Seniors: Work day, essays due tomorrow

Here are some last minute resources for your essays that are due tomorrow:

Lady Macbeth and the Loss of a Child – We didn’t read this in class

Lit theory lenses – Two psychoanalytic essays, a New Historic reading and a Christian reading

Literary theory questions – Things to ask yourself about the text if you get stuck tonight and aren’t sure what else to write about – A resource of thousands of academic articles and journals

Here’s the rubric:

Good luck! Email if you have any last minute questions.

Freshmen B: R&J Act 1 scene 4

So, Romeo’s a mopey emo mess because the woman he loves, Rosaline, wants to be a nun. What’s going to make Romeo feel better? His buddies Benvolio and Mercutio think crashing a Capulet party will do the trick so that Romeo can meet other women.

This is the first scene where we meet Mercutio, Romeo’s kind of wild and fun friend. This scene, while short, is important because we get to know Mercutio but we learn a little more about Romeo: what are his thoughts on fate and love and dreams — but especially fate? And how do they compare to Mercutio’s?

Take a look at Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech about a fairy who visits dreamers in their sleep and Romeo’s lines at the end of the scene where he says “my mind misgives/Some consequence yet hanging in the stars/Shall bitterly begin his fearful date” (I.4). Follow the directions on the link.

Your superhero essays were due Friday. Make sure I’ve got it.

Seniors: Looking at sample Macbeth essays

There’s no class tomorrow and we’ve decided on a work day for Thursday, and quite a few of you have met with me to go over over ideas (though just as many of you haven’t – get on that). Bring a laptop if you can for Thursday.

Today we looked at two essays per group, one good one and one not so good one. Essays 1-3 are examples worth following and 4 & 5 are ones to use to see what you could do differently: Sample essays – Macbeth

Take a look at what’s different about them. Aside from just a better grasp on using evidence to support their arguments, essays 1-3 are written better because the sentences are argumentative and all have a point. They are clear and concise, probably because they’re avoiding “to be” verbs (are, is, were, was, etc.) and being clear about who and what they’re talking about — you’ll find very little “him”, “her”, “they”, and “who” in essays 1-3.

Freshmen: Romeo and Juliet Act 1 scene 1 to Act 1 scene 3

Freshmen: we started reading Romeo and Juliet! So far we’ve just been introduced to Romeo, his cousin Benvolio, Juliet, Juliet’s nurse, the parents and Tybalt — Juliet’s cousin.

We’ve already seen a major fight, learned that Romeo begins the book in love with a girl (who’s also a nun) named Rosaline and we’ve left off as Romeo and the other Montague boys are about to crash a party at Juliet’s.

We haven’t done any major classwork yet, but if you’ve missed class just make sure you’re up to speed on who these characters are and the basic plot so far.

Also, your superhero essays are due today.

Seniors: 3 levels of perspective

We’ve finished Macbeth! Onward to improving your non-fiction writing skills for college application essays or any creative writing you might be interested in doing in the future.

We started off class talking about three kinds of perspective/introspection in non-fiction pieces.

Level 1 – Very factual, not much analysis of the author’s life or world around them.

“My relationship with Allison lasted for six hours: the two hours after school before The Rockford Files for three days in a row.” – High Fidelity

“Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, chief.” – Jaws

Level 2 – A sentence about “you,” “I” or “we” that offers some analysis or introspection about the world. It’s more than just a factual statement, it offers something deeper and meaningful. Examples:

“You know that was the time I was most frightened? Waitin’ for my turn. I’ll never put on a lifejacket again.” – Jaws

“Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable, or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?” – High Fidelity

Level 3 – A sentence that offers an opinion about human nature, how the world works or other “big ideas.” It generally doesn’t have “I” in it. It’s complete analysis, introspection or study of something. Examples:

“Unhappiness used to mean something. Now it’s just a drag like a cold or having no money.” – High Fidelity

“What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns and watching violent videos, we’re scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over, but nobody worries about kids listening to thousands—literally thousands—of songs about heartbreak and rejection and pain and misery and loss.” – High Fidelity

We looked at three pieces: monologues from movies “Jaws” and “High Fidelity” and Peter Keane’s “Everyone Deserves Defense.”

We went through each piece writing down which sentence was what level. For Thursday, come to class with your college essay or piece of personal writing done the same way.

9B: Revising yesterday’s thesis statements

Today we took the thesis statements you ended class with yesterday (see 9A’s post from today for a summary) and revised them. Using student examples from a previous thesis assignment, we used the following checklist to see what constitutes a solid thesis statement:

Today we took themes that we found in our graphic novels and tried to write thesis statements about them. Here’s a recap of class:

Length and format:
-Thesis statements are only 1-2 sentences
-Reads like an argument or an opinion
-The argument or opinion is backed up with how the author is going to prove their argument
“So What?”
-Thesis statement specifically references your book or character by name
-Uses the character or book to explain something larger, like something about human personality or society.
Basically, why is this thesis idea important outside of the book?
-Uses strong verbs like “shows,” “demonstrates,” “reveals,”
-Uses key words like “because,” “since,” “however,” “despite” or other words that can connect two ideas

Apply this list of thesis characteristics to what you have written down. Does yours do all of these things? How can you add the missing points in to yours?

You should’ve left class today with a pretty solid working thesis statement. You’ll use this to write our first essay.