PLEASE READ: ACHILLES IN VIETNAM
CHARACTER PROJECT RESEARCH
If you have not been doing research on your character project, you need to start. You will need to have a minimum of 100 note cards about every aspect of your character's life and his or her daily life. By now, you should have at least one print source that you feel confident is an expert source. The major events and conditions of your character's time are also relevant and important. Next week, we will have a large group about how to write the costume research document, which is due on 12/10. You may wish to start collecting information on your character's clothing, shoes, jewelry, headwear, and undergarments now in preparation for that assignment. That way you can ask questions next week if you come across any challenges. Hint: Don't forget children's books can be excellent resources if published by an expert source. Daily life information is often especially well-documented in children's books.
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SOME ADVICE FOR THE GREECE UNIT
The Iliad is one of the most moving, loving, violent, intriguing, and enchanting stories of all time. You will NOT get the same experience from reading summaries in Spark Notes or any other "dumbed down" translation. Of course, feel free to use Spark Notes as a companion to your reading, if you would like to use them. Please be aware that the language and poetry of The Iliad is a big part of the experience, but, just like Shakespeare, it takes some time to get used to it. You will need to slow down and take your time to read.
The study guide for Book I of The Iliad is due Monday, 10/27. It is designed to help you with your reading. Use it a like a scavenger hunt and follow the hints for line numbers. Sometimes the reading guide will help you identify whole pages that you can read through quickly. Other times, you will need to slow down and read a passage carefully multiple times in order to catch the true meaning.
Students report it takes about four hours to read the first book and fill in the study guide. To be successful, you could do about a half hour of Iliad reading daily for the next eight days (or divide up the time however you wish). Please do not put yourself in a situation where you have to skim the reading and copy the answers to the study guide at the last minute.
After completing Book I, students also report that the later books go more quickly, although they still take 90 minutes to three hours. You will not regret putting some time into a careful reading of this story. It's a highlight of the year!
Scenes from The Iliad have inspired artists for millenia. Below are a variety of works depicting the great, proud King Priam of Troy begging and weeping at Achilles' knee. Achilles is the vicious warrior on the Greek side responsible for the death of King Priam's favorite son, Prince Hektor. Priam is begging for his son's dead body to be returned for a proper burial. Will Achilles callously deny him, or will Achilles join King Priam in his weeping and return the body to him with kindness? What can you guess from these depictions?
Of course, as with all great literature, Achilles' response to King Priam speaks to larger universals. How do we treat those who are less powerful than us. What does it say about a more powerful person when he or she treats the weakened or vanquished enemy callously? Are our enemies human?
Priam Asking Achilles for the Body of His Son by Jerome Martin Langlois, 1809