Kakos' 6th Hour

Reactions and comments from my sixth hour Honors American Literature class.


My favorite place in the world to be is underwater. My second favorite place is the front of a classroom.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Book Club Scribing, Day 4 (May 8)

The Catcher in the Rye
Chapters 11-14 Discussion
- For our starting activity, Sarah drew a shoe sprouting a tree on which there was Holden's red hunting hat. To her, it symbolized Holden's "sex obsession and quest for humanity".
Aubrey drew an abstract picture symbolically representing the spontineity of Holden's nonconforming and undefined character. Andie drew a penguin with fangs, and was unable to explain the inspiration for this.
- Holden may read because while he enjoys learning, he does not want to live life for his parents, so does not seek to improve his grades. He may just read on a whim, not really enjoying what he reads.
- Holden was probably never invited to be on a movie short, but just enjoys making up stories to gain attention and possibly form a character for himself.
- Holden asks about the ducks in central park because he feels estranged, and feels that he can't survive in the life he has. He is desperately searching for freedom and a place to belong, but does not know what to do.
- Holden probably did not have sex with Sunny because he was reminded of Jane. He may feel guilty for not being able to protect and encourage her. This is why he always feels as if he cannot talk to her.

The Catcher in the Rye

Opening activity: Music lyrics
We discussed music lyrics that relate to Holden from a Nirvana song. We thought that many of the specific quotes related to themes in the book.
What role do women play in Holden’s life?
We thought that Holden’s view of women varies with who the woman is. For example he respects Jane and his sister but when he meets the women in the night club he seems to not really care for them.
What is the significance of the title?
We thought that the title serves as a metaphor for life as a whole.
Does Holden’s behavior indicate that he might eventually collapse?
We think that since Holden is so stubborn and often selfish it will be hard for him to carry in life. He seems to continually emotionally digress and it will be hard for him to get out of his "slump"
Does Holden mature throughout the novel?
There are signs that could show he progresses and signs showing he has not. The only person that he can truly relate to is his 10 year old sister but also he has been able to make very tough decisions.

The Bell Jar Book Club
Opening activity
Discussion of quote "flaying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another"
-set in your ways or not know what you’re doing: security v.s. freedom -Break a bone of own pride or have someone to blame: pride vs. blame: avoidance of telling others the fault, honesty question. Comes down to sibling mentality -recognition or blend into the background? Everyone wants to be recognized, but not like a celebrity.
-would you rather be decisive or go with the flow? People who don’t go with the flow don’t appreciate life. These go hand in hand- live in the moment decisively.
-rather have false happiness or something commit to something that appears special, if different? "appears?" no way. Go with the flow -cause self pain or have it pushed upon you? Accountability=hard. Struggle to make self feel pain, struggle afterwards, all pointless. Coaches pushing you=improvement more than self-inflicted.
Question discussion:
Esther's decisiveness: is this healthy? Good, no conformty, but doesn't act upon it, so unhealthy. She doesn't excel because of this, and parents make her more undecisive.

My Name is Asher Lev

Is Asher a genius, being able to replicate Guernica?
He has a knack for shape, line, and color—it’s possible that he has a photographic memory

Is Asher dedicated enough to Jacob Kahn to study with him for 5 years?
Jacob Kahn is crazy?
Does he understand the commitment to Kahn?
He has no idea what he’s doing—no direction (Corey)
Why not? He’s been drawing for many years already
Asher’s given up so much already

Why is Asher scared that his father won’t come home?
His mother’s reaction—without his father, he doesn’t know how to deal with his mother’s new withdrawal
Asher’s life is like a puzzle—we can only see through his eyes. We don’t know anything except what is happening in his world.

“Kahn” can mean “commander”. Is this fitting for Jacob?
Yes—he is a leader in Asher’s art life, but a little crazy.
No—he seems to use reverse psychology, trying to get Asher into art by telling him to do something else. Also, he’s scared of failing the Rebbe and himself after five years of hard work.

Is Asher’s father disappointed in him?
Yes, very, from all the violent reactions he had to Asher’s drawings. However, he does appreciate in some small way the effort Asher has made to somewhat balance his studies and art.

Catcher in the Rye
Day 4
(Chapters 16-19)

Today’s Focus Question: Holden is constantly criticizing those around him, but in these chapters, you see more people criticize him. What do these other people think of him? How does he want to be perceived?

First, the book club listened to “Iris,” by the Goo Goo Dolls. We thought about how Holden is and what he wants other people to think of him. As we listened, we made connections between the novel and the lyrics. After listening t the song, we discussed the connections we made and drew them back to the focus question.
And I'd give up forever to touch you Cause I know that you feel me somehow You're the closest to heaven [k1] that I'll ever be And I don't want to go home right now [k2] And all I can taste is this moment [k3] And all I can breathe is your life Cause sooner or later it's over I just don't want to miss you tonight
And I don't want the world [k4] to see me Cause I don't think that they'd understand [k5] When everything's made to be broken I just want you to know who I am And you can't fight the tears that ain't coming Or the moment of truth in your lies[k6] When everything seems like the movies [k7] Yeah you bleed just to know your alive Chorus x3I just want you to know who I am [k8] I just want you to know who I am I just want you to know who I am I just want you to know who I am

-Scared what people will think of his true opinions?
-Maybe he’s been hurt before by a friend.
-Want to be suave

-He’s afraid of growing up
-Afraid of being boring, blending in
-Prefers people his own age
-He still knows that he has to
-Scared of change (misoneist)

-He only wants what he can’t have
-Excited about the idea

[k1]He doesn’t think that he is good enough.

[k2]He never wants to go home because he will be bored/alone.

[k3]He is afraid of change.

[k4]It is full of yellow, phony, and crumby people.

[k5]He keeps his judgments to himself.

[k6]He tells so many lies that they are bound to come back at him. “what goes around comes around”

[k7]People and actors are all phonies.

[k8]This book is like a dairy for him. He is telling the whole story so you can understand him.

The Bell Jar book club

When is description too much?
- When you cannot even imagine what happens. Or parts that you don't even want to know about, like when Esther talks about cutting with the Gillette razors
When did she start going insane?
- It started from the very beginning of her life. When she didn't get the scholarship, she definitely cracked. She needs some sort of caretaker b/c she is harmful to herself. She's aware of her insanity, so does that make her more sane? Esther knows she has to control her changes, to appear "normal." She's very paranoid that her true "crazy" self will be revealed. A distorted reality--the only thing she's interested in because it's the only thing she can understand.
Do you think she's just trying to get attention?
- She wants attention from her mom. She runs away just for the attention. Her perfection and straight A's weren't for herself, but for her mother. Or there isn't a motive behind going crazy, getting attention is just one part of it. She doesn't want to be perfect anymore. She's focusing too much on herself, this is what’s making her insane and wanting to kill herself because she has nothing else to think about. There aren’t any distractions. She is deteriorating.
Will she get better or commit suicide?
- The suicidal tendencies continue to progress, she is probably going to kill herself before she gets better. Esther thinks she hates her life, but as soon as she starts to kill herself, she realizes that she almost ended something that could have been great. She could also be getting caught up in the drama, the romance of killing oneself.
Do you think that Esther doesn't want to kill herself anymore or is she happy with the asylum?
- Esther would rather kill herself. The asylum is no good. She's not trying anymore, she doesn't care. She just wants to die.
How has her paranoia increased?
- She has always been paranoid, caring about what people thought about her, and now it's magnified. Everything is catching up to her.

A Farewell to Arms
Opening Activity:
We read the poem "To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell "That long preserved virginity" could represent Henry's love for Catherine and how he wants to preserve their relationship.
Focus Question: How does war penetrate those involved and are the changes hat it makes on people ever reversible?
-War ultimately destroys those involved because it distorts their reality. They try to cope with the horrors they experience daily and it eventually drives them crazy.
What is the purpose of Henry giving up his seat?
-It shows that he sees that the world is bigger than he is. He wants to help people get through the war.
Why is Henry offended when Rinaldi asks if Catherine is "good in bed"?
-He doesn't want people to think about his relationship with her. Throughout the whole book Henry and Catherine have tried to keep their relationship on the down low because they didn't want to feel pressured by the world?
Why do the words "sacred, glorious, and sacrifice" embarrass Henry?
-Henry has never been a man of religion and these words imply a sense of religious notions.
What do you think Henry was dreaming about regarding Catherine?
-He was probably thinking about where he wanted their relationship to go? He usually thinks about the war and was probably subconsciously using her as a form of escape from reality.
Was Henry justified in shooting the abandoned engineers?
-It depends on how you look at it. If you look at it with a soft heart toward human life, then no. He murdered them in cold blood. If you look at it with a soft heart toward a man's mentality then he was justified. The war had dragged him down so much that he eventually just snapped when he saw the engineers and ended their life.
Why did Henry suddenly change from talking about his relationship with Catherine to his life in the war?
-It seems that Henry finally realized that his life with Catherine wasn't really reality. Though he will probably go back to talking about their relationship he is now focused on reality and making a good life for his soon to be born baby boy.
For our closing activity we looked for passages in the book that might explain why Henry switched from talking about his love life to talking about the war halfway through the book.

Book Club
Catcher in the Rye
May 8, 2007


© Songs relating to the book
o Holden’s issues
§ Drinking
§ Prostitutes
· He wants her to come and then he doesn’t want her to come
© Depression and suicide
o Is there any one event that hurt him?
§ Disappointed in himself
§ No care attitude
§ Losing Jane
· Talks about her constantly
o He won’t ever actually commit suicide
o His suicidal issues are out of the blue
§ He’s kind of bipolar
© Why is he so obsessed about the ducks and fish in the pond?
o He is constantly asking about it and wondering about
o Such a simple concept
§ Ducks fly south
§ It is obvious to us
o He asks all the cab drivers
o It is something for him to think about
§ He doesn’t want to have to think about the other sad things in his life
o He needs to know an answer
o Obsession with life and death
§ He asks if the fish die or not
o Symbolize something?
§ They definitely do symbolize something
§ Life/death thing
§ Fears of being by himself
· Ducks fly south
§ Unconscious relationship with himself
· Relationship with parents
· Doesn’t know what he will do when he truly leaves his parents
© Is Holden a people person or does he like to keep to himself
o Keeps to himself but is afraid of what will happen if he stays by himself
§ Feels he needs to be with people
o More comfortable by himself
o Maybe its certain people
o I would think like originally he keeps to himself

Syllabus: The Bell Jar Book Club
May 3, 2007
Book Club Members: Ana Malnati, Allison Nonko, Amy Ordaz, and Pieter Orlandini
Today’s focus question: Why does Sylvia Plath see it fit to incorporate death, abuse, and symbolic endings up until Esther’s departure from New York? What is the significance and does it help to further the knowledge that the audience has about Esther’s character.
Opening Activity: Look up a biography on Sylvia Plath and note similarities between her own life and that of Esther’s. Is their a possibility that another character is more similar to Sylvia Plath than Esther? http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/sylviaplath
Club Discussion Questions:
1.What was Esther so hysterical over? If it was in regards to the Rosenbergs’ executions, why is she so emotional about their deaths? Did she have a personal relationship with them?
2.Why did Hilda have no sympathy for the Rosenbergs and why was she glad that they were being executed?
3.Do you think that the opportunity that Esther has had in New York has actually benefitted Esther in terms of both her career and her person life or has it set her goals back and caused her to question what she is doing with her life more?
4.What was the point of the incidence between Marco and Esther? Was there a deeper meaning that was supposed to be grasped or was it just a filler?
5.Do you think that Esther will keep any of the relationships of connections that she has made in New York or do you think that she will attempt to leave everything that has to do with New York in the past?
6)What was the significance of throwing away her clothes of the building at the end of the chapter?
7)Why did Esther not want to bring any of the clothes that she got in New York home with her?
8)Why did Sylvia Plath decide to have Esther’s last night in New York a disaster?
9)Do you think that Esther is on the verge of having a break down? What events might have led up to this break down?
Closing Activity: Find connections between Sylvia Plath’s poem and The Bell Jar that we have read thus far. What underlying themes are found in both pieces? What symbols are present within the poem that can explain what is going on in Esther’s mind and the angle in which the narration is written.


Compelled by calamity's magnet They loiter and stare as if the house Burnt-out were theirs, or as if they thought Some scandal might any minute ooze From a smoke-choked closet into light; No deaths, no prodigious injuries Glut these hunters after an old meat, Blood-spoor of the austere tragedies. Mother Medea in a green smock Moves humbly as any housewife through Her ruined apartments, taking stock Of charred shoes, the sodden upholstery: Cheated of the pyre and the rack, The crowd sucks her last tear and turns away.

American Lit-6
Discussion of Chapter 8 of The Bell Jar
1) What do you think has made Esther so cynical about marriage?
-Esther observes Buddy Willard’s mom braiding a rug made of her husbands old suits that took a lot of time to make and once it was finished, Mrs. Willard placed the rug on the ground and it became soiled. Esther considered the rug to be symbolic of how marriage can ruin every success that a woman has achieved prior to the marriage she is currently in.
-Esther is frustrated how society illustrates the pursuit of happiness of a woman can only be attained by getting married because a man is required in order for a woman’s life to feel complete.
2) Why is Esther afraid of commitment?
-It has become that apparent that Esther does not believe in true love because she has not observed true love in any of the relationships she has witnessed throughout her lifetime.
-Esther has very high standards for men and she often finds that she is attracted to a man who does not seem to have any flaws when he is held at a distance, but once she becomes close to a man she realizes all of his flaws and is no longer interested in pursuing that relationship.
3) How are Esther’s beliefs traditional or nontraditional for the time period she is in?
-Esther wants to be a successful individual and she does not want to sacrifice her goals and ambitions in order to get married. Most of the women in the 1940s did not voice this opinion because many of them were house wives and as youth went to college in order to get a degree that helps them to prepare for marriage and to support their husbands, while their husbands went off to work.
-Esther also has a very negative view on most males in her life, she has not consistently stayed interested with a man and she has not had a lot of experience with dating. Most women were happy to start to date, in the hopes of finding a male that they could potentially marry in the near future.
4) What is more important to Esther, happiness or success?
-Esther often falsely thinks that in order to be happy, she most fulfill everything that she has aspired to achieve and after she has done this, then she can truly be content. Since Esther has had the chance to come to New York because of a scholarship opportunity, it seems that she is not happy at all because she always speaks so negatively about the city and the people who she encounters there.
-Esther has always been a straight A student, so I do not think that she has truly allowed herself to be content with anything that does not involve hard work and it appears that she is capable of holding a grudge towards people whom have not had to work as hard as she has to have the opportunities that she has made for herself.
5) Is Esther more independent than most girls her age?
-Esther takes in account of peoples opinions about her and often she determines her future by the decisions that others have made for her, not her own ambitions.
-Esther also feels that she needs to be validated by her peers, her skills need to be acknowledged and complimented on for her to feel she is headed in the right direction.
6) Why is Buddy so happy when he informs Esther that she cannot go skiing again?
-Buddy feels that he has some control over Esther’s actions when her leg is broken, she knows that she cannot go skiing because she is injured, but Buddy thinks that he has some control over her when he won’t "allow" her to do another run.
-Similar to the scriptures, shepherds used to break the legs of any of the sheep who would continually run away in order to prevent this from happening any more, so the breaking of Esther’s leg could be symbolic of Buddy’s attempts of trying to hold on to Esther forever.
7) Do you think that Esther will ever end her relationship with Buddy?
-It will be hard for Esther to be able to end the relationship she has with him because he is really sick and I think that she is afraid that breaking up with him could possibly jeopardize his health even further.
8) What are Buddy’s feelings towards Esther? Does he actually love her?
-Buddy is feeling pressure from his parents to marry Esther because they have always dreamed of having a daughter and Buddy has a really close bond to his parents.
-Buddy might want to get married, just to be able to be married because he is not sure how much more time he has to live and I think that quite possibly he just wants the chance to be able to be married one time in his life.

Book Club Scribing, Day 3 (May 4)

A Farewell to Arms
Start off with poem explaining the title of the book.
Old poem written to Queen Elizabeth. A knight in ancient England
Talks about if Rinaldi is gay, might just be Italian traditions
Decide that he isn't, listen to Matt's real life story
The Focus Question: How does Hemmingway depict war and love in similar ways and do you think that the two ideals are similar
It is kind of an anti war novel and does not depict it as a beautiful art.
Henry is a much more reliable narrarator than in Gatsby. Talks about if the love is true and if he will stay after the baby.
Alchoholism is a huge theme in the book. It is used as an escape from the war or everyday life and is a way to pretend that everything is fine.
Catherine has an emotianally trajic life and this leads to why she acts the way she does.
How does the war affect Henry? It has been affecting his love life and has been making him drink a lot more, this has made him hurt his liver.
How does the horse race resemble the war and leaving it. Talk about size of jockies and relate this to the insignificant purpose of life.
How will Henry react to having a baby? Disputed, some believe he will be loyal but others are suspecting him to be a poor father.
How does Catherine "feel like a prostitute" when she takes Henry to the hotel before he leaves? It could relate back to their love and if it is true or not, and also how they have unusual love lifes.
Closing activity: Study the cover and decide that Catherine is denying Henry.

The Bell Jar
Opening Activity: read and discuss life of Sylvia Plath
Focus: Symbolic farewells, abuse, death
Discussion: What was Esther so hysterical about the Rosenbergs? Is there a significance in this event?
Probably, but we might not find out until later. There must be a purpose as to why Plath has included it.
Do you think that the opportunity she has in New York is beneficial or detrimental?
First time she really began to make her own decisions and live without shelter. She also seemed very unhappy at times and encountered many bad experiences.
What's the significance of Marco and Esther's affair?
Showed men as animals and selfish: poor Esther! She's right about men....?
What about all of Esther's connections in New York?
Maybe, but her mind seems currently pretty aloof. If the opportunity came along, she might pursue more friendships, but she seems a little disconnected and probably won't be too broken up over lost relationships.
Esther’s clothes: representation of materialism in New York. She throws them all away to sort of liberate herself from the societal norm.
Do you think that Esther is on the verge of having a breakdown?
Yes! All lot of things that have happened in New York are a catalyst for what’s to come. She seems to be a little obsessive over little random things (fig tree) and has many strange thoughts and disconnections from reality. In trying to be in control, she might be spinning "out of control"! Jay Cee has a strange pressure effect on her as well.
Doreen? If she’s supposed to be a friend, did she know that Marco would try and rape Esther?
She probably knew all along – something to get her preoccupied. What did she really want? It sounded like she almost wanted it, but when he said, "Slut!" she became extremely protective. Sex seems to be a goal for her but she seems to display more disconnectedness when it comes to common sense.

Catcher in the Rye

Opening focus activity:
Strengths J
Weaknesses L
He’s a people person
Doesn’t really care what people think
Good descriptions
Good memory
Cares about getting to know people
Complains too much

Focus Topic: LOST not the ABC one…

What does his niceness to the cab driver say about his personality?
He hates being bored and lonely, he needs to be in the mood
He only wants to hang out with him because there is no one else, sometimes he even admits to being lonely
He doesn’t know who he is or what he wants.
Does Holden lack confidence, why does he care what people think?
He wants people to think that he is a person that they would like
He doesn’t want to come off the wrong way
Why doesn’t he have any real friends?
He doesn’t want to be with someone who will misjudge him
He is an open character
He doesn’t talk about himself, just other people
Why does Holden admire his sister so much?
He likes people he just doesn’t like them, so he wanted to talk to her on the phone
Why did he care so much about the ducks? Symbolism? Metaphor?
He wants to know where he should go
He wants to know if God will also keep him safe during the winter, just like the fish
All the ducks know where to go, but he doesn’t and no one will tell him
He keeps all his problems bottled up
What does he think about Jane? Why does he bring her up? Long lost love?
How does he really feel about girls, he seems to have criteria about them that they need to fulfill
He may love her but he doesn’t realize it
He is just able to talk to her, nothing more
He likes girls a lot better than guys, he is more comfortable with them
Why does he go to nightclubs?
He was bored
He’s trying to grow up too fast
He thinks he is grown up
Drinking, overcoming shyness, helps people automatically warm up to people
Will he call Faith again?
She was just a one night stand, not really something he can connect to
She was just in the book to show stuff about Holden’s personality
Why is he going back to the place he is trying to get away from?
Grown ups live in the city and he thinks he’s mature

Closing Activity: Predictions

She is brought up so much that she will become a major character in the novel

My Name is Asher Lev
-We began by looking at a dark picture and thinking of how Asher would draw it. We thought he would probably leave it relatively the same, without adding any color.
What is causing Asher’s disconnect with the world? Olivia thinks he might be bipolar. Maybe he has an attention deficit disorder, he has this own world of his that he views very interestingly. He goes through phases of total exhaustion, weird that he constantly gets all tired and bummed out. He might be scitsophrenic. What is his problem? Is he going through extreme mental disorder? We think the novel may be hiding something about Asher, maybe an intense disorder that we do not know about right now. He acknowledges things that others refuse to see, he takes what others try to avoid and puts it right out in front of them. Art is his main way of communicating. He has poor world communication. Does his struggle with art represent a struggle between good and evil?
What does the image of the streets crying because of rain mean? Asher wondered how he can draw in a way to show the streets in pain because of the rain. He has an extreme emotional attachment to the street.
What is Asher’s difficulty with moving? Like anyone, he would be leaving his friends and the home he knows. He is frightened of what the repercussions of the move will mean for him in his life.
CONNECTION! Like the village, Asher lives in darkness but everyone has a color. Colors symbolize how people think and feel. Red is an indication of raw energy, passion, deep connotations, danger, shame, all kinds of bad stuff associated with red. Mom would be a light blue color because she is always depicted in blue, Asher always draws his mom in pastels, what does that tell us about her personality. Asher is gray/black because his personality is carrying sorrow.
Why does Asher suddenly miss his father so much?
The father is a leading figure in his life, there is no one else in his life to truly lead him and direct him. He is much closer to his father and his mother is all wacky. Asher defiles the shaboss because it shows how he is slowly drifting away from his safe zone to the unknown. It is interesting how well his mother takes it. It is odd that his mother is so upset when Asher comes home late. It shows that no one really has power over Asher; he is his own person and is learning to be mature and be himself.

The Catcher in the Rye Discussion

How Jess and Logan from Gilmore Girls compare to Holden
o All of them are pretty cocky
o Logan & Holden both make jokes out of everything & act up
Does Holden have any regrets when he leaves the school?
o No, it’s just another school he’s leaving
o He’s a little nervous for his parents finding out
o He should have regrets, but he doesn’t
Why does Holden go to New York if he’s afraid he’ll run into his family?
o It’s really the only place he can go
§ Close to school & home
o Change of pace—go somewhere else
o Gave him a rush to be there
o He felt comfortable there
Holden’s lying
o Compulsive liar?
o He knows he’s doing it
§ Just does it to get out of trouble/conversation
o It was the first thing that came into his head
o Doesn’t want people to know who he is and what his reputation is
Does Mrs. Morrow like Holden?
o Acting a little flirty at first and then realized what she was doing
Why does Holden say “old” all the time?
o Just something that he says
o Trying to make her more mature
§ Showing how mature she is
When do you think Jane will come into the story?
o Within the next couple of days
o Might be the one to knock some sense into him
o Not sure if she’ll come back in—Holden the kind of person who says he’ll do something but then doesn’t
What do the 3 stupid girls in the club symbolize for him?
o Hitting rock bottom
o Crappy hotel, but can still make best of it—realizes there’s nothing there for him
How did he lose contact with Jane?
o School
o Before that?
Will he ever talk to Stradlater again?
o No, he’s out of his life just like Pencey
Does he have any real friends?
o No, he made up excuses why he wouldn’t call people
Has the title been introduced?
o Rye—city in New York, may be he’s going there
o Find himself in the city
o Is Holden the catcher?

The Catacher in the Rye
The Opening Activity
Look at the cartoon about internet love. Does Holden want love? Why can’t he find it? Is he looking in all the wrong places too? Draw your own cartoon of Holden’s love life or lack thereof.

Holden loves Jane but she is running away.

Discussion Questions
3. He wants to do it for practice, so that he doesn’t screw up when he’s married.

The names of the characters sound like the names of teenage issues.
Holden-holding it all in
Stradlater-straddle her

6. They both say “crumby” things. They seem unsure of themselves. They both lie. They both feel insecurities about themselves. Both are just as scared of the world as the other is.

8. He doesn’t have a good life or a place in it. He asks himself why he should even bother.

10. It is interesting that since he is so intellectual but he fails school. His life is doomed from the beginning just like Romeo and Juliet’s. He also doesn’t think love is real.

5. I think he wants love. He wants a deeper connection than what lust and prostitutes can give him. He just calls them because he isn’t sure of what he wants.

4. I think that he has good intentions but he is unsure of how to get there. He is desperate for love.

2. He is ashamed of being who he is and doesn’t want to face that person. He doesn’t like anybody including himself.

1. He is like a chameleon who changes with his environment and the people in his life. You only like one side of him but all of him is too much and makes you hate him.

The Closing Activity
Which characters in the picture most represent Holden?

They all do. Each represent a different characteristic of Holden.

The Street - Balthus

Book Club Scribing, Day 2 (May 3)

Hannah Seiler absent
Lindsay Strait
Tori Strobel
Book Club
Catcher in the Rye

What is Salinger trying to portray about teenagers with the way that he describes the characters?
o Indecisive
o They think they know everything
o Don ‘t care (school)
o Lazy

Why do they repeat?
o Prove a point (part of text)
o Personality

Why so interested in Jane? Why does he say he will go down and say hi but doesn’t?
o Likes her
o Surprise
o Caring for her
o Missed her
o Brother/Sister
o Doesn’t know what else to say
o Not good enough
o Thinks he doesn’t really know her anymore

Why does Holden get annoyed at people then doesn’t mind them?
o Annoyed is an act
o Actually likes the people but little things annoy him

How will Holden do in New York?
o Do pretty well
o Street smarts
o Knows more about life than school
o Can make friends easily

What does New York symbolize for Holden? The Reader?
o Freedom
o Escape from reality
o Sanctuary, safe
o New beginning
o Exotic
o Big change of plot
o New beginning

Why does he keep annoying Stradlater?
§ Just interested in Jane
§ Stradlater is more annoying him
· Gave Jane the time
· Just met that night
§ Doesn’t fight back when Stradlater is on top of him
· Passive

Does Stradlater care about school more than Holden?
· He cares but he is lazy
· Finds other ways to get it done
· Holden is way smarter and interested but doesn’t care at all

Why doesn’t he exactly remember the night he left?
· So furious
· Blind rage
· So many things happened back to back
· Focus on leaving not the process

· Jane will come back into plot
· Make actual friends
· Blow all his money? Live off the city?
· Not responsible
· Robbed?
· Job?
· What will make him go home? Will he?

A Farewell to Arms
Opening Activity: Song "O Valencia"
The song was very interesting and was about a man who holds his dying wife in his arms. This song relates to A Farewell to Arms because there are things that are holding both relationships back. It also shows how the difference can be between two lovers, and how one may want to get married and the other doesn't want to.

Catherine doesn't want to be heartbroken and she is not confident about herself. Catherine wants to know if he told other woman that he loves them and he says no even though he lied about it. He lies because he really doesn't love her and going to leave her. On the other hand she knows he is lying and he did this to prove to her that he loves her. We also talked about how love is strongest when its not your choice and your feelings are so strong for the other person you can't stay away. This relates because it shows that Henry may not want to love Catherine, but he has no choice. Many people think that Henry's love is so false and he will leave her once she starts to carry to much baggage.
Hemmingway shows that humans are so self absorbed and brag about anything that involves an accomplishment. This is shown when an unknown character is just thrown into the book and he shows all of his metals and leaves.
I think when Catherine compromises to much with Henry and does this to keep him close and not have her heart broken. Rank is important to Hemmingway and he feels is represents power. Humans will never escape rank because people judge other people all the time.
The issue of marrying comes forward and she never wants to get married and this we believe foreshadowing.
We believ that the Meyers are not authentic people and the only person in the story in Catherine because she is the only one that stays true to her love and follows her feelings. The Meyers can be authentic sometimes because she really does care about the soldiers and helps them out but she talks about people behind there backs. Mr. Meyers is very false and has issues with manners and telling people things straight up.
Closing Activity: Hemmingway's Quotes
We found that Hemmingway is a confident guy and doesn't doubt himself. He reveals this in the story because he is a strong personality.

Scribeness: The Catcher in the Rye
Andie, Sarah and Aubrey
A large portion of time was spent making PostSecrets from Holden’s point of view. During this, it was decided that Holden is searching for something, though it was disagreed upon what for.
The point was brought up that Holden goes into great detail explaining the personal habits of those close to him. It could be because he has a very detail-oriented person and is directly linked to/reveals his gift in English, which is the only class he is good at. He could be looking for a distraction for the monotony of his life.
Does Holden have character? Sarah believes he has little or no character and is searching for some. I think he has a lot of character and has no goals for which to apply himself. His biggest concern is to find entertainment. Sarah and Aubrey believe that the hunter hat is a symbol of his search for character. I think the hunter hat is a symbol of his uniqueness and was put there by the author as a device for character development and because Holden’s character requires him to be captivated by it. Aubrey doesn’t think that J.D. Salinger would put this into the story without a reason, and Sarah agrees because this novel is classic and good authors don’t put anything unnecessary into the story. I believe that it could be meaningless since it is written for Holden’s point of view and his personality requires him to obsess briefly over things and bounce between foci.
Does Holden have morals? Aubrey believes Holden does have morals, which are shown by events later in the book. Sarah does not believe Holden has shown any morality thus far. I believe that it is too early to tell since he has not been in any situation yet that has been truly morally challenging.
Concern was brought up that this book would turn into yet another hero’s journey and that a character without character was going to go on a journey to find himself by the end, facing challenges on the way.

The words that flowed from the inner labyrinths of our ears: The Bell Jar
Once being informed that Sylvia committed suicide soon after the writing of this novel, our group became obsessed with death, and the catalysts in her demise.
The poet Robert M. Wilson wrote that "poets are more likely to commit suicide. You're better off numb," about being a sensitive soul. It was said that Sylvia... or Esther... doesn't feel attached to her life, and often feels silent. We also came to an agreement that it's better to feel real emotion, such as sadness, or heartbreak, over feeling nothing, or feeling "numb" because at least what you are experiencing is real. We wondered if perhaps she bottled up her emotions for the sake of her art (the poetry). Life could have been easier on her if she didn't hold back so many feelings, yet she continues to restrain herself.
Her father also died when she was young, which could have contributed to the unavoidable emptiness that consumed her. She speaks little of her parents, and from what she has said, her mother sounds unsupportive of her life's dream to be a writer.
She appears to be indecisive as well, and we feel that in her future that could rob her of options or opportunities. Without windows of chance, would she have a reason to live?
The Rosenbergs fascinated her, and she observed their deaths in detail. Alexa made a connection to the Virginia Tech shooting, and told us that the shooter apparently wrote gruesome stories, and perhaps wanted to commit this crime in order to observe what true death really looked like. It was also suggested that she might have wanted to analyze the deaths she has known because death is a person's last communication to the world and in a "wonderful death" she could become immortal.
One last question plagued our minds: Did someone purposely poison the girls?

The Catcher in the Rye

First, we discussed the motifs that appear in the book and how they relate to the prior books like the Great Gatsby. We discussed the falsity of love and how it is deceptive.

Then, we talked about how Holden is like Gatsby in his search of love, however Gatsby strived to achieve his dreams whereas Holden was kicked out of Pency because he “didn’t apply himself” of strive to achieve anything.

Next, we talked about how objects like the red hunting hat keep reoccurring throughout the novel, and the importance that these objects play in the scheme of the plot. We also discussed how it might represent Holden’s individuality.

We then discussed the significance of Holden’s interest in the ducks in central park. We came to the conclusion that they show how he is truly a kid inside even if he tries to act like an adult all the time. It also shows that change isn’t forever and that it is a cycle.

Closing Acting: We talked about how these specific motifs played a large role in the book and we thought that the reason for these motifs is because the add a unique underlying voice, or niche for the reader to hang onto.

Book Club Scribing, Day 1 (May 1)

May 1st, 2007
Tori, Lindsay, Hannah
Book Club

The Catcher in the Rye

Important Points
Why does old Spencer give him such a hard time?
oHe truly cares about him
o Teacher/student relationships
§ Care about their grades
o He flunked him
o He wanted Holden to realize that school is important so he flunks him
© Holden contradicts himself
o He likes Spencer but then he feels that he has to leave, get out of there
o He admits he lies a lot
© Why does Holden lie?
o He has nothing better to do
§ Just like horsing around
o Doesn’t know what he wants
o He doesn’t care what happens
© Why does he continue to flunk out of school?
o He doesn’t care about anything at all
o He reminds me of Logan Huntzberger in Gilmore Girls, they keep flunking out of schools because it’s fun
o Background is mysterious
§ Is it an excuse?
· Blaming it on his parents…
· Doesn’t know how to get out of it
§ He doesn’t want to talk about it
© Is Holden smart or stupid?
o Smart but he just doesn’t apply himself
o He reads a lot
§ The only class he got an A in is English because he had already read all of the books
o He reminds me of Jess Mariano in Gilmore Girls, he is smart and reads all the time but he flunks out of high school because he doesn’t care
© Holden and Ackley’s relationship
o He gets annoyed with him
o But he puts down his book
§ Does he want to talk to him or is he giving up on reading?
· Kind of likes having him there
o He wants to have someone to talk to but then he gets annoyed
o Kind of the same thing as Spencer
© Why does Ackley keep coming in?
o Both do not have friends
o Does Ackley know that Holden doesn’t like him
§ Purposefully annoying
§ Doesn’t really realize
© Spencer and Holden’s relationship
o Not just a teacher/student relationship
o At one point they got along really well
§ Spencer is sick
§ Still do, Holden is just sometimes annoyed
· He is annoyed really easily
§ What happened that made their relationship more than teacher/student
· Enjoys the teacher
· Doesn’t like the class
o Spencer takes offense by that
§ He knows he can do better
© Colors
o Holden > green, yellow, teal
§ Calm, relaxed, hiding something, lies
o Ackley > neon colors
§ Can be obnoxious but still can be fun
o Spencer > Maroon, purple
§ Knowledge, vivacious, subdued, quiet
o Stadlater > red, orange
§ Outgoing, noticeable, cocky
o Percey School >brown, grey, bland, maroon
§ Black and white > good or bad >you get it or you don’t
§ Education

My Name is Asher Lev: Scribe—Ch.1
- For our opening activity, we observed two of Picasso’s pieces of art, one light (positive) and one dark (negative). Responses based on the posed question: “Do Asher’s drawings symbolize his feelings? Throughout the book, do we see that his drawings reflect his mood?”
-Responses:-Much like authors, artists often unconsciously reflect their own lives through their works. Asher realizes he is unhappy and therefore doesn’t want to draw the world as being happy. All artists draw what they see and therefore the drawings created reflect the creator’s interpretation of life, circumstances, etc.
-On pg. 20, Asher describes how he furiously worked at a drawing and afterwards he looked at the drawing and realized how his anger was expressed through the dark charcoal he used.

-Club Discussion Questions:
-Do you think Asher really knows who he is? Is he sure of himself?
-Much like any child would, Asher is trying to figure out who he is. At this point in his life, his parents are largely shaping his personality and his sense of consciousness. We felt that Asher was certainly sure of himself because he didn’t debate himself degrade himself. Asher possesses the ability to express himself at a young age.
-Because Asher is sure of himself, do you think Asher is innocent?
-We don’t feel that Asher is purposefully displeasing his father because life during this point is quite random and upset. As a reader, we had a difficult time understanding why Asher got in trouble at the dinner table because we live in a culture that encourages questions rather than degrades it. Also, Asher is attempting to define himself and separate from his Jewish society through his drawings. Asher has developed a passion that doesn’t agree with his community’s religious views and this disturbs him.
-If you were in Asher’s position, do you think you would give up you drawing for your religion?
-Because is mother is largely rebelling against orthodox Jewish ways, I believe that Asher will feel it ok to go against his father’s religious views. His mother continually encourages him to draw and therefore he will likely continue to do so, certainly is he is to lose his mother. However, at the close of chapter one, Asher says that he had “stopped drawing” (Potok 49). It’s likely that he doesn’t want to go against his father’s ways and now that his mother disagree with his idea of earth’s ugliness, he no longer wanted to express himself through drawings.
-Is Asher being overly exposed or sheltered from the world?
-Because of the setting (NYC early 1920’s), Asher is being completely shut off from the brutalities occurring oversees. Asher doesn’t understand why his father would do things simply because his father would and doesn’t understand why they must follow old traditions in a modern world. Asher is completely sheltered because of his Dad’s obsession with impressing the Rebbe. While Asher is being sheltered, we can also state that the Jews within that community are being sheltered from the world. Their religion is very literal and traditional and therefore the members in it are being sheltered from modern way in an attempt to maintain their religion.
-We talked for a long time about the Jewish religion as Michelle is Jewish. We were able to go through the book and pick out terms we didn’t understand but Michelle did.
- What is the Torah? 5 books of Moses
-Talmud: A collection of writings based on interpretations of the Torah.
-Jewish females wear things on their head out of respect. Most people, even orthodox Jews just wear a skullcap or a veil.

-Closing Activity/Extensions:
-We browsed “post secret” to discuss how people show their feelings through the art on their post cards. Because Asher doesn’t always share his art, we discussed how his art is largely an escape much like how Post Secret is.

Catcher in the Rye
During our book club of The Catcher in the Rye we discussed how symbolist paintings relate to the book in the opening activity. We related how the color of green in many of the paintings shows what could be considered a new beginning for Holden.
Does Holden underachieve on purpose to escape from the boarding school?
We think that Holden does underachieve on purpose just to not necessarily escape but because he always wants to try and "achieve" something better.
What motifs are in the story?
The motif of loneliness is prevalent in the story and it shows how growing up for many can be a lonely and a somewhat painful process. Holden seems very lonely and we think it is because of this that Holden wants to leave his boarding school.
How come Holden seems to be better friends with his teachers instead of his school mates?
We think that he can better connect to his teachers because he seems to be more like an adult and he doesn’t really like being a teenager.

Catcher In The Rye
(Day 1 chapters 1-8)

In the beginning of the meeting we opened our Chex Mix bag and Nicci started to tell us what she planned for the open activity. For the opening activity she wanted us to list all of the things Holden (main character) finds annoying in this novel. We then discussed why he hates them so much, yet decides to deal with them, how has his past made him feel this way now and why do you think he is so repetitive when stating the things he hates?

-He wants people to know what he thinks is annoying
-he hates everything
-tough time in his life, teenager,
-doesn’t want to disappoint his parents, even though he will
-He’s just bored, always says he’s bored
-Finds it amusing to annoy people
-Can’t make up his mind (Holden)
-Like Prufrock, Holden is scared to make decisions because he’s afraid of what the world will think of him.


(#8) Holden mentions that people never believe you (page 37) Do you think that he is right? Do you think that he is just saying that because he is a kid and adults don’t believe kids? Could it be that that they don’t want to hear the truth?

-people don’t want to hear the truth all the time
-sometimes lies seem better than the truth

What does he mean by “crumby?”
-just not feeling well, feeling crummy

(#9) Holden appears like he doesn’t care anymore when he talks about Allie’s death. Do you think that he is really over him? Is this why he is so judgmental?

-Doesn’t want to bring up the past
-Holden needs to look at his own life before he judges others

(#1) Holden comments on how people think things are “all true” and how they don’t notice anything (pg 9). Does he see himself as an exception to this rule since he noticed this worldly flaw? Do you think Holden is right? Why?

-He thinks he’s an exception but he’s not because he does have an opinion but he’s not objective (hypocritical).
-People notice some things but not everything. The flaws he sees in people.
-Does Holden see a flaw in everyone?

(#6) Why is Holden so nice to Ackely even though he hates all of his habits?

-Holden is scared of being alone and that’s why he’s friends with him
-Holden sees a part of himself in Ackley.

The Bell Jar
-What kind of person is Esther?
She is very impressionable, follows what she should be doing.
-Who's a better friend? Betsy or Doreen?
Betsy seems to be the better person, but Doreen fun. Esther is jealous of Doreen, who she wishes she could be. Esther also feels like Betsy is safer, she cares for her, but Esther doesn't care about her. Vice versa with Doreen.
-On page 32-33, do you see Esther becoming friends with Doreen or Betsy?
Esther changes her feelings about her friends all the time. She might not pursue the relationships later on. She could be better friends wit Betsy because they are both simpletons, however she may become better friends with Doreen because it's who she wanted to be.
-What is Esther doing now? Just trying to get by or enjoyment?
She has resentment for the people's riches, girls having things handed to them whereas she had to work for it. Esther is lost, she may enjoy the parties, but she doesn't know if she wants to continue this. She never really shows true emotions, very apathetic about everything.
-How did Esther's past with Buddy shape the night she spent with Doreen and Lenny as the third wheel?
She's used to having all the attention and she didn't get it.
-How can she be so critical with Buddy and not Doreen?
She has something against men, grudges. Doreen for some reason, is forgivable. Doreen's honest, Buddy's a liar, more of a hypocrite.
-Is there any reason for the choppy writing style?
Kind of like the train of thought writing mentioned with Virginia Woolf, it's more conversational and relaxed--she's actually talking to you. It can be kind of confusing, however it all comes together in the end. The past and present get jumbled together.
-Is there anything Plath is trying to communoicate about city life or elitism?
Not as much glitz and glamour as a story about a young girl in Manhatten. She's trying to show you the inside of a girl who's not feeling as how the other girls are feeling, how she's supposed to be feeling. Everything's shot to hell with Esther. She's not like everyone else.

A Farewell to Arms
Scribe for May 1, 2007:
(Brian had swim meet)
~Examined pictures and found physical, emotional, rich/poor struggles(Great Gatsby), pain of racism against Native Americans, owner grew up and left bear, jealous pain (green), cowardly pain(yellow)
~pg 21 Rinaldi's woman is stolen by Henry
~playing the nice guy and is good to his friend
~is only into her for the physical so its no big deal
~pg 30 Why is Miss Barkley asking for Henry's love?
~she wants to be wanted and loved
~she does not love him
~her fiance died so she is looking for a replacement
~wants excuse to be physical with him
~pg 55 why deep description of pain?
~proves soldiers opinion that war is awful
~ How characters feel about war?
~they do not like it, it makes them feel hollow
~they want to quit, but they are scared
~Why did Henry go to war?
~trying to excape someone
~he says war is not the worst thing
~went to war to get over his "bad" love before
~When he could not see Miss Barkley but he did not love her, why did he feel pain?
~like teddy bear pic-lonely
~guy in blue on scale pic is alone and no one cares about him
~he has potential energy but the kinetic energy is not being used
(potential energy conundrum)
~Significance of pain?
~everyones life has pain, you can't have a life without pain
~no pain no gain
~showing pain in all areas of life, not just war
~Who endures most pain?
~Priest-gets made fun of(emotional pain)
~Henry hurt emotional and physical
pg 9 Thumb joke~goes out virgin, comes out not
~makes fun of him being gay
five against one joke~five women trying to get him?
looked up Ernest Hemmingway to find out about dirty jokes
~married four times
~Mother Grace Hall dressed him as a girl when he was little(pain of being made
fun of for being effeminite)
~Zelda suspected Hemingway and Fitzgerald had an affair

Catcher in the Rye
We listened to Paper, Rock, Scissors by Jamisonparker. The lyrics were very closely related to Holden’s mentality in Catcher in the Rye. Listening to the song brought up questions relating to whether Holden truly loved Jane.
- Holden, like the singer, does not want to loose memories. He also has regrets of school.
- Holden might not try in school because he does not want to conform to his parent’s expectations. He wants to live his own life and determine his future without his parent’s constant input.
- We thought that Holden tolerates Ackley because he lacks character (Stoek’s comment). He avoids confrontation, is passive, and lives in the moment without concern for the future.
- I don’t think that Holden realizes that he is constantly hypocritical. He is trying to find his character, but it is undefined. He has no perspective of his own views. What Holden hates about himself he finds and seeks out in others.
- Holden’s hunting hat might symbolize his search for self. It may be an attempt to create a character for himself.
- For the closing activity, we looked at a picture of rye. Connections we made were that rye is grown in the country. Since the book takes place in the city, the picture seems completely contradictory. We were stumped. Maybe it was a symbol that you could be searching for something that was hidden. The rye might protect and isolate something/someone. Maybe this is a symbol of Holden’s search for self.

The words that flowed from the inner labyrinths of our ears...The Bell Jar
Once being informed that Silvia committed suicide soon after the publishing of this novel, our group became obsessed with death, and the catalysts in her demise.
The poet Robert M. Wilson wrote that "poets are more likely to commit suicide. You're better off numb," about being a sensitive soul. It was said that Sylvia... or Esther... doesn't feel attached to her life, and often feels silent. We also came to an agreement that it's better to feel real emotion, such as sadness, or heartbreak, over feeling nothing, or feeling "numb" because at least what you are experiencing is real. We wondered if perhaps she bottled up her emotions for the sake of her art (the poetry). Life could have been easier on her if she didn't hold back so many feelings, yet she continues to restrain herself.
Her father also died when she was young, which could have contributed to the unavoidable emptiness that consumed her. She speaks little of her parents, and from what she has said, her mother sounds unsupportive of her life's dream to be a writer.
She appears to be indecisive as well, and we feel that in her future that could rob her of options or opportunities. Without windows of chance, would she have a reason to live?
The Rosenbergs fascinated her, and she observed their deaths in detail. Alexa made a connection to the Virginia Tech shooting, and told us that the shooter apparently wrote gruesome stories, and perhaps wanted to commit this crime in order to observe what true death really looked like. It was also suggested that she might have wanted to analyze the deaths she has known because death is a person's last communication to the world and in a "wonderful death" she could become immortal.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Hip Hop Live Blogging


Monday, April 23, 2007

Chapter 9 Live Blogging!

Have fun!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Live Blogging! Chapters 8 and 9 of Gatsby

Please see reminders in the post below. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Chapters 7 and 8 Live Blogging!

(1) Please reference by name to whom you are responding. Ex: I agree with Clay's comment about Gatsby's childlike approach to love, but I think we need to give Gatsby more credit because he is the only character in this novel who stays true to his love.

(2) Please use correct punctuation and spelling (as always).

(3) Hit the F5 key to refresh. You will need to do this continually in order to see everyone's comments.

(4) Try to find a balance between listening to the inner circle and having your own blogging discussion on the outer circle. Please don't abandon the inner circle altogether.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Myrtle's Death: Continuation of Chapter 7 Fishbowl

Please continue today's discussion by responding to at least one of the questions below:

(1) Fitzgerald's description of Myrtle's death is fairly gruesome and detailed:
"Michaelis and this man reached her first but when they had torn open her shirtwaist still damp with perspiration they saw that her left breast was swinging loose like a flap and there was no need to listen for the heart beneath. The mouth was wide open and ripped at the corners as though she had choked a little in giving up the tremendous vitality she had stored so long."
What details of this quotation seem important/symbolic to you? How so?

(2) The scene with the cars is complex and confusing (tortuous and labyrinthine, if you will). Fitzgerald probably could have made this vehicular homocide far simpler. What significance might there be in the switches of cars and couples?

(3) Why do you think this scene takes place on Nick's (30th) birthday? Why do you think he forgot it was his birthday?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Gatsby: Chapter 6 Follow-up

Due to time constraints, the discussers from today's fishbowl ran out of time while analyzing chapter 6. Please finish your discussion here by responding to the following question (it was created by today's leadership group):

Why do you think Gatsby changed his name from "James Gatz" to "Jay Gatsby"? What might this represent?