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Thursday, October 1

October 1, 2015

Violence: Great, thoughtful discussion today about “Hawk Roosting” and our continuum of literary violence. Thanks to all who participated!

In Ted Hughes’ “Hawk Roosting”, we may see nature personified — in this case, we might be hearing directly from the personification. This is an agent of Nature which is cruel, vicious, and proud of its dominion over things (“Now I hold Creation in my foot.”) You can also read this as the hawk representing man, in his hubris and potential savagery. But you can also view it, like some of the other poems we’ve read, as Nature revealing its own bloodthirstiness.

We then went over what we’ve done so far in class:

Material covered:

“Nutting” by William Wordsworth
“The Wind” by James Stephens
“The Stoat” by John Hewitt
“A Voice from Death” by Walt Whitman
“Fish Head for Katrina” by Terrance Hayes
“The Names” by Billy Collins
“Pike” and “Hawk Roosting” by Ted Hughes
Deliverance by James Dickey (movie and book excerpt)
The continuum of literary violence: sensation, revelation, culmination and regeneration
Three types of nature poems: Man vs. Nature; Nature vs. Nature; Nature vs. Man

What we have learned:
1. There is no such thing as random literary violence.
2. Points on the continuum are assigned by trying to gauge the author’s intent, not the characters’. (A character might not know why he does what he does. An author certainly should.)
3. A primary source of literary violence is man’s inability to understand nature as it really is.
4. Man’s understanding of nature through literature is often achieved through personification (especially of its violent characteristics).
5. The wilderness has always been a symbol of violence or the potential for violence in literature.

For Tuesday: quiz on Lord of the Flies. You need to have the whole thing read, as I will be asking questions about the entire book. Of course, I’ll be focusing on the violent acts in the book, and there are several. That will kick off the next unit of class.

Radio: Project #2 was due today – thanks to everyone for getting it in on time. We listened to a few of the pieces in class and talked about each of them briefly. I was very impressed by those who shared, and I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of them shortly.

In class we listened to the Tupperware story referenced in the reading assignment for Tuesday ( <– the first segment from this show). Please make sure to have the essay read for Tuesday, as assigned last time. The comic is for next Thursday.

Siren: Quiz #1. I handed out the AP Style one-page cheat sheet to new staff members, and we started highlighting key points.

Style: Notes on Kerouac:


Your corresponding pieces are due on Tuesday, as always.

Middle School:

Survey: Poetry: Quiz on Chapters 1, 3, 4 and 5. Then we began talking about syllabics and meter. Please read Chapter 6 for Monday — focusing particularly on the sections “From Syllabics to Meter” and “The Importance of Line Length.”

Survey: Fiction: Assignment 1 was due at the beginning of class – everyone present seemed to hand one in, thanks!

We finally defined “voice” in a couple different ways and also talked about persona as it applies both to life and to this class. Remember that you can think of persona as having different “levels” – the first would be your public self, the second would be a distorted self (acting or speaking in a deliberately changed way to suit a setting or situation, or for some other reason), and the third is a fictional persona, in which you (the writer) take on a character as a kind of mask. In this class, you’ll be operating primarily in this last level.

We used Prompt #5 as a jumping off point for all of this: Fiction 9.30.15 – Prompt 5, voice & persona. If you did not finish Part B, it is homework (to be checked on Monday. Notebooks won’t be collected till perhaps the end of next week, or sometime the following week. Mid-October).

The official homework for Monday is to read The Jilting of Granny Weatherall (pg. 675). There will be a quiz, as usual.

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