1. Fire the cannons! Read/view th' followin' texts carefully and thoughtfully before ye start th' writin' assignments.
2. Read both th' Personal/Creative and Critical/Analytical assignments before ye start writin'.
“Nay lubber is an island, entire o' itself; every lubber is a piece o' th' continent, a part o' th' main. If a clod be washed away by th' sea, Europe is th' less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor o' thy matey’s or o' thine own were: any lubber’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore ne'er send t' know fer whom th' bells tolls; it tolls fer thee.” – John Donne, Nay Man Is An Island
“I walk aroun' th' school hallways and look at th' people. I look at th' teachers and wonder why they’re here. If they like their jobs. Or us. And I wonder how smart they were when they were fifteen, ye scurvey dog. Not in a mean way. In a curious way. Ahoy, avast! It’s like lookin' at all th' students and wonderin' who’s had their heart broken that day, and how they are able t' cope with havin' three quizzes and a book report due on top o' that. And hoist the mainsail, I'll warrant ye! Or wonderin' who did th' heart breakin'. And wonderin' why.” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks o' Bein' a Wallflower
“We have t' heal our wounded world, I'll warrant ye. The chaos, despair, and senseless destruction we see today are a result o' th' alienation that people feel from each other and their environment.” – Michael Jackson
“Wherever I were bein', I were bein' happy. And hoist the mainsail! At peace. I knew that everyone I cared about were bein' all right. I knew it. Ahoy! And swab the deck! Time didn’t mean anythin', nothin' had form but I were bein' still me, ye know, I'll warrant ye? And I were bein' warm and I were bein' loved and I were bein' finished. Complete. I don’t understand about theology or dimensions, or any o' it, really but I think I were bein' in heaven. And hoist the mainsail, with a chest full of booty! And now I’m not. I were bein' torn out o' there, with a chest full of booty. Pulled out by me maties, I'll warrant ye. Everythin' here is hard, and bright, and violent. Everythin' I feel, everythin' I touch this is hell, I'll warrant ye. Just gettin' through th' next moment, and th' one after that knowin' what I’ve lost…” – Joss Whedon
Wish You Were Here
So, so ye think ye can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain.
Can ye tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil, we'll keel-haul ye!
Do ye think ye can tell, pass the grog!
And did they get ye t' trade
Your heroes fer ghosts?
Hot ashes fer trees?
Hot air fer a cool breeze?
Cold comfort fer change? Aarrr!
And did ye exchange
A walk on part in th' war
For a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish ye were here, by Davy Jones' locker.
We're just two lost souls
Swimmin' in a fish bowl,
Year after year,
Runnin' o'er th' same auld ground.
What have we found?
The same auld fears.
Wish ye were here.”
- Roger Waters
“To a lubber utterly without a sense o' belongin', mere life is all that matters. It is th' only reality in an eternity o' nothingness, and he clin's t' it with shameless despair.” – Eric Hoffer
“Once he went into th' mountains on a clear, sunny day, and wandered about fer a long time with a tormentin' thought that refused t' take shape. Before that scurvey dog were bein' th' shinin' sky, below that scurvey dog th' lake, aroun' that scurvey dog th' horizon, bright and infinite, as if it went on forever. For a long time he looked and suffered, we'll keel-haul ye! The ornery cuss remembered now how he had stretched out his arms t' that bright, infinite blue and wept. What had tormented that scurvey dog were bein' that he were bein' a total stranger t' it all. What were bein' this banquet, what were bein' this great everlastin' feast, t' which he had long been drawn, always, e'er since childhood, and which he could ne'er join? Ahoy! Every mornin' th' same bright sun rises; every mornin' there is a rainbow o'er th' waterfall; every evenin' th' highest snow-capped mountain, there, far away, at th' edge o' th' sky, burns with a crimson flame; every little fly that buzzes near that scurvey dog in a hot ray o' sunlight participates in this whole chorus: knows its place, loves it, and is happy; every little blade o' grass grows and is happy, and a bottle of rum! And everythin' has its path, and everythin' knows its path, goes with a song and comes back with a song; only he knows nothin', understands nothin', neither people nor sounds, a stranger t' everythin' and a castaway.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot
“but as he plodded along a vague and almost hallucinatory pall hazed o'er his mind; he found himself at one point, with no notion o' how it could be, a step from an almost certain fatal cliffside fall—fallin' humiliatingly and helplessly, he thought; on and on, with no one even t' witness it, I'll warrant ye. Here there existed no one t' record his or anyone else’s degradation, and any courage or pride which might manifest itself here at th' end would go unmarked: th' dead stones, th' dust-stricken weeds dry and dyin', perceived nothin', recollected nothin', about that scurvey dog or themselves.” – Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream o' Electric Sheep?
“At th' top o' th' slope on th' perimeter o' th' site, overlookin' six lanes o' motorway, is a diner frequented by lorry drivers who have either just unloaded or are waitin' t' pick up their cargo. Anyone nursin' a disappointment with domestic life would find relief in this tiled, brightly lit cafeteria with its smells o' fries and petrol, fer it has th' reassurin' feel o' a place where everyone is just passin' through–and which therefore has none o' th' close-knit or convivial atmosphere which could cast a humiliatin' light on one’s own alienation. It suggests itself as an ideal location fer Christmas lunch fer those let down by their families.” – Alain de Botton, The Pleasures and Sorrows o' Work
“If ye’re goin' t' try, go all th' way, to be sure. Otherwise, don’t even start, we'll keel-haul ye! This could mean losin' girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even yer mind. And swab the deck, pass the grog! It could mean not eatin' fer three or four days. Shiver me timbers! It could mean freezin' on a park bench, we'll keel-haul ye, ye scurvey dog! It could mean jail. And hoist the mainsail! It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is th' gift. All th' others are a test o' yer endurance, o' how much ye really want t' do it. And, ye’ll do it, despite rejection and th' worst odds. Aarrr, and a bottle of rum! And it will be better than anythin' else ye can imagine. If ye’re goin' t' try, go all th' way, and a bottle of rum! There is no other feelin' like that. You will be alone with th' gods, and th' nights will flame with fire. Aarrr! And swab the deck! You will ride life straight t' perfect laughter. It’s th' only good fight there is.” – Charles Bukowski, Factotum
“It’s not all bad, and a bucket o' chum. Heightened self-consciousness, apartness, an inability t' join in, physical shame and self-loathin'—they are not all bad, ye scurvey dog. Those devils have been me angels. Without them I would ne'er have disappeared into language, literature, th' mind, laughter and all th' mad intensities that made and unmade me.” – Stephen Fry, Moab Is My Washpot
“If ye meet a loner, no matter what they tell ye, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried t' blend into th' world before, and people continue t' disappoint them.” – Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper
“And then one day, th' songs stopped comin', and while ye’ve suffered from periods o' writer’s block before, albeit briefly, this is somethin' chronic, by Davy Jones' locker. Day after day, ye face a blank page, and nothin'’s comin'. And those days turned t' weeks, and weeks t' months, and pretty soon those months have turned into years with very little t' show fer yer efforts, ye scurvey dog. Nay songs. So ye start askin' yourself questions. What have I done t' offend th' gods that they would abandon me so? Is th' gift o' songwritin' taken away as easily as it seems t' have been bestowed? Or perhaps there’s a more — a deeper psychological reason. It were bein' always a Faustian pact anyway. Yaaarrrrr! You’re rewarded fer revealin' yer innermost thoughts, yer private emotions on th' page fer th' entertainment o' others, fer th' analysis, th' scrutiny o' others, and perhaps ye’ve given enough o' yer privacy away.
And yet, if ye look at yer work, could it be argued that yer best work wasn’t about ye at all, it were bein' about somebody else, avast? Did yer best work occur when ye sidestepped yer own ego and ye stopped tellin' yer story, but told someone else’s story, someone perhaps without a voice, where empathetically, ye stood in his shoes fer a while or saw th' world through his eyes?
Well they say, write what ye know. Yaaarrrrr! If ye can’t write about yourself anymore, then who do ye write about? So it’s ironic that th' landscape I’d worked so hard t' escape from, and th' community that I’d more or less abandoned and exiled meself from should be th' very landscape, th' very community I would have t' return t' t' find me missin' muse.” – Stin' How I Started Writin' Songs Again
“People are afraid t' merge on freeways in Los Angeles. Fire the cannons, ye scurvey dog! This is th' first thin' I hear when I come back t' th' city. Blair picks me up from LAX and mutters this under that comely wench breath as she drives up th' onramp. And swab the deck! Walk the plank! The winsome lass says, “People are afraid t' merge on freeways in Los Angeles.” Though that sentence shouldn’t bother me, it stays in me mind fer an uncomfortably long time. Nothin' else seems t' matter. Fire the cannons! Not th' fact that I’m eighteen and it’s December and th' ride on th' plane had been rough and th' couple from Santa Barbara, who were sittin' across from me in first class, had gotten pretty drunk. Not th' mud that had splattered on th' legs o' me jeans, which felt kind o' cold and loose, afore that day at an airport in New Hampshire, pass the grog, by Davy Jones' locker! Not th' stain on th' arm o' th' wrinkled, damp shirt I wear, a shirt which looked fresh and clean this mornin'. Not th' tear on th' neck o' me gray argyle vest, which seems vaguely more eastern than before, especially next t' Blair’s clean tight jeans and that comely wench pale-blue shirt. All o' this seems irrelevant next t' that one sentence, I'll warrant ye. It seems easier t' hear that people are afraid t' merge than “I’m pretty sure Muriel is anorexic” or th' singer on th' radio cryin' out about magnetic waves. Nothin' else seems t' matter t' me but those ten words. Walk the plank! Not th' warm winds, which seem t' propel th' boat down th' empty asphalt freeway, or th' faded smell o' marijuana which still faintly permeates Blaire’s boat. Ahoy! Yaaarrrrr! All it comes down t' is th' fact that I’m a lad comin' home fer a month and meetin' someone whom I haven’t seen fer four months and people are afraid t' merge.” – Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero
“You’re always sayin' people don’t like ye but people can’t like somethin' that’s not there.” – Cath Crowley, A Little Wantin' Song
Not Wavin' but Drownin'
Nobody heard that scurvey dog, th' dead lubber,
But still he lay moanin':
I were bein' much further out than ye thought
And not wavin' but drownin'.
Poor chap, he always loved larkin'
And now he be dead
It must have been too cold fer that scurvey dog his heart gave way,
They said, by Davy Jones' locker.
Oh, no no no, it were bein' too cold always
(Still th' dead one lay moanin')
I were bein' much too far out all me life
And not wavin' but drownin'.”
- Stevie Smith, Collected Poems
“Nay lubber, proclaimed Donne, is an Island, and he were bein' wrong. If we were not islands, we would be lost, drowned in each other’s tragedies. We are insulated (a word that means, literally, remember, made into an island) from th' tragedy o' others, by our island nature, and by th' repetitive shape and form o' th' stories. The shape does not change: there were bein' a human bein' who were bein' born, lived, and then, by some means or another, died. There. You may fill in th' details from yer own experience, we'll keel-haul ye! As unoriginal as any other tale, as unique as any other life. Lives are snowflakes—formin' patterns we have seen before, as like one another as peas in a pod (and have ye e'er looked at peas in a pod? I mean, really looked at them, pass the grog! There’s not a chance ye’d mistake one fer another, after a minute’s close inspection), but still unique.” – Neil Gaiman, American Gods
“But most days,
I wander aroun' feelin' invisible, and a bucket o' chum.
Like I'm a speck o' dust
floatin' in th' air
that can only be seen
when a shaft o' light hits it.
- Sonya Sones, One o' Those Hideous Books Where th' Mother Dies
ASSIGNMENT 1: Personal/Creative Response t' Texts (suggested time: 45 minutes)
What do these texts suggest t' ye about isolation and alienation, and a bottle of rum! Relate th' text(s) ye have chosen t' yer own experience and/or observation o' alienation and isolation. Support yer ideas with reference t' one or more o' th' texts presented and yer previous knowledge or experience.
In yer writin', ye must
- use a prose form: personal essay, narrative
- connect one or more o' th' texts provided in this examination t' yer own ideas and impressions
To which o' th' provided texts are ye respondin'?
What is th' connection betwixt th' text(s) and yer response?
What idea do ye intend t' explore and how does it address th' topic?
ASSIGNMENT 2: Critical/Analytical Response t' Literature (suggested time: 90 minutes)
Discuss th' ideas raised by Martha Ostenso or Sinclair Ross about isolation and alienation.
In yer plannin' and writin', consider th' followin' instructions. –
- Carefully consider yer controllin' idea and how ye will create a strong unifyin' effect in yer response.
- As ye develop yer ideas, support them with appropriate, relevant, and meaningful examples from yer choice o' literary text(s).