One of the best ways to review information is to create your own questions. This allows you to focus on the things that you aren't totally confident with, and the act of find and writing down an answer is a powerful tool for remembering.
Your task is to create a review game that focuses on information that feel you need to review, and in the process you will be building a tool that others can use as well. Your review game should include 3-4 categories of terminology and 1-2 categories of novels/plays. This website allows you to build review games for free without creating an account: www.jeopardylabs.com
When you have finished creating this tool, post the link as a comment to this blog. When we are done, there will be many different review tools that can be used by all of the students in the class.
The second half of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
concerns these key issues in the novel:
- Gatsby's past and how it relates to his life in West Egg
- The shifting moral code of the 1920s
- The American dream
- Disenfranchised people
Post a message that responds to one of the following questions concerning these issues. Make sure to comment on a topic you haven't addressed previously. Remember to be specific in your response and to refer to the novel to support your ideas.
- What have you learned about Gatsby's character, and how do you judge him — is he a failure, a romantic, a great man, or something else?
- If Fitzgerald were alive today, would he find American society corrupted by materialism and a lack of morality? Or would he be impressed by the gains that the disenfranchised have made?
- Daisy chooses not to make a statement that she always loved Gatsby and never loved Tom. Explain whether you agree or disagree with Daisy's decision, which essentially means she'll stop seeing Gatsby and stay married to Tom.
- What is Fitzgerald's commentary on the American dream, and do you agree or disagree with his position?
As a follow-up posting, comment on whether you agree or disagree, and why, with another student's posting.
The first five chapters of The Great Gatsby
give you a sense of what life in the Roaring Twenties was like for a variety of people.
This activity gives you a chance to extend your thinking about four key elements of the novel:
- Gatsby's character
- The shifting moral code of the 1920s
- The American dream
- People who are disenfranchised (deprived of access to the same rights or privileges as the wealthy).
Post two separate messages
that each responds to one of the following questions. Remember to be specific in your response and refer to the novel to support your ideas.
- What have you learned about Gatsby's character, and how do you think he gained his millions?
- How does the shifting moral code of the 1920s compare to today's moral code?
- What is your conception of the American dream, and how does it differ from the conception that Fitzgerald seems to be presenting in the novel?
- Who are America's disenfranchised, according to Fitzgerald? In what ways has the quality of life and status of these people improved, and in what ways do they remain disenfranchised?
As a follow-up posting, comment on whether you agree or disagree, and why, with at least two
other students' postings.
Take your time and be thorough. This activity is worth 30 points (10 points for each of your two initial posts, 5 points for each of your responses).
Since its initial publication in the early-twentieth century, T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" has challenged readers' assumptions about poetry. This is a very challenging poem, and to better understand it (since we ran out of time during class), you might want to check out some commentary. The Sparknotes on this poem are adequate, but I think that Shmoop does a better job on this one, and it is a much more interesting site. http://www.shmoop.com/love-song-alfred-prufrock/
Once you feel comfortable with the poem, post a message that responds to one of the statements below. You can say why you agree or disagree with a statement, or how you might want to modify it so it better reflects your understanding of the poem. Your response should include references to the poem, and at least two actual quotations from the poem (with line numbers).
- Poems such as "Prufrock" are less direct than more conventional poetry, but they leave the reader with more to think about.
- In several places, "Prufrock" reflects the modernist disillusionment with life in the early-twentieth century.
- Many of the modernist ideas underlying "Prufrock" are still meaningful today.
As a follow-up posting, comment on the ideas in a classmate's posting, explaining why you agree or disagree with those ideas.
Now that you've finished both "The Yellow Wallpaper," it's time to discuss your understanding of the story's conclusion.
Many critics disagree about how to read the story's ending. Some see the narrator as a heroine who breaks free of her oppression; others see her as a woman who simply loses her mind. The final few lines from the story, shown below, have been interpreted in various ways.
"'I've got out at last,' said I, 'in spite of you and Jane. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!' Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time."
What do you think happens at the end of the story? Post a message addressing one or more of the following sets of questions:
- What evidence do you have to support whether or not the narrator goes crazy at the end of the story? Who do you think Jane is (the first reference to her appears in the final two lines of the story)?
- Does the narrator succeed in rebelling against her husband because he faints, and she walks over him? Does she escape his constraint? Do you think she'll be free of societal restrictions now or encounter more restrictions?
Don't forget to respond to one of your classmates' posts!
In part I of this novella, darkness has many different meanings at various points in the story.
For this discussion, find a quotation in part I that mentions darkness. In your post, discuss this reference to darkness by considering the following questions:
- What does the darkness represent?
- How does it link to the journey through Africa?
- How does it link to Marlow?
- How does it link to human nature?
- What insight into the meaning of the story does this reference to darkness give us?
Make sure to include the whole quotation in your post.
When you have finished, respond to one of your classmates' posts.
Herman Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener" baffled readers when it was first published in 1853. It continues to confuse readers who don't always understand why Bartleby continually insists "I would prefer not to" when asked to do anything at the law office where he works. Readers have also been confused about the role of the narrator and whether he's genuinely concerned about Bartleby's fate.
What do you think about these issues? Post your thoughts by addressing one or both of the following sets of questions:
What motivates Bartleby's refusal to work or even eat by the end of the story? What do you think Melville is trying to say about office work? Do you admire or look down on Bartleby as a character? Is he rebellious or simply crazy?
Is the narrator genuinely concerned about Bartleby's well being, or is he simply trying to make himself feel better? What evidence do you have to support your claim?
After you post a response, respond to at least two classmates. Be sure to engage in real discussion for full credit.
One of the dominant themes of the Romantic movement is a close relationship with nature. Reflect on the three poems by Emily Dickinson that we read in class this week. In a well-developed paragraph using evidence from at least two of the poems, describe how Dickinson demonstrates that connection with nature.
After you have finished, please take a few moments to read others' responses, and give someone some meaningful feedback on their post.
In class, we discussed in great depth that this poem describes man's desire to build a paradise for oneself. Specifically, we talked about Coleridge's opium addiction as his attempt to create that paradise.
This is not the only interpretation of this poem. Another approach would say that Coleridge's poem asserts that ever since original sin, mankind has longed to return to Eden and the god-given paradise. Coleridge seems to say that man does this in vain, because Nature thwarts all attempts at this and paradise is forever lost.
Consider this alternate interpretation, and locate evidence that could be used to justify its acceptance. Explain how Coleridge seems to indicate man's desire to return to Eden, and also how Nature always thwarts man's attempts. (Don't forget that human nature might also be considered part of nature.)
Finally, read and respond to at least one classmate's post. Make sure your response adds something to the discussion, beyond simply agreeing with or encouraging another student.
Blake's "The Lamb" is from his book, Songs of Innocence, while "The Tyger" is from Songs of Experience. Consider these poems together, and in a well-developed paragraph, compare and contrast, addressing the following:
- What message does Blake seem to be conveying with these poems? How do these poems reflect the characteristics of Romantic poetry?
- What poetic devices (figurative language, symbolism, imagery, diction, tone, etc...) did Blake use, and how do they help convey his Romantic themes?
When you have finished, be sure to critically read a classmates post, and in a reply, point out something that you agree with as well as something that perhaps they didn't think of or you saw differently.
Your initial post is worth 10pts, and the follow up reply is worth 5pts.