Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Posted: March 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

beowulf_vs_grendel_by_thefool432So to understand John Gardner’s Grendel, you first have to know the story of Beowulfbeowulf-translation-by-seamus-heaney . . . .and the Audiobook is here . . . . and a little taste of the Old English can be found here.  The Beowulf synopsis PowerPoint is here

John Garner’s Grendel can be found here: grendel-chapters-1-6 and grendel-chapters-7-12 if you don’t have a physical copy of the text.

What’s all this existentialism nonsense he dislikes so much?  Well, here’s my stab at it: existentialism.  And why does he hate it so much?  Well, for starters Gardner accidentally ran over and killed his brother with a tractor, so a philosophy based on the idea that there are no accidents and we choose every aspect of our destiny and identity wouldn’t exactly be his fave, ya know?  But, just like his use of astrology, Gardner points out that we would map ways through Hell with our “lunatic” and “crackpot theories.”  Sometimes we have to test our crackpot theories against real world observation and applicability.  Concluding, thanks to Descartes, that “I alone exist” (22) doesn’t really help stop the pain when someone’s bashing your head into a wall.  Maybe we all need to have an accident so we can wake up and realize this — “‘Poor Grendel’s had an accident,’ I whisper ‘so may you all‘” (174).  Secondly, if you take existentialism to its conclusion, you end up at nihilism and who really wants to be a dragon with no purpose but to “seek out gold and sit on it” (74)?

Whoa, that was intense, let’s take a break (that’s a pun meaning click on the page break for more).



Extra Credit

Posted: March 16, 2018 in Uncategorized

OK, some of you are noticing that the effect of senioritis on your grade is a little more than you anticipated — or simply that AP English isn’t a super easy course.  All true.  Soooooo, if you would like to turn one of your quiz grades into a 100, you can read “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (I’d suggest a bit of background on Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and perhaps even the story too if you’re having difficulty with it). In short, the story catalogs one woman’s descent into madness at the hands of the rest cure — an actual treatment for ailments such as depression that Gilman herself experienced.  It’s kind of the mental health equivalent of leeches . . .

Next, you’ll need to offer a close reading of the story.  Click through the page break for questions to guide you.


More Prose Prompt stuff

Posted: March 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

We’re working on the AP prose prompt in class with asks you to offer a close reading of a page or two of prose. Remember to first deconstruct the prompt — i. e. turn it into a question that you understand and figure out what you need to look for. Then, in your analysis, be sure to offer something beyond what is said on the surface. Your essay should focus on what the author wants us to understand about the subject (i.e. purpose) rather than enumerating literary devices. Literary devices are great for looking at HOW an author does something, but you always have to be sure to get to the WHY.
On Thursday and Friday (March 15-16) we’ll work with a prompt from 2014 that gave many students trouble: AP Prose 2014 Known World prompt deconstruction and then last year’s prompt: 2017 AP Prose Essay Prompt which also left some students in a pickle. 🙂


Short Story Unit

Posted: March 1, 2018 in Uncategorized



We’re starting out our short story unit with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic “Young Goodman Brown.”  Your assignment for this one is to decode the various parts of the allegory and put together what moral, social, or spiritual experience Young Goodman Brown’s one night journey represents (which can be found here).

Click below for the other short stories in our unit


1984 Seminar

Posted: February 16, 2018 in Uncategorized

We’ll have a groovy graded seminar discussion on 1984 on Monday and Tuesday (Feb. 19th and 20th), Monday based on my questions, Tuesday based on yours, which you need to enter ahead of time on this form.


Here is the latest schedule of presentations: presentation order 2018 actual.  I want to reiterate the fact that you’ve had January 8th as the due date for six weeks and had plenty of time to prepare, to make arrangements to be here, etc.  If you don’t present on the day you are scheduled for, there will be a late penalty.

Here is the Middlesex diction packet we worked on in class: Middlesex diction

And the practice multiple choice from class: AP Multiple Choice from CollegeBoard Workshop Handbook

I’m also collecting notebooks for notebook checks this week, so be sure to leave yours with me one day.

Your mid term next week will consist of a 2nd quarter test and a free response essay from a recent AP exam.  You will need to bring 2-3 writing goals to the exam.

Middlesex Questions

Posted: December 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

Your task, to be completed by Tuesday, December 19th, is to write three questions based on your reading of Middlesex.  The first should be comprehension based (bands 1 or 2 on the blooms-question-stems from class) the second should be application or analysis (bands 3 or 4) and the third should be synthesis or evaluation (bands 5 or 6).  Your questions must be entered into this survey before class on Tuesday, December 19th.