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Thursday, January 24

January 24, 2013
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Poetry Workshop: Today we worked on three different prompts. Hopefully one of them, at least, turned up something that might be useful. You also turned in your cover poems, which I will give back Tuesday. And remember: first rotation poems are due on the blog by next Thursday, before class. Please see me if you’re having any issues posting.

Fiction Workshop: Allison’s story was handed out today. We will workshop it on Tuesday, which means your website comments are due online BEFORE class and annotations will be checked at the beginning of class. We did an in-class activity with the rest of our time – hopefully you got an idea or a sentence you can use.

World Lit: Today we watched (again, some of us) the Chekhov short play The Bear.

And we talked about Russian literature generally, and the things that might inform it. Besides talking about vodka, the mob, and jumping out of windows onto cardboard (maybe it’s a regional thing), we also mentioned:

1. The system of serfdom that existed in Russia through the first half of the 19th century. It was an old practice, dating back a century and a half at least, designed to insure cheap labor for noblemen, and to keep those noblemen loyal to the tsar.

Like American slavery, the system of serfdom was abolished (by Alexander II) in the early 1860s. And like American slavery, post-emancipation, most of the freed serfs found life little different than it was before. The discontent many felt would loom large in the events of the early 20th century.

2. The repressive system of government. Unlike Americans, who have generally been free to say and write what they wanted, thanks in part to the Constitution, Russian writers were subject to an official system of state censorship, which really picked up steam after the Decemberists revolt was thwarted in 1825. So Russian writers from the period we’ll be studying had to couch their critiques of the government in allusion and symbol and coded language.

Daily Prompt: Today notebooks were checked and we had an in-class reading. Entries looked good, generally, but make sure that if you have an entry that’s on the lighter side, compensate by putting more effort into another. Also, if you choose to do a drawing, please try to integrate some literary elements – have the drawing/picture tell a story or be accompanied by words.

We did another short round of telephone poetry. In order for this to count as an entry for next week, please revise the poem you ended up with so that it is coherent in some way, or use one of the lines from the poem for another purpose (another poem, or as a jumping off point for a story — something like that).

Film Studies: Today we watched the Charlie Chaplin short Easy Street, shot in California in 1917.

We noticed several examples of physical comedy in this film (in fact, we could say that they physical comedy — particularly the expressions and mannerisms of The Little Tramp — is the single most important device that allows us to follow the story), and we noted the plot’s similarity to other, more modern films: underdog hero assumes a position of authority and has to face off against a bigger, tougher nemesis.

Your assignment for Tuesday is to write down (on the card I gave you, or a reasonable facsimile) another example of a film that follows this plotline Please include the year of release, and a one- or two-sentence synopsis of the film.

Mythology:

7th Grade:

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