Thursday, September 4, 2014

A.P. Literature and Awesomeness: September 4, 2014

Focus: How do we move from identifying imagery to establishing patterns?

1. Warm-up: Offering you my timed writing tip of the day:

Look for the SHIFT.  
This is less eloquently known as circling your buts (and your howevers, yets, insteads, and other words that indicate shift).  Most poems and prose pieces have at least one shift; some are obvious, and some are more subtle.  Keep an eye out for changes in character, imagery, and tone and ask yourself what the author is trying to do and how he/she is trying to do it.

2. Trying to find the shift in this quick poem by Billy Collins:
Questions to consider:
  • Where is the shift?
  • What is the shift (from what to what)?
  • Why is the shift important to the poem as a whole?

Child Development

As sure as prehistoric fish grew legs
and sauntered off the beaches into forests
working up some irregular verbs for their
first conversation, so three-year-old children
enter the phase of name-calling.

Every day a new one arrives and is added
to the repertoire. You Dumb Goopyhead,
You Big Sewerface, You Poop-on-the-Floor
(a kind of Navaho ring to that one)
they yell from knee level, their little mugs
flushed with challenge.
Nothing Samuel Johnson would bother tossing out
in a pub, but then the toddlers are not trying
to devastate some fatuous Enlightenment hack.

They are just tormenting their fellow squirts
or going after the attention of the giants
way up there with their cocktails and bad breath
talking baritone nonsense to other giants,
waiting to call them names after thanking
them for the lovely party and hearing the door close.

The mature save their hothead invective
for things: an errant hammer, tire chains,
or receding trains missed by seconds,
though they know in their adult hearts,
even as they threaten to banish Timmy to bed
for his appalling behavior,
that their bosses are Big Fatty Stupids,
their wives are Dopey Dopeheads
and that they themselves are Mr. Sillypants. 
3. Looking back over Tuesday's poem together in small groups

If you were section this poem into stanzas, how would you do it?  Draw lines to indicate places where you would insert breaks.

  • Where is the most important shift?
  • What is the shift (from what to what)?
  • Why is the shift important to the poem as a whole

In each section you have created, consider the following:
  • Which images stood out to you in this section?
  • What connotations did these images offer?
  • What patterns do you notice among images in each section? Throughout the poem as a whole?
3. Workshopping each other's Tuesday writings

1. Please bring East of Eden to class tomorrow; complete your first reading assignment by tomorrow (follow the reading schedule). For your reading ticket, consider one or more of the questions you brainstormed on today.  Please type half a page to a full page on how Steinbeck would respond to one of those questions based on the first three chapters of the novel.

2. Continue working on college essay, due Sep 19 (come conference with me!).

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