The Week Ahead: December 2-5

Overview:

In our final week of the semester, we will conclude our discussion of Watchmen (please see the schedule for specific reading assignments) and share our Wikipedia projects.

Assignments Due:

Your group’s portfolio is due for your Wikipedia projects on Friday, and you will give brief presentations of your work in class. Please review the guidelines for the portfolio in the Wikipedia Assignment.

Questions for Reading and Discussion:

For Tuesday:

-What happens to Rorschach that lands him in prison?

-What are the various worldviews represented by the characters in the story? How are these represented?

-We are given several clues in the story that this world differs in important ways from the “real” world. What are some of the differences?

-How and why are the authors using paratextual materials in the story (the additional materials that come at the end of each chapter)?

For Wednesday:

-What are some of the political statements you think the novel is making?

-How does Adrian Veldt make his fortune? What is his significance as a character?

-The novel concludes with a quotation from Martial: “Who watches the watchmen?” What is the significance of this final statement?

The Week Ahead: Nov. 18-21

Overview:

We begin our final unit for the semester, a section on heroes and villains in popular culture. We begin with a popular Victorian “Penny Dreadful” called “The String of Pearls”–take note of the specific reading assignments on the Schedule of Readings and Assignment Deadlines. We also will begin the graphic novel Watchmen on Friday!

Assignments Due:

A draft of your Wikipedia article is due in class on Wednesday. We will be workshopping these and doing some peer review in class.

Questions for Reading and Discussion:

Book 8:

“The String of Pearls”

What do you note about the character of Sweeney Todd in this story? How is he described? What details are we given about him? What other characters from our class are reminiscent of this character?

What is the effect of the illustrations included in the text? How do these add (or detract) from the story?

Watchmen

What are the conventions of the comic book narrative? How, early on in this story, do you see these conventions being altered?

The Week Ahead: November 11-14

Overview:

We will continue (and conclude) our study of Paradise Lost this week–as always, you’ll find the assigned sections on our Schedule of Readings and Assignment Deadlines.

Assignments Due:

For those choosing to do the Close and Distant Analysis of The Faerie Queene, your assignment is due on Tuesday.  There will be no Warm-up for class that day.

Questions for Reading and Discussion:

Book 8:

-How would you describe the relationship between Adam and God as described in book 8? How does Milton present their conversation?

-Pay special attention to the explanation God gives for Eve’s creation from 437-451. What insight does this give us about the character of Eve? How is Milton presenting her to us?

-What/who will save Adam and Eve? Does this change the way you think about the question above?

 

Book 9:

-Notice Milton’s descriptions of the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve. Does this place seem like “Paradise”? Why or why not?

-Why does Eve leave Adam? How does Adam try to stop her?

-We talked about Satan’s rhetoric last week–what evidence do we see of it here? How does he convince Eve to eat from the tree?

 

Book 9, Part II and Book 12:

-What are the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin that we see in the text?

-Based on the conclusion of the book, do you feel sorry for Adam and Eve? Does Milton want us to regret our state as “fallen” people?

The Week Ahead: November 4-7

Overview:

This week we begin our discussion of John Milton’s amazing epic poem, Paradise Lost. Please keep track of the reading assignments on our schedule. We will also focus our attention on the Wikipedia Project.

Assignments Due:

-On Wednesday, November 5th, the evaluation, proposal, and working bibliography is due for your Wikipedia Projects. Please review the assignment for specific details about what to include in this assignment.

-The Close and Distant Reading Assignment is due next Tuesday, Nov. 11. If you are planning on turning in this assignment, I recommend that you begin work on it well ahead of the deadline!

Reading Questions:

For Tuesday:

-Read the opening 19 lines of the text very carefully, and note the many audacious claims that Milton makes in the opening of this poem!

-At the opening of Paradise Lost, Satan and his followers find themselves stunned after an overwhelming defeat by God and his angels in heaven. Why do you think Milton chooses to begin the story here, in hell, with the fallen angels?

-What is Satan’s plan to avenge his defeat? Do all of the demons agree with him?

-What are our first impressions of Satan? How does Milton describe him? What do we learn about Satan from his speeches?

For Friday:

-God says that he knows Adam and Eve will fall into sin. Does this make him culpable for their actions?

-What/who will save Adam and Eve? Does this change the way you think about the question above?

The Week Ahead in British Literature

Overview:

This week we will finish our journey through the Faerie Queene and take a midterm on Friday. The warm-ups are now all open for you to review for the exam (linked through our schedule). We will spend time in class on Wednesday reviewing for the exam.

Assignments Due:

No assignments due this week (aside from the final presentation and Friday’s exam).

Reading Questions:

-Notice the way in which Spenser contrasts the features of the House of Holiness with various evil elements of Book I (the house itself is clearly contrasted with the House of Pride, for instance).

-We learn the story of Redcrosse knight’s family and background in book 10. Why do you think Spenser waits so long to disclose this important lineage?

-There are many biblical and allegorical images in the battle with the dragon. How many can you identify?

The (brief) Week Ahead: October 15-17

Welcome back from fall break, everyone! We begin our Faerie Queene presentations this week and will delve into the text of Spenser’s amazing epic poem. There are no assignments due this week–please keep up with the reading!

Questions for Friday’s Reading:

-Pay careful attention to the descriptions of the castle in the beginning of canto four and its queen, Lucifera. Look particularly at stanzas 8-14.

-Take note of the story of Aescalapius, the healer who was banished to hell for using his powers (Canto 5, 37-40).

-What does Redcrosse find when he rescues the dwarf? What is the significance of this?

The Week Ahead: October 7-10

Overview:

We begin our adventures in Edmund Spenser’s monumental Faerie Queene this week, opening with the first Canto of Book I and an overview of the Protestant reformation and its influence on Spenser.

Assignments Due:

-There are no assignments due this week. You should be working with your project groups to plan for your Faerie Queene presentations in the coming weeks.

Questions to Consider for Reading and Class Discussion:

For Tuesday: 

-As you read through the first Canto (the term for the sections of the Faerie Queene) pay attention to the language Spenser uses. How would you describe it?

-Start keeping track of the characters we encounter. Who are the good characters? Evil? How do we know?

-Pay particular attention to the encounter with Errour in the woods. How is this monster described?

For Wednesday:

 -Please watch the video linked on the schedule and make a list of 1) Some things you learned from watching it and 2) Some questions you have about the Protestant Reformation and the Bible.

The Week Ahead: September 30-October 3

Overview:

We will conclude our discussion of Chaucer, and look at another tradition of Arthurian romances on Wednesday. Please review the reading schedule for specific page numbers.

Assignments Due:

The first optional short assignment, the Editorial Project, is due on Friday.

Questions to Consider with your Reading:

For Tuesday:

-Note how the Wife opens the story–why do you think she begins this way?

-What is the knight’s crime in the opening of the story? What is his punishment? What happens (specifically) to keep him from this punishment?

-What is the answer to the question the knight must answer?

-Note carefully the arguments the old lady in the story makes to the knight. How does she persuade him?

-Finally, an interpretive question: does the knight get what he deserves? Does the old lady?

The Week Ahead: September 23-26

Overview:

This week we will begin studying Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, discussing The Nun’s Priest’s Tale and the Wife of Bath’s Prologue. Please be sure you are using the text linked on the Schedule of Readings and Assignment Deadlines.

Assignments Due:

-On Friday you will be reading some Chaucer, in Middle English, aloud in class! I will post specific assignments for this on Wednesday.

Questions to Consider for Reading and Class Discussion:

Please note that there is no Warm-up this week for Tuesday! Prepare for class by listening to the audio file linked from the schedule.

For Friday:

-At the opening of her Prologue, the Wife declares she has a great deal of “experience” in the world. What evidence is there of this in the prologue? What kind of experience?

-How many husbands has the Wife had? What happened to each of them?

-Based on the way she introduces herself, what kind of story do we expect from the Wife? What do we anticipate about her?

The Week Ahead: September 16-19

Overview:

We turn to a discussion of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight this week (remember the image of the horseman holding his own head on the first day of class???). Please refer to the Schedule of Readings and Assignment Deadlines for specific reading assignments.

Assignments Due:

-No assignments due this week. I will be introducing our next short assignment.

Questions to Consider for Reading and Class Discussion:

For Tuesday:

-Pay careful attention to the opening of the story (the discussion of Troy and Rome). Why begin here? What is the story-teller doing by opening the tale with these stories?

-Also pay careful attention to the details we learn about Arthur’s court in the first part (“FITT”) of the story. What specifically do we learn about this place? Can you paint a mental picture of the court?

-Finally, look at the descriptions of the Green Knight on pages 189-190 (lines 150-230 or so). Does the knight fit in with the court?

For Friday:

-Look at the image of the five pointed star (and its description) around lines 635 of the text. What does it symbolize?

-What is the “game” that the Lord proposes he and Gawain play?

-At line 1679, the Lord says that he has “tested” Sir Gawain. What was the “test” (perhaps not as obvious of a question as it would seem!)? Did Gawain pass, according to the Lord? Does Gawain believe he “passed”? What do we think?