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Monday, April 13

April 13, 2015

Poetry Workshop: Today: Finished Round Two with Ree and Bullock. For Wednesday: skip Blackham and do comments and annotations for Nickel and Ohlund.

Fiction Workshop: Today we did an in-class writing activity (repeated use of a word in a short piece). Two pieces have been handed out to be workshopped on Wednesday: Abigail and Haley. Please be aware of your due dates!

Family Values:

BatCat Press: 

7/8 Lit Arts: We finished this A&E documentary about Oscar Wilde. Please watch it if you have not seen the whole thing.

Then we addressed the reason(s) Wilde wrote this play. It is a satire — a form of humor that pokes fun at those in power, as well as institutions (like marriage) or widely-held customs and beliefs. Wilde, whose own private life was unconventional (and frankly, a lot of his public life was, as well, as he grew less and less careful about keeping his private affairs private), must have taken some pleasure in sending up the Victorian moral attitudes of the day.

(Remember: while Earnest ends with three successful engagements, no one in the play is terribly sympathetic. Most of the characters are dishonest; several are clearly just stupid. You almost have to root for Algernon because he is the character who seems most honest about his dishonesty.)

I asked you for a definition of “earnest,” the adjective, and most of you had a pretty clear idea what it meant. That is, to quote the dictionary, “resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction.” But it’s also important to point out that none of the characters in this play are really “earnest,” in the positive sense. Almost all of them are deceitful; if they do have convictions, those convictions fly in the face of conventional morality. So if, as the title suggests, it is important to be Earnest, then there’s a double pun at work. It’s important for both Jack and Algernon to be Earnest — it’s how they get the girls. As for being “earnest,” just the opposite is true.

Wilde must have loved watching people laugh at (and pay good money to see) caricatures of themselves. He fell very, very far not long after this play debuted, but while he was on top, he took full advantage of it.

No other assignment for next Monday — the PSSAs are almost here — but I ask that anyone interested in reading at the Middle School Showcase on May 13 at 6 p.m., please let me know next week. Please let me know what work you think you want to read, as well.

7th Grade: Getting to know you. Took a survey and you gave me three words you know you ought to be able to spell. We’ll deal with those in a spelling be next Monday.

Survey: Screenwriting: Today you handed in your “sequence” assignment from last Monday. If you did not hand it in, you must do so ASAP.

After you handed these in, we went over the next project: Screenwriting 4.13.15 – Story Dev, Part 1 Brainstorming. For Wednesday, you and your partner(s) must bring in your 10 “answers.” If someone is absent, please work it out between one another – all 10 should be handed in at once, regardless of who is in class and who is not.

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