A new high school book group is starting this week. We will be reading “Slapstick” by Kurt Vonnegut. I am told it is a quick and easy read. Please acquire it and be ready to begin reading by Dec. 12th.
In the meantime, please read the Susan Sontag essay on photography and be ready to discuss it on Wednesday if you are in advanced English.
Please post agenda items for Communitas 12 to the comments of this post.
“In an hour and a half, the artist’s eyes had seen enough of beauty to keep ten men busy for fifty years while in over fifty years the eyes of the other man had seen nothing.” — The writer, John Speed, on walking through the woods with the painter, William Merritt Chase.
This week we are going to discuss “creative reading” as opposed to writing.
Once you learn to read and that process has been routinized and internalized, why is it that different people reading the same material reach different conclusions? Or to put this another way, why is there ambiguity (uncertainty or inexactness of meaning in language)? Why is there a misunderstanding? What happens in the movement from decoding the characters on the page or screen to creating an interpretation of what those characters, considered in context, might mean that causes one reader’s mind to go in one direction and another reader’s mind to go in different directions?
For many students, the mystery of how teachers-and experts, in general–read is never solved. For these students, the experience of higher-order literacy, where reading and writing become ways to create new ideas remains out of reach. I don’t want this to happen to you!
The first step in this assignment is this (the next step will come at the end of the week):
- Research Diane Arbus in a way that is comfortable to you. You will find many resources about her on-line (as well as movies, documentaries, ect..). On Friday be ready to discuss your research about Arbus and give your opinion of her work. Your research should run pretty deep – I would at least look at five sources. You should keep notes to help you remember your main points (copying and pasting from different places into one doc. is fine). I would also suggest you jot down questions you have while researching Arbus. Keep those questions, they will help the group discussion on Friday.
On Monday we will have our final discussion about Slaughterhouse-Five. Ideas to consider:
- the effect of war on society;
- the value of time;
- in what ways are our lives “pre-programmed”;
- how do people cope with traumatic events;
- in what ways is life fair/unfair;
- how can a person change his/her fate
What are your ideas on these topics? What do you believe Billy Pilgrim’s ideas would be?
We will meet again the Wednesday after break. Please read through the chapter “Here Kitty Kitty.”
For Friday’s discussion read to chapter 8.
Well, this was one result and I am in love with it.
There Were Signs
there were signs
signs that told us to stop
to keep off
to think about it
signs designed to scare us
to deter us
to frighten us
but we plowed ahead
we chose not to notice the sky slowly fade to black
we chose not to look when the flowers started to wilt
we ignored the debris that piled up behind us
we ignored the scorched land we created
maybe back then we had a chance
but that door is closed
forever blocked off
we tried to hold on
at the end
we really did
all that remains of those efforts are handprints strung along the walls
we were too late
we died out
sprawled on the concrete
mounds of nothing
left for the maggots to chew through
but these weren’t our only holes
eventually, we will fade away and be nothing more than a footprint left in the dust
we can’t complain about this
we do not get angry
we are not allowed to be sad
because we knew