Odyssey season is upon us! Unless you too want to wander around the rocky islands of 9th Grade trying to get home, you would do well to heed our Olympian decree to keep up with the readings and get that final project done.
For the (24!) books of the epic, you have plenty of resources in getting the gist of the plot so you can focus more on our essential questions and archetypes. So, as the grey-eyed one provided Odysseus the tools he needed to be successful, this post is Part I of our mission to get you out of here in one, sophomoric, piece.
Besides the class books and graphic novels/comics, check out these links to get your Mentor on!
Traditional guides: the safety net of Sparknotesand the too-cool-for-school ethos of Shmoop(which has some funny infographics peppered throughout, and way too many popups…)
Full-text versions of the epic: including Ian Johnston’s recent translationout of Vancouver Island University, and two prose translations, old(A.T. Murray) and older (Samuel Butler).
And some really interesting new-media options: including some open/ed. designs from our community of Padlet(this one’s Verity Webster’s) and a fascinating, and highly distracting, clickable offeringfrom Emery University’s Carlos Museum. Clicking on the Greecetab will take you to the interactive site (Flash required).
Of course, we have the in-class options, but the Odyssey is one of the biggest stories ever told! You should journey onto the kool-aid seas of the internet to get the best version for you.
Freshmen! Welcome to theater. We begin this week in, er, the Beginning! The Ancient Greeks are credited with the invention of modern theater, and you are learning all about ’em this week through the City Dionysia packet. To complete the prompts, visit the most excellent resource of ARTSEDGE, the Education in Arts wing of the Kennedy Center.
Visit the site, which opens up in your first section: Prologue.
Can you believe it?! Not much sense in thinking backwards now – so let’s go ahead and get started! Here is the welcome back slideshow airing in the Back to School evening event. Only those present will hear the soulful tunes and receive the wicked handouts, but all can be redeemed when school officially tarts next week. See ya then!
Hope the no-wifi game isn’t the only thing to keep you entertained over your unexpected break! If internet has been restored (which I am assuming to be true, as you are reading this post…), be sure to e-mail me any missing assignments – SWRPapers, Unit 5 Reflective Essays, Annotated Bibliographies – because the 3rd Quarter is over! All grades are final on Tuesday. If I don’t have it then, there’s not much I can do.
For more fun and games, why don’t you check out this sweet game my wife made for one of her classes. It serves as Shakespeare Connections/Exploration Amazingness! No extra credit is being offered as of yet, but maybe you can earn a “Super Awesome” Prize if you solve the puzzle!
Ah, February. For many, the month brings to mind snowdrifts, Valentines, and the peculiarity of a short month made a little longer every four years. But for others, February is about a different kind of romance – the marriage of classic literature and “ultraviolent zombie mayhem”. To wit, 2013 offered Warm Bodies, a film – based on a book – based on Romeo and Juliet (plus zombies). This Friday marks the release of an undead, overdue film – based on a book – that may have started it all: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. While the film itself should be a delight (for those who like proper English ladies unsheathing decapitations upon dreadful Satan-spawn), the source material is not to be missed either.
Written by Seth Grahame-Smith (who also penned Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter), this novel comes from one of my favorite publishers Quirk Books, purveyor of all things interesting, literary, and, well, quirky (see: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and Horrorstör, to name a few). Although eminently readable for its funniness and formally choreographed carnage, the genius behind PPZ is its authenticity in tone to Jane Austen’s 1813 original. The manners and style that so occupy the Bennet sisters are retained, only now the ladies must sharpen swords and their martial arts skills in addition to proper dance form and social etiquette. Also, the addition of “the dreadfuls” may clarify, for modern readers, some of the context and inferred elements of the novel, adding an undead focus.
The zombie trend, in my opinion, may have largely run its course. Walking undead, such as vampires and zombies, aren’t really my thing, at least. However, there is an undeniable appeal in the zeitgeist in imagining an endless horde of mindless consumers slowly, but surely, eroding the fabric of society. Perhaps it was the same in Regency England! If you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em…er, join ’em. For Brit. Lit. students, please consider PPZ as an option for the Unit 4 novels (or seek out sequels and spinoffs such as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters or Android Karenina). There may also be an extra credit opportunity for using the movie as an excuse to get literary – as if you needed one!
This incredible novel is available in the school library again, but I expect it will be checked out soon! How I managed to grab it for a quick reread is an unfathomable mystery, but a happy opportunity for me to revisit Jandy Nelson’s second book. Nelson is an incredible talent, and well-deserving of the praise she, and this imaginative, artistic novel, have received. This is a young adult book in terms of characters and setting, but the language and conviction are definitely skewed for older, retrospective readers.
Jude and Noah are twins, and each tells half of the story in this novel. Noah’s story describes age 13, when each sibling begins branching out and staking a claim – for art, for romance, for themselves. Jude’s story is set three years later, and by age 16 both twins have seen their worlds dramatically change. They’re barely speaking, but somewhere in the space between them are the answers and truths to bridge their fractured universes. A good novel convinces you to like the protagonists. In reading this novel – no exaggeration! – I fell in love with the characters. Nelson captures the voices and personalities of these people so well that it feels like the high school story you never had, but would have jumped for without another thought.
In addition to the characterization and powerful themes, this novel has electric language. The figurative voice – invisible museums and kaleidoscopic connections – is in the upper echelon of great writers. It’s John Green on hyperdrive, soaked in Neruda and Whitman. That said, Nelson is of her own, and you will undoubtedly fall hard for her, Noah, and Jude (especially Jude). Get ahead of the cultural momentum and read this book before it explodes onto the scene!
It certainly has been a busy month, and I think we are all looking forward to the well-deserved break. Before we go, however, I’ve got an opportunity to be not-so-secret Santa to one or two good boys or girls who check out the class website! It is the holidays after all, and one of the best presents was Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
In my possession are two different t-shirts (sized large) that I’m gonna give to the first two students who find the Golden Ticket. “The Golden Ticket?!” – you may well ask. It looks like this:
It is hidden in one of the previous posts (from Halloween on, let’s say). Using your mouse and some keen detective skills, you can find the magic stub! Follow the directions that show up with it, and you’re on your way to the best-styled Christmas this side of the galaxy.