This Week: Oct. 1-5

When you analyze literature, try to remember that you can’t look at everything in black and white.

There’ll be a lot of wrapping things up in Room 211 this week, as we finish the first novel of the year and move ourselves into that most beloved of all writing assignments: the thesis essay. As Naughty by Nature once said, “Hip Hop Hooray!

Our direction is pretty simple: first class of the week is a discussion in groups of the way Achebe establishes and begins development of a particular aspect of his tragedy. You’ll select your group based on what I call your “single line of inquiry.” I’ve asked you to read Part II by Wednesday, which is the second class of the week for us, and I’ll ask you to finish the novel by Thursday’s class. You can certainly feel free to finish it anytime before Thursday, assuming you’re so inclined.

As you can probably guess, our discussion after the end will be focused on the tragic effect, and the way such a thing might exist in a novel, as opposed to a play. Our emphasis will be on those last three elements of the complex plot. We will spend some time during the Wednesday/Thursday portion of our program, there will be a little group passage analysis thingamajig, as a means of examining themes of the novel essential to understanding how to make a critical judgment about the tragic effect.

And what the heck; we may as well extend this sense of our week into the end of the unit. After the long weekend, we’ll take Tuesday to refamiliarize ourselves with our critical arguments, organize them, get reminded of the essay principles that we see in “What Aristotle Can Teach Us About Literary Essays” and “Using Complex Sentences to Establish Control.” If you’re not comfortable with literary essay writing, I recommend that you arrange for a little one-on-one or small group time with your favorite AP English teacher (or with me).

Computer Labs for both classes on Wednesday, 10/10 – Per 3 (COWs); Per 4 (Lab B).  You’ll have a feedback draft due on the 11th (or the 12th, because I’m going on my own little field trip on the 11th). Remember, I wrote feedback draft. You’ll have a chance to revise.

On Monday, after a discussion of the way the characters and symbols have changed in Chapter 10, you’ll create groups based on the character or symbol that you feel you know the most about. Homework will be to read chapter 11 and to write about the way the author brings Piggy’s storyline to its end, which will be the focus of class on Tuesday. Then on Tuesday night, you’ll finish the story, and write your thinking about its ending in class on Wednesday, when we will bring all the symbols and characters to their ending.

For Wednesday’s homework, I’m going to ask you to respond to what I’ll refer to now as the “connection question.” On Friday, we’ll have computers in the classroom and you will prepare and begin to write the reflection for your reading portfolio, which will be due on Tuesday after the three-day weekend.



  1. Lovin’ what you’re doing with this blog. I’m writing a thesis essay on Education and Identity in my English 101 class. I’ll hitchu up when I’m finished it’s sure to be a great one (and I’ll keep in mind the zebra comment). Keep it real. -Jen

    • I didn’t have my mojo at the moment of the caption, unfortunately. I should have kept it simpler, something like, “Remember, friends, literature is not like the zebra” or “Literature (doesn’t equal sign) zebra” – you know, something to imply instead of getting all explicity and stuff. You’ll let me see your essay when you finish, I trust.

Leave a Reply