Friday, November 27, 2009

A note on rewrites

I've been asked whether or not you'll be allowed to rewrite one of your unit essays. The short answer is yes, but with a few stipulations.

1. Rewrites must be submitted no later than the beginning of class Thursday, December 3.

2. You must submit your original, graded paper along with your rewrite. There's no need, however, to send another electronic copy; the first one will do just fine.

3. Because of timing issues near the end of the semester, I will allow you to rewrite only your fiction or poetry unit essays, even if you turn in your drama essay before the deadline.

Writing topics--Death of a Salesman

Choose one of the topics below for a 500- to 800-word essay. You may use secondary sources, but if you do, then be extremely careful and diligent in making sure you don't plagiarize. Papers are due at the beginning of class December 8. As always, you'll need to send me an electronic copy of your paper.

1. There is a “kid” motif in DoaS. Many characters call each other “kid” or “boy”: Howard to Willy, Bernard to Willy, Willy to Bernard, Charlie to Bernard, Charlie to Willy, Linda to Biff, Biff and Happy to each other, etc. Assuming this usage is more than simply 1940s slang, what significance might it have for the play? Find specific examples and evaluate them for possible significance.

2. In what ways is Ben like a god to Willy? Be specific and use particular examples to support your position.

3. Is consumerism and the “American Dream” taking the place of a father for Willy? Why or why not? Give specific examples to support your position.

4. Support or defend this statement: The problem with the Lomans is that there really is no man in the house (I’ll give you a hint: It’s probably much more interesting to support).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Review for poetry unit exam

Everything we've discussed or read during the poetry unit is fair game for the poetry unit exam. I will be drawing the majority of questions, however, from this collection of poems and concepts:

Terms and concepts
Poetry—what is it?
Poetry & meaning
Historic place of poetry in religion
rhyme and how to analyze rhyme schemes (AABB, ABCABC, etc.)
rhythm and how to scan a poem (iambic pentameter, trochaic hexameter, etc.)
metrical foot (in general and in particular the common metrical feet)
blank verse
free verse
lyric poem
poetic diction
general English
formal English
near, off, imperfect, or slant rhyme
masculine & feminine rhyme
eye rhyme


Understand the meaning of each poem and be prepared to analyze rhyme, meter, and tone. Be prepared to paraphrase any of these poems.

“The Lake Isle of Innisfree”
“Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”
“Out, Out—”
“My Last Duchess”
“My Papa’s Waltz”
“For a Lady I know”
“The Author to Her Book”
“To a Locomotive in Winter”
“I like to see it lap the miles”
“To the Desert”
“For My Daughter”
“White Lies”
“Luke Havergal”
“Monologue for an Onion”
“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”
“The Red Wheelbarrow”
“This is Just to Say”
“Down, Wanton, Down!”
“The Ruined Maid”
“A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal”
“On my boat on Lake Cayuga”
“The Hippopotamus”
“God’s Grandeur”
“We Real Cool”
“Break, Break, Break”
“When I was one and twenty”
“Beat! Beat! Drums!”

Again, any poem or concept from your reading assignments may be on the test, regardless of whether or not we discussed it in class. Poems and ideas we discussed, however, will make up the biggest part of the exam.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Days ahead

Thursday, 11/12/09
Turn in Donne paraphrase, review for poetry exam

Tuesday, 11/17/09
Poetry unit exam

Thursday, 11/19/09
Begin discussing Death of a Salesman (Act 1, pp. 1211-43)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Reading assignment for Thursday, November 5, 2009

Before class on Thursday, please read pp. 467-78 in the textbook. There aren't that many poems to read; if you want to understand them, take time to read them slowly and several times.