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Oedipus and Tiresias:

Oedipus, Jocasta and the Chorus

Oedipus sees the truth

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Your final:  A personal reflection on the year.                         9H 2013/14

Discuss a personally transformative event or experience in your life from this past (2013-2014) school year. This could be a single event or an experience had over time. It could be an accomplishment, a victory or even a defeat. It could be a relationship built or lost. It could be a lesson learned, a good time or a bad time. It does not have to be purely school related.  It must be something you were (or still are) a part of.

It is not about something you merely witnessed or heard about (news story, gossip, a movie you saw). It is not about something you bought or was bought for you. It is not about what you own.

Whatever you choose, it will be something that has actually altered you in some way from the person you were in August.

As a personal essay, this uses “I” frequently and has a somewhat more personal or casual tone than a literary analysis. Your personal reflection…

  • Has an introduction paragraph that introduces (of course) the topic and contains the thesis, or claim you are making about yourself in relation to the event or experience. For example, “My experiences as a volunteer have made me a stronger and more compassionate person”, or “I appreciate life far more than I used to after losing my grandfather”.  This is the idea you will be discussion in the writing.
  • Explains in detail the topic/focus. Gives context for the reader. Gives background. Defines what you’re discussing.
  • Explains your own role in the experience – Gives particular examples of what happened, your involvement and possibly the involvement of others
  • Reflects and provides insights into your deeper personal feelings concerning the topic and how you are/have been affected by the event/experience.
  • Has a conclusion that touches on the ideas of the introduction.

Writing Rubric –








Ideas & Content creates a focused, very detailed picture of the experience; expresses fresh insights about a sense of personal involvement.




Ideas & Content crafts a clear description of the experience; details help convey key ideas and insights to the reader.




Ideas & Content attempts to describe the experience, but may not give details or may lost control or narrative; details may be general or unrelated to the story.




Ideas & Content does not tell a personal story; writer may go off in several directions without a sense of purpose.




Organization unfolds a carefully-organized narrative, in a sequence that moves the reader smoothly through the text; ideas, sentences, and paragraphs are tied together.




Organization shows a well-planned narrative strategy; writing is easy to follow; ideas are evenly tied together; events and details fit where they are placed.




Organization may not craft a complete story structure, or may have trouble tying ideas together; reader may be confused by poorly-placed events or details.




Organization writing is extremely hard to follow; story sequence, if any, is disorganized or incomplete; ideas and details are not tied together.




Word Choice uses everyday language in a natural way; uses sophisticated vocabulary strategically that creates a striking picture and brings the story to life.




Word Choice uses words that fit the story and create an accurate picture of a place; experiments with some new words.




Word Choice may not use words that convey strong feelings or images; some words are overused or may not fit the story purpose.




Word Choice has a hard time finding the right words; may use words that do not fit the topic; some vocabulary detracts from the meaning of the text.




Sentence Fluency well-crafted simple and complex sentences flow in a smooth rhythm ; dialogue, if used, sounds natural and strengthens the story; sentence lengths and patterns vary.




Sentence Fluency crafts easy-to-follow sentences; may effectively use fragments and/or dialogue to enhance the story.




Sentence Fluency simple sentences work, but may have trouble with more complicated structures; sentences are understandable, but may be choppy, rambling or awkward.




Sentence Fluency sentences are incomplete, rambling, or confusing; may have trouble understanding how words and sentences fit together.




Conventions is skilled in most writing conventions; proper use of the rules of English enhances clarity and narrative styles. Spelling/grammar not an issue.




Conventions spelling, capitalization, punctuation and usage are mostly correct; minor errors don’t interfere with following the writing; some editing may be needed.




Conventions makes frequent, noticeable mistakes, which interfere with a smooth reading of the story; extensive editing is needed.




Conventions makes repeated errors in spelling, word choice, punctuation and usage; sentence structures may be confused; few connections made between ideas.

FINAL REFLECTION/NARRATIVE  <—– the document above (in Word)


We will spend class time writing during the pre-finals week.


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Slaughterhouse 5 – 3D symbolism

Slaughterhouse Five is a novel about alien abduction, time travel, bombs, family ties and surviving as an American prisoner of war in nazi Germany.

This will be the final book, and the final project is based on it.

The project is to create (not purchase) a three dimensional object that symbolizes an aspect/aspects of the book. This product will be accompanied by a written rationale explaining your product’s symbolism in detail. Use common sense when deciding on the size of your product. If it can be cupped in the palm of your hand it is too small. If it cannot sit on a shelf or is physically inconvenient to move, then it is too big.

It will be due on the day of the final –> (Thursday finals week)

Slaughterhouse 5 – 3D symbolism Rubric!



Demonstrates insightful and engaged knowledge of the text through the creation.


Attention to detail and quality are very evident in the product. Reflects a sustained effort.


Product itself is elaborate, unusual, unique or creative, approaches the source text in an abstract way.


Amount of text in rationale is ample and descriptive in explaining the symbolic value of the product. (Text fully rationalizes the product). Text is mechanically/grammatically sound.


 Product and rationale are submitted on time, complete


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1984 is a work of dystopian fiction. A dystopia is a community or society, usually fictional, that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. It is the opposite of a utopia. Such societies appear in many works of fiction, particularly in stories set in a speculative future. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society.

1984 overview – basics to begin with

The 1984 NEWSPEAK English dictionary/glossary

Part One – pages 1-104.  Chapters I-VIII – 

Journal notes and book annotations.

Test items (be prepared to write about these):

  • The basic structure of Oceanic society.
  • Orwell’s characterizations of emerging characters.
  • The nature of work.
  • Interpersonal relationships, sex, reproduction and family.
  • Metaphors, symbols and symbolic elements throughout.

Discussion/book knowledge.

  • Political ideology –INGSOC and Newspeak
  • Privacy, individuality, thoughtcrime, facecrime
  • Big Brother and his power
  • Orwell’s imagery and figurative language

PART ONE QUIZ – open book/open note – Wednesday 4/23





Part Two – pages 105-224.  Chapters I-X

Journal notes and annotations.

  • Orwell’s continued characterization of emerging characters
  • WInston and Julia: The significance of their romance
  • The room above the shop.
  • Orwellian concepts – Crimestop, Doublethink, Blackwhite
  • The Book and The Brotherhood
  • Revelations about the truth (e.g. war, labor, consumption and power)
  • Metaphors, symbols and symbolic elements throughout
  • Orwell’s imagery and figurative language

PART TWO QUIZ – open book/open note –

Part Three – pages 225 – 298. Chapters I-VI

Journal notes and annotations

  • Obrien’s true nature
  • The persuasive power of pain
  • The persuasive power of fear
  • The fates of Winston and Julia
  • Orwell’s imagery and figurative language
  • Metaphors, symbols and symbolic elements throughout
  • The significance of The Chestnut Tree Café
  • The final sentence

PART THREE QUIZ – open book/open note –

Annotations are highlights and notes in the margins of your book.  It is expected that for each chapter you will include numerous annotations: highlighted significant text, responses to text, your clarifications, paraphrases, vocabulary definitions, explanations and connections, insights and questions concerning the text. These can really aid you in writing. Your books will be collected when the novel is finished.

The three quizzes are open note and will draw upon the items listed in the reading guide. These will be writing on the quizzes, not simply multiple choice. The more complete your notes and annotations are, the more successful you will be on the quizzes. Assume that quotes and specifics are needed, and that an analytical style will be required.

Observe the difference.

Observe the difference.

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From its inception, the world had never been a perfect place, so human beings make attempts to improve the world satirethrough many strange and varied forms. So, comedy and satire became tools of “punishment” and “shame”, in order to draw attention to our habits, reactions, acts etc..

  1. Brainstorm a modern issue affecting America or the larger world.
  2. Create a video version of your own satirical proposed solution to the problem you choose
  3. Audience is fellow students
  4. You are one group, six members. All appear in video.

Like Swift’s work, your proposal should

  •   Be both playful and ultimately shocking or ridiculous
  •   Shine a light on a real issue
  •   Use imagery (images, sounds and verbal imagery) to affect the viewer
  •   Use irony – is one of the most common tools of satire, and it expresses something that opposes itself or what is     expected. Bender defines irony
  •  Use exaggeration – overstating something in order to highlight your point images1
  •  Use juxtaposition: putting two unconnected ideas into correlation
  •  Use oxymoron:  combine two contradictory terms.
  •  Use parody: to imitate, to impersonate others in order to ridicule them or point out how ridiculous they or their ideas are.

Endangered animals



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Short stories you can sink your teeth into

eat.bookThere are countless fine American stories, but these are probably the most read, talked about, influential and alluded to in American Culture. Discussion questions/topics are listed beneath each story.

  • For each story you’ll be finding one work of art (this means photography, painting, sculpture, film, etc.) as well as a piece of poetry or lyrics ( to create a short story portfolio that can be added to over time as we read the stories. When you choose particular pieces, be aware that you will need to justify and explain your choices in writing; for every pair (art/poem) you shall produce a one page explanation or why the pieces you have chosen are appropriate and explicitly stating the connection between the works. The art and poetry must be works with titles and artists/authors/creators that you can name. The portfolio will be non-digital. Advice = get yourself a small binder or something like it that you can add to.
  • You are graded on three things: the completeness of your journal (10 pts.), and the portfolio (40 pts.).

Stories and discussion questions. This is a journal based activity. For each response you must answer in complete sentences, provide solid text evidence (that means quotes) and with your commentary. Number and label the sections of your responses.

“Orientation”  (link) by Daniel Orozco (1990’s)

  1. Speculate as to Orozco’s motivation for writing this story.
  2. Discuss how Orozco characterizes the speaker using examples of what he (or she) says and the way he (or she) says it.
  3. Is this a comic story? Defend your answer.

The Cask of Amontilladoby E. A. Poe (1850’s)

  1. Symbolism in language and names. What can be seen?
  2. Setting (time, location). Discuss the effect the settings (and how they shift) has on the story.
  3. Credibility. Is the narrator reliable/trustworthy? Is he at all likable?
  4. Humor. How does subtle humor affect the story?
  5. Characterization. Comment on Poe’s characterization of both the villain (Montresor) and victim (Fortunato)

CASK : VIDEO (dramatic reading)

“The Lady, or the Tiger” by Frank Stockton (1900’s)

  1. Issues. The princess makes a choice. What is her dilemma?
  2. Mystery. Is there any evidence in the text to suggest  the final outcome?
  3. Human nature.  What would either of her (princess) choices suggest about human nature?
  4. Tradition. How could this story be considered the antithesis of a fairy tale?
  5. Setting.  Why does Stockton choose the archaic (old time) setting?
  6. Theme. Isolate and describe a possible theme present in the story

“The Most Dangerous Game” (link) by Richard Connell  (1930’s)

  1. Title:  What is the significance of the title?
  2. Irony:   Discuss how is irony present in the story.
  3. Suspense: Explain how Connell builds suspense as the story progresses
  4. Whitney:  Speculate on the purpose and significance of this character.
  5. Zaroff:   Contrast his villainous and non-villanous qualities.
  6. Rainsford:  By the story’e end, is he a changed man, or is he more the same than ever?
  7. Theme: Isolate and describe a possible theme (big idea, large concept) present in the story.

 “The Lottery” (link) by Shirley Jackson (1950’s)

Costa’s levels of inquiry. Construct four from each level.

“Where are you going? Where have you been?” (link) by Joyce Carol Oates (1960’s)

Costa’s levels. Construct two from L2 and two from L3

ARTICLE I: Psychoanalysis of Connie

ARTICLE II: Story context and study guide








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Yes, this is a book

Yes, this is a book

First step –> Please write the title and author of your Q2 independent book in the comments section of this post. Use your real name when posting, please.

Your quarter 2 project will be a promotional item for your book. It will be in the form of a glog (“graphics blog”, a media poster).

Contents are a simple checklist. On your glog you need the following

  • The author and title
  • A brief synopsis
  • A brief description of three characters
  • A description of the essential conflict
  • Five significant quotes from the book
  • A explanation of the main theme of the book
  • An audio track (a song usually, but not necessarily) that fits the feel of the book
  • Your brief video commentary about the book.
  • A hyperlink to your Goodreads review
  • Other media, photos, youtube vids, graphics or music is fine as long as it relates to the book.






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