Extra Credit for the 2nd Marking Period has been posted to the handouts page!
Please note that it is due on Feb. 3th (B day) and Feb. 4th (A day).
After reading Chapter 10 of A Separate Peace, check out this interesting interpretation of the scene between Gene and Leper.
Please comment on this interpretation below!
"What I mean is, I love winter, and when you really love something, then it loves you back, in whatever way it has to love" (Knowles 111).
Chapters 7 and 8 are interesting because of the emotional roller coaster that Gene experiences. He continues to feel deeply affected by the incident with Finny, and then he decides he wants to start a fresh by going into the army, then he changes his mind because Finny has return to Devon. One would think that the fall would have driven a wedge between the two; instead, the fall has resulted in a tightening of the strange bond between the two so called friends. How is it possible you ask? First, Finny does seem to possess a genuine love for Gene, and, because they're friends, it doesn't occur to him that Gene might not love him back or reciprocate the friendship. (Kids.... I'm talking a purely platonic love here!) It is important to remember that Finny assumes that other people approach the world in the same way that he does. Just look at the conversation he and Gene had about studying! Simply put, Finny assumes that love is always reciprocated. The other side to all of this is a bit darker- we have already seen evidence of Gene’s eagerness to lose himself in Finny, to give up his identity and live as a part of his friend but now, in Finny’s enthusiasm to train Gene in athletics, we observe how Finny, too, contributes to this process, welcoming this sacrifice on Gene’s part. He is allowing Gene to become him; he is vicariously living his dreams through him.
We're moving forward with A Separate Peace. I hope you enjoy the bit of the movie we are able to see thus far. I feel that allowing you to see what is happening in conjunction with reading it, really helps to meld the story into something truly amazing!
When we left last week, we see Gene making a bit of a transformation. I know many of you were awestruck (or even creeped out) with him putting on Gene's pink shirt. The more I go back and read it, the better I understand exactly what is happening...by putting on Finny’s clothes and mimicking Finny’s expressions in the mirror, Gene has blurred the line that separates his own identity from that of his "best friend". To look at this from a psychologist POV, one could argue that to alleviate his guilt about "pushing" Finny from the tree, Gene seeks to escape his "self" and find refuge in someone else’s identity. Moreover, while becoming Finny allows Gene to escape his own guilty conscience, it also enables him to eradicate the feelings at the base of that guilt. Gene feels guilty about the accident because he knows how envious he was of Finny and cannot help but wonder if his envy somehow influenced his actions. Here's the really twisted part, by dressing up as Finny, Gene has purged himself of this envy by becoming the very object of it. :::GASP:::
We're going to take sometime this week to better understand Knowles characters and how we are able to draw the conclusions we do. Please keep in mind there will be a vocab quiz on Chapters 1-5 on Wednesday and Thursday!
One of the things we are going to start to notice while reading A Separate Peace is the interesting dynamic in the relationship between Gene and Finny. As we're about to read, Finny decides he's going to rock a pink Polo to afternoon tea. While any other boy at the Devon School would've been beat up for such a fashion statement, Finny will of course get away with it and Gene is of course irked by it. How come Finny can pull off anything he wants? Gene thinks that it just isn't fair. Is this kind of jealousy normal between friends?
Towards the end of Chapter 2, something pretty intense is going to happen as and Chapter 3 opens, Gene is going to reflect upon what happened. Do you think he is grateful? Seeing how Gene is jealous of Finny, and he could very well be upset that Finny has done something good that could've potentially put Gene in the weaker position. (Remember, they seem to subconsciously fighting for top dog.) I wonder if there will ever be a balance between these two.
Continue to investigate the chapters for evidence. Are these two truly friends?
We're kicking off a new unit; John Knowles' classic, A Separate Peace. It is the story of Gene Forrester, a man of about 30 years old, who visits his old boarding school, Devon and thinks back to his time there when he was 16. This book is truly a coming of age story where one realizes that sometimes you keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. :-)
To get a greater sense of what we are about to embark on, I highly recommend seeing a personal favorite of mine: Dead Poet's Society.
We've come to the end of our poetry unit! AAAANNNDDDDDD we're going to jump back to the founder of horror and terror himself.... Edgar Allan Poe! We will be discussing his most famous poem The Raven and an excellent example of onomatopoeia, The Bells.
You will have an independent project to work on over break and it will be due November 24 & 25. Please note you WILL NOT be given class time to work on this project.
This week we will be tackling Robert Frost's famous poem, "The Road Not Taken". This poem is tremendously impactful not only for it's beautiful metaphor but because it is simply inspiring.
Most people have been faced with a fork in an actual road or path, and not been sure which path to go down. Of course, today, we can whip out a GPS or cell phone and figure out which is the correct path. But if we're beyond the reach of satellites, we just make a choice, unaided by technology. We might pick the road that gets us where we want to go, or one that takes us somewhere new, but either way, the road we choose takes us to where we are.
Just like trying to pick a path when we're driving or walking, we've all had to choose from different paths in life: which classes to take, what college to go to, which girl or boy to ask to prom – the list of life's choices is endless. And for every metaphorical road we take in life, there is a road not taken – the club we didn't join, the class we didn't take, the words we didn't say.
One of the big questions we face is whether or not to take the well-beaten, typical path. Is that the best choice, or should we be non-conformists and take the less-traveled route? Years into the future, after making our decision, how will we feel about the path we've chosen?
Frost's "The Road Not Taken" is about these quandaries, present in every person's life. A lot of people think this poem is encouraging us to take the road that's less traveled. And while it's easy to fall into that well-beaten path of analysis, it's not exactly accurate. So make sure that when you read this poem, you take your own road, whether it's the road less traveled or not.
On the road again,
See what I did there?! I wrote a 6-Word Memoir about Poetry! Go ahead say it..."Super Corny Mrs. McCrady!" : -P
We're now onto our Poetry Unit! Now while I enjoy all genres of writing, poetry seems to come the most natural to me. My mom says I must have written greeting cards in a past life!
To kick off the week, I have a PowerPoint Presentation on the different elements that make up poetry. Then we will be focusing on some well known poems and writing some of our own!
This unit specifically gives us an awesome opportunity- I enter our best poems into the Creative Communications National Poetry Contest where you can win the opportunity to get published and/or a scholarship! I've had my students enter this contest for the last 8 years and every year I've had students published! Let's go for lucky number 9!!!!
Conferences are also upon us- I'm very excited to meet your families!
You are all doing a great job! We're off to a great start in walking through our 5 paragraph essay and our Jigsaw activity really set a foundation for your "Black Cat" paragraph. This week we're going to hammer out the rest of the body paragraphs as well as the intro and conclusion. Do not fear! I have tip and tricks sheets to help you along the way!
Here's some helpful info for you! If you would like to have me look over your essay before it is due, contact me by 5pm Saturday and I'll be happy to pop into it and give you some feedback. Please just note that I will be juggling this and working this weekend so I may not get back to you immediately. If there is something specific you want me to look at, include that in your email as well.
Best of Luck!
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