Powerpoint Poetry Slam!!!!
This is a multimedia Poetry Slam!!!!
First pick a news article or an excerpt from a true life memoire that highlights the theme of the "individual in American society".
This news article must involve real people and should inspire an emotional reaction.
You may also take a detailed chapter (not covered in class) from a book like "Dreams from my Father" and use that as inspiration for the Poetry Slam.
However, the issue or experience must deal with some aspect of American society. You may even find stories of everyday individuals dealing with a complicated family situation. Stay away from tabloid stories or overexposed current events. If you do something on say "Tent City"--be sure to bring a "human face" to the story or experience. You may even find a true life story that highlights the stress of being a modern American teenager. Or you may even find an inspirational American Dream story. And don't forget to read through the local papers looking for issues that affect the Norwalk community. Last but not least, you may even conduct a personal interview of a friend, family member, or teacher with an interesting life story to tell. Be aware, that you will have to put together a 2-page written transcript of the interview with questions. Just don't lose sight of the overarching theme of the "individual in American society".
The first 2-3 POWERPOINT slides need to highlight the individual experience (again a non-fiction news article, true life memoire, or personal interview must be utilized).
Then, craft an ORIGINAL POEM that is inspired from the theme(s) and ideas of the news article or story excerpt.
Remember, your original poem needs to be 20 lines--divided into 5 lines each--for a total of 4 stanzas. Therefore, you should have 4 POWERPOINT slides devoted to your own original poetry.
USE IMAGERY to enhance the style and deeper meaning of this original poem.
The Powerpoint presentation may include a streaming video and music but remember each slide should include one of the poetry stanzas. You may also write the poem in the first person "I" in order to craft a personal narrative style and a more dramatic confessional tone.
Finally, pick a MODERN SONG that underscores and highlights the theme of your poem as well as your source of inspiration. Include at least one excerpt from the song on one POWERPOINT slide and discuss how this modern song relates to your issue or experience of choice.
You may even center your Poetry Slam around a specific decade like the '60s or '70s. But pull out at least one defining historical moment or a groundbreaking individual story that will frame the entire presentation.
In addition to the song (which needs to be downloaded as part of the presentation or available on a CD), you need to find eye catching photographic images that mirror your original poetry.
The Great Gatsby
1) The theme of illusion appears frequently in the novel. Find one quote from the novel and the Steinbrink essay that speak to this theme. Be sure to explain each quote thoroughly as it relates to this theme.
2) The theme of disillusionment appears frequently in the novel. Find one quote from the novel and the Steinbrink essay that speak to this theme. Be sure to explain each quote thoroughly as it relates to this theme.
3) Why is Fitzgerald an ideal symbol for The Lost Generation? Be sure to consider specific and interesting details from Fitzgerald’s life as well as from what you know about The Lost Generation.
4) Quote Analysis:
“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter-tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning---“
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”
Think about the above quote as it relates to Fitzgerald’s deeper meaning.
Edgar Allan Poe:
by Douglas Scharf
Biographical Contexts For "The Fall of the House of Usher"
In the summer of 1838, Edgar Allan Poe left the city of New York, where he faced criticism and minimal recognition, and moved to Philadelphia, where he would soon gain profound success (Quinn 268). Just a year prior to this move, Poe married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, who accompanied him to Philadelphia (Wagenknecht 18). Little is known of Poe’s time in New York other than the fact that he faced severe poverty with total earnings amounting to under one hundred fifty dollars (Peeples 31). Therefore, since Philadelphia shared the prestige with New York as a publishing center, it offered Poe new publishing opportunities and opened the doors to success (Quinn 268). He found this success editing Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine from 1839-1840 and then Graham’s Magazine from 1841-1842 (Peeples 74). During this time, Poe delivered lectures on American poetry, published thirty-six tales including "William Wilson," "The Masque of the Red Death," and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," and also released a collection of stories in 1840 entitled Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (Peoples 74). It was during this peak of Poe’s publishing career that he published "The Fall of the House of Usher." This tale relates to various aspects of Poe’s life including his occupation as an editor, his battle with alcohol and drugs, his psychological and emotional well-being, and the impact of death on his life and work.
Although Poe found success while working for Burton and Graham, he did not find contentment, for neither Burton’s magazine nor Graham’s met Poe’s expectations of his ideal publication. Poe was frustrated with his career and aspired to edit a magazine of his own, a magazine of a higher class than that of Burton’s or Graham’s (Peeples 75). He strove towards the publication of his own magazine, which he would call the Penn and later change to Stylus, but Poe soon discovered his endeavors would be in vain. He blamed his failure on George Rex Graham, Poe’s employer, who agreed to financially support the Penn, but then withdrew his backing. Although it was during this time that Poe was most successful in terms of publishing his work, he was not financially prosperous. According to Scott Peeples, author of Edgar Allan Poe Revisited, "[i]n 1841, his best earning year, he probably made about $1,100, just above poverty-level wages by the standard of the time" (75).
One aspect of Poe’s life that may have been very influential in "The Fall of the House of Usher" was his drinking habits (Wagenknecht 30). Like many dimensions of Poe’s lifestyle, the severity of his drinking problem is often debated (30). It has been said that a single glass of wine would get Poe drunk and although this may not be exactly accurate, it can be said that one drink would affect him visibly (30). Poe was raised in a drinking society and an inclination for alcohol also seems to have been prevalent in his family (31). Although Poe was certainly a drinker, he did not a revel in the bars or taverns (32). According to Edward Wagenknecht, author of Edgar Allan Poe: The Man Behind The Legend, Poe "had neither the virtues nor the vices which flourish in the tavern atmosphere" (32). The immediate effect of such drinking habits was the endangerment to Poe’s health, but it also "made him an easy target for his literary enemies throughout the 1840s" (Peeples 77). Thomas Dunn English, in his temperance novel, The Doom of the Drinker, portrays a dishonest drunk evidently based on Poe (77).
In addition to his drinking practices, Poe’s use of opium has also been an issue of suspicion. Much of this suspicion is directly connected to "The Fall of the House of Usher" when Poe likens Roderick’s voice to that of an "irreclaimable eater of opium." According to Wagenknecht, this is "[o]ne of the most widely believed legends about American writer's," but he asserts "the evidence is quite unconvincing" despite the arguments of other biographers to the contrary (41). Wagenknecht bases his position on the testimony of "friends and associates" and the fact that "no medically-trained person who ever saw Poe supports the hypothesis of drug addiction" (42). Arthur Quinn, author of Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography, shares Wagenknecht’s position that "Poe was not a drug addict," and supports his argument with an account of an alleged suicide attempt by Poe in 1848 (Wagenknecht 43; Quinn 693). Poe is professed to have taken an ounce of a drug, which was rejected by his stomach. Quinn asserts that if Poe was a drug addict, he would have correctly calculated the proper lethal dosage (694). Quinn also notes the fact that opium was "frequently given in small doses for pain, and Poe may well have taken it in that form" (694).
Yet, another area of Poe’s life scrutinized by critics and readers was his psychological and emotional wellbeing, which also may have been influential in the writing of "The Fall of the House of Usher." Wagenknecht contends that "if [Poe] was mad, his whole generation was mad with him. Fascination with death was typical of the Romantic movement; so was the attraction of incest; so was the association of death with love" (57). Therefore, the historical context in which Poe published his work must be taken into consideration. Scott Peeples argues that Poe’s works were "written to appeal to popular tastes, and some elements that seem bizarre and grotesque to modern readers were in fact conventional" (77). They were written "for a mid-nineteenth-century American audience, whose frames of reference were in many respects different from those of late-twentieth-century readers" (77). Wagenknect then contends that in addition to the cultural understanding of Poe’s subject matter, an exploration of the methods by which Poe presents this material must also be considered (57). Poe’s material and subject matter may have often been aberrant, but his methods were not according to Wagenknect (57). "His heroes analyze their obsessions in a sane, perfectly logical way, and he presents the analysis in terms of a highly finished style" (57). Therefore, Poe’s work is less a reflection of his psychological state and more a reflection of his "immersion in his own place and time" (Peeples 77).
Finally, the theme of death in much of Poe’s work, including "The Fall of the House of Usher," may have been a direct reflection of Poe’s personal encounters with death. According to Peeples, "[e]ven the briefest biographies of Poe emphasize the impact that the deaths of loved ones – women especially – had on his work..." (46). His natural mother died when Poe was only two and his stepmother, France Allan, died in 1829 when Poe was twenty, but the most influential experience of death for Poe was that of his wife, Virginia in 1847 (Wagenknecht 19). Virginia contracted tuberculosis in 1842, which was followed by five years of "physical exhaustion and nervous collapse" for Poe (19). In addition, Peeples examines the cultural shift in general attitudes towards death during the nineteenth century from a focus on the finality and grimness of death to the hope of everlasting life (46). Nineteenth century America "emphasized the hope of keeping alive a person’s spirit and in some ways denied the physical fact of death" (46). Peeples contends that amid this shift, "Poe constructed allegories that explored the death experience" (46).
Poe’s work, including "The Fall of the House of Usher," was influenced by many experiences throughout his life and also by the culture in which he lived. His employment at Burton’s Gentlemen’s Magazine and Graham’s Magazine in the early 1840’s proved to be one of the most prosperous times of his publishing career, yet Poe faced many obstacles in his private life during this time including poverty and alcohol abuse. Although his alleged alcohol and drug addictions are issues yet to be settled, they were clearly an influence in his life and work. In addition to his habits regarding alcohol and drugs, his psychological stability has also been called into question. The impact of death, which was prevalent throughout his life, was tremendous. Regardless of the many struggles Poe encounter, he has emerged as one the greatest Romantic writers in American history.
Independent Book Project
Be sure to select from the menu below and remember that this project requires thoughtful creativity. In other words, you must take into consideration the critical themes and genre of your book selection and approach the project with the appropriate purpose and tone. Whenever possible, you need to highlight the universal theme(s) of your book selection.
1) This is for the artist, create a colorful visual and symbolic depiction of one of the key scenes in the story and write a one-page descriptive essay explaining the symbolism that appears in your painting and how these symbolic images relate to the psychology of the main character(s).
2) Create a dynamic script of a key scene and perform it for the class. Be sure to enhance the dramatic elements of the story and you may even use key quotes or dialogue from the actual story. The script should run between 3-4 minutes in length. A dramatic reading of the script is required for this assignment.
3) Complete two “Dear Diary” entries that place your main character in a modern or unique setting. Perhaps your character now resides in Norwalk, CT. What is life like in this strange new environment? Length: 1 page single-spaced—2 entries on a page.
4) This is for the journalist--create a front-page headline news article that puts your main character in the center of a social or moral dilemma. The conflict should be headline news worthy and you need to present the piece visually as a newspaper article. Length: 1 page single spaced, formatted in columns.
All assignments must include the Independent Book Selection title and author’s name.
The Great Gatsby
Chapter Presentation Project:
Ø Two students will be assigned a chapter at random.
Ø Your job is to facilitate an educational experience that brings the chapter to life.
Ø I want you to begin by identifying a Creative Chapter Title.
Ø Select three key scenes from the chapter and identify the analytical theme of each one. Example: Appearance vs. Reality. Or Fitzgerald's disillusionment with the American Dream. However, do NOT just list a theme—you must develop and communicate your thematic analysis of the scene.
Ø Do a creative “role play” of each scene. Puppet theater is fine but I want you to embrace the vocal qualities of the characters as well as the fashion of the period.
Ø Along with each scene, you need to write a full page “interior” monologue that explains what the character was “really” thinking during this critical moment.
Ø Visuals are encouraged but only if they enhance the presentation.
Ø You MUST end by asking the class to do a “THINK-PAIR-SHARE” question that really gets to the symbolic meaning of each scene displayed.
Ø Good Luck!!!
Ø Due Date Chapters 1-4 _______
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain is the master of satire. In the epic Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain begins to reveal the object of his satire. Society, religion, and even race—become sources of contradiction, controversy, and confusion. What is Mark Twain’s philosophy regarding religion or race? In this essay, you are to select one character—Huck or Jim—and complete an in depth character analysis. Ultimately, your thesis must make a critical connection: How does this particular character reveal or reinforce Twain’s view of race or religion. Remember, your thesis statement must relate the chosen character to Twain’s view of race or religion. Do NOT attempt to do both. How does this character symbolize Twain’s view of religion or race? Clearly, you must use one of the two critical essays by Gary Sloan or Eric Lott. Be sure to
follow the MLA format (all quotes MUST be introduced properly) and DO NOT USE THE first person “I”.
GRABBER: KEY QUOTE from ONE OF THE 2 critical Essays (Sloan or Lott)
Intro: Include details that set the stage for your character analysis and the critical connection: How does this character reveal and reinforce Twain’s view of race or religion?
BODY Paragraph 1: Be sure to complete a character analysis. Think about the symbolic meaning of the character. Be sure to use ONE KEY QUOTE from “Huck Finn.”
BODY PARAGRAPH 2: Here is where you discuss Twain’s views of religion or race. Be sure to relate the character to Twain’s view point. In this paragraph, Be sure to use ONE KEY QUOTE from the HUCK FINN TEXT.
BODY Paragraph 3 & 4: This is where you incorporate the critical essay into your thesis. You MUST quote from SLOAN OR LOTT. REMEMBER, DO NOT Begin a BODY PARAGRAPH WITH a KEY QUOTE!!! DO You AGREE OR DISAGREE with SLOAN OR LOTT?? Remember, do not use the FIRST PERSON “I”. Simply state your opinion.
Conclusion: Final thoughts. Restate your thesis and offer a final word about Twain’s controversial and contradictory view points.
The Glass Castle Symposium Journal Questions: USE KEY QUOTES!!! DO NOT just SUMMARIZE--Analyze!!!
1b) Consider the personal histories of Rex Walls and Rose Mary. Pick out one scene in the memoir in which Rex and Rose Mary play a major role and discuss your reaction. Write an analysis of the childhood traumas of Rex and Rosemary. What does their childhood identities and experiences reveal? Has it affected the way they parent? What would you do in this situation?
2) Jeannette Walls must come to terms with the realities of life. Consider your own life and discuss one moment when you were forced to come to terms with the realities of your life and your personal responsibility.
3) If you were moving to another town and could only bring one item--what would it be and why? Consider something you would find difficult to replace.
4) Clearly, “The Glass Castle” is Rex Wall’s version of the American Dream. Define the American Dream and what it means to you? Is the American Dream based solely on material wealth? Does material wealth contribute to personal happiness and contentment? What would you or someone in your family do if fired or laid off from a job--would your quality of life immediately change?
5) Pick a key quote from pages 100-200 and discuss your reaction to this passage. Be sure to do a psychological study of the characters or identify one of the major themes in the story. Be sure to find one online article dealing with the issue of the "Dysfunctional Family" and incorporate that into your character study.
6) The theme of addiction runs throughout the entire memoir. Are we more critical of the poor who suffer from addiction? Does financial wealth create a façade of acceptability when it comes to the issue of addiction?
7) Discuss your overall reaction to the novel so far. Has this memoir changed your perspective about your social status or your perception of your emotional wellbeing. In other words, discuss one passage as an empathetic reader. The goal is to try to understand these characters on a deeper level.
8) Find a passage (from pages 200-the end) in which it is clear to Jeannette that in order to attain her American Dreams she must take matters into her own hands. In other words, she can no longer wait for her parents to provide a life for her, and she becomes determined to set out into the world on her own terms. What obstacles stand in her way? Is she able to find internal peace and contentment amidst so much chaos?
9) Finally, discuss the roles of men and women today, Do powerful women appear threatening? Do you think a modern woman can really have "it all"--i.e. a family and a productive or demanding career? You may refer to the symposium discussion to support your point of view.
Extension Questions: The Glass Castle
Why does Rosemary marry the "bad boy?
Is this marriage an act of rebellion?