Archive for January, 2019


Posted: January 31, 2019 in Uncategorized


We’re reading August Wilson’s classic, Fences in class.  (beware pop quizzes, mwuahahaha) Here’s a PDF of the script in case you fall behind: fences 

As we read, you’ll need to look up allusions (individually assigned to you in class) and jot down some notes on that allusion in your notebook.  Be prepared to tell the class about your findings and how they add a layer of meaning to the play.

We’ll be talking a lot about symbolism, so you might want to stay up on figurative language: Figurative Language and Characterization and if you’re a little rusty on your drama terms, I have those too: Drama Terms.  

In Act 1, Scene 3 we’ll compare James Earl Jones’ interpretation of the  “How come you ain’t never liked me?” scene with Denzel Washington’s:

You can check out a few more scenes from Broadway’s 2010 revival here.  (Yeah, yeah, I know, there’s a whole movie of it now)

Here’s the symbols and theme worksheet we’ll be working on in class and some notes: Fences Themes

There’s a bunch of criticism you might find helpful in interpreting the play.  After we’re done reading, you’ll be assigned one of the following to read and present to the class: Baseball as History and Myth in August Wilson’s FencesWife as MediatorWalking around Fences, or Wrestling Jacob.  You’ll have to answer these questions: criticism-questions



Commissar Nikolai Yezhov with Stalin

George Orwell’s 1984 is, I would claim, THE seminal work of dystopia.   Ever hear of the phrase “big brother”?  How about unperson, thoughtcrime, or doublethink?  –All from 1984.  You know how we can’t do anything these days without someone recording it, putting it on social media, etc.?  You know all that data mining Wikileaks exposed #PatriotAct?  Orwell called it.  Ever hear of a government falsifying reports and sugarcoating history?  “Who controls the present controls the past; who controls the past controls the future” (Orwell, 1984)



Hey, where’d he go? #unperson

Or how about the fact that nations are always at war and always talking about another war, meanwhile corporations get rich off those wars and the masses become xenophobic towards those peoples?  Orwell called that too.   What if we speak out?  Exiled.  Brainwashed.  Vaporized.  #Stalin

Beyond all the political commentary, however, there’s a great story in it too — love, sex, friendship, betrayal — truly one of the best books ever written.

Click through the break for handouts, notes, and more . . .

Here are the imagery and diction warm-ups (for January 7-15) that were handed out in class: imagery warm up

And here is the diction packet we did before that: analyzing diction

We’ll be reading “The Yellow Wallpaper” by  Charlotte Perkins Gilman in class the week of January 14 and I’ll be conducting notebook checks this week too.

Your final group of short stories for the unit are: “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, “Book of Sands” by Jorge Borges, and “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” by Gabriel Garcia MarquezAll three of these must be read BEFORE class on Friday, January 18.