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Tuesday, Dec. 1

December 1, 2015
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Welcome back from break, everyone! Hope yours was a good one/productive one/restful one.

Violence: Today I gave back the midterms, and went over the grading. Because we did this (and because it’s a major assignment, and because it’s been a week since they were due), I can’t accept any late ones at this point.

I reviewed the guidelines for the final project, which you can download here. Violence final guidelines Fall 2015 These project are due at the beginning of class Dec. 17, and MUST be accompanied by an analysis. They will be distributed to the class, so please recognize that fact beforehand and write (classroom) appropriately.

You took an introductory quiz on Native Son. If you were absent, you will make that up Thursday. I suggested that knowing about these historical facts/incidents would help you with your reading/understanding:

  1. The Great Migration, and why it happened
  2. The backlash to Reconstruction in the South
  3. The Great Depression
  4. Communism in the USA during the 1930s/40s.
  5. Parallels to real cases (Leopold-Loeb and Robert Nixon.

We talked about the first three of these categories in class. We then watched the first 10 minutes of this documentary about the Great Migration:

and we discussed the backlash to post-Civil War Reconstruction (where most of the gains blacks had made, such as obtaining voting rights and even seats in Congress, were eradicated). The KKK was formed during this backlash period, and sharecropping replaced slavery, though the case can be made that it really wasn’t much of an improvement. This led many Southern blacks to consider a move north, and the city of Chicago was the preferred destination, for its industrial jobs and (relative) freedoms.

However, the Great Migration led to overcrowding and increased racial tensions. The tiny apartment where Bigger and his family live in the book is typical of the housing available in Chicago during this time.

On Thursday, we’ll talk about communism in America and the two cases mentioned above. Please read the handout I gave you, which has background on those two cases.

Radio: Today you reported your weekly listening and Sarah shared a old radio clip with us. I know that this can seem repetitive, but I have to say – you all sound so much more knowledgeable and insightful now when you talk about what you listened to compared to the beginning of the year! Keep it up.

We spent the rest of the class talking about the reading assignment from before break. I handed out a summary of the important dates from it (Radio 12.1.15 – Radio History Timeline).

In our discussion today, many of you referenced the recordings you did over Thanksgiving. We’re not done with these! Please bring in the audio on Thursday. You won’t have to play it aloud for everyone, but it is very likely that you will actually want to use it (in some way) in class. So please, bring it in (on the recorder, on your phone, on your computer – whatever) and also plan to return the recorders on Thursday as well. If you did logs, you gave them to me today (and if you didn’t, please do so tomorrow or Thursday).

Siren: Turned in December copy and made plans for January. Remember: we want stories where you talk to people! (And headshots, too!)

Style: Stand-up comedy part 1. Those of you that didn’t get to go today will go on Thursday. No new reading assignment was handed out today; that will come to you on Thursday as well. So no homework right now (unless you are presenting on Thursday and want to revamp your routine). To everyone that went today: awesome job! Very impressed.

Middle School:

Survey: Poetry:  We started with this sample PowerPoint presentation of the poetry of Sir John Betjeman. We talked about your final presentations, which are due Dec. 10. Remember: you are also responsible for turning in copies of the poems you use. You need a minimum of four poems — I recommend more. And you need to find multiple examples of each element you choose.

Then we watched this video: 

to begin discussing irony. Yes, we know that really none of the examples in this song really rise to the level of irony, which normally involves a reversal of expectations.

It’s the distance between what’s expected and what actually happens that accounts for whether something is legitimately ironic, though. For example, “rain on your wedding day” might be unexpected (or at least not ideal), but it happens all the time and really isn’t a huge reversal. A 98-year-old winning the lottery and then dying is unusual and probably tragic, but hardly unexpected. (they’re 98 years old after all.) An Olympic swimmer drowning in the bathtub, on the other hand, offers a rare juxtaposition between what we expect to happen, and what actually occurs.

We talked about three different types of irony:

a. Verbal irony (sarcasm — when you say something that is the opposite of what you mean.)
b. Situational irony (when an event has an outcome that is the exact opposite of what was expected. For example, the Olympic swimmer drowning in his bathtub. Or, let’s say, a couple who go to divorce court end up falling back in love during the divorce proceedings.)
c. Dramatic irony (when the audience/reader knows something that a character does not.)

Then we talked about some other, somewhat related, terms from Chapter 10:

Paradox: A statement that seems contradictory or even impossible but which carries some deeper meaning (as when Jesus said, “They have ears, but hear not.”)

Coincidence: A random juxtaposition of events. “Rain on your wedding day,” to quote the popular song, is really just coincidence. Yes, you might expect that wedding days will be sunny, but of course, lots of them aren’t. That’s really not a sharp enough contrast between expected and actual outcome to qualify as irony. If you’re surprised to meet your friend at the mall, even though you didn’t plan it, it isn’t ironic — it’s coincidence. That sort of thing happens all the time too.

Read the rest of Chapter 10 if you haven’t already! It’s mostly review of stuff you’ve already done in Fiction: persona, denotation/connotation, diction and syntax, etc.

Survey: Fiction: Today we spent one last day taking notes on character (as desire, as image, as action, as voice, as thought, as expressed by narrator, and as conflict, as well as protagonist).

Assignment 3 (Fiction 12.1.15 – Assignment #3, Inanimate Microfiction) was handed out and you got your assigned inanimate object in class. We will be talking more about this on Thursday; BRING YOUR NOTECARDS BACK.

No other homework.

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