Monday, April 28, 2008

About your blogs...

You can find your blog, if you scroll down and click on "view my complete profile".

You are required to post TWICE from now until 5/19. You MUST comment on every post. This assignment and adventure is a test grade. It is your working journal for your independent reading book.

What should the posts look like?

Open-ended questions for clarification
Questions that predict
Passages
Links to important research websites
Statements or Debatable Assertions that spurn dialogue


Comments should be of an appropriate length, and you are encouraged to comment more than once when necessary. Remember, this is a public website and a school website. NO SARCASM. Address everyone with respect. You are here to discuss literature and have fun. I'm looking for you to focus in and large ideas and structure.

Best of luck.

My final comments on the Feet essay...


Man, I was really impressed at the level and depth that all of you were able to look critically at a student's paper. I wanted to share some of my final thoughts on the essay to help you.

FOCUS I felt within each individual paragraph the student was incredibly focused. As far as the thesis statement goes, it was vague, but I felt purposefully so. In looking back, I would encourage the student to make sure they go back to the thesis within the paragraphs - keep going back to past, present, and future. I think, though it builds to the conclusion,I would encourage the author to make his/her building to the conclusion more visible.

CONTENT This is what blew me away. The author managed not only to fully explore the use of feet, but tie it into wine, stones, doubles, pureness, and weather. The amount of quotes, which were occasionally jarring, showed an incredible depth of time and research. This paper is not summary, but rather makes a point to analyze each element of when and why characters hear feet, how it affects them, and what footsteps tell us about the characters and the revolution. This is pretty neat stuff.

STYLE
Throughout this process, we have been trying to find our own style, being more conversational in order to help us focus. Many times, this works for the author - particularly with the internal questions. At times, it doesn't. Most of you pointed this out. For me, the introductory paragraph doesn't work. I would encourage a more academic approach, since the paper is very academic. Having read this paper in several drafts, I can attest to the student's desire to try something different stylistically and I think he/she ended up at a solid place, but there are some areas that could be tightened.

Overall, I felt this paper was one that showed thought, effort, and a great understanding of how a motif works and knowledge of the text. I applaud the student's effort and ability to tackle "feet" as a motif. Yes, there is room for improvement, there always is, and I think your comments were helpful, insightful, and most welcomed.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Shakespeare is Coming Up and I thought you might enjoy this...



YOUR HW IS THE POST BELOW ON THE PAPER ON "FEET IN A TALE OF TWO CITIES" - This is entertaining.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tale of Two Cities: Exemplare Paper: Period 4

Tale of Two Cities Exemplare Paper
Read the following essay and comment on the author's technique. This is a fine paper and a fine bit of scholarship from one of your classmates. Do not be afraid to point out areas in which the writer could improve. Responses should be eight to ten sentences in length.


Feet: On the Path of Past, Present, and Future
Feet. They are smelly and easily forgotten, but they are a vital part of the body. They provide a foundation. They bring a person to a place. One can wear shoes (or go shoeless). They often make sounds (or are silent). They do ordinary things, easily forgotten things; they are second nature to breathing. In A Tale of Two Cities, the forgotten feet, too, provide a foundation. Charles Dickens uses the motif of feet, a reoccurring image, to symbolize a path that is taken in which connects the past, present, and future of the French Revolution and the people the revolution affects.

To truly grasp the true meaning of why Dickens uses feet as a motif, we must first examine it everyday function and the meaning that Dickens creates behind it.

A sound is made when a person takes a step. Dickens uses sounds as a metaphor to contrast the difference between the footsteps that echoes in Lucie Manette’s life and the footsteps that echoes in France to show the difference between France and England. In Lucie’s life, the echoes are “sometimes pensive, sometimes amused and laughing” (196). “[T]he echoes of her child’s tread…, and those of her own father’s,…and those of her dear husband” (196) are “near to her heart” (196). The footsteps bring happiness and joy to Lucie’s life; they are “music to her” (196) and they are “sweet in her ears” (196). “But, there [a]re other echoes, from a distance [in France], that rumble menacingly in the corner all through this space of time” (197). These footsteps are not “pensive…amused…or laughing” (196) but they “have an awful sound” (197). Footsteps are footsteps. However, Dickens uses the simple everyday action and creates a meaning behind it. Dickens uses footsteps to juxtapose the peacefulness of England and the chaotic of France. In England, the footsteps are “music” (196). In France, the footsteps are “a great storm” (197) that give “an awful sound” (197). The metaphoric contrast of footsteps and a great storm shows that these footsteps are powerful and they come with a great force. The use of sounds that appeals to the ears affectively highlights Dickens’s point. Sure, footsteps can be seen. However, one person can effectively identify the person’s identity or mood by the sound they make with their feet. Even though both countries share the same “space of time” (197), they are in two different worlds. In one country, England, the people are living a peaceful and quiet life, at ease. In another country, France, the people are living in a chaotic and chaotic life, oppressed. The footsteps tie these two countries together and show their differences.

Dickens uses the feet in more than one way. The stained feet illustrates the oppression of lower class in France and foreshadows the French Revolution. When “a large casket of wine ha[s] been dropped and broken” (24), “all the people within reach ha[ve] suspended their business, or their idleness, to run to the spot and drink the wine” (24). The people are hungry, literally and figuratively. The drinking of wine from the ground is a metaphor for their desperation to overthrow their government. The “red wine” (25) that “stained many naked feet, and many wooden shoes” (25) foreshadows the blood that will stain the revolutionaries’ feet. From the fact that the feet are naked or wear wooden shoes shows how poor these people are in contrast to the “softly-slippered feet” (118) of Monsieur the Marquis. However, with or without shoes, they do make sounds. These are the sounds of cries from the oppressed people. In Monsieur the Marquis case, “his softly-slippered feet mak[es] no noise on the floor” (118). Noises are made due to frustration. Monsieur the Marquis is happily content with this luxurious life, no need to stomp and pout like a child. The oppressed people stomps their feet in frustration to show their anger and their need for attention. Are they heard? Lucie hears the “echoes of all the footsteps that are coming by-and-bye into [her] lives” (97). She hears the footsteps from the angry revolutionaries that will later come into her life. The sound of the footsteps also foreshadow the inevitable revolution in France.

Footsteps make sounds and foreshadow the future. Darnay, Lucie, and Carton hear the echoing footsteps in the corner. But why do only Lucie and Carton really understand what it truly means? Lucie and Carton hear the footsteps as “black and solemn” (97) and as a “great crowd bearing down upon [them]…by the Lightning”, “com[ing], fast, fierce, and furious” (97). Yet, Darnay thinks that the echoes of footsteps are “not impressive” and “foolish” (97). Dickens portrays Lucie Manette as the perfect human being. She is beautiful, gentle, loving, and caring; the epitome of a pure figure. Because she is so pure, she can pick out the flaws and darkness of the world even when it is unnoticeable. Dickens portrays Sydney Carton as a pessimistic. He is a drunkard, “moody and morose” (139); the epitome of a failure. Because he sees the world in darkness, he can see the darkness of the echoing footsteps. And then there is Darnay. Why does Dickens leave Darnay in the cold, oblivious to the truth? Darnay is a person with pride; he neither sees nor hear “hardly any danger” (224) when he makes the decision to go the France, a grave in-waiting, in order to save his name, his pride.

France, indeed, is a massive grave. The footsteps that Lucie and Darnay heard are coming closer and closer until they knock at Lucie’s door. In the beginning, Lucie only hears the footsteps “echoed and re-echoed with the tread of feet; some, as it seemed, under the windows; some, as it seemed, in the room; some coming, some going, some breaking off, some stopping altogether; all in the distant streets, and not one within sight” (97). They are “afar off, and scarcely audible yet” (195). As time goes by, these “echoing footsteps of years” (195) gain momentum and they are coming closer to Lucie’s life. They are “[h]eadlong, mad, and dangerous footsteps” (195) and “in the years so long after the breaking of the cask at Defarge's wine-shop door, they are not easily purified when once stained red” (204). The wheel of the bloody French Revolution has turn and blood is spilled. The one that once has been oppressed is now the oppressor. The foot that once has been stained with red wine is now stained with red blood. Blood, unlike wine, cannot be washed off the mind so easily. Lucie comes face to face with the footsteps when “[a] rude clattering of feet over the floor” of “four rough men in red caps, armed with sabres and pistols” (271) enter her life and take Charles Darnay away. Again, only Lucie hears the footsteps of these men. Dr. Manette does not hear the forbidding footsteps and tells Lucie that that “staircase is as still as Death” (271). Like Darnay, Dr. Manette is oblivious to these footsteps but for a different reason. In Dr. Manette’s mind, he “ha[s] saved [Darnay]” (271). There is no reason for the raging footsteps to be coming and take Darnay away; therefore, he does not hear it because he does not expect it coming. Even after Darnay is released, still, Lucie’s “mind pursue[s]” “the dreadful carts rolling through the streets”, looking for [Darnay] among the Condemned” (268). Lucie is still afraid that Darnay will be taken away from her; wherein, Dr. Manette is positive that Darnay is safe. The footsteps coming up the stairs to take Darnay away are expected by Lucie, not Dr. Manette; therefore, he is oblivious to it.

So, the footsteps that Lucie hears echoing in her life belong to the revolutionaries that are madly raging through France. But that is not all. Feet step on the ground. Dickens uses the stains of feet as a measurement of how sinful a person is. In the 1700s, religion was a vital part of everyday life. Yet, Jerry’s occupation is a “Resurrection-Man” (152). The sinister of his occupation is shown through his “clay-soiled” (151) and “very muddy boot[s]” (55). The mud on Jerry’s boots shows the person of Jerry is tainted. Dickens has the Defarges “picking their way on foot through the black mud and offal” (164). Wherein, Lucie Manette, the perfect figure, Dickens lets her walks in a “lightly-snowing afternoon” (258) as “the feathery snow f[alls] as quietly and lay as white and soft” (260). Dickens paints a beautiful picture of perfect whiteness of the snow around Lucie. The pure whiteness of the snow matches the pureness of that Lucie. Needless to say, when the revolutionaries dance the Carmagnole across Lucie, the ground turns into a “slough of blood and dirt” (260). When Madame Defarge appears, she puts “[a] footstep in the snow” (260), says her greeting and she is “gone, like a shadow over the white road” (260). The act of stepping on and crushing the pure white snow and the shadow of Madame Defarge gives an ominous feeling and foreshadows the danger that will come to Lucie. “Barsad, and Cly, Defarge, The Vengeance, the Juryman, the Judge…the new oppressors…have risen on the destruction of the old” (347). The feet from the revolutionaries “are not easily purified when once stained red” (201). Are there any ways to prevent the feet from getting stained?

Yes. Carton and Dr. Manette. In one scene, “there was a little girl with a mother, looking for a way across the street through the mud. [Carton] carried the child over” (292). He prevents her feet from touching the muddy ground. Okay, he carries the child over, big deal. But we have discussed how mud is a symbol for corruption. The fact that he carries the child over the mud symbolizes his wants to protect the little girl from the corruption and madness that are happening all around France. Carton has made the decision to sacrifice his life for Lucie, his love. In the silence night he chanted “I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die” (292). In the quiet street, “the words were in the echoes of his feet” (292). These words mixing with his feet show that he has chosen his path. In more than one way, his sacrificing his life is a way to protect Lucie from corruption. The death of Darnay would have drove Lucie overboard which would lead to her looking for revenge. He protects Lucie in breaking the cycle of revenge.

On the other hand, there is Dr. Manette making shoes. During his time in prison, Dr. Manette took up the occupation of making “[a] young lady's walking shoe” (181). In making ladies’ shoes, he’s trying to protect a woman’s feet from getting “stained red” (204). The shoes are protecting the innocent people from corruption and hunger that have taken over many of the revolutionaries. Additionally, these are walking shoes; Dr. Manette makes the walking shoes in a hope that the people will flea from the evil of France, especially the women and not to be swept by the revolution. Locked in his prison, making shoes gives a sense of freedom since the shoes are for walking to places and in his small prison of “five paces by four and a half” (240), he has nowhere to go. He is making the shoes for the people being oppressed, but in a sense, he is also making it for himself. The shoes are a way to run from the revolutionary and from danger. After Dr. Manette saw the incident with Madame Defarge’s siblings, he saw the true meaning “of being oppressed, bursting forth like a fire” (301). He makes comfortable walking shoes in a sense that it will protect the oppressed people and to help them run away from the evil of France and its contagious corruption.

Do the footsteps ever stop making awful sound and step on mud? Dickens names the last chapter “The Footsteps Die Out for Ever” for a reason. In the literal meaning, the only two persons that hear the footsteps, Lucie and Darnay, do not hear it anymore. Lucie has fled France, leaving the awful footsteps of the French revolutionaries behind. Carton is the victim of the Guillotine, leaving the awful footsteps and the world behind. Figuratively, there is more to the footsteps dying out. In his last moments, Carton sees that in the “long years to come”, “a beautiful city and a brilliant people” will “ris[e] from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats…the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth” will “gradually mak[e] expiation for itself and wear out” (347). Dickens has compare footsteps and the action of the revolutionary as a “great storm” (197). A storm can be awful, it floods and kills people. However, in the end, it gives water and the flood leaves the land with rich topsoil. Like a storm, the revolution will not be pretty, and it will kill many people. However, in the end, when the storm passes and when the revolution passes, the government will be a better one. The raging footsteps will eventually subside just like a storm will subside.

In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens uses the motif of feet to link the past, present, and future of the French Revolution. The use of feet contributes to the sad fact that change will only come after a great storm of bloodshed. The novel ends in a sad note of Carton loosing his life. However, it also ends in hope of a better future. When the storm of the revolution dies out, the sun will come out, and with it, a new and improved government along with a true sense of freedom.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tale of Two Cities Exemplare Paper: Period 2

Read the following essay and comment on the author's technique. This is a fine paper and a fine bit of scholarship from one of your classmates. Do not be afraid to point out areas in which the writer could improve. Responses should be eight to ten sentences in length.

Feet: On the Path of Past, Present, and Future
Feet. They are smelly and easily forgotten, but they are a vital part of the body. They provide a foundation. They bring a person to a place. One can wear shoes (or go shoeless). They often make sounds (or are silent). They do ordinary things, easily forgotten things; they are second nature to breathing. In A Tale of Two Cities, the forgotten feet, too, provide a foundation. Charles Dickens uses the motif of feet, a reoccurring image, to symbolize a path that is taken in which connects the past, present, and future of the French Revolution and the people the revolution affects.

To truly grasp the true meaning of why Dickens uses feet as a motif, we must first examine it everyday function and the meaning that Dickens creates behind it.

A sound is made when a person takes a step. Dickens uses sounds as a metaphor to contrast the difference between the footsteps that echoes in Lucie Manette’s life and the footsteps that echoes in France to show the difference between France and England. In Lucie’s life, the echoes are “sometimes pensive, sometimes amused and laughing” (196). “[T]he echoes of her child’s tread…, and those of her own father’s,…and those of her dear husband” (196) are “near to her heart” (196). The footsteps bring happiness and joy to Lucie’s life; they are “music to her” (196) and they are “sweet in her ears” (196). “But, there [a]re other echoes, from a distance [in France], that rumble menacingly in the corner all through this space of time” (197). These footsteps are not “pensive…amused…or laughing” (196) but they “have an awful sound” (197). Footsteps are footsteps. However, Dickens uses the simple everyday action and creates a meaning behind it. Dickens uses footsteps to juxtapose the peacefulness of England and the chaotic of France. In England, the footsteps are “music” (196). In France, the footsteps are “a great storm” (197) that give “an awful sound” (197). The metaphoric contrast of footsteps and a great storm shows that these footsteps are powerful and they come with a great force. The use of sounds that appeals to the ears affectively highlights Dickens’s point. Sure, footsteps can be seen. However, one person can effectively identify the person’s identity or mood by the sound they make with their feet. Even though both countries share the same “space of time” (197), they are in two different worlds. In one country, England, the people are living a peaceful and quiet life, at ease. In another country, France, the people are living in a chaotic and chaotic life, oppressed. The footsteps tie these two countries together and show their differences.

Dickens uses the feet in more than one way. The stained feet illustrates the oppression of lower class in France and foreshadows the French Revolution. When “a large casket of wine ha[s] been dropped and broken” (24), “all the people within reach ha[ve] suspended their business, or their idleness, to run to the spot and drink the wine” (24). The people are hungry, literally and figuratively. The drinking of wine from the ground is a metaphor for their desperation to overthrow their government. The “red wine” (25) that “stained many naked feet, and many wooden shoes” (25) foreshadows the blood that will stain the revolutionaries’ feet. From the fact that the feet are naked or wear wooden shoes shows how poor these people are in contrast to the “softly-slippered feet” (118) of Monsieur the Marquis. However, with or without shoes, they do make sounds. These are the sounds of cries from the oppressed people. In Monsieur the Marquis case, “his softly-slippered feet mak[es] no noise on the floor” (118). Noises are made due to frustration. Monsieur the Marquis is happily content with this luxurious life, no need to stomp and pout like a child. The oppressed people stomps their feet in frustration to show their anger and their need for attention. Are they heard? Lucie hears the “echoes of all the footsteps that are coming by-and-bye into [her] lives” (97). She hears the footsteps from the angry revolutionaries that will later come into her life. The sound of the footsteps also foreshadow the inevitable revolution in France.

Footsteps make sounds and foreshadow the future. Darnay, Lucie, and Carton hear the echoing footsteps in the corner. But why do only Lucie and Carton really understand what it truly means? Lucie and Carton hear the footsteps as “black and solemn” (97) and as a “great crowd bearing down upon [them]…by the Lightning”, “com[ing], fast, fierce, and furious” (97). Yet, Darnay thinks that the echoes of footsteps are “not impressive” and “foolish” (97). Dickens portrays Lucie Manette as the perfect human being. She is beautiful, gentle, loving, and caring; the epitome of a pure figure. Because she is so pure, she can pick out the flaws and darkness of the world even when it is unnoticeable. Dickens portrays Sydney Carton as a pessimistic. He is a drunkard, “moody and morose” (139); the epitome of a failure. Because he sees the world in darkness, he can see the darkness of the echoing footsteps. And then there is Darnay. Why does Dickens leave Darnay in the cold, oblivious to the truth? Darnay is a person with pride; he neither sees nor hear “hardly any danger” (224) when he makes the decision to go the France, a grave in-waiting, in order to save his name, his pride.

France, indeed, is a massive grave. The footsteps that Lucie and Darnay heard are coming closer and closer until they knock at Lucie’s door. In the beginning, Lucie only hears the footsteps “echoed and re-echoed with the tread of feet; some, as it seemed, under the windows; some, as it seemed, in the room; some coming, some going, some breaking off, some stopping altogether; all in the distant streets, and not one within sight” (97). They are “afar off, and scarcely audible yet” (195). As time goes by, these “echoing footsteps of years” (195) gain momentum and they are coming closer to Lucie’s life. They are “[h]eadlong, mad, and dangerous footsteps” (195) and “in the years so long after the breaking of the cask at Defarge's wine-shop door, they are not easily purified when once stained red” (204). The wheel of the bloody French Revolution has turn and blood is spilled. The one that once has been oppressed is now the oppressor. The foot that once has been stained with red wine is now stained with red blood. Blood, unlike wine, cannot be washed off the mind so easily. Lucie comes face to face with the footsteps when “[a] rude clattering of feet over the floor” of “four rough men in red caps, armed with sabres and pistols” (271) enter her life and take Charles Darnay away. Again, only Lucie hears the footsteps of these men. Dr. Manette does not hear the forbidding footsteps and tells Lucie that that “staircase is as still as Death” (271). Like Darnay, Dr. Manette is oblivious to these footsteps but for a different reason. In Dr. Manette’s mind, he “ha[s] saved [Darnay]” (271). There is no reason for the raging footsteps to be coming and take Darnay away; therefore, he does not hear it because he does not expect it coming. Even after Darnay is released, still, Lucie’s “mind pursue[s]” “the dreadful carts rolling through the streets”, looking for [Darnay] among the Condemned” (268). Lucie is still afraid that Darnay will be taken away from her; wherein, Dr. Manette is positive that Darnay is safe. The footsteps coming up the stairs to take Darnay away are expected by Lucie, not Dr. Manette; therefore, he is oblivious to it.

So, the footsteps that Lucie hears echoing in her life belong to the revolutionaries that are madly raging through France. But that is not all. Feet step on the ground. Dickens uses the stains of feet as a measurement of how sinful a person is. In the 1700s, religion was a vital part of everyday life. Yet, Jerry’s occupation is a “Resurrection-Man” (152). The sinister of his occupation is shown through his “clay-soiled” (151) and “very muddy boot[s]” (55). The mud on Jerry’s boots shows the person of Jerry is tainted. Dickens has the Defarges “picking their way on foot through the black mud and offal” (164). Wherein, Lucie Manette, the perfect figure, Dickens lets her walks in a “lightly-snowing afternoon” (258) as “the feathery snow f[alls] as quietly and lay as white and soft” (260). Dickens paints a beautiful picture of perfect whiteness of the snow around Lucie. The pure whiteness of the snow matches the pureness of that Lucie. Needless to say, when the revolutionaries dance the Carmagnole across Lucie, the ground turns into a “slough of blood and dirt” (260). When Madame Defarge appears, she puts “[a] footstep in the snow” (260), says her greeting and she is “gone, like a shadow over the white road” (260). The act of stepping on and crushing the pure white snow and the shadow of Madame Defarge gives an ominous feeling and foreshadows the danger that will come to Lucie. “Barsad, and Cly, Defarge, The Vengeance, the Juryman, the Judge…the new oppressors…have risen on the destruction of the old” (347). The feet from the revolutionaries “are not easily purified when once stained red” (201). Are there any ways to prevent the feet from getting stained?

Yes. Carton and Dr. Manette. In one scene, “there was a little girl with a mother, looking for a way across the street through the mud. [Carton] carried the child over” (292). He prevents her feet from touching the muddy ground. Okay, he carries the child over, big deal. But we have discussed how mud is a symbol for corruption. The fact that he carries the child over the mud symbolizes his wants to protect the little girl from the corruption and madness that are happening all around France. Carton has made the decision to sacrifice his life for Lucie, his love. In the silence night he chanted “I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die” (292). In the quiet street, “the words were in the echoes of his feet” (292). These words mixing with his feet show that he has chosen his path. In more than one way, his sacrificing his life is a way to protect Lucie from corruption. The death of Darnay would have drove Lucie overboard which would lead to her looking for revenge. He protects Lucie in breaking the cycle of revenge.

On the other hand, there is Dr. Manette making shoes. During his time in prison, Dr. Manette took up the occupation of making “[a] young lady's walking shoe” (181). In making ladies’ shoes, he’s trying to protect a woman’s feet from getting “stained red” (204). The shoes are protecting the innocent people from corruption and hunger that have taken over many of the revolutionaries. Additionally, these are walking shoes; Dr. Manette makes the walking shoes in a hope that the people will flea from the evil of France, especially the women and not to be swept by the revolution. Locked in his prison, making shoes gives a sense of freedom since the shoes are for walking to places and in his small prison of “five paces by four and a half” (240), he has nowhere to go. He is making the shoes for the people being oppressed, but in a sense, he is also making it for himself. The shoes are a way to run from the revolutionary and from danger. After Dr. Manette saw the incident with Madame Defarge’s siblings, he saw the true meaning “of being oppressed, bursting forth like a fire” (301). He makes comfortable walking shoes in a sense that it will protect the oppressed people and to help them run away from the evil of France and its contagious corruption.

Do the footsteps ever stop making awful sound and step on mud? Dickens names the last chapter “The Footsteps Die Out for Ever” for a reason. In the literal meaning, the only two persons that hear the footsteps, Lucie and Darnay, do not hear it anymore. Lucie has fled France, leaving the awful footsteps of the French revolutionaries behind. Carton is the victim of the Guillotine, leaving the awful footsteps and the world behind. Figuratively, there is more to the footsteps dying out. In his last moments, Carton sees that in the “long years to come”, “a beautiful city and a brilliant people” will “ris[e] from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats…the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth” will “gradually mak[e] expiation for itself and wear out” (347). Dickens has compare footsteps and the action of the revolutionary as a “great storm” (197). A storm can be awful, it floods and kills people. However, in the end, it gives water and the flood leaves the land with rich topsoil. Like a storm, the revolution will not be pretty, and it will kill many people. However, in the end, when the storm passes and when the revolution passes, the government will be a better one. The raging footsteps will eventually subside just like a storm will subside.

In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens uses the motif of feet to link the past, present, and future of the French Revolution. The use of feet contributes to the sad fact that change will only come after a great storm of bloodshed. The novel ends in a sad note of Carton loosing his life. However, it also ends in hope of a better future. When the storm of the revolution dies out, the sun will come out, and with it, a new and improved government along with a true sense of freedom.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Night: Intolerance


One essential question of the text is How does intolerance lead to cruelty and inhumanity?

Please read the following speech by Elie Wiesel entitled The Perils of Indifference.

In your blog entry, respond to following question:

In his writing, both in Night and in his speech, and through his words in the video, what image of humankind does Wiesel portray and what appears to be his message to his audience(s) and the world about humankind and humanity ?


This will be graded on an open response rubric - 4=95, 3=85, 2=75, 1=65. I'm looking for you to refer to the works. Start with an assertion. One page will suffice.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Passive Voice, Words to Avoid, etc.

For your paper, I'm looking for you to fix some reoccurring stylistic problems.

1) Reduce your usage of passive voice. Use this website as your guide. We will go over this in class, but here is your reference.

2) Avoid the following weak words and vague phrases:

good, bad, nice, kinda or kind of, seems, totally, a lot, 'in conclusion', sort of, "word choice", "similar, yet different", "stuff", "deeper meaning"

3) Write in the present tense. Yes, this book is old and the action is during the French Revolution; however, your paper is current and it needs to be written in the present.

Best of luck.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A mini-reminder: Plagiarism

I felt it was a good time for a little reminder.

Plagiarism is using others words and ideas as your own. It is cheating.

At Malden High School, one count of plagiarism will prevent you from entering National Honors Society; two counts will result in a suspension.

Let us play a game. Let us call it: Plagiarism (P)/Not Plagiarism (NP)

Talking to your friend about your paper and bouncing around your ideas. (NP)
Taking your friends ideas and writing them as your own. (P)
Talking to your friend about papers of similar topics and sharing assertions/ideas. (P)
Talking to your friends about paper of similar topics and going over background information or context. (NP)
Copying your friends paper or using their questions as your own. (P)
Talking to Mr. Walsh and having him help you create an assertion and questions. (NP)
Using an article from wikipedia or How to Read like a Professor, citing it, to help create your own ideas (NP)
Using ideas found on sparknotes, cliff notes, etc. as your own (BIG TIME P)
Using other people's assertions as your own (BIG TIME P)
Failing to cite quotes. (P)
Passing off Mr. Walsh's ideas as your own. (P)


You are free and strongly encouraged to use information presented class in your paper, but in doing so, do not claim that you came up with this idea, if in fact, you didn't. There is a fine line; if you have questions, don't be afraid, just ask.

This is all about learning. I am not out to get anyone. I'm excited about your ideas. I'm really want to read these papers.

I will guide you in making your own assertions. Do not go elsewhere. Much of the grade on this paper is about the process of creating and building an assertions. It is a challenge, an intellectual one. Let's shine.

-Best of luck, Mr. Walsh

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Structure of your Motif Paper

HELP IS ON THE WAY!!!

1) Introduction should build to your assertion. Think about describing the function of your object or image, and then build to what you will attempt to prove.
2) For your assertion, make sure it is pointing to a larger idea and not just a fact. It must be something that can be debated.
3) Outline your paper with a series of questions. For now, keep the questions in the body of the essay; we can get rid of them later if needed.
4) Within each answer, keep focus. You need not summarize. I know the book. Just give me context. The necessary facts.
5) Hopefully, your analysis ties all of your answers together and reinforces your initial assertion. You may find you need to go back and revise your initial assertion/claim. That is okay.


Here is what I did:

1) I created my assertion: In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger uses the red hunting hat as a motif, a recurring image/object to suggest Holden’s struggle to cover up his past and his search for the future.

2) I knew I would have to focus on the function of the object. So I listed questions.
What does it cover?
What does it protect?
What is he hunting/searching for?
What is he hunting or shooting?
Does the hunt end? If so, what is important about it?

3) I proceeded to answer each question and focus my writing to lead to the next question. They typically did.

4) In answering each question, I analyzed the evidence as I went. I knew I had to keep going back to my assertion. If I was going to say that the hat protected Holden from the weather, I better be sure to say that the weather had something to do with his search for the future. Always go back to your assertion.

5) I made sure to only give the necessary details. For example, instead of describing the whole scene with Holden and Ackley and how Holden judges Ackley, I chose to simply say that Holden called him a "goddam moron", that was enough.

6) My conclusion was brief, because I felt I said most of strong points in the proceeding paragraph.

WHERE TO BEGIN? Use the questions. Use your paper proposal. I will work with you on organization. The key to this assignment is constantly go back to your assertion. What is the big idea/message that the motif is pointing towards? This is not just what it symbolizes, but rather what it means.

Good luck.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Motif paper example

Please read the following example paper: Comment on techniques, style, and anything else you find relevent. Don't simply say "He/she did a nice job", but point out what worked.

“It’s a people shooting hat”: Motif in The Catcher in the Rye

A hat can do many things. It can cover. It can protect. It hides your hair. It keeps one warm, especially in cold weather. It is a symbol of expression. It is rebellious, if worn backwards. This functional object, in the world of Holden’s search for maturity, too acts in many distinct and figurative ways. When Holden Caulfield muses that his red hunting hat is more than just a hunting hat, it is actually a “people shooting hat”, the character himself attaches meaning to the object. It is symbolic to him and to us the reader. Throughout this work, Holden uses the hat in the ways any common person would, but it is how and why he uses the hat that is vital to understanding the character and the whole text. In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger uses the red hunting hat as a motif, a recurring image/object to suggest Holden’s struggle to cover up his past and his search for the future.

To truly understand how the motif functions in the text, we must look at its everyday function and how Salinger creates meaning from it.

It covers. But what does it cover? First, it covers Holden’s hair, which is “gray” with “one side of [his] head…full of millions of gray hair” (9). The hat here conceals Holden’s appearance of age or maturity. Holden claims he has had “them ever since [he] was a kid” and that people mistake him for being older. Holden, who says he “acts like [he’s] only thirteen”, desires to remain young and not be confused as an adult or live in the adult world. Second, the color of the hat helps Holden cover up his signs of maturity. The red hat can be seen as a substitute for his dead brother Allie. As Holden remembers, Allie “never got mad at anybody” unlike the stereotype of “people with red hair [who] are supposed to get mad very easily” (38). It is interesting that in making this observation of Allie and his red hair, Salinger juxtaposes the scene wherein Holden breaks “all the goddam windows with [his] fists, just for the hell of it” (39). Holden cannot control his maturing and he cannot control his anger or rage at a world, which had deprived him of his brother Allie. Therefore, he uses the hat to cover up his pain, anger, and his signs of maturity. Holden through the use of the hat desires to remain in arrested development, perpetual adolescence. He is twelve when Allie dies, the same age his hair begins to gray, and it is this age and this sense of innocence that the hat provides.

So, the hat protects as well. Yes, the hat is protecting Holden from his own realization about maturity, but they are other elements from which the hat protects Holden Caulfield. It is, after all, winter and weather is important. Here, Salinger uses the motif of the red hunting hat in conjunction with his setting. The winter season, in all its gloom and frozenness, acts as a season of despair to with Holden tries to escape:
You wouldn’t even have known it had snowed at all. There was hardly any snow on the sidewalks. It was freezing cold, and I took my red hunting hat out of my pocket and put it on – I didn’t give a damn how I looked. I even put the earlaps down. (88)


The hat is a way for Holden to retreat from the cold. Moreover, the cold serves as the environment in which Holden must hunt and seek. But what is he hunting or what is he hunting for?

First, we have already explored how the hat covers the pain he feels about Allie’s death and how the hat acts as a means of protection in this depressed period of his life. But, the hat as a “hunting” hat functions in two more distinct ways: 1) his search for his own childhood, and 2) his sarcastic defense against those who he perceives as phony.

Let us first explore the hunt itself. Along with the hat, Salinger populates the hunt with images that reinforce Holden’s desire to hold on to childhood: the paper on Egyptians in which Holden wonders about mummies, the Museum of Natural History where “everything always stayed right where it was”, the carrousel where childhood is repeated in a circle, and finally, the pond. To get to the point of what Holden is searching for, we must look at his desire to find out where the ducks go.
“Well, you know the ducks that swim around in it? In the springtime and all? Do you happen to know where they go in the wintertime, by any chance?”
“Where who goes?”
“The ducks. Do you know, by any chance? I mean does somebody come around in a truck of something and take them away, or do they fly away by themselves – go south or something?” (81-82)



Again, the desire to escape winter and depression is revealed in this scene. He is looking for a way out of his problem and is realizing that remaining “frozen” in childhood is no longer an option. Perhaps, somebody will come around in a truck; (in the end, he is committed to an institution). Or perhaps, he could fly away. The fleeing ducks can be seen as his childhood that is escaping, that will not freeze, and will not come back when it/he is thawed.

How does the hat fit in? The hat, which protects him from the world and covers his maturity, affords him the remaining time to hunt for his perpetual childhood. Without the hat, his hunt is over. The hat is off, and he is mature. When Holden decides his hunt as fruitless, he bestows the hat upon his sister, Phoebe; through her, he desires to protect and see everlasting childhood. He beams when she is on the carrousel, and bemoans lost when her favorite childhood record Little Shirley Beans is broken and can no longer spin. Even though, she “didn’t want to take [the red hat]”, he “ma[kes] her” (180). He forces her into his desire of perpetual adolescence. Despite her age, Phoebe, unlike Holden, has no desire to hold on to childhood and confronts Holden’s idea about being “the catcher in the rye” who saves kids. Phoebe corrects Holden’s memory of the Robert Burns poem: “It’s ‘If a body meet a body comin’ thro the rye’” (173). Holden’s desire to save children is in contrast to Phoebe’s understanding that one must move on; to her, “Allie is dead”, and people need to interact, not try to save something that is lost.

This brings us to the second point: “It is a people shooting hat”. Holden promotes that he “shoot[s] people with this hat” (22). He does - with wit, with sarcasm, with glib portrayal. To survive the hunt, Holden uses the hat as a protective shield of sarcasm and that allows him to remain immature and avoid the necessary interaction to grow up – the one Phoebe and others beg him to engage it. He ridicules everyone as “phony”. He criticizes all those who try to engage him: Carl Luce is a “flit”, Ackley is a “goddman moron”, Spencer is “old”, etc. Holden shoots down the advice of those who desire for him to grow up. When Mr. Antolini warns that he is for “some kind of terrible, terrible fall” (186), (perhaps off the cliff to adulthood), Holden does not concentrate, changes the subject, and ultimately, whether justified or not, dismisses the affection of Mr. Antolini as a “flitty pass” (189), Holden consistently and often consciously shoots down those trying to help.

So how does the hunt end? In the end, Phoebe returns the hat to Holden’s head, in a moment where she realizes Holden has more use for its protection than she does. Holden sits in the rain wearing his hat and muses: “My hunting hat really gave me quite a lot of protection, in a way, but I got soaked anyway” (211-212). Despite all that Holden does, he invariably will grow up. Though he is happy for now, as “Phoebe ke[eps] going round and round” on the carrousel, the story ends with the protection and Holden broken. His defense and desire to reclaim and preserve his childhood is soaked.

Throughout the text, the motif of the red hunting hat contributes to the idea that one cannot hold on to childhood or protect oneself from the inevitability of maturing. The tragedy of this bildingsroman is Holden’s error in his worldview. He refuses to accept this inevitability and allows himself to be broken. The sadness of the end, as Holden sits soaked, is that he tried to hold on to what will always slip away.

Note: This is over four pages in length.