Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oedipus and Coldplay

Viva La Vida Analysis 

Oedipus is an example of a Greek tragedy.  Using your book or notes, identify the traits of tragedy, tragic hero and tragic flaw.  After listening to Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, use the lyrics to determine if the song also qualifies as a tragedy.

1. In your own words, tell the king’s story.

2. What details are provided to argue that the king might be a tragic hero?
3. Describe the king’s tragic flaw?

4. What lines in the final stanza allow you to believe that the king has changed.

5. How is this song relate to the other archetypal stories we read?

Short Fiction

We read Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl - following the reading, please respond to the following prompts:

Why does Mary kill her husband?  Explore the possibilities of what Patrick told Mary.  Describe their relationship before the murder.  Is Mary a victim or a villain?
How does the author create suspense?  What literary devices are used to help with this?
Explain the dramatic irony at the conclusion of the story.  What effect does this create?  Give an example of verbal irony from the story.  Considering the idiomatic expression "leading the lamb to the slaughter"  theorize about the irony in the title.

We read A Perfect Day for Bananafish by J.D. Salinger - following the reading, please respond to the following prompts:
  • How would the second half of the story be different, had we not first witnessed the conversation between Muriel and her mother? How does this first scene inform the second one?
  • Consider the use of numbers in "A Perfect Day for Bananafish." (Room 507, six bananas, six tigers, the 7.65 automatic.) Is there any coincidence here?
  • The Big Question: Why does Seymour kill himself? Is there supposed to be a clear answer to this question, or not?
We read Luck by Mark Twain  following the reading, please wr ite a response to the story in your journal.  In your journal entry, please start by writing about whether it is better to be lucky or to be good.  Following that, please explain how the following terms apply to the story:  Tone, Topic and Theme and Point of View.
Antag onist
Dramatic irony
Dynamic Character
Falling Action
Figurative language
First person narrator
Verbal Irony
Point of View

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

We are in the process of reading the Greek play Oedipus and will transition into reading The Iliad by Homer.  As a transitional piece, please read the following passage about the Trojan War and the life of Odysseus.   

"After the Trojan War, Odysseus (also known as Ulysses) is imprisoned by Poseidon because of an offense he had committed. The gods decide he should be released and he begins his journey home. He and his men experience a wide variety of adventures including encountering a Cyclops and Sirens. When he returns home he must prove his love to his wife and vanquish her suitors."

Also, please complete the following discussion questions and view the film with the questions in mind.  

Film Discussion Questions:
1. What elements make this film a period piece (set in a particular time and place)?

2. When the stranger warns Everett Ulysses McGill, Delmar, and Pete that they’ll “find treasure, but not the sort they’re looking for," what treasure is he referring to?
What treasure are the three characters hoping to find?

3. Where does the title O, Brother Where Art Thou originate?

4. The movie is loosely based on Homer’s Odyssey in which the Greek warrior Odysseus ( known as Ulysses) spends ten years of his life enduring bizarre adventures as he tries to return home to his wife Penelope after the Trojan War. What similarities do you see between the Odyssey and O, Brother Where Art Thou?

5. Bluegrass music is an important part of the film. What role does it play and what does it add to the movie?

6. A road movie is one in which character(s) embark on a journey of self discovery on the road or through travel. How does this movie do that?

7. What elements of humor are evident in the movie?

8. What is your favorite scene of the movie?

9. Some critics of the film say that O, Brother Where Art Thouconsists of great bits and pieces rather than a cohesive or complete film. Do you agree/disagree with this?


Monday, April 12, 2010


Based on the following prompts, state whether you agree or disagree and cite examples for each. 1. It is possible to escape your fate. 2. We should not attempt to justify our actions. 3. Family secrets should be kept as secrets. 4. Society blames the child for the sins of his parents. 5. There is more than one way to see. 6. There are no coincidences.