Rudimentary Reader Response: Directions

The book you’ve chosen to read is the culmination of our year of reading, just like your last, choice-driven essay is the culmination of our year of writing. We began with 50-word short stories; now we end with a full-length novel you chose on your own.

Next week, we will begin preparations for your final exam and Regents Exam. Your book will be part of those preparations, because most of you will be able to use that book as evidence in the essay you write for the Regents. This week, you will be discussing your book with each other through the comments section of this website.

Obviously, not everyone will have finished. That’s a sad but ineluctable result of this process. But even those of you who didn’t finish have a lot to discuss. This process reflects your management of time and your understanding of your reading habits, not just your experience reading a text; more importantly, what I am asking you to do requires only that you read something. Finishing will help, but it is not necessarily required.

The carrot for this : This is another adversarial score, and you will only receive points for what you contribute to this discussion online. We’ve practiced this kind of thinking-through-writing exercise far too often; you need another chance to see its benefits.

Note: You will need to go to the next post in order to have the conversation. These are just the directions:

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Research-Driven Writing Response

Below is a link to the prompt and outline distributed in class on Tuesday, May 7. It details what is due by May 20, when you will begin submitting these essays. A copy has been emailed to you and shared on Google Drive, as well.

We will look at these instructions together, but the onus for the actual response is on you. You must create a plan and execute it. You may work together, and you should work with me when necessary; conferences, including email, are essential to this sort of inquiry-based learning.

Formal Argument: Essential Questions

Click below to load the guide to essential questions that we covered in class:

Now that we’ve had a chance to conference, and now that your essential question has been approved, you can begin discussing your thinking. This will be raw insight that may eventually focus your research, writing, and revision work.

To help get you started, post your essential question in the comments below. All top tier comments should be essential questions; all replies should be in answer to them. That’s your next adversarial goal: to discuss your thoughts on your peers’ essential questions in this space.

Books, Choice, and Self-Efficacy: Q4

Due date: Finish your book by Thursday, May 23. We will begin to work with them on that day.

By now, you’ve had a pair of lessons devoted to discussing and choosing a book to read during the fourth quarter. You’ve heard from your peers, gotten feedback from me, and begun the proposal process. This post is a chance to earn more points toward our current adversarial by posting your proposals and responding to your classmates.

First, a quick rundown:

  • You will commit to reading a book of your choice this quarter.
  • Your choice must be approved by me.
  • You’ll submit a proposal by 4/24.
  • The due date will be set once all proposals are approved.
  • You will write a reader-response essay after finishing your book.

Second, a few lengthier guidelines:

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Collaborative Comparative Analysis: Invisible Men

Note: This assignment has been revamped as of Monday, April 8. It’s now significantly easier.

Assignment: Comparative Literary Analysis

Due Date: Monday, April 15

Google Drive Requirements

  • Choose a group of any size, or choose to work alone.
  • Open a Google Drive document and complete all of the essay, from start to finish, in this one document.
  • Share that document with me.

Other Submission Requirements

  • Follow our old protocol for this: Finish your Google Drive document, print a copy, and upload a copy to (when that window is opened on Friday). See the Resources page for the complete step-by-step guide.

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James Whale’s “The Invisible Man”

Claude Rains as Jack Griffin (1933)

Note: Your current adversarial grade will also include any contributions you make to this post. See the end for more information.

For the last leg of our comparative analysis unit, we will watch the film version of The Invisible Man.  Your guiding and essential questions for this:

  1. What makes a character sympathetic?
  2. What does it mean to be the hero or villain in a narrative?
  3. How does the character of Griffin in the film version of The Invisible Man differ from his counterpart in the novel?
  4. Why do filmmakers alter the source material for a narrative?

You will take notes in class as we watch the movie, and (unlike with the novel) you won’t be able to return easily to the film to confirm a detail or quotation, which makes your note-taking skills central.  Focus on the big changes to the narrative: the introduction of new characters, the deletion of supporting characters, the shifts in characters’ motivations, the new and altered conflicts (especially the element of star-crossed romance), the climax, and the ending.

On YouTube (for the moment, at least) is an uncontested copy of James Whale’s film.  Remember that some older texts and movies are in the public domain; our novel is, for example, and that means we can read the complete text for free.  The film is not, and that makes our use of it acceptable only under fair use guidelines.  If the clips located at the following site are removed, you will need to rent or borrow a copy of the film to fill in any gaps in your viewing.

Adversarial assignment: Use the comments section of this post to share notes on the changes made to the narrative, plus any other observations you’ve made about the way the film is constructed. Insightful and collaborative commentary will earn you more points toward your final Q3 adversarial grade.

TIM Adversarial: Sympathy for the Devil

In the light of our latest weather-related delay, we’re going to move some of the adversarial discussion of the end of The Invisible Man to this online format. Don’t lose sight of the portfolio work that is due on Friday; instead, let this post be an augmentation opportunity. Add your questions, observations, and insights to the comments section.

Adversarial: Sympathy for the Devil (The Invisible Man, Chapters 26-27)

The central question for our study of the end of the narrative is this: To what extent can we sympathize with a murderer and would-be world conqueror?

To answer this question, you have to pull details from the text, quoting as often as possible and including important diction and imagery; then you must talk about the meaning of these details, i.e., how they change our opinion of Griffin.

Start with Chapter 26. Pull diction and imagery from the description of Wicksteed, the murder, and the aftermath of the murder (especially the disembodied voice described toward the end). Then explain what you think these details imply about this moment—what we really might describe as the point of no return for Griffin.

Then move on to Chapter 27. Focus all of your attention here on the letter Griffin writes at the beginning. This letter follows the unplanned murder of Wicksteed, and Griffin has somehow found his way from the “fountain of remorse” described by the narrator to this screed of murder and revenge. For this letter, complete a SOAPSTONE outline, ignoring the subject:

  • What is the immediate occasion? The larger one?
  • Who are the different audiences (and there are a few)? How are they described by Griffin?
  • What is his purpose? Where does he state it?
  • How does he refer to himself? What do these different names each imply?
  • Finally, what do you think the tone of this letter is, and where is it most obvious?

The more specific and insightful you are, the more points you’ll earn in class and online toward this adversarial grade. You can finish this throughout spring break; the window will close when we come back.