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Thursday, Jan. 23

January 24, 2014

Violence: Today we looked at pieces #7 and #16. We did a final in-class analysis of Ted Hughes’ poem “Crow Tyrannosaurus,” which will be your final grade.

It’s probably going to take me the weekend to assemble the final give-backs, which will include those responses, your final projects, and the responses to them. (Mostly it’ll take that long to copy, cut and reassemble the responses, since I keep forgetting to insist that everyone waste paper and use a separate sheet for each response.) Expect it all Monday or Tuesday.

Final thoughts: violence in modern society is rare. That’s probably why fictional violence is common. The scarcity of actual violence means that 1) violence, when we encounter it, is usually revelatory, and 2) that it is rarely regenerative, because that implies that we are attaching some positive connotation to the violent act. And most of us don’t view violence that way. Which is probably a good thing. Violence can be necessary, but it is rarely like we see it in videogames and slasher flicks: devoid of consequence.

I commend to your attention four of the most successful fictional franchises in modern history: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Star Wars, The Lion King and Harry Potter. They have a lot of things in common; one of them is that they contain nothing that we could really call regenerative violence. The heroes — the hobbits, Luke Skywalker, Simba, Harry — all grow. But they grow not by using violence, but often by forgoing it. In fact, in each instance, the heroes do not achieve their final victory violently. (Even Voldemort dies because of his own spell backfiring, not because Harry kills him — he’s only defending himself.) Those are telling similarities. Regenerative violence can and does occur in literature, of course. But it’s rare. And it’s rare because it’s a disturbing idea.

Of all the classes I teach, Violence is probably my favorite. Thanks to all of you for being part of it.

Radio: Thanks for working so hard this semester!

Siren: We worked on February pieces while we waited for the January copy to proof. Deadline for February pieces is Thursday, Jan. 30. Thanks to those who turned them in early!

Style: Well, it’s officially over. Thank you so much for making this another great class, and thank you for the feedback on the surveys – your comments were very appreciated!

Film Studies: That’s a wrap!

8th Grade: Quiz on American history. We played the quiet game. And we watched the Twilight Zone episode “The Silence.” Get it?

Survey: Poetry: The Circle of Life.

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