AP Language & Composition:
Note: Monday will start a new sequence of readings from 50 Essays related to technology, media, and culture. The end result of this sequence will be an editorial on your blog, which develops a position on the issue from your own perspective, partly based on the ideas you cultivate in response to the four essays. See more details below on the readings:
2.23: We will start the week with a brief written response to a Steve Jobs quote relating to the nature of technology, media, and culture. This is the same theme the next set of readings will address, and on which we will work for the next week. After you have responded and discussed your responses, you will receive a handout with the authors, titles, and page numbers for the sequence of reading assignments in 50 Essays.
For Tuesday, Read Nora Ephron’s essay, The Boston Photographs, and complete the entry in your notebook per the instructions on the handout.
2.24: Discuss Ephron’s argument regarding the controversial nature of sharing shocking photographs, and read Malcolm Gladwell’s essay, Small Change… and complete the notebook work for Thursday.
2.25: SAT test periods 1-5. The rest of you should plan to use the class period on your semester projects–the next blog post is due no later than Saturday morning at 6 am.
2.26: Discussion of Gladwell’s argument about why social media is not enough to sustain revolutionary activity. I’m hoping this discussion will allow us to discuss some the recent movements on social media to test the validity of his belief. I’m thinking in terms of the ALS Challenge and similar movements that have gained momentum from social media exposure. Keep these in mind when responding in your notebook as well.
Read Jonathan Lethem, 13, 1977, 21 about the author’s obsession with watching Star Wars. This essay gets into issues beyond social media, and will provide some texture to the type of argument you will be able to write in response to the overarching issue of media. Recent movies will likely be our entry point here.
2.27: Discussion of Lethem. Read Simic, A Reunion with Boredom for Monday. BLOG POST #2 due no later than Saturday morning! Start early, revise, and fully develop your ideas.
*Monday’s discussion will tie up the readings and then we will begin to watch Generation Like on Tuesday. Please keep up with the notebook work; I will check it periodically for homework points–if you do not have it with you when I ask, there will be no second chances.
A Note on the Reading: This week’s sequence of chapters recounts the events which lead the narrator away from the Brotherhood. The entire story is a re-telling of events; so, we’re getting close to what the narrator was talking about in the prologue. The plot is circular in this book; so, the closer we get to the end, the closer we actually are to present time. When the author returns to Harlem in chapter 20, the offices are in disarray, and he cannot find any of his old friends or coworkers. As a result, he takes to the streets, where he finds Tod Clifton playing with Sambo dolls. He is disgusted that Clifton would have these racially insensitive dolls and be laughing at them. This is largely symbolic since Clifton is no longer part of the Brotherhood. Soon after, he is shot dead by a policemen. What follows in chapter 21 is the narrator’s organization of Clifton’s funeral, which represents his own departure from the Brotherhood’s ideas. His speech doesn’t hold anything back, and he returns to himself, much like he was when he gave the speech in the arena. As we have come to expect, any time the narrator makes decision independently, he is shot down. This time the Brotherhood kicks him out of the organization. This happens in chapter 22, which naturally leads to a change for the narrator, which begins to take place in the opening pages of chapter 23. This process of departure ultimately results in the narrator going underground.
2.23: During class you will do brief research about Calypso’s character from the Odyssey, and then complete a short writing assignment comparing the character to the woman in red in the book.
Read Chapter 20, The author’s return to Harlem, and Clifton’s Death
2.24: Discussion will be done via a text rendering activity in which you will be ask to identify key ideas from the book related to Clifton’s shooting and the narrator’s reaction to it. There is much more to this chapter, but the key point is the loss of Clifton.
Read Chapter 21, The Narrator Organizes Clifton’s Funeral March
2.25: Our discussion will focus mostly on the narrator’s speech at Clifton’s funeral gathering in which he doesn’t let the Brotherhood’s message interfere with his true feelings about how powerless some men are to gain social equality. We can view this as a return to his true self, not the self contaminated by Brotherhood ideology.
Read Chapter 22, The Brotherhood Denounces the Narrator
2.26: Discussion will focus on the Brotherhood’s reasons for denouncing the narrator. We will test these reasons to see how convincing they are. There is a good deal of verbal irony throughout this section–we’ll pay close attention to what the text says, and what it actually means, especially to the narrator and to us, who are more aware of the narrator’s motivations than the members of the Brotherhood.
Read Chapter 23, Part 1, Departure from the Brotherhood to the Underground
2.27: Our discussion will focus squarely on identity. The narrator has undergone at least three distinct changes in identity to this point in the book; now he returns to the identity from which he was speaking in the prologue, where he was already underground. The symbolism will be one our focal points because it will allow us to track his change in identity.
Read Chapter 23, Part 2 for Monday.