Saturday, April 22, 2017

Reading Period 24: April 21-27: The Little Prince

Long Read: 

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, chapters 22 to the end.


“Demain dès l’aube”
de Victor Hugo

Demain, dès l’aube, à l’heure où blanchit la campagne,
Je partirai. Vois-tu, je sais que tu m’attends.
J’irai par la forêt, j’irai par la montagne.
Je ne puis demeurer loin de toi plus longtemps.

Je marcherai les yeux fixés sur mes pensées,
Sans rien voir au dehors, sans entendre aucun bruit,
Seul, inconnu, le dos courbé, les mains croisées,
Triste, et le jour pour moi sera comme la nuit.

Je ne regarderai ni l’or du soir qui tombe,
Ni les voiles au loin descendant vers Harfleur,
Et quand j’arriverai, je mettrai sur ta tombe
Un bouquet de houx vert et de bruyère en fleur.

"Tomorrow at Dawn"
by Victor Hugo

Tomorrow, at dawn, the moment the countryside is whitened,
I will leave. You see, I know that you await me.
I will go through the forest, I will go across the mountain.
I can no longer remain away from you.

I will trudge on, my eyes fixed on my thoughts,
Without seeing anything outside, without hearing any sound,
Alone, unknown, back bent, hands crossed,
Sad, and the day for me will be like the night.

I will not look upon the gold of nightfall,
Nor the sails from afar that descend on Harfleur,
And when I arrive, I will place on your grave
A bouquet of green holly and heather in bloom.

Creative Assignment:

Write a poem of three stanzas, using only sensory images: sights, sounds, sensations, smells. Each stanza must present a different emotion, either from the ones we brainstormed in class, or ones of your own choosing. Pick two negative emotions and a positive, or to positives and a negative, and think strategically about how you will arrange them in your poem. Take the reader to that emotion without the benefit of explanation of feelings. Colors, noises, objects, lights -- that is how you must communicate your feelings in this poem. We will be working on doing an in-class reading, so prepare yourself mentally for that.

Writing Assignment:

In class we discussed the challenges that face a translator. In a 250 word essay, write about what those challenges are. What pitfalls does a translator have to avoid, and what choices does a translator have to make? Now consider what type of translator you would be, if you were given the task to translate a poem from another language. Would you try to stick to the original as much as possible? Or would you change it to make it sound better in English? How would you keep the new work from becoming your own creation? Or would you go in that direction on purpose? You can use the different translations of "The Sick Muse" as illustrations if you like.


Read about Antoine de Saint-Exupery in his entry on Write a short essay that answers the following questions: What was his job and what kind of person was he? What facts about his life relate directly to his novella, The Little Prince? Do you think it's important that we know this about him, in order to fully understand the novel? Using this as an example, do you think it's important to always find out whether authors have personal experience with the story elements in their books?


1. The little prince says that only the children on the train know what they are looking for. What are they looking for?
2. Based on the prince's response to the salesclerk with the water pills, what is the little prince's opinion of the pills? How can you tell?
3. According to the little prince, what makes the desert beautiful?
4. Can you think of anything else invisible that makes something beautiful, like a flower you can't see near a faraway star?
5. Why does the prince drink water, even though he doesn't need it to live?
6. Do you think it is better to avoid tears by never letting yourself be tamed? Why?
7. Find a simile in chapter 26.
8. How will it be different for the pilot now when he looks at the stars?
9. Why does the prince ask the snake to bite him? Why can't he just fly back to his planet by whatever means he arrived?
10. List four things in the story that are yellow.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Reading Period 23: April 14 - 20: The Little Prince

Long Read: 

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, chapters 10-21


"Vowels" by Arthur Rimbaud

A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,
I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins:
A, black velvety jacket of brilliant flies
which buzz around cruel smells,

Gulfs of shadow; E, whiteness of vapours and of tents,
lances of proud glaciers, white kings, shivers of cow-parsley;
I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips
in anger or in the raptures of penitence;

U, waves, divine shudderings of viridian seas,
the peace of pastures dotted with animals, the peace of the furrows
which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;

O, sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds,
silences crossed by [Worlds and by Angels]:
–O the Omega! the violet ray of [His] Eyes!

in French:


A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu: voyelles,
Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes:
A, noir corset velu des mouches éclatantes
Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles,

Golfes d'ombre; E, candeurs des vapeurs et des tentes,
Lances des glaciers fiers, rois blancs, frissons d'ombelles;
I, pourpres, sang craché, rire des lèvres belles
Dans la colère ou les ivresses pénitentes;

U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides,
Paix des pâtis semés d'animaux, paix des rides
Que l'alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux;

O, suprême Clairon plein des strideurs étranges,
Silences traversés des [Mondes et des Anges]:
—O l'Oméga, rayon violet de [Ses] Yeux!

Matchbox Minute Movie: 

In class we have been working on creating a matchbox that contains all the props and sets to film a one minute movie version of any book or narrative poem we've read in class this year. Your writing assignment is to write the script for your movie. Your movie can be from 50 to 70 seconds long, so your script will have to be extremely condensed! Post your script to Google+ to get feedback from your classmates. Your creative assignment is to finish up all your props, characters, and backdrops for your movie. You may find, as you write your script, that you need more props. You're welcome to use Lego, Sculpey, folded paper, other other tiny materials, but keep in mind that in order for your piece to meet the requirements of the assignment and be displayed in the Matchbox Museum on May 2, everything has to fit into the matchbox. When your script is written, post it. When your props and characters are all created, photograph them. If you do this, this counts as your writing assignment and creative assignment.


Creative Assignment: 

Have you ever heard of synesthesia? It's when one sense is picked up and experienced by another sense, such as seeing sounds or hearing or tasting colors. Read more about it here. It's not known for sure whether the French poet Rimbaud had synesthesia, but the idea of hearing colors is certainly present in his poem "Vowels." Create an illustration for Rimbaud's poem "Vowels" in which the words appear as images in their assigned colors, and you play with the idea of synesthesia and senses crossing over.

Writing Assignment:

The little prince visits six planets before coming to earth and meets characters on each planet that represent different philosophies or views. Think about the different ways these characters approach life, and imagine two more characters the prince might meet, if he had visited two more planets. Write an essay of 200 words in which you introduce the idea of the little prince visiting planets, talk about two more planets the prince might visit and describe the characters who live on them, and then conclude by making a new observation or asking a new question.


1. How does the king ensure that all his commands are obeyed?
2. For what does the vain man use his hat?
3. What is the drunkard trying to forget?
4. What is the businessman counting?
5. Why can the lamplighter never rest?
6. Why doesn't the geographer know about the oceans and mountains on his planet?
7. Why is there no one around, when the little prince lands on planet Earth?
8. What special power does the snake have?
9. What does the prince learn about his flower, when he visits the rose garden?
10. Why does the fox want to be tamed?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Reading Period 22: April 7 - 13: The Little Prince

Long Read: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, chapters 1-9

Poem: "The Sick Muse" by Charles Baudelaire, from Fleurs de Mal

Creative Assignments:

Create three drawings. First draw the little prince. Then draw the little prince inside a boa constrictor. Then draw the little prince inside a box.


Write a chapter from the point of view of the flower on the little prince's planet. You can write about when she emerged, when she met the little prince, or his departure. You can use your imagination to create whatever story you like -- it doesn't have to only stick to the details we find in the book.

Writing Assignments:

When you have read over all of the translations of "The Sick Muse" at the link above, choose the translation that you think is the best and the one you think is the worst. You can use any criteria that you feel personally makes sense. Write a short essay explaining your choices. Think before you start: how many paragraphs will you write? How will you use transitions between the paragraphs? In your conclusion, take the reader to a new place by saying something about your criteria, the reasons you chose the translations you did, and what it says about your preferences.


After reading the first nine chapters of The Little Prince, write a short essay about what parts of the story are real and what parts are made up. To do this, you'll have to decide the following: What does make-believe mean, and what does real mean? Is something impossible necessarily make-believe? Are real things the things you personally can see? When you have decided what elements of the story are real and what are not, think about how many paragraphs you will need to write your essay, how you will transition between the paragraphs, and what new place you will take the reader in your conclusion.


1. Why did the narrator go for so long without drawing?
2. Why is the narrator alone in the Sahara desert?
3. The little prince keeps rejecting the narrator's sheep drawings. What is the solution?
4. Why will the sheep not need to be tied up?
5. Why did people at first not believe the astronomer who discovered Asteroid B-612?
6. Why does the little prince always get rid of the baobab trees on his planet?
7. Why can the little prince watch the sun set 44 times in one day?
8. What is something serious for the narrator? What is something serious for the little prince?
9. How is the new flower different from the poppies?
10. Why is the flower not afraid of big animals?