Death of a Salesman

We’re spending the next few weeks studying Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. We’ll be looking at this famous play from the perspective of a modern tragedy and how it differs from its ancient Greek and Shakespearean cousins. Also, we’ll examine the play as social criticism of the American Dream, urbanization, and twentieth-century capitalism. I guess you didn’t need me to tell you that junior year is all about tragedy…

The Great Gatsby

Set in Great Neck, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s finest and best known novel is a portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald’s–and America’s–most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. But it’s also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby’s quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The tale of Gatsby’s rise to glory and eventual fall from grace is both an ecstatic romance and a somber view of the American Dream. [adapted from]

Here are the REVISED Chapter Assignments:

Chapter 5 – Expect a QUIZ on Ch. 5 only, Friday 3/18
Chapter 4 – Mind Map DUE Tuesday, 3/15
Chapter 3 – Mind Map, Study Questions, & Lit. Luminary DUE 3/8
Chapter 2 – Mind Map DUE Friday, 3/4; expect a QUIZ on Ch. 2
Chapter 1 – Mind Map DUE Tuesday, 3/1

Get the text of the novel online.

5 Tips for Writing a Superb Style Analysis

  1. Start with the poem’s overall meaning, and then give a guided tour of the poem (see paragraphs 2-3 in my model for an example of a “guided tour”).
  2. Use the ICE Technique effectively and demonstrate you know how to quote from a poem in a prose essay.
  3. Avoid cliches like the plague: “The poet makes me feel like I’m really there” or “Poems mean whatever you want them to mean.” Ugh.
  4. Avoid complimenting the poet: “Emily Dickinson is the shizzle!” Praising a poem is not the same as appreciating it or analyzing it.
  5. Refer to the narrator of the poem as “the speaker,” and never assume the speaker is the poet.

The Poetry Project – Day 2

So far you’ve…

  • chosen a poem whose “voice” appealed to you in some way.
  • annotated the poem noting unfamiliar words, literary elements, and beautiful and/or difficult passages.
  • responded in your WNB to the poem’s subject, impact on you, and literary elements /structure.

Now it’s time to take the poem you chose on Day 1 and write a Style Analysis that addresses how the poem’s diction, point of view, and tone contribute to its overall meaning (see the keynote: Poetry Project 11R – Day 2).

An “A” Style Analysis will…

  • discuss what, to you, the poem is about.
  • discuss the poem’s impact on you.
  • analyze the literary elements & strategies in the poem including tone, diction, & point of view and how they affect the poem’s meaning.
  • quote directly from the poem using the I.C.E. technique
  • avoid referring to or consulting with any outside critical source–only what YOU think matters.
  • be typed and double-spaced.
  • be submitted to by 11:59 p.m. on 2/28/16

Literature Circles 2.0

BooksLiterature Circles, our small, book discussion groups are back again, and the theme this time is nonfiction! Make sure you check your planning sheet so you know when our next meeting is, what you have to read up to, and what ‘s expected in your next Literary Letter. Remember to bring your book to class every day.

Lay on, Macduff!

19943_nicholas_gleaves_as_macbeth_at_the_royal_exchange[1]For the next few weeks we’ll be focusing on Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth–it’s the bloodiest and briefest of the major tragedies. Check back here often to make sure you’re keeping up with assignments. Along with wrapping our tongues around Shakespeare’s poetry, we’ll be exploring the mind of a murderer, studying Shakespeare’s rhetoric, determining if fate or free will governs the universe, and analyzing how Shakespeare’s brand of tragedy differs from its modern cousins (i.e. Death of a Salesman). You’ll also get to do a little performing along the way as well…

UPDATE: Extra Help will be given after school on Thursday, 12/3 at 2:35 in rm. 452 for next Monday’s TEST on Macbeth, Acts 1-2. Aside from the characters and general plot, you should also know these KEY TERMS: characterization; dramatic irony; soliloquy; aside; implied stage direction; blocking a scene; tableau; doubling; black box; em dash; elision; enjambment; couplet; metaphor; simile; imagery; blank verse; prose; word painting; mood vs. tone; comic relief; bawdy humor; antithesis; equivocal language (equivocation); appearance vs. reality (public vs. private), and the “dramatic possibilities of the text.” Also, review all handouts, key quotations, the Polanski Viewing Guides, and notes from class!

Halfway Writer’s Notebook Check (1Q)

ItWNB‘s coming soon! To reward the people who are keeping up with their Writer’s Notebook, the halfway check could happen at any time. Bring your WNB to class every day and by 10/5 you’d want to have approximately 25 pages in the front section and 25 words properly formatted in the Vocabulary Section. Be sure to get unfamiliar words from the essays and short stories we’ve been reading in class so far this year…

Literature Circles

Time to read!
Time to read!

Literature Circles, our small, book discussion groups, have formed! Make sure you check your planning sheet so you know when our next meeting is, what you have to read up to, and what ‘s expected in your next Literary Letter. Remember to bring your book to class every day.

Your Autobiographical Poem

We’re starting the year by standing on the shoulders of greatness! Using Walt Whitman and Lawrence Ferlinghetti as models, we’re all writing our own catalogue free verse poems that detail in a list form the images, sounds, smells, tastes, textures, and experiences of our lives. Here are the strategies & structures your poem needs to utilize:

  • Catalogue free verse (a list poem that doesn’t rhyme)
  • Concrete imagery
  • Alliteration
  • Repetition (either anaphora or a frame technique)
  • First-person point of view
  • A title that creates an image or captures the reader’s attention
  • Say at least one surprising thing (like Ferlinghetti) or make a bold statement (like Whitman)

The poem is due in class on Monday, September 21. By 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, 9/22, submit to a 1-2 pg. typed, double-spaced reflection on the process of creating your poem. Look back at the models distributed in class for ideas. And be ready to read your poem aloud! We’re all going to have a chance to share our autobiographies.

Welcome Back!

Welcome to English 11R and the beginning of a brand new year! Here’s what you need to get through the first few days:

  • a 1-subject spiral or marble wide-ruled notebook (NOT a 5 or 3-subject notebook and avoid college-ruled paper. You’ll soon see why…)
  • some loose-leaf paper
  • a ring binder or folder in which to store handouts
  • a copy of the Course Requirements

Also, we hope you’ve been enjoying the Summer Reading Assignment. Take a look at it on the Great Neck website, and we’ll talk more about it in class soon!