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Wednesday, November 30

November 30, 2016
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CNF Workshop: A pretty lackluster workshop. Thanks to the few people who had something to contribute.

No more comments, no more annotations for this round, which we will finish on Friday. Your Round Six piece is due on the blog by 8 a.m. Friday. If it’s not there, we’re moving on without it — no late entries accepted.

Screenwriting Workshop: Today was a work day for your ongoing film assignment (due in about 3 weeks). At the end of class I handed out 6 screenplays and we scheduled them: Payton and Spencer are for Friday.

For those of you that did not hand in today, remember that your mass due date is Monday.

Public Speaking: We finished the midterms and everyone survived…Lord be praised.

Recitations Friday. Practice!

BatCat: Handmade is Saturday. Questions? Let me know.

Horror: Today we watched the Twilight Zone episode “Shadow Play” from 1961. Are there similarities between this episode and the one we watched last Monday, “Five Characters in Search of an Exit”? Yes, and we discussed what some of those similarities are.

Remember that, while existentialism was a not-uncommon feature of post-war literature (Salinger et al), it was much less common to find it on TV at this time. The Twilight Zone, through episodes like these — featuring characters who appear trapped in situations beyond their control, and must try as best they can to deal with them, without any help from a higher power — broached the subject, at least. Even the whole concept of being stuck, albeit temporarily, in the Twilight Zone, has some existential overtones.

We used this episode as a springboard to touch briefly on an old philosophical idea that comes from Rene Descartes. Specifically, “Descartes’ Demon,” which hypothesizes about how we can know that life isn’t just one big dream (created by a demon to trick us), and ending with one of the most famous philosophical statements ever: “I think, therefore I am.”

Here’s a (partial) illustrated version.

Friday we’ll talk more about why existentialism became a thing in 20th century Western culture, and more about how it affects horror.

For next Monday: please read the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.”

Survey: Fiction: Today I gave you more time to work in your groups, after we reviewed what exactly constitutes a scene. Then you guys shared, and they were surprisingly good. Nice job. 🙂

Assignment 3 (Microfiction) is due on Monday, as previously discussed. You also need to officially read A Rose for Emily (in the Norton Anthology) for Monday; there will be quiz as usual, and there will also be a pretty major activity/assignment associated with this story, so the more familiar you are with it, the better off you’re going to be. READ IT. Please.

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