The Witches
D. The People's Republic of Cawdor
E. He seizes the title by force.

8. What is Lady Macbeth's plan to entertain the royal visitors at her castle?
A. Big feast
B. Murder
C. Put on a clever play that reveals secrets about the audience.
D. Quiet evenings of playing bridge and sipping gin fizz.
E. She has no plan, because she doesn't entertain her husband's guests.

9. Paraphrase this speech from Lady Macbeth:

The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry “Hold, hold!”

A. I am afraid I'm going to be murdered.
B. I am making plans to escape this castle.
C. Make me like a raven, because I want to do dark things.
D. Take away my womanliness, and make me cruel.
E. It's getting dark early these days -- what is this, October?

10.Who dies in Act I? 
 A. Macbeth
 B. Banquo
 C. Duncan
 D. The old Thane of Glamis
 E. The old Thane of Cawdor

Friday, October 13, 2017

Reading Period 6: October 13-19: The Black Stallion

Long Read:

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley,
chapters 13-18


I Saw From the Beach 
by Thomas Moore

I saw from the beach, when the morning was shining,
A bark o'er the waters move gloriously on;
I came when the sun o'er that beach was declining,
The bark was still there, but the waters were gone.

And such is the fate of our life's early promise,
So passing the spring-tide of joy we have known;
Each wave that we danced on at morning ebbs from us,
And leaves us, at eve, on the bleak shore alone.

Oh, who would not welcome that moment's returning
When passion first waked a new life through his frame,
And his soul, like the wood that grows precious in burning,
Gave out all its sweets to love's exquisite flame.

On the Beach at Night, Alone. 
by Walt Whitman

ON the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro, singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining—I think a thought of the clef of the universes, and of
the future.

A VAST SIMILITUDE interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets, comets, asteroids,
All the substances of the same, and all that is spiritual upon the same,
All distances of place, however wide,
All distances of time—all inanimate forms,
All Souls—all living bodies, though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes—the fishes, the brutes,
All men and women—me also;
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages;
All identities that have existed, or may exist, on this globe, or any globe;
All lives and deaths—all of the past, present, future;
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d, and shall forever span them, and
compactly hold them, and enclose them.

The ocean said to me once 
by Stephen Crane

The ocean said to me once,
Yonder on the shore
Is a woman, weeping.
I have watched her.
Go you and tell her this --
Her lover I have laid
In cool green hall.
There is wealth of golden sand
And pillars, coral-red;
Two white fish stand guard at his bier.
"Tell her this
And more --
That the king of the seas
Weeps too, old, helpless man.
The bustling fates
Heap his hands with corpses
Until he stands like a child
With a surplus of toys."

In class we discussed the three poems above, and everyone chose one to memorize! This week we're going to get started on that in a major way.

Creative Assignment:

Write your chosen poem out by hand in three different ways. You might choose to write it on lined paper with a pen, and then on a whiteboard, and then in pencil on graph paper. You might choose to put it on your street in chalk, or use markers of all different colors, or punch it into tin with an awl. You might decide to quilt it into a piece of fabric, or dry erase it onto a window, or spell it out in scrabble tiles. However you choose to do it, you must show three DIFFERENT versions. I guarantee when you are done with this, you will be well on your way to memorizing it.


Create three different videos of yourself reading the poem aloud in different locations/situations. You could read it in the bathtub, on the sofa, or you could have someone video you reading it as  you hang out an upstairs window and shout. Your attire must be different for each video -- so you might read it once in pajamas, once in a viking hat, and once in a tutu. These videos will stay private to our Google+ Community -- don't worry! I will record videos later of us all reciting our poems, and these I will ask permission to post on the blog.

"Hoi. The name's Steve. I got a poem fer ya."
Writing Assignment:

Consider the author of your chosen poem. Write a short essay (250 words) about him, including biographical information, and also any context you find for the poem you're memorizing. So, you'll want to find out when in his life the poem was published, how it was received, and what literary movement or period it was part of. You can use Wikipedia if you like, but you must include one other source as well. Do NOT copy and paste from your sources. Use them to learn information and then write your own words. Include the (2) links to your sources at the end of your paper.


Consider Walter Farley. Write a short essay (250 words) about him, including biographical information, and also any context you can find for the novel, The Black Stallion. You'll want to find out when in his life it was written, how it was received, and what effect it had on his life and career. You can use Wikipedia if you like, but you must include one other internet source as well. Do NOT copy and paste from your sources. Use them to learn information and then write your own words. Include the (2) links to your sources at the end of your paper.


If you read National Velvet during Stickybeak's first year, write a short essay (300 words) comparing National Velvet and The Black Stallion. Start out by making objective comparisons without including your opinions -- what about the two novels is the same and what is different? Then you can move to comparing your reactions to the two novels -- which you liked better and why you think that is true.


1. Why does The Black not want to leave the barn, and how do they solve this problem?
2. How many times did The Black go around the track the first time they let him run on it?
3. Who is Jim Neville?
4. Why is the Match Race between Sun Raider and Cyclone the only race The Black can do?
5. Why does Jim Neville already know of Henry Dailey?
6. Why does Alec have strands of The Black's mane clasped in his hands after the ride for Jim Neville?
7. Why is Alec's mom in Chicago during the Match Race?
8. When Alec's dad thinks the race is too dangerous, what is Henry Dailey's argument back?
9. What does Alec have to do before riding in the race that's just a regular kid thing?
10. From whose point of view do we find out about the race itself?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Reading Period 5: October 6-12: The Black Stallion

Long Read:

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley, chapters 7-12

Short Read:

"A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. (Note: This web page has wall-to-wall text which may be hard to read on a computer screen. You can copy/paste it into a document you can manipulate, or you can shrink the size of the window so reading a narrower column of text is easier.)


"Beach Glass" by Amy Clampitt

While you walk the water's edge,
turning over concepts
I can't envision, the honking buoy
serves notice that at any time
the wind may change,
the reef-bell clatters
its treble monotone, deaf as Cassandra
to any note but warning. The ocean,
cumbered by no business more urgent
than keeping open old accounts
that never balanced,
goes on shuffling its millenniums
of quartz, granite, and basalt.
It behaves
toward the permutations of novelty—
driftwood and shipwreck, last night's
beer cans, spilt oil, the coughed-up
residue of plastic—with random
impartiality, playing catch or tag
ot touch-last like a terrier,
turning the same thing over and over,
over and over. For the ocean, nothing
is beneath consideration.
The houses
of so many mussels and periwinkles
have been abandoned here, it's hopeless
to know which to salvage. Instead
I keep a lookout for beach glass—
amber of Budweiser, chrysoprase
of Almadén and Gallo, lapis
by way of (no getting around it,
I'm afraid) Phillips'
Milk of Magnesia, with now and then a rare
translucent turquoise or blurred amethyst
of no known origin.
The process
goes on forever: they came from sand,
they go back to gravel,
along with treasuries
of Murano, the buttressed
astonishments of Chartres,
which even now are readying
for being turned over and over as gravely
and gradually as an intellect
engaged in the hazardous
redefinition of structures
no one has yet looked at.

Creative Assignments:

When you read a poem like "Beach Glass" you may run into unfamiliar words. The first time you read, read straight through to try and understand the feeling of the poem as a whole. But the second time you read, please look up words like periwinkles, chrysoprase, Almaden, Milk of Magnesia, the glass blowers of Murano, the cathedral of Chartres, etc. When you have looked up all the unfamiliar words, read the poem again with this knowledge, to help you understand it more fully. Then create a digital collage of everything you learned while reading.

Right click on images of the things you have discovered, and save them into a folder.
Open Picmonkey.
Hover over "Design" at the top and choose "Blank Canvas."
Choose the size you want.
Choose "Overlays" in the menu on the left (the butterfly icon).
Choose "Add your own" and "My Computer"
Add images that you found on the internet.
When an image shows up, you can adjust the size by dragging the corners.
It's okay if they overlap some!
When you're done, choose Export at the top, and name your file.
Save to your computer, upload to Google+.


Create a piece of art that represents an episode in your "All for One" campaign! It could be an action scene, an image of a gargoyle fighting a peasant, or your interpretation of the queen. It could be Snowden riding a gargoyle above the streets of Paris, wearing the Queen's crown and brandishing a bloody knife. Whatever. Use unlined paper and colorful materials -- paint, watercolor pencils, crayons, markers, etc. If you want help with visuals of Notre Dame, here is the cathedral's web site and here you can play around a bit with Google Street View to explore the area. Alternatively, you could paint or draw a scene from "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings."

Writing Assignment:

Examine your "My Struggle" list from class or from last week's Creative Assignment and identify one or two opposing pairs that are not values, but opinions or traits. So don't choose "Against racism, for not racism" or "Against unfairness, for fairness." Choose something like "Against homework, for games" or "Against inside, for outside" or something like that. You're not looking to create a normal person and a monster, you're looking to create two normal people who have different struggles. Think of Dali's pairs like "progress/perennality" and "egalitarianism/hierarchization" and "spinach/snails." The least interesting pairs will be things that are obviously good paired with things that are obviously bad. While I'm glad you have those values, and you can draw on them when you create a comic book hero and supervillain, you're not looking to do that for this assignment.

Now create a pair of characters, as we discussed in class, that reflect the different elements of this opposition. These foil characters should illuminate each other's opposing qualities, so one character reflects your opinion or trait, and one has the opposite. If you're neat, your foil character is messy. If you're aggressive, your foil is peaceful. If you're focused and deliberate, your foil is a dreamer and distracted. Now, after reading "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" and "A Hunger Artist," put your characters into a situation in one of these stories. Maybe they could be visiting the angel or the artist, having a conversation in front of the enclosure, or trying to release them, or have them removed. Maybe they could be residents of one of the villages in the stories. Put them in a situation that will stress their differences and force them to show their traits, and then let the conflict play out in dialogue and action. Write at least 500 words of a scene. It doesn't have to be a complete story, just needs to show the characters in action. Post to the Google+ by 7pm on Wednesday, but also remember to print it for me and turn it in on Thursday.


1. The Black was the only animal on board that didn't get sick. Why were the animals getting sick?
2. Why doesn't Alec have to produce papers for the Quarantine Inspector?
3. What helper presents himself to Alec at the pier and how does he help?
4. What is the attitude of Mr. and Mrs. Dailey toward the Black?
5. What is the attitude of Tony toward the Black?
6. What does Henry Dailey reveal about himself that is relevant to Alec and the Black's future?
7. Where does Alec find the Black after he escapes from the farm?
8. What obstacle to Henry and Alec face when it comes to entering the Black in a race?
9. How does Alec earn money for his allowance, to pay for the Black's upkeep?
10. What new experience does the Black encounter on April 1 and how does he like it?

Friday, September 29, 2017

Reading Period 4: September 29 - October 5: The Black Stallion

Long Read:

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley, chapters 1-6

Short Read:

"A Hunger Artist" by Franz Kafka


"Ariel's Song" from The Tempest by William Shakespeare

    Come unto these yellow sands,
              And then take hands:
    Curtsied when you have, and kiss'd
              The wild waves whist,
    Foot it featly here and there;
    And, sweet sprites, the burthen bear.
              Hark, hark!
              The watch-dogs bark.
              Hark, hark! I hear
              The strain of strutting chanticleer
              Cry, Cock-a-diddle-dow.

    Full fathom five thy father lies;
              Of his bones are coral made;
    Those are pearls that were his eyes:
              Nothing of him that doth fade,
    But doth suffer a sea-change
    Into something rich and strange.
    Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
    Hark! now I hear them—Ding-dong, bell.

Creative Assignments:

Write a poem that expresses the emotions that Alec was feeling on the island. You may choose to write about loneliness, or exhilaration, or hopelessness, or love, or connection, or determination. Do not rhyme. You can use "I" in your poem but you don't have to be writing from the point of view of Alec, just expressing those emotions. Start with one of the following lines:

Out of blue sky the wind
Sometimes the horse becomes a
Ever very far away
A voyage on someone else's


Salvador Dali created a pair of lists called "My Struggle" in which he listed what he is For and what he is Against. Artist Molly Crabapple illustrated it, and you can find a zoomable image here. Create a list of "For" and "Against" for yourself, including at least 10 pairs of elements. Dali's list has obvious oppositions, like simplicity and complexity, but also has some strange pairings, like spinach and snails, or music and architecture. Yours can be as strange or as obvious as you like, and you can illustrate it too, either after printing it out, or by writing it on unlined paper and adding drawings.

Writing Assignments:

After reading "The Hunger Artist," consider the following symbols in the story: the cage, the panther, and the clock. What do you think these symbols represent? Write a 250 word essay in which you introduce the story briefly, write about at least two of these symbols, and conclude by telling your reader what you think the message of the story might be.


After creating your "My Struggle"  list like Dali's, write a personal essay of 250 words about the list and the process of creating the list. (Only do this one if you chose the "My Struggle" creative assignment.) Was it hard? Easy? Were some pairings harder to think of, and some more obvious? Do you think it's fair to create a list of "For" and "Against" when maybe some things aren't so binary? Why do you think Dali made his list, and what did it teach you about yourself to make a list like this? The structure of your essay might be a little more fluid given the content, but make sure you take your reader to a new place by the end.


1. Describe the stallion's personality demeanor when he was boarded onto the Drake, and give a quote from the book as evidence.
2. The book says "The Drake steamed through the Suez and into the Mediterranean." This means they had been traveling through what body of water when they picked up the stallion?
3. How did Alec save the Black's life?
4. How did the Black save Alec's life?
5. What resource does the Black help Alec to get, and how?
6. What resource does Alec help the Black to get, and how?
7. What happened to the shelter Alec built, and how did that event save his life?
8. The book tells us "Alec realized the terrific fight that the stallion was waging with himself." What evidence of that fight is played out in the action? Give a quote that shows it.
9. How does Alec's leg get injured before he gets on the ship?
10. What is Alec's reaction whenever the stallion gets nervous or scared or does something crazy?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Reading Period 3: September 15-21: The Three Musketeers

Long Read: The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas, chapters 40-67

Short Read: "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" by Stephen Crane

Poem: "La Rochelle" by Richard Aldington. There are two lines on the next page; get them by clicking the right arrow.

Creative Assignments:

The first stanza of the poem "La Rochelle" by Richard Aldington shows a version of La Rochelle long after the siege, a sweet picture of a pleasant seaside town. But the author doesn't want us to forget the "iron men" who defended La Rochelle and starved and died there. The second stanza  Write a poem about a battlefield you may have visited in Virginia. You could even write about the Battle of Hampton Roads which took place in the rivers off Norfolk. In your poem, emulate the form of Aldington's poem. So in your first stanza, talk about the scene as it is now. In your second stanza, remind the reader of what it was like when the battle was being waged. Study the poem and use the same techniques -- colors, sounds, and visual details to invoke your scene.


After the siege of La Rochelle, Louis XIII had himself painted being crowned by victory.

Here are a couple of other portraits of this modest fella:

That's La Rochelle down there. Probable caption: #PWNED

When you are king, you have to make sure portraits of you are always super powerful and super perfect, so you can remind people of how great you are. Pretend you are the king or queen of the universe. Paint or draw a portrait of yourself looking incredibly powerful and important, possibly with lightning bolts shooting out your eyes, surrounded by symbols of your power, and riding high on a boatload of victory.

For extra bonus fun, use your Photoshop skillz if you have them to put some "regular guy" clothes on the images of Louis, above. What would he look like in blue jeans and a Radiohead tshirt? What if instead of a scepter he was holding a remote?

Writing Assignments:

It's time to watch a movie version of The Three Musketeers! So many versions to choose from, including a recent one where the Duke of Buckingham arrives at the Louvre on an airship! Before you watch a movie version, though, please consider what choices you would make if you were producing a movie. Write a 250 word essay in which you talk about what parts of the book you might cut out, what characters you might cut out, and how you would simplify the novel. Or, you can make the case for filming a miniseries or a trilogy, so that all the piece of the novel and all the characters could be represented. After you post your assignment, watch a movie version. Then you can come back to your post and rant and rave in a comment about how perfect and wonderful or how infuriatingly awful the movie was.


Just like the sheriff in "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" by Stephen Crane, the characters in The Three Musketeers have public and private identities. When these clash, the story develops. Write a 250 word essay in which you compare Jack Potter, whose public identity as a gun-slinging sheriff clashes with his private identity as a husband and family man, to a character in the novel who is similarly at odds with himself. One good idea would be Aramis, who repeats that he is only an interim musketeer because he wants to join the priesthood, and yet fights violently and loves passionately.  Use specific events from the novel to support your comparison.


In lieu of a reading comprehension quiz this week, please define these vocabulary words:

1. Provincial
2. Connoisseur
3. Patois
4. Physiognomy
5. Protégé
6. Coquetry
7. Ransacked
8. Posterity
9. Reproach
10. Incontinence
11. Alibi
12. Lackey
13. Misanthropic
14. Fanfanorade
15. Rendezvous
16. Bourgeois
17. Apprehended
18. Bastille
19. Decamp
20. Edict

Don't forget to write about The Three Musketeers in your personal archive!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Reading Period 2: September 8 - 14: The Three Musketeers

Milady de Winter
Due Dates:
Quiz September 11, 7pm
Assignments September 13, 7pm
Quiz should be emailed to me with the subject header Stickybeak Quiz Reading Period 2. Assignments should be posted to the Google+ community in the appropriate category.

Long Read: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, chapters 21-40

Short ReadPuss in Boots, French folk tale translated by Andrew Lang

Poetry: "More Strong Than Time" by Victor Hugo

Creative Assignments: 

Write, as Aramis did, a 400 line poem where each line is a word of only one syllable. If you lose count of your lines, use the word count feature to check it. If you aren't able to copy and paste so many lines into the Google+ field, post a link to a Google Doc and make it public. For your poem's title, take one of the chapter titles. I particularly want someone to write a poem titled "At Night All Cats Are Grey" but "The Rendezvous" or "The Return" might also work, as well as "The Dream of Vengeance" or "Milady's Secret," etc.


Cardinal Richelieu's most famous quotation may not have been spoken by him. Its authorship is disputed, but the idea is connected firmly with the Red Duke: "Give me six lines written by the most honest man in the world, and I will find enough in them to hang him." Another quote that was definitely attributed to Cardinal Richelieu is this: "Harshness towards individuals who flout the laws and commands of state is for the public good; no greater crime against the public interest is possible than to show leniency to those who violate it." The fleur de lis is a symbol of France, and was branded on criminals to punish them and identify repeat offenders. Milady De Winter has one such brand on her shoulder. Create a graphic illustration using one of the above quotes and a fleur de lis. You must use the color red, to symbolize the Cardinal. Your illustration of the quote must include the color red, the quote itself, and a fleur de lis. Everything else is up to you.

Writing Assignment:

Having read forty chapters, we now have several different points of comparison for Athos, Aramis, and Porthos. You might for example compare their romantic lives, or their interests and pursuits, their physical appearance, or their way of fighting. You could compare what happens to them on the way to see D'Artagnan of to London, or what has happened to them when he goes to pick them up. This week's writing assignment will compare Athos, Aramis, and Porthos in a five paragraph essay. Choose one point of comparison from the above suggestions (or another idea) and back up your points with quotes from the novel. You will use the following outline:

I. Introduction: Say something to introduce your reader to your topic -- evoke an image, set a scene, introduce an emotion, ask a question, or start with a quote. Remember that your introduction not only leads the reader into your topic, but also represents your writing. Make it a firm handshake.
II. First Musketeer
     A. Description
     B. Quote
III. Second Musketeer
     A. Decription
     B. Quote
IV Third Musketeer
     A. Description
     B. Quote
V. Conclusion: In your conclusion you must go somewhere new. Don't simply reiterate your points or return to your thesis statement from your introduction. Take the reader to a new idea, a true conclusion, something you could only point out having lead the reader through the points of your essay.

We will discuss all this in class on Tuesday, so the notes above will be review. Please come to class with an outline or some idea of what you will be writing. On Thursday you will need to bring in a printed out version of your essay and outline. We will talk about formatting in class.


1. Why does the Duke of Buckingham need to employ a goldsmith?
2. Why was the Cardinal embarrassed at the ballet?
3. Planchet believes M. Bonacieux is not to be trusted. What evidence does he give?
4. What does D'Artagnan learn from the old man in the hut?
5. Where has Mousqueton been getting food and drink for Porthos?
6. On what topic is Aramis planning to write his theological thesis?
7. In what mental state was Athos when he told the story of the count and the branded woman?
8. Even though when Athos, Aramis, and D'Artagnan visit Porthos they are eating chicken, veal, and lamb, Athos says they are eating horse. Why?
9. Why do the musketeers and D'Artagnan so desperately need money?
Mme. Bonacieux
10. Planchet intercepted a note meant for Lubin, the lackey of the Comte de Wardes. What did the note say and who was it from?
11. Why was Athos forced to kill his opponent in the duel?
12. Why was it funny that M. Coquenard and the clerks were so excited by the food presented at dinner with Porthos?
13. How does D'Artagnan acquire the second and third note to Comte de Wardes?
14. What lie does Aramis tell about where the money came from for his outfit?
15. D'Artagnan pretended to be the Comte de Wardes when he visited Milady de Winter (Lady Clarick). How was this possible?
16.  What does Milady want D'Artagnan to do, after she gets the fake note from the Comte de Wardes?
17. What secret is revealed when D'Artagnan tears Milady's nightgown?
18. How does Athos finally get the money for his outfit?
19. Who was leaning out of the carriage on the road to Chaillot, blowing D'Artagnan a kiss?
20. What does Cardinal Richelieu want D'Artagnan to do?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Reading Period 1: August 11-September 7: The Three Musketeers

Due dates:
Quiz: Monday, September 4, 7pm
Assignments: Wednesday, Sept 6, 7pm
Post assignments to the Google+ Community under the appropriate category. Email quiz to me with the subject header Stickybeak Quiz Reading Period 1.

Long Read: 

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, chapters 1-20

Short Read: 

The Great Automatic Grammatizer by Roald Dahl


"a total stranger one black day" by e.e. cummings

a total stranger one black day
knocked living the hell out of me--
who found forgiveness hard because
my(as it happened)self he was
-but now that fiend and i are such
immortal friends the other's each
Creative Assignments:

Cardinal Richelieu is a very manipulative person, particularly with the king. Read their conversations, on page 169 and 177, where the Cardinal is saying the opposite of what he wants the king to think, just to get the king to disagree with him. This is called reverse psychology, and you can read a bit more about it here. Write a scene of about 250 words including dialogue between two people, one of whom is using reverse psychology on the other one. Maybe you'll write about a mom trying to get a kid to pick up his room by claiming that he can't do it, or a little sister getting the flavor of cupcake she wants by insisting she wants a different one. Have you ever used reverse psychology? You could write about that. Make sure you punctuate your dialogue correctly using quotation marks and commas where needed.


Take a look at this current satellite map of Paris, which is marked with lots of the locations in the novel. Here is a link to the street view, instead of the satellite view. Here is the famous Merian map of Paris in 1615, which shows the fortifications and farmland, and the Bastille. When you're looking at it, realize the Merian map is facing sort of southeast. On the Merian map, zoom in to find the Pont Neuf, and Notre Dame, the Louvre, etc. Finally, take a look at the famous Turgot map of Paris in the early 18th century. Now make your own hand-drawn map of Paris. Include the Seine River and ten landmarks -- from the book, from modern times, or from history. Use unlined paper and make sure you include a compass to show which way is north, and a key if needed.


The Nike of Samothrace, or the "Winged Victory" as it is known, is an interesting piece of art in that it inspires a lot of intense feelings in people, and yet it has no head or arms. Write a poem about this sculpture in which you try to capture the emotions portrayed in this marble work. Here is a site that will show you some other views of it.

Writing Assignments:

The Louvre was originally built as a square, moated castle with defensive towers at each corner. As Paris grew, it became a more elaborate palace. Take a look at this drawing of the Louvre Palace as it was during the reign of Louis XIII. Nowadays, it is no longer a fortress or a palace, but an art museum. At the art museum, there are certain rooms and displays that are visitor favorites: the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory, and the Venus de Milo. These areas can become very crowded -- but does that stop people from looking? A research team at MIT used Bluetooth data to figure out whether the size of the crowd affected the time the visitors spent at the museum. Take a look at what they found out.

After thinking about the traffic flow reflected in the MIT simulation, write a personal essay of 250 words about what you would do if you got a chance to go to the Louvre. Would you head straight for the Mona Lisa? Would you be bothered by large crowds of people? Would you try to see everything or just skip through the most famous galleries? Browse the museum's collection here. Which art pieces would you most want to visit?


As you are reading The Three Musketeers, you may run into a line or paragraph that makes you angry. This book was published in 1844 and reflects some attitudes and ideas that we no longer like. For example, on the top of page 117, you'll find this:

"There is in affluence a host of aristocratic attentions and caprices that go well with beauty. Fine white stockings, a silk dress, a lace bodice, a pretty slipper on the foot, a fresh ribbon in the hair, will never make an ugly woman pretty, but will make a pretty woman beautiful, to mention what the hands gain from it all: hands, women's hands especially, must remain idle to remain beautiful." 
What do you think of that quote? Is the narrator correct, that hands must be idle to be beautiful? In a 250 word essay, say whether you agree or disagree with this quote, and why. You might give examples of what you consider beautiful, and compare it to the list you find in the quoted paragraph.


Read the short story "The Great Automatic Grammatizer" and explain the last line for me, in an essay of 250 words. Remember that you will need to explain the story a bit to set up your explanation.


Here are twenty questions to make sure you're paying attention to the things I want you to notice in the reading. Each number lines up approximately with a chapter, so if you're looking for the answer to number 5, start in chapter 5! The quiz is open book. Copy the questions and add your answers in an email to me, and use the subject header Stickybeak Quiz Reading Period 1. Quizzes are due on Monday, Sept 4, at 7pm. Full answers are appreciated, but one word answers are fine when that is all the question requires.

1. What were the three presents D'Artagnan's father gave him, and what had happened to each one by the end of the first chapter?
2. Give one thing that M. Treville and D'Artagnan have in common.
3. What does M. Treville suspect about who might have sent D'Artagnan?
4. What three people has D'Artagnan got himself signed up to duel?
5. Why does D'Artagnan end up fighting beside the musketeers instead of against them?
6. "As he had already accomplished something in making this child revolt against his master, he said no more." In this quote from page 65, the "he" is M. Treville. Who is the child and who is the master?
7. What would it mean that D'Artagnan considers Athos an Achilles, Porthos an Ajax, and Aramis a Joseph on page 86? (use the note!)
8. Who does M. Bonacieux suspect of abducting his wife?
9. Which Englishman is the queen suspected of being in love with?
10. How does D'Artagnan establish an alibi so that no one knows he was getting La Porte from the Louvre at half past nine?
11. What was Mme. Bonacieux's mission, which D'Artagnan interrupted?
12. Why is the Duke of Buckingham planning for England to go to war with France? What does he want out of it?
13. What two characters are being held captive in the Bastille in chapter 13?
14. What does the Cardinal learn was in the rosewood box, according to his spy Mme de Lannoy?
15. Who won the argument between M. de Treville and the Cardinal?
16. The Keeper of the Seals took a letter away from the Queen. To whom was it written, and what was it about?
17. Why is it a problem for the Queen that the King wants her to wear the diamonds to the upcoming ball?
18. From what location can Mme. Bonacieux and D'Artagnan overhear M. Bonacieux and the Comte de Rochefort talking?
19. Where did D'Artagnan get 300 pistoles, and how did he divide it up amongst himself and his friends?
20. How did Aramis, Porthos, and Athos get waylaid on their way to London?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Reading Period 27: June 9-29: The Neverending Story

Long Read: 

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, chapters 18-26

Short Read:

"Robbie" by Isaac Asimov. You can read the intro to the collection too, if you want to, or just skip to the story "Robbie."


"I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone" by Rainer Maria Rilke

Creative Assignments: 

After reading Rilke's poem, consider this question: What is it the speaker yearns for? He repeats the phrase "I want" a number of times. What is it that he really wants? Now write a poem of your own in which you examine the question of what you really want. It must start with the phrase "I am much too ___ in this world" (you can substitute your own word for "alone") and it must contain at least three lines that start with "I want..."


Pretend you are Bastian and you have been given the gift to create Fantastica in whatever way you wish. Start with a blank piece of paper and some colored pencils or pencil and crayons, and create a map of Fantastica. You can put known elements in from the book or you can devise your own fantastical world. You can add beasts and plant life to your map, or stick to just geography. Start with mountains, add rivers, forests, or make your map a complete fantasy, where rivers flow up from the sea and mountains hang from the stars. Use color and your imagination.

Writing Assignments:

Finish up the short story you've been working on about the three invented creatures you pulled from the bag. Post the final version. If you haven't come to "The End" at least polish and post one episode from your story. Try for 1000 words.


Consider these questions: Which was your favorite of the books we read? Which was your least favorite? Which do you think should stay on the syllabus for the next time I teach this class, and which should I cut to make room for something else? From which book did you learn the most, and which was the most entertaining to read? Now write a well-structured essay of at least 250 words in which you choose one book to defend, that should definitely stay on the list, and one book to critique, which you feel should come off the list for next time.

Both of these writing assignments are required! Also, make sure you have your archive up to date.


1. The Acharis have been transformed into what goofy creatures?
2. Give a quote that shows Bastian is losing his memory of his own world.
3. What is the shape of Xayide's castle?
4. Give a quote that shows how proud and arrogant Bastian has become.
5. What plan does Bastian overhear Atreyu and Falkor discussing while he is invisible?
6. In chapter 22, Xayide tells Bastian he has finally found what he really wants. What does she say it is?
7. What happens to the sword Sikanda when Bastian draws it against Atreyu?
8. Why is the City of the Old Emperors full of humans who are stuck there?
9. What does Bastian eat at Dame Eyola's house?
10. What does Bastian discover about Mr. Coreander?