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

Poem:

"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!
    Bow-wow.
              The watch-dogs bark.
    Bow-wow.
              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:
                              Ding-dong.
    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

OR

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.

OR

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.

Quiz:

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.

OR

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.

OR

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.

Quiz: 

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.

OR

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.

Quiz:

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?