For Those Still Hoping to Learn/In Need of a GLP Fix

There are a couple ways you can go about doing this:

1. Please complete any readings that you skipped or skimmed during the course. Also, check back under most of the reading tabs and you’ll find works we didn’t cover (“Shipping Out,” for instance).

2. Check out the Pre-College blog here. They covered some of the stuff you did, but there are also some exciting longer articles that are totally worth reading.

3. If you still want to think about literature, check out the following: Why Finish BooksThe Writer’s JobWhy Readers Disagree (all by Tim Parks) Your Brain on FictionFoucault and Historicism (caution: this will explode your brain), A Reader’s Manifesto (a brilliant takedown of modern fiction), Historical DiscontentsLiterary Nationalism (another Greenblatt, and typical of his writing style), PetsWrite Better (two funny readings).

4. And for those just interested in reading anything, here are a couple more: Four-Legged ReasonA BeautyParalysis of the HeartCreation MythThe Song MachineThe Silent TreatmentUnspoken TruthsReflectionsHow Did Economists Get It So WrongComing Home AgainThird Culture Kids (the last two have already been posted, I believe, but they’re so relevant to your lives that it seemed worthwhile to include them again).

5. Troll the web for good stuff. Many great publications (The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and New York Magazine are regular stops of mine) post most of their articles online free. Many of your readings this year came from my deciding that I wanted to find you guys essays on a topic and then searching. There’s great stuff out there.

6. Lastly, go get some good books out and read them. The GLP library has great stuff, but there’s even more out there. Explore!

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Hello Folks

First of all, thank you all for the flowers and food, videos and balloons, and the wonderful tie (funny coincidence: when I left Singapore, my students signed school shirts, so I now have signed clothing from you, too). Thank you also for your enthusiasm and energy throughout the year (I’d say hard work, too, but some of you know that’s not entirely true). It has truly been my pleasure to work with all of you. I’m sure that you will keep doing great things next year. And yes, some of you should feel perfectly entitled to ask me for a recommendation letter next year (just give me lots of warning).   That said, my work here is not entirely done yet, because there are still essays to be returned. You can come by my desk and pick up your History essays on Thursday afternoon (after 2). The most consistent issues (aside from APA instead of MLA, d’oh!) are the following: Some essays simply retold the events of their subjects’ lives as opposed to creating an analysis. If a paragraph simply restated biographical details, it wasn’t doing work to drive the argument forward.  Secondly, it usually wasn’t necessary to start with the subject’s birth. For instance: where I went to high school is much more important to my becoming and English teacher than where my parents’ house is. If someone’s desire to conquer the world came from not having a father, then you should leave that in. Unless you could connect it to your point, you should have left it out.  Focus is key to creating effective arguments. I’ll also try to have your Oral History assignments ready for you, although I must admit the comments will be light. Lastly, one more thing for you to do: In a comment to this post, please write what you think is the most important thing you learned in Comp Two this year. Please remember to take it seriously (no “I learned that Mr. Dranginis wears great ties” or “I learned that Moses looks like Mr. Cho when he wears a hood” or “I learned that Minho becomes a rather convincing prostitute on Halloween” comments, please. Let’s try to keep them academic).

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For Thursday, November 22

Review both the Thomas and Greenblatt readings for a possible quiz on Thursday. In your journal, answer this question: According to Greenblatt, what makes a work of literature great, timeless? Also read “Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace and answer the following questions: 1. What is Wallace’s point and why do you think so? 2. What is your favorite footnote (seriously), and why? 3. How does Wallace use his footnotes, and how is it different from what you’re used to?


Lastly, consider this quotation: “Literature is the best way to overcome death. My father, as I said, is an actor. He’s the happiest man on earth when he’s performing, but when the show is over, he’s sad and troubled. I wish he could live in the eternal present, because in the theater everything remains in memories and photographs. Literature, on the other hand, allows you to live in the present and to remain in the pantheon of the future. Literature is a way to say, I was here, this is what I thought, this is what I perceived. This is my signature, this is my name.”

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For Tuesday, November 20

Read Greenblatt’s essay, “Culture,” and outline his arguments in your journal.  Also read the Zombie article I handed out in class. Come up with one of your own examples of one of these cultural/media phenomena.

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For Monday, November 19

Remember that your papers are due on my desk TOMORROW by 5:30. Additionally, read the Thomas essay about Melville’s “Benito Cereno.” You’ll need to understand the short story to make sense of the article, so read a summary here. In your journals briefly write out Thomas’ main argument and indicate what he does to prove it.

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For Thursday, November 15

Finish the Foucault reading and attached questions for class tomorrow.  Your essays will need to be on my desk (printed out and stapled) by 5:30 on Friday. Use the extra time to proofread and make sure they are good.

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For Tuesday, November 12

Make sure you read the Foucault up to the break on 105 and answer questions 1-4. Watch this ad on youtube (apologies for the quality) and takes notes on it. Then, print up this handout and carefully compare what you saw in the ad and how the analysis saw the ad. Be ready to discuss tomorrow. Be sure to read the two semiotic analyses I handed out today. Bring all of this with you to class tomorrow. Also, if you can, get a jump on the rest of the Foucault. There’s a lot to read for Thursday.

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Class B Self-referential writing

Please post your self-referential piece in a comment to this post.

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Class A self-referential writing

Please post your self-referential piece in a comment to this post.

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For Tuesday, November 6

Be sure to write your self-referential paragraphs for tomorrow. Just experiment and give them your best shot.

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