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Tuesday, Sept. 24

September 24, 2013
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Violence: Today we took a quiz on Lord of the Flies. Early results look excellent.

Then we talked about the background of the book — very general historic background. We discussed three philosophers whose views shaped the Enlightenment (essentially, the 18th century). Each of these guys had a very specific view of man in his “state of nature” — that is, man as he exists without civilization or any civilizing influences.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was an Englishman (he lived during the chaos of the English Civil War, which explains a lot about him) believed that man’s natural state is the “war of all against all.” Therefore, he believed man needs a strong, perhaps even repressive government, to keep his evil influences in check. This was the subject of his best-known work, Leviathan.
John Locke (1632-1704) was also an Englishman believed that man’s nature state is of a “blank slate,” or tabula rasa — that we are are born with the capacity to learn, and with the capacity for reason. Because he did not believe that man’s evil impulses were predominant, he believed man, an inherently rational being, needed only limited government.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) was a native of Geneva who believed that man’s state of nature was characterized by innocence, and that civilization is what corrupts him. His famous quote was “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”

We talked about these three views of man’s state of nature, and what they mean in terms of government. We also talked about the steady march of “progress,” which included Darwin’s evolutionary research (On the Origin of Species, published in 1860) and culminated in a post-Victorian era that celebrated science, industry, rationalism and a faith in human reason. Then along came two world wars, as well as the spread of communism, and that faith was called into question. That brings us to 1959 and the publication of LotF, written by a Royal Navy lieutenant who had served in World War II (including the Normandy invasion) and had seen firsthand the brutality of war.

For Thursday: I want you to be able to tell me something — specifically, how it connects to LotF — about the 1857 “young adult” novel The Coral Island.

Radio: Today you reported your weekly listening and got a preview of Project #2: Radio 9.24.13 – Project #2 Guidelines. You had some time to work.

Project #1 was due today, which included audio uploaded to Google drive (share with writingfortheradio@gmail.com) and a short, one page paper explaining what you did, why you did it, and how it went. If you did not hand in one or both of these elements, get them to me as soon as possible, as your grade will be reduced for every day it is late.

Siren: Kept working on the first edition. Be ready to fold + staple Thursday, and distribute Friday!

Style: Today a couple of you shared your Salinger stories, which were then collected.

The reading material for this week is Blast, which you can find here: link. Notes are due on Thursday, as always, and for this one you are STRONGLY encouraged to do some research. Read the intro and the footnotes, and then Google around for more info. This is kind of a weird thing and context will make a difference.

Film Studies: Today we talked about some of the similarities between E.T. and Close Encounters. Here’s the list we generated in class:
– Subject matter: aliens
– Spaceships are visually similar
– Films feature main characters that are focused, determined, non-judgmental, faced with disbelief from others, and male
– There is a psychic connection between humans and aliens
– Both film have mountains as a setting
– Both include intrusive governments that are antagonistic to the main character
– Both films concern communication – with aliens, and communication in general
– The same family structure is featured in both (absent father, blonde mother, two sons, one daughter)
– Aliens are portrayed with humanistic features and are benign/nice and welcoming
– Final scenes are similar
– Similar costuming
– Visually, lots of darkness

Two bits of homework for Thursday: Read the handout (link and on the card, come up with a list of at least 5 significant differences between the films.

8th Grade: Today we wrote stories featuring our “Bert Bertram” characters from last week. We got partners and got to know our partner’s character — then we imagined a situation that would bring them together, as well as a conflict, and wrote a story beginning from our character’s perspective.

Survey: Poetry:

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