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 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


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