Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Where in the World was Alexander Supertramp?

Into the Wild

Lake Mead

One of places that Alex passed through on his epic journey was Lake Mead. He not only passed through there, but that is where he abandoned his beloved yellow Datsun. Lake Mead is located in Nevada, not far from the boarders of Arizona and Utah. The picture below is actually a picture of the Davis Dam that is part of the Lake Mead Recreation Area.

Below is a panoramic view of the Northshore Summit of the Lake Mead Recreational Area. Chris arrived there on July 6, 1990 and ignored signs that prohibited him from driving in certain areas. This would have been so like him to thumb his nose at the the rules and society! McCandless was actually caught in a flash flood while camping. Krakauer questions, "Why had he ignored posted regulations and driven down the wash in the first place?" (28). On top of that, his registration had experienced two years earlier! This is quite fitting.

Northshore Summit. Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Nevada. USA in Nevada

Fun Fact: Lake Mead is actually an artificial resorvior  - in fact, one of the largest on record. It feeds parts of Nevada, Arizona and Utah and recently went through one of the worst droughts in 60 years (National Geographic).

Picture source: National Geographic

"Recreation, although a by-product of Hoover Dam's reservoir, constitutes a major use of Lake Mead and the lands surrounding it.
Lake Mead is one of America's most popular recreation areas, with a 12-month season that attracts more than 9 million visitors each year for swimming, boating, skiing, fishing and other outdoor pursuits.
The lake and surrounding area are administered by the National Park Service as part of Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the nation's first national recreation area, which also includes Lake Mohave downstream from Hoover Dam." Source - US Dept of Interior

Friday, October 4, 2013

"If All News Anchors Could Be Like This" The Newsroom

Explain the point of the following clip from HBO's  "The Newsroom". What are your thoughts regarding Will McEnvoy message and delivery? Comment in a post on your blog that uses examples from the video and your own analysis of the message.

"The Newsroom"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Welcome Back!

Welcome to my blog and welcome back to another great school year! I look forward to working with you and to reading your blogs in the near future! American Literature is one of my favorite classes to teach and I look forward to sharing with you my love, knowledge, and experience with this curriculum! I'm ready; I hope you are too!
Front Page - click here for picture credit

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Realism and Naturalism

Juniors - As a way to reinforce our discussion of Realism today, please read, watch, and respond to the following thoughts and video that I have included below.

 I told you that in order to differentiate between many of the literary time periods, it is important to understand the motivation, the mindset, and the time period of the author. In class I shared an analogy that was shared with me a few years back that went something like this:

If we examined a spider in terms of how authors would write about the creature during different literary time periods, the spider would be revealed in many different ways. The Romantics would look at the spider and see its beauty, appreciate its connection with nature and write an imaginative poem about it. The Realists would pick up the spider and study it, smell it, watch it crawl and write a story that delivers the facts that are revealed through the senses in a straight forward way. The Naturalist would pick up the spider, hold it between its fingers, under the hot sun, watch it squirm and write about the effects the environment had on the spider. The Modernist would see the spider and step on it.

With this in mind, please watch the following video and consider my presentation, our discussion, and  the story that we read yesterday, "Coup de Gras" by Ambose Bierce. In a comment below, explain how this story is a good example of Realism.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

John Steinbeck's "Monster"

East of Eden
Chapter 8

Chapter 8 introduces Cathy Ames, the female character that Steinbeck depicts as a natural born “monster.” He creates an argument that some people in the world are born with malformed minds in just the same way that others suffer from visible disfigurements. The perception of Cathy from the viewpoint of other characters is often warped as that they cannot see her inner self. Making matters worse is the fact that Cathy Ames is beautiful. Is she able to disguise who she really is? How would you describe Cathy? Is she a natural born “monster”? Be specific and give examples from the text. Has Steinbeck personified her in any way? Comment below. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The American Dream and Wealth

Juniors - please watch the following YouTube video. What connections can you make between the video, The Great Gatsby and the American Dream? Post a comment below!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Chapter 1 of The Great Gatsby is an important chapter. It introduces the reader to the characters and to the narrator, Nick Caraway. Fitzgerald beautifully, with artistic language, sets the scene through the eyes of the narrator - a man "who reserves all judgment" (Fitzgerald 1).

Juniors - Choose one of the essential questions on The Great Gatsby page, copy the question and complete a well written response on your blog. When you are done - read and respond to two of your classmate's blogs!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Happy Birthday to The Bard

Check out this link to view the Parade in honor of William Shakespeare's birthday in April
Happy Birthday Will

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Things They Carried - Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong Reflection

Think and Brain Storm: Mary Anne is obviously an important symbolic (and post modern) character. About Mary Anne, Pat Riley says: “at least she was real.” 

While using evidence, please explore how Tim O’Brien makes her symbolic. Also consider: Does it matter that Mary Anne is a woman? How is she a Post-Modern character? 

Write: On your blog explore what you think might have happened to Mary Anne. Remember that Tim O'Brien wanted his readers to feel it in his gut. Write a response using stream of consciousness to explore what happened to Mary Anne. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Namesake Final Assignment - Identity

Now that you have all created your own Identity Walls or have written a narrative that allows us a peek into your interests, your past, and the important aspects of your life - please take a moment to view and read two of your classmates projects and comment about what you have learned.

Monday, February 11, 2013

What I Learned from The Namesake

I learned that there is no one way to define yourself. In fact, time, experiences, celebrations, losses, achievements and lives all contribute to our identities. I am not just a teacher, or a mother, or a daughter, or a Springsteen fan, or a college graduate, or a former dance teacher, or a writer, or a lover of literature, or of Italian descent, or a water skier; I am in fact all of these things! Who are you?

Check out my Identity Wall and my Identity Map in the Resource tab of my blog to find out more about me. When you are done, post a comment here about what you learned about me.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Namesake - Let's wrap it up

On a separate piece of paper respond to the following questions using supporting details from the story.

  1. As she packs her belongings, Ashima thinks about the years spent in the house on Pemberton Road: "And though she still does not feel fully at home within these walls on Pemberton Road she knows that this is home nevertheless – the world for which she is responsible, which she has created, which is everywhere around her, needing to be packed up, given away, thrown out bit by bit" (280). Who is Ashima now? How has she changed, what does she realize about herself? What do we come to realize through her POV?
  2. In the last chapter of The Namesake, Gogol sits in his bedroom and contemplates his life. What epiphany does he have? How does Lahiri convey identity and what do we notice about the structure of Lahiri's novel? What is Gogol's state of mind at the end of the book and what will become of him?
Questions adapted from Hostos Community College

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Namesake - Chapter 7 - The Plot Thickens!

In chapter 7 we learn that Gogol loses his father.

1. Reflect on the following questions in your blog using quotes to support your answers.

As Gogol mourns his father’s death, what great qualities of his father’s character come to mind? What connection was there between him and his father that he now appreciates more than ever before? How might his father’s memory give him a firmer grasp on his own identity in the years to come?

2. When you are done read two of your classmates blogs and comment on their reflections. Challenge someone's response, agree and comment on the similarities of your blog posts or ask a question that was provoked by their reflection.

3. Be prepared to discuss your ideas regarding the blog questions and chapter 7.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Namesake Chapter 4 Quote Reflection

 For homework you were asked to read the following two quotes and answer the corresponding questions. Now -
1. Please respond to these questions as a new post on your blog. Please post the questions first and then type your answers underneath.

2. When you are done, see what your classmates are saying. Go to two of your classmate's blogs and respond to their ideas. Perhaps you agree or have a question about his or her post, take the opportunity to add your comments.

3. Then go to the Resource Tab and click on the invite link to go to my second VoiceThread. This will ask you to think about the book and your thoughts about immigrants. You will read the two questions, prepare your answers on the handout provided and add a video comment to one of the questions and a voice comment or written comment to the other.

“On the final leg of the trip there are only a few non-Indians left on the plane.
Bengali conversation fills the cabin; his mother has already exchanged addresses with the family across the aisle. Before landing she slips into the bathroom and changes, miraculously in that minuscule space, into a fresh sari. A final meal is served, an herbed omelette topped with a slice of grilled tomato. Gogol savors each mouthful, aware that for the next eight months nothing will taste quite the same. …And then the frosted doors slide open and once again they are officially there, no longer in transit, swallowed by hugs and kisses and pinched cheeks and smiles. There are endless names Gogol and Sonia must remember to say, not aunt this and uncle that but terms far more specific: mashi and pishi, mama and maima, kaku and jethu, to signify whether they are related on their mother’s or their father’s side, by marriage or by blood. Ashima, now Monu, weeps with relief, and Ashoke, now Mithu, kisses his brothers on both cheeks, holds their heads in his hands. Gogol and Sonia know these people, but they do not feel close to them as their parents do. Within minutes, before their eyes Ashoke and Ashima slip into bolder, less complicated versions of themselves, their voices louder, their smiles wider, revealing a confidence Gogol and Sonia never see on Pemberton Road” (81-82).
How does the visit to India involve a great sacrifice for Gogol and Sonia and give them at the same time the opportunity to see their parents for who they really are?

“Of all the people who surround them at practically all times, Sonia is his only ally, the only person to speak and sit and see as he does. While the rest of the household sleeps, he and Sonia fight over the Walkman, over the melting collection of tapes Gogol recorded back in his room at home. From time to time, they privately admit to excruciating cravings, for hamburgers or a slice of pepperoni pizza or a cold glass of milk” (84).
How can your sibling, the one you fight and quarrel with throughout childhood, be your closest friend in the world? How do Sonia and Gogol realize the allegiance they have to each other when they spend eight months in India? 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

NY Times Lahiri Article on Culture and The Namesake

Check out the link below for an interesting perspective from journalist Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times on Lahiri, culture and the assimilation into America.

Wonder Bread and Curry: Mingling Cultures, Conflicted Hearts by Michiko Kakutani

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Assignment for Thursday, Jan 10th The Namesake

Congratulations you made your blog yesterday - we are now up and running.

Please use the following questions to reflect on your reading thus far.
(Note: copy the question to your blog)

Write about an event in the story as a blog post on your blog in relation to the following questions.

1. How does the event remind you of a similar situation in your own life? 
2. How do you relate to the character in the novel? 
3. What advice do you have for the character? 
4. How might the character be helping you to understand a similar conflict in your own life?
5. You will then comment on two other blogs as assigned.

Then - respond to the following quote,

 "For being a foreigner, Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy - a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts...Like pregnancy, being a foreigner, Ahsima believes, is something that elicits the same curiosity from strangers, the same combination of pity and respect (49-50).

What is Lahiri saying in this quote?

Wed, Jan 9th The Namesake

Today Mrs. Marotta and I are introducing Blogs to the class.

Creating your blog - Blogger Getting Started Guide

Assignment - You will want to create your blog and answer the question
- "what was your favorite part of the book so far"?

Tomorrow you will have a writing prompt, which you will reflect on in your own blog.