Questions to Consider for Hamlet

  1. What troubles Hamlet at the opening of the play?
  2. When Horatio tells Hamlet about the apparition, who does Hamlet think it might be? What does he decide to do? What type of omen does Hamlet think the apparition is?
  3. Describe Hamlet’s meeting with the ghost. Who is the ghost? Why has it appeared? What does the ghost tell Hamlet to do? What might be some other reasons for the ghost appearing?
  4. Why does Hamlet act as if he were mad? Why does Polonius think the reason for the madness is? Do you agree with him? Why or why not?
  5. How does Claudius react to the performance of The Murder of Gonzago? Why? What does his reaction convince Hamlet of?
  6. Describe Claudius and Gertrude. What does each think of Hamlet? How does each treat him? What does Hamlet think of them?
  7. Why does Hamlet kill Polonius? How does Hamlet act after he finds out who he killed? What is your opinion of his actions?
  8. How does Claudius feel about what he did to King Hamlet? As he is praying, Hamlet entry with his sword drawn. Why doesn’t he kill Claudius?
  9. Why does Claudius decide to send Hamlet to England? What does he plan for Hamlet’s arrival there? What happens instead?
  10. How does Claudius hope to eliminate Hamlet during the Prince’s duel with Laertes? Describe what happens during the duel?
  11. Would you describe Hamlet as a tragic hero? Why or why not?
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Themes in Canadian Literature

  1. We are myth destroyers.
  2. We are paradoxical – we search for our own identity.
  3. We celebrate victims.
  4. We celebrate individual suffering – defeated by rebellion.
  5. Truly authentic Canadian experience is shrouded in violence and paranoia.
  6. External world defines who we are.
  7. Fear of America, Europe, “Old World.”
  8. Interior Separation
  9. Garrison Mentality
  10. Exploration and Discovery: Quest
  11. Canada is the great asylum for victims the world over.
  12. Long periods of death followed by the rush to (re)produce.
  13. Authors explore three key relationships to determine who we are:
    1. our relationship with the environment
    2. our relationship with each other
    3. our relationship with the Divine.
  14. Societal barriers, systems of all kinds are pulled back to uncover briefly who we are.
  15. Immigrants could not control the land or nature – so they controlled the indians.

Find a few a few more:

A feature of Canadian life that has been noted by writers from Susanna Moodie onward is the paradox of vast empty spaces and lack of privacy, with no defences against the prying or avaricious eye. – Northrope Frye

Other nuggets from Frye:

  • Myth of the hero brought up in the forest retreat, awaiting the moment when his giant strength will-be fully grown and he can emerge into the world.
  • We feel constantly that all the energy has been absorbed in meeting a standard, a self-defeating enterprise because real standards can only be established, not met.
  • The sense of probing into the distance, of fixing the eyes on the skyline, is something that Canadian sensibility has inherited from the voyageurs.
  • Canadian novels associate nobility of character with a faraway look, or base their perorations on a long-range perspective.
  • The feeling of nomadic movement over great distances persists even into the age of the aeroplane, in a country where writers can hardly meet one other without a social organization that provides travel grants.
  • There is something Hebraic about the Canadian tendency to read its conquest of a promised land, its Maccabean victories of 1812, its struggle for the central fortress on the hill at Quebec, as oracles of a future.
  • Civilization in Canada, as elsewhere, has advanced geometrically across the country, throwing down the long parallel lines of the railways, dividing up the farm lands into chessboards of square-mile sections and concession-line roads. There is little adaptation to nature: in both architecture and arrangement, Canadian cities and villages express rather an arrogant abstraction, the conquest of nature by an intelligence that does not love it.
  • Small and isolated communities surrounded with a physical or psychological “frontier,” separated from one another and from their American and British cultural sources: communities that provide all that their members have in the way of distinctively human values, and that are compelled to feel a great respect for the law and order that holds them together, yet confronted with a huge, unthinking, menacing, and formidable physical setting — such communities are bound to develop what we may provisionally call a garrison mentality.
  • The real terror comes when the individual feels himself becoming an individual, pulling away from the group, losing the sense of driving power that the group gives him, aware of a conflict within himself far subtler than the struggle of morality against evil.
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Basic Existentialism, Absurdism, Nihilsm

Basic existentialism, absurdism, nihilism

Basic existentialism, absurdism, nihilism

 

Absurdism

In absurdist philosophy, the Absurd arises out of the fundamental disharmony between the individual’s search for meaning(Existentialist) and the meaninglessness(Nihilist) of the universe. As beings looking for meaning in a meaningless world, humans have three ways of resolving the dilemma. Kierkegaard and Camus describe the solutions…

  1. Suicide
  2. Religious, spiritual, or abstract belief in a transcendent realm, being, or idea.
  3. Acceptance of the Absurd

 

Christian Existentialism

  • Christianity => grace, humility, and love.
  • God => Love.
  • Evil => consequence of action.

 

Nihilism

  • Life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.
  • Knowledge is not possible.
  • Reality does not actually exist.
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Romeo and Juliet: Before You Read

First:

Consider each of the following questions and write a post in your blog inspired by your thinking.

  1. What stories, plays, or TV shows have you seen in which a young couple in love were determined to have their happiness? How did they turn out? Compare two that you remember. Describe some of the features you think were either similar or different.
  2. Most people think that it is necessary for us to control our emotions if society is to be reasonable and safe. However, there are times when people act emotionally. What are some of the feelings that cause people to:
    • fight with each other?
    • defend a friend no matter what?
    • fall in love with each other?
    • fear or resist authority?
    • harm themselves or others?
    • decide if it is better to avoid a confrontation than encourage one?
    • decide not to “take the law into their own hands,” even though they believe they have been wronged?
  3. Can a person really decide that he or she is going to fall in love with another person?
  4. If you are familiar with horoscopes, comment on why some people might like to read them.
  5. When you have an argument with somebody, how do you attempt to resolve it?
  6. When an adult tells you, “I don’t think you should do that,” how do you usually respond?
  7. Sometimes there is a fine line between deciding, “Yes I will” and “No, I will not.” Explain how you decide between the two.

 

These questions raise important ideas for discussion such as love, hate, friendship, emotion, and reason. These are all important themes in Romeo and Juliet. 

Next:

But before you blast ahead and read Shakespeare, start with a bit of background mythology.

Read Pyramus and Thisbe:

Comment on any three of your classmates posts connecting ideas they raised with ideas you encountered in the myth of Pyramus and Thisbe.

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2015 ELA 20-2 Final Exam: Suffer

He drew a circle that shut me out —
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.
– Edwin Markham

DIRECTIONS: Write a well-organized composition on the topic below.

Often in literature, a major character faces a conflict between his or her moral principles and society’s conventions (rules of conduct or behavior). The character must choose between doing what he or she thinks is right or conforming to the demands of society.

By the end of the story, “Of Mice and Men,” the main characters’ dreams have been shattered and they have suffered great losses.

a. Explain what you believe each of the following characters has lost:
• Candy
• George
• Curley’s wife (before she loses her life)
• Crooks

b. In what ways are the losses of these people similar?

c. What were some of the main clues in the story that told us George and Lennie’s dream would probably not come true?

d. Why does George believe his dream is now destroyed? How do you feel when he says, “I guess I always knew we’d never do her?”

 

As you write your composition, remember to:

  • Give the title and the author of the work.
  • Focus on how each character suffered great losses.
  • Give any necessary plot information but avoid giving a plot summary.
  • Write in complete sentences.
  • Write coherent and well-developed paragraphs.
  • Use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
Expository Literary Essay Plan

Expository Literary Essay Plan

Critical Response Rubric

Critical Response Rubric

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2015 ELA 20-1 Final Exam: Moral Conflict

He drew a circle that shut me out —
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.
– Edwin Markham

DIRECTIONS: Write a well-organized composition on the topic below.

Often in literature, a major character faces a conflict between his or her moral principles and society’s conventions (rules of conduct or behavior). The character must choose between doing what he or she thinks is right or conforming to the demands of society.

Select a character from “Lord of the Flies,” by William Golding, who faces a conflict between personal morality and society’s conventions. Identify the character. Using specific references from the work, explain the nature of the character’s conflict, the struggle of this character to resolve the conflict, and the overall effect of this conflict on the work.

As you write your composition, remember to:

  • Give the title and the author of the work.
  • Focus on a character who faces a conflict between personal morality and society’s conventions.
  • Give specific examples, reasons, and details from the work to explain the nature of this conflict, the character’s struggle to resolve it, and its overall effect on the work.
  • Give any necessary plot information but avoid giving a plot summary.
  • Write in complete sentences.
  • Write coherent and well-developed paragraphs.
  • Use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
Expository Literary Essay Plan

Expository Literary Essay Plan

Critical Response Rubric

Critical Response Rubric

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Macbeth: After Act 5 Personal Response

Examine one of the following topics and write a narrative or personal essay:

  • Kingship (Consider the four Kings in the play: Duncan, Macbeth, Edward, Malcolm)
  • Ambition (Consider the ambitions of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth)
  • Guilt (Consider Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s response to guilt – and/or the Macduffs)
  • Order (Consider nature, politics, relationships, and how order is restored)
  • Deceptive Appearances
  • Fathers and Sons
  • Sleep
  • Loyalty and Patriotism
  • The Ideal Marriage

 

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Macbeth: After Act 3 Personal Response

Respond to one of the following prompts:

  • Sometimes we feel so angry or frustrated, so helpless or desperate that we lose all caution and restraint. Describe such an experience of your own or of someone you know.
  • If you had to choose between loyalty to your family and loyalty to your country, what decision would you make?
  • In your opinion, which qualities are essential in a political leader? Which qualities are unacceptable?
  • What kind of behaviour have you observed in children who are trying to conceal guilt? How do you conceal your guilty conscience?
  • Have you ever felt that everyone you know has turned against you? What were the circumstances? How did you deal with the situation?
  • Describe a situation in which you felt trapped. How did you behave?
  • Is revenge ever justified? Recall an incident in which you decided either to take revenge or that revenge would not be justified.
  • If your country had experienced great turmoil, how would you, as its leader, begin restoration?
Personal Response Rubric

Personal Response Rubric

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Macbeth: After Act 2 Personal Response

Respond to one of the following prompts:

  • Most of us have been afraid of the dark at one time or another. Think of a time when you or someone you know felt frightened in the dark. Describe the experience, explaining how the person dealt with the terror.
  • Think of an action you took and then immediately regretted taking. Why did you regret it? What did you do to make up for your mistake?
  • Have you ever received an emotional shock? How did you behave immediately afterwards? In what ways did your reaction to the shock change over time?
  • When do natural events seem unnatural? Write about a freakish natural event you have experienced or read about. How did it make you feel?
  • Sometimes the failure to speak or act when others expect us to reveal what we know is referred to as a “sin of omission.” Describe a situation in which you were tempted to commit the “sin of omission” or in which you actually did refrain from revealing what you knew. Would you do so again?
  • Sometimes, achieving a goal we have longed for does not make us feel as happy as we expected. Why do you think this is so? Share your ideas.
  • Have you ever known or read about someone who was distrustful of everybody and everything, regardless of the circumstances or evidence? Why was this person so suspicious? What effect did this attitude have on others?
  • Describe the most frightening experience you ever had. What was the cause of your fear?
  • Think of someone you know or have heard about who did something foolish because he or she was “over-confident.” Why is confidence an advantage and over-confidence a disadvantage?
  • Suppose you lived in an undemocratic country. How would you express your discontent with someone in authority?
Personal Response Rubric

Personal Response Rubric

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ELA 30-1 Diploma Suggested Reading List

from: http://education.alberta.ca/media/1325271/03_ela30-1_studentguide_2014-2015.pdf

The following is a compilation of literary texts that students have discussed on diploma examinations. If you are not in a classroom setting or wish to broaden your range of choices, you may want to study one or more selections from each of the categories on this list. This list is not prescriptive. Choosing literature from this list does not guarantee success. You may choose from this list or from other appropriate literary sources, including film. You will find previous experience with a variety of texts valuable in your preparation for writing the Critical/Analytical Response to Literary Texts Assignment and essential to your preparation for the reading comprehension required of you in Part B of the diploma examination.

Many of the short stories, poems, and drama selections in the following list are available in anthologies. These and other helpful resources are available through many public and school libraries.

Short Stories
“A & P”–Updike
“The Boat”-MacLeod
“Boys and Girls”–Munro
“Cathedral”–Carver
“Celebration”–Valgardson
“Dancing Bear”–Vanderhaege
“The Destructors”–Greene
“The Glass Roses”–Nowlan
“The Guest”–Camus
“Horses of the Night”–Laurence
“I Stand Here Ironing”–Olsen
“The Lost Salt Gift of Blood”–MacLeod
“Miss Brill”–Mansfield
“On the Rainy River”–O’Brien
“The Painted Door”–Ross
“Paul’s Case”–Cather
“The Rocking-Horse Winner”–Lawrence
“The Shining Houses”–Munro
“Sonny’s Blues”–Baldwin
“The Spaces Between Stars”–Kothari
“To Set Our House in Order”–Laurence
“Touching Bottom”–Strutt
“The Wall”–Sartre
“The Yellow Wallpaper”–Perkins

Drama
All My Sons–Miller
Bethune–Langley
The Crucible–Miller
Death of a Salesman–Miller
A Doll’s House–Ibsen
The Drawer Boy–Healey
The Glass Menagerie–Williams
A Man for All Seasons–Bolt
Oedipus Rex–Sophocles
Man of La Mancha–Wasserman
Medea–Euripedes
A Raisin in the Sun–Hansberry
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead–Stoppard
A Streetcar Named Desire–Williams

Nonfiction
Apollo 13–Lovell and Kluger
The Glass Castle–Walls
Into the Wild–Krakauer
Into Thin Air–Krakauer
A Long Way Gone–Beah
Night–Wiesel
On Running Away–Keats
Tuesdays with Morrie–Albom
Oscar Peterson: The Will to Swing–Lees

Full–length Fiction
1984–Orwell
The Ash Garden–Bock
The Bean Trees–Kingsolver
The Cellist of Sarajevo–Galloway
Crime and Punishment–Dostoevsky
Crow Lake–Lawson
Fifth Business–Davies
The Grapes of Wrath–Steinbeck
Great Expectations–Dickens
The Great Gatsby–Fitzgerald
The Handmaid’s Tale–Atwood
Heart of Darkness–Conrad
The Hero’s Walk–Badami
The Kite Runner–Hosseini
House of the Spirits–Allende
The Lovely Bones–Sebold
Life of Pi–Martel
The Metamorphosis–Kafka
Monsignor Quixote–Greene
The Mosquito Coast–Theroux
My Name is Asher Lev–Potok
No Great Mischief–MacLeod
Obasan–Kogawa
The Outsider–Camus
The Poisonwood Bible–Kingsolver
Pride and Prejudice–Austen
Snow Falling on Cedars–Guterson
The Stone Angel–Laurence
The Stone Carvers–Urquhart
Things Fall Apart–Achebe
Truth and Bright Water–King
The Wars–Findley
Wild Geese–Ostenso
Windflower–Roy
Wuthering Heights–Brontë

Poetry
My Last Dutchess–Browning
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock–Eliot
Ulysses–Tennyson

Shakespearean Plays
Hamlet
King Lear
Othello
The Tempest

Film
Not all films studied in Grade 12 are effective choices for diploma examination purposes. Ensure that your choice is one that you have studied in detail and know well. The list below contains both original film presentations and adaptations of written literary works. If you are using the film version of a written text, indicate this choice clearly on the Initial Planning page.
American Beauty
A Beautiful Mind
Big Fish
Billy Elliot
Children of Men
Chocolat
Dead Poets Society
The Godfather
Gran Torino
Lars and the Real Girl
Life is Beautiful
Memento
Million Dollar Baby
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
The Pianist
Pleasantville
Schindler’s List
The Shawshank Redemption
Stranger than Fiction
The Truman Show

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