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Tuesday, December 6

December 6, 2016

Spongebob: Today I passed out permission slips for the field trip — here’s a copy in case you lose yours, which you would of course never do: permission-slip-cinemark-moana-dec-2016

Remember that we are leaving here at 11:45 — right after Block 2 — to see Moana, in Center. We will return by 3 p.m. (And yes, there will be an assignment.)

We then, working with partners, subjected Shakespeare’s four great tragedies — Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth — to quick-and-dirty archetypal analyses, using the magic of Sparknotes and your own knowledge. Overall, I think the major characters from these four slotted pretty easily into our list of 12 archetypes — with the caveat that Shakespeare’s fondness for shapeshifters as a plot device means that he breaks our rule about giving each archetype its proper space very frequently. (It’s OK. He’s Shakespeare.)

We should also note that a few of Shakespeare’s heroines beg the question of whether, like Katharina, they are waifs or free spirits (or something else). Clearly there are exceptions — Lady Macbeth is the schemer behind her husband’s bloody rise to power — but Desdemona and Cordelia are good examples of what we’re talking about.

Shakespeare’s second-favorite character type is probably the Fool — although it should be noted that Shakespeare’s fools aren’t always the same as the kind we’ve been discussing. We’ll give them a look Thursday, along with three or four of his comedies.

Critical Reading: Today I checked your annotations on the “Semiotics and Structuralism” section, as well as for Foucault’s What is an Author? In class you took a quiz on the Foucault, and we spent the rest of class discussing it and surrounding topics. Including memes. Because, you know.

For Thursday: ignore what I said in class about annotations; per the calendar, there is no reading assignment for Thursday. BUT there is the ads assignment, which is due at the beginning of class. If you were absent, there’s been a packet waiting for you, patiently, in the box since last week. Better pick it up… it’s a pretty in-depth assignment, so give it due attention.

Siren: Getting close on December stuff. Looking to go to press early next week, if possible.

Style: Today some of you shared your Flick-inspired pieces – really nice job, those of you who shared. I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

The style for this week, due to insistent request, is H.P. Lovecraft. I know that some of you are reading his work in Horror or other classes; for your notes, please only address the story that was handed out in class so that we can all stay on the same page. Notes are due, as usual, on Thursday.

Reading for Writers: Today we began Prompt 6 in class (reading-for-writers-12-6-16-prompt-6-cnf-into-holocaust). A reading assignment was handed out, and your assignment for Thursday is to read it and take notes (which is further detailed in #4 of the prompt). Annotations are a good idea too.

Survey: Poetry: We talked about epistolary style — there was a handout; see me if you were absent and didn’t get it.

We focused on the Terrance Hayes poem “MJ Fan Letter,” and while we didn’t subject it to a line-by-line analysis, we did comment on the general structure. The poet appears to be using the vehicle of a fan letter (to a person he presumably doesn’t know but feels some kinship with — “Cousin”) to relate a deeply personal experience. This isn’t that much different from a commonly observed phenomenon: we’re often more likely to share secrets with strangers than with those close to us.

I assigned you a “fan letter” poem, in which you will choose a recipient (somewhat widely-known, if not world-famous) and use the letter to divulge some personal situation. (PLEASE NOTE: In keeping with what we have discussed all semester about the “I” in poetry not signalling default autobiography, this revelation should be treated as fictional, even if it’s based on a true story. This is NOT in any way an effort to encourage anyone to share deep, dark, unsettling details. Anyone who tells you that is the key to good poetry or good writing is doing you a grave disservice.)

These “fan letter” poems are due on Thursday, Dec. 15 — the same day as your notecard finals.


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