Tuesday, March 25, 2008


HELLO! - I hope everyone is having a good week. I know you are all succeeding and doing well. Take it easy. Rest. Work hard. Remember your TEA charts. Talk to the text. Process of Elimination. All the good things!

Here is a great clip from my favorite show to relax your minds. It is satire. Notice the irony of the tagline: Limitless Paper in a Paperless world.

Also, there is a movie opening this weekend called Chapter 27 about the Mark David Chapman murder of John Lennon, which was supposedly inspired by The Catcher in the Rye. Note, Catcher only had 26 chapters. Oh, it is supposed to be terrible.

Monday, March 10, 2008

MOTIF: A Tale of Two Cities

From the all-knowing and occasionally reliable wikipedia:
In a narrative, such as a novel or a film, motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes. The narrative motif is the vehicle of means by which the narrative theme is conveyed. The motif can be an idea, an object, a place, or a statement.

I want to know what motif you are tracing. Easy Homework grade.

Write down what motif you chose and a few sentences why you picked that motif.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Forgetfulness - Video

Here is the video for the Forgetfulness, the poem below.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Period Two - Explication Analysis

For this assignment, I want you to read the following Poem Explication and comment about the writing.
Focus on what works and what may need improvement in the explication. Focus on the student's assertion, support, organization, style, etc. I included the poem first, then the paper. You will need to read the poem to understand the paper. This is a paper from a student in period 4.

Your response should be a full paragraph in length (8-10 sentences). This is due by March 7th.

Forgetfulness by Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

BY: Billy Collins

The poem Forgetfulness is about the fading of memories. Throughout the poem, Billy Collins’s speaker suggests that with the increasing of age and the approaching of death, the memories that the brain harbors start to fade away one by one. In order to point the audience to the larger idea, the speaker uses form, personification, irony, allusion, and a touch of humor.

The form of the poem mimics the idea of forgetfulness. The title of the poem, Forgetfulness is an irony in itself since after first reading the poem; the reader would discard the poem as nothing memorable. In order to create this effect, the author does not use any fancy rhyme scheme, alliterations, or makes the poem awkward to read. The poem starts out with a four-lined stanza, and gradually, the form of the poem starts to fall apart which creates a parallel to the fading of memories. Using form and many other techniques the author defines the symptom of forgetfulness that comes with getting older.

The genius of the poem starts to unravel itself after rereading the poem. In the first stanza, the author recalls forgetting “the name of the author …/ followed obediently by the title, the plot,/ the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel” (line 1-3). “Obediently” (line 2) suggests that the memories fade away without much thought. When the poem is starting, the speaker speaks specifically of the “novel” (line 4), “the names of the nine muses” (line 8), and “the quadratic equation” (line 9). However, as the poem progresses, the speaker starts to forget what he/she has forgotten, referring to the memory as “whatever it is” (line 13) and “whose name begins with an L” (line 17). Moreover, the connotation of the poem is pointing toward the idea of getting older and eventually death. The author uses allusions throughout the poem, referencing to math, Greek mythology, geography, and many more. One of the allusions is “a dark mythological river whose name begins with an L” (line 13). L stands for Lethe, a Greek river from the underworld that erases the memories of the person who drinks from it. The speaker continue with “on your way to oblivion” (line 14) which is also hinted toward death since the word “oblivion” (line 14) not only refers to forgetfulness but to death since Lethe’s other name is the “River of Oblivion”. Lethe is located in Hades, where the soul of the dead goes. The speaker uses the allusion to the Greek’s mythological river Lethe to express the idea that as a person gets older and approaches death; his/her memory will unconsciously fade way.

Though the poem is about getting older and the probability of death, the tone of the poem is not sad or gloomy. The use of “you” throughout the poem points to the fact that the speaker is addressing to his/her audience informally, creating a conversational tone. The tone of the poem is also rather humorous. The author created this effect by using irony, such as the last line which suggesting the fading “of a love poem that [one] used to know by heart” (line 24), “poem” might mean this poem. Another irony is the tone itself. The poem is about death yet the tone is a bit mocking. Also, the author uses personification that includes the “memories” (line 5) “retir[ing]” (line 6) to a part of the brain, “pack[ing] (line 9) its bag”, “poise[ing] on the tip of the tongue” (line 14), “lurking” (line 15) in the corner, or “float[ing]” (line 16) down a river. While reading the poem, the reader might laugh at the “little fishing village” (line 7) and the “slipping away” (line 11) of memory. Yet, as the reader continue and finishes the last lines, the fear of forgetfulness takes over.

In the last five lines of the poem, the speaker brings to reader back to the common place that shifts the poem to a more serious note. The suggestion of forgetting “how to swim and how to ride a bicycle” (line 15) is arduous; therefore, the speaker is implying the old age or death, where these simple tasks are not needed, and forgotten. In the last stanza, the author suggests that with the forgotten of memory, there is always an attempt to bring a memory back. A person would “rise[s] in the middle of the night/ to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war” (line 20-21). The last sentence of the poem is also the shift of the poem. The idea of “the moon drifted out of a love poem that [one] used to know by heart” (line 21-22) suggests that the speaker have suffered a significant emotional lost. The lost is not something the speaker can replace by looking it up, like a date, a name, or a place; it is something more than that. Billy Collins' speaker leads the reader through an emotional maze that leaves him/her at an ending place that is completely different from the beginning point.

Even though the poem is leaning toward the idea of death, the tone and shift of the poem is pulling toward another idea. The juxtaposition of the feelings of fear and amusement bring out the message of Collins' speaker. Most readers can relate to Forgetfulness, the forgetfulness of something is common, yet the poem guide the reader from being forgetfulness to the path of death. Intertwine with the ideas of getting older and death is the humorous and conversational tone. However, the poem ends in a more serious tone. The combination of the distinctively different tones brings forth the larger meaning that as age increases, it is all right to let that one small insignificant memory to slip away because those memories can be replaced; however, there are also precious memories that cannot be replaced. The memories that cannot be replaced are the most important of all; those are the memories that should not be forgotten so easily.

Period Four - Explication Analysis

For this assignment, I want you to read the following Poem Explication and comment about the writing.
Focus on what works and what may need improvement in the explication. Focus on the student's assertion, support, organization, style, etc. I included the poem first, then the paper. You will need to read the poem to understand the paper. This is a paper from a student in period 2.

Your response should be a full paragraph in length (8 to 10 sentences). This is due by March 7th.

One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident

the art of losing's not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Poem Explication: One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

In the poem One Art by Elizabeth Bishop, the speaker shows the audience that losing things is infinitesimal compared to losing the one she loves. She reveals herself through repetition and metaphor, but it is mostly her diction that tells her feelings
In the first line she says “The art of losing isn’t hard to master”. The line sets up the mood that losing things is easy. Though by repeating it in lines 6 and 12, she puts emphasis on the words and seems to want that line to be the truth. In the last repetition of the first line, she adds the word “too”. This means that it is hard to master, to some extent, though the end result “may look like…disaster (line 19)” She further backs it up her original statement by saying that their intent is “to be lost” (line 3), saying that things are meant to be lost, no matter what happens. She instructs the audience to “lose” and “accept” (line 4), which suggests that she has gone through loss before and it would be better to accept losing things since it would not hurt as much. She then instructs the audience to “practice” (line 7) losing, so her heart will not be crushed when the audience is accustomed to losing. By line 6, the speaker gets frantic. Her words become careless and the words take a sort of rhythm. She says “losing farther, losing faster”. Both phrases start with the word losing and start with the letter f. She then loses “places, and names, and where it was [she] meant / to travel” (lines 8-9). She lost more important things, but they were bearable. At this point, she is still talking to her original audience. When she says “And look! My last, or / next-to-last” (line 10), the exclamation point indicates a careless abandon. The fact that she can’t point out any details of the item she lost shows she doesn’t care about it and it doesn’t matter. She starts using the first person, saying that the items she lost were hers. She starts out losing small things like “lost door keys, the hour badly spent”. Then she lost her “mother’s watch” and then “three loved houses”, but still she was able to bear with it. She lost “two cities”, “some realms [she] owned, two rivers, a continent” (line 13-14) but it didn’t matter to her. The things she lost were worth nothing to her and were easily disposable. But there is one thing that she can’t just throw away.
The only time she admits that she misses any of her items is when she mentions her pairs of items, two cites, two rivers, and the item that hold them together, the continent. This is a metaphor to show that she misses the unity between herself and her lover. But she can’t have it anymore because she lost both pairs of items, symbolizing she also lost the relationship. The shift of the poem occurs in the last stanza of the poem. She admits she “shan’t have lied” when saying losing things is easy because she found the one thing that hurts to lose: “you”. Her audience changes to her lover. She still loves him; she uses the present tense word “love”. She hasn’t gotten over it. Looking back, she seems to be losing things to cope with the loss she has suffered. She thought if she lost some things, she might get used to the feeling of loss and accept his loss. But it didn’t happen that way. She still loves that man no matter what.
The speaker of the poem loss of the one she loves could not possibly compare to any other loss. She has a hard time getting the words out at the last line, prompting her to include the words “Write it!” just to get that last word out. She doesn’t want it to be true, but because of the nature of the poem, (it’s a villanelle) she has to say it. She says that losing a loved one is the hardest type of losing there is.