final blog: English 255?

December 12th, 2010

essentially:  what in your opinion should this course be?  the 20th century canon?   global literature? a comibination of the two?

what particularly worked for you?   what didn’t?   have you changed your thinking on this question as the course moved forward?   in time, what do you think will matter to you as a reader?  an English major?

the form of this blog is entirely up to you.   since it is a blog, you have every opportunity to depart from a formally structured traditional term paper.

you may want to include your reactions to the work of your classmates on this subject.   you may want to investigate the canon wars which have been waged in academia for the last few decades.

my only stipulation is that the piece be well-developed, of substantial length, and written with care–which means a certain amount of revision and rewriting either on the blogsite or elsewhere.

due date: Christmas eve.   the piece will be worth about a 30% of your final grade.

The Woman Warrior

November 30th, 2010

as noted in class there is a special urging (warning?) about doing these readings and blogs on time

for Thurs 12/2  “No Name Woman” and “White Tigers”   for blog:  consider the statement  on page 53 “The swordswoman and I are not so dissimilar.”  On the basis of these first 2 sections how can Maxine claim to be a woman warrior?

for Tues 12/7  “Shaman” and “At the Western Palace”      for blog:  comment on the enormous difference in Maxine’s mother in these two sections?

for Thurs 12/9   “A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe”         for blog:  consider either madness or silence–both have been thematic in other sections and have an important place in this section which is  the one most about Maxine herself

Barack Obama, “Dreams From My Father”

November 19th, 2010

Tues. 11/30 .    Since many students voiced the comment that they felt they were reading campaign literature by a politico, I offer the following opportunity:   Read the section on Chicago (chs. 7–14)  and use it, in specific ways, to support or refute the idea that this book was written to support Obama’s personal political ambitions.

Tues 11/23  Chapters 1–8   (if you have time, both forwards are historically quite interesting).

for the weekend of 11/20:   do some blog-hopping.   find three entries that really interested you.  note them on your blog and send a comment of thanks to the blogger.   I particularly invite you to comment on Michael Z’s latest entry”What Am I Doing Here?”

Junot Diaz’ story collection”Drown”

November 4th, 2010

for 11/16 :   first five stories.   for blog:   comment on Diaz’ style, the voice of the narrator.

11/18;           last five stories.   for blog:   your favorite and why

assignment in William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

October 23rd, 2010

11/9    “April 8, 1928”:    for your blog:   your reaction to the ending

11/4  “April 6, 1928”.    for your blog:   mention a couple of  things from the earlier sections that got clarified in Jason’s.

11/2    “June 2, 1910 ”      for your blog:   after you finish the section what meaning do you see in the threads that constitute the paragraph  on the second page beginning   “If it had been cloudy.”  Okay to cheat by seeing if someone else’s blog provides a good explanation for something you didn’t get.   Thank the person in a Comment.  And credit the person in your own blog.   This, in short, can be highly collaborative.


10/28     second half.   for your  blog:   choose a passage in this half of Benjy’s section, about the length of a page, for illumination

10/26     “April 7,  1928”  first half.   blog: at what point did the book come alive for you.

Assignment in Persepolis

October 14th, 2010

for Tues 10/19     read the first half. (up to “The Trip”).     on your blog include some documentation about the Islamic Revolution

for Thurs 10/21      finish Persepolis.   for your blog write about some sequence (a frame to a page) that interested you.   where relevant,  remark on the interaction of the drawing and the text.

as announced 10/12

October 12th, 2010

1.  blog share:    check out a few of your classmates’ blogs.   When you find one you particularly like and admire, submit a comment to the writer.

2.   we will be reading Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis” next week, starting 10/19.   get your copy asap.   (not available as a web text, though the video is an acceptable alternative).

3.  note the link on the left to the article in today’s NY Times.

Assignment in The Sun Also Rises

October 6th, 2010

Thurs 10/7   Chapters 1–9

Tues 10/12                         10–15

Thurs 10/14                       16–19

for your blog: intermittent reflections  on and examples of what makes Hemingway Hemingway

you probably will want your own copy, but you will find the  text online at

Assignment for T.S. Eliot

September 23rd, 2010

9/28   “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

for your blog: consider the line “And would it have been worth it, after all”

we will spend the next two classes reading “The Waste Land.”   For your blog keep an ongoing reader’s journal on your experience with the poem.   Feel free to make and re-make suppositions, voice frustrations and complaints, find whatever joys the poem gives you.   Be spontaneous and honest.

for 9/30 Read at least once  (and blog about your experience) “The Waste Land.”

for 10/3   Re-read it (and blog about what emerged for you this  time).

Assignments for W.B. Yeats

September 16th, 2010

for 9/21

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

Adam’s Curse

No Second Troy

A Coat

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

Easter 1916

The Second Coming

Sailing to Byzantium  **

for 9/23

Leda and the Swan

Among School Children  **

Lapis Lazuli

Long-Legged Fly

John Kinsella’s Lament for Mrs. Mary Moore

The Circus Animal’s Desertion

ONE MORE THING:   choose one of these poems that particularly interested you and write in your blog about what you discovered and enjoyed about it from reading and thinking about it some more.