American Literature 1/30 – Paradox and Dream

Today we read Paradox and Dream by John Steinbeck and connected it to current events and our lives in the United States.

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American Literature 1/27 – Socratic Seminar

Today we listened to Senator Cory Booker’s address to the Democratic National Convention.

Then we met in a Socratic seminar to talk about the perspectives we explored and the questions which arose over the course of the last week. The seminar resulted in very fruitful discussions and as a follow-up assignment, you are asked to pick two questions to respond to on one page, typed, Times New Roman 12pt, double-spaced (if you cannot type it, hand-written is fine). Make sure to include evidence from the Socratic seminar, the speech, and the podcast to strengthen your argument. This paper is due on Friday, February 3rd.

Superheroes 9/1 – The Seafarer

Hi everyone,

Today we began some pre-Beowulf reading. We discussed how British culture changed in 450 AD and again in 597 AD as the Norse (vikings) invaded and their religious culture mingled with the growing Christianity.

Here are the notes in case you need more details: Brit Lit context clues. Just use the 450 AD and 597 AD slides.

To really see this change, we read the poem “The Seafarer,” which shows the blending of Norse and Christian cultures. Here’s the poem if you need it.

Tonight, and in the comments, I’d like you to answer these two:

1) Where do we see elements of both 450 AD era British religious/cultural ideas and post-597 AD British religious and cultural ideas?

2) Describe the two journeys happening here. The seafarer talks about the hardship of a life on the sea, but what figurative journey is he on as well? How do they compare to each other?

American Literature 1/26 – National Identity

Today we looked at and talked about each others’ images of America.  We mostly focused on the American Dream and American Identity.

Then we listened to the BBC podcast The Why Factor – Life, Liberty & the American Identity.  For tonight, finish the second half of the podcast and think about interesting questions you can pose in tomorrow’s Socratic seminar.

Link to podcast:


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Superheroes 1/23 – What gives a superhero “staying power?

Today was the first day of class. Welcome!

We started off talking about why some superheroes have “staying power” – that is, what makes some stick around while others fail?

For tonight, choose a hero (super or not) and check off which boxes on this archetype list apply: Archetype checklist

When you’re done, answer the two questions on the back. Remember, we talked about “cultural mythology” as what values, ideas, symbols, pop culture and struggles are relevant to our lives. You can post your answer here or hand it to me tomorrow.