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Tuesday, October 13

October 13, 2015
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Violence: Today we talked about the background of this 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.” This corruption man suffers via civilization, Rousseau believed, was in large part due to the effects of private property — man’s need to protect it, which necessitated laws and punishments. If he sounds like a romantic, you’re right: he inspired the Romantic writers of the late-18th/early-19th century. if he sounds like a hippie, right again. But his dislike of private property also made him a spiritual ancestor of Karl Marx, and thus of communism.

(However, we also pointed out that expecting people to forego private property is most likely a misreading of human nature. People like stuff. People like their own stuff. It sounds great to say we should give it all up…until we actually try it. Is this an example of man’s inability to understand nature — in this case, human nature — leading to violence?

The death toll under communism worldwide = something like 100 million people. You decide.)

We talked about these three views of man’s state of nature, and what they mean in terms of government. We didn’t complete that discussion, but we should on Thursday — as well as how all this ties into The Coral Island, a book Golding despised, and of Golding’s philosophy.

Radio: Weekly reporting, as usual, then I gave out the official guidelines for Project #3 (Radio 10.13.15 – Project #3 Guidelines). Then we did mock interviews.

Siren: Reviewed our stories for October and where we’re going to place them. I finished going over the AP style handout with the new folks.

Style: You shared and handed in your Frasier scripts. This week’s style is Gertrude Stein. Please read the handout and take notes for Thursday.

Middle School:

Survey: Poetry: You turned in your poems. Please have these ready Thursday at the beginning of class if you were absent — I’m probably NOT going to come after you to get them.

Then we discussed/practiced with a pair of feet that are less common than the iamb and the trochee: the dactyl and anapest. These are triplet-based feet: the dactyl is stressed/unstressed/unstressed, and the anapest is unstressed/unstressed/stressed.

I gave you a handout (Scansion tips 10-2-14) that covers some of the scansion “cheats” we’ve been discussing, plus a few new ones.

Survey: Fiction: Today you took a quiz on A Rose for Emily and we talked about the story for quite a while, including the person used in the story (which is first person plural – this was added to your notes).

I handed back your point of view analysis sheets from last week (the things you did with your partners). Generally, these were okay, but definitely not great – make sure to EXPLAIN yourself fully and cite SPECIFIC EXAMPLES in order to support your arguments (because that’s really what you’re doing here – making arguments about how to interpret the story).

You completed a point of view analysis sheet for this story in class (handed in at the end): Fiction 10.12.15 – POV Point of View Analysis Sheet. Your homework for Wednesday is to read the packet of flash and micro fiction that was handed out in class.

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