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Friday, December 4

December 4, 2015

Handmade Arcade is tomorrow! BatCat will have a table, along with about 150 other organizations and artists. If you come check it out, you surely won’t regret it! 

Songwriting: We heard “Six Fiefdoms,” and you were invited to contribute an opening narration, if you wish. It would be recited (most likely by Mr. Schaller) over the opening eight bars of the song. The deadline for these contributions would be the morning of Jan. 4, when we return to school. (Of course, they need to have something to do with the idea of the song.)

Here’s the Soundcloud link.

Then we talked about Christmas songs again: we came up with titles and concepts (one- or two-line synopses) of the songs in question.

For next Friday, you are to have a chorus — of four or eight lines — which:

  1. References the title (but only once; no repetition)
  2. Sums up the concept.
  3. Is written and ready to turn in.

Critical Reading: Today I checked your annotations on Foucault’s What is an author? and then we had a long and excellent discussion on the subject. I would like to try to find a time next week for us to meet up to finish going over the essay.

Please read Derrida (just the photocopied part, not the last few pages that are just printed) as well as the explanation of poststructuralism/deconstruction (both were handed out several weeks ago) for next Friday. Remember, this is the most challenging theory type we’ll be reading, so give yourself adequate time. Annotations are required and will be checked.

Less Miserables: As we have discussed before, there exists no definitive guide to formatting a libretto. So we are going to have to adapt our own.(Hat tip here to Kieren MacMillan, whose work on this subject we will draw upon.)

Here is the beginning of an official libretto formatting handbook Less Miserables Musical Formatting Guide Fall 2015, which will undoubtedly be updated as we make use of it. It draws heavily on Standard American Format, which you should hopefully know by now.

Please use Monday in class to update your scripts accordingly, and if you have questions, by all means ask.

BatCat: Handmade Arcade is tomorrow! I will be there at about 7am to set up. If you want to come early to help, please don’t come until 7:30ish – last year, I got stuck in a long line of cars and there was some confusion. Our table is on the back wall of the hall, next to the restrooms. Give me a call (don’t text) if you need help.

The event ends at 7; tear down will be fast, so if you’re being picked up, make sure that your ride isn’t much later than that. DON’T FORGET YOUR WAIVERS. Thanks. 🙂

Middle School: Finished hero’s journey templates on Elf for Mr. Cageao.

Survey: Poetry (MW): Today we took a quiz on Chapters 8 and 9 (you’ll make it up Monday if you missed it) and then 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, and dramatic, 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 (MW): Today we worked on sketching out some more ideas about your inanimate object characters. Your notecards need to be handed in with the story next week, so please keep track of them!

The second half of class was spent reading and discussing a short story in which time is manipulated in a variety of ways: Bullet in the Brain by Tobias Wolff.

Your homework for Monday is to re-read A Rose for Emily. As I mentioned in class, we are going to be breaking the story down in very specific ways, so it is extremely important that you are VERY familiar with the story and all of the events that take place (or are mentioned) within it. If you don’t look at it again, it’s guaranteed to be a problem. So please do it! 🙂


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