ELA 20: Longing to Escape

from WILD GEESE

The story is set in the 1920s. Judith (Jude) Gare, who is 17 years old, has a passionate and rebellious spirit. Her overbearing father, Caleb, seeks to control Judith through the relentless demands of farm work. Caleb’s tyranny intimidates Judith’s mother, Amelia, as well as Judith’s submissive older sister, Ellen. Lind Archer, a young woman who has come to teach in the local school, boards with the Gares. Sven Sandbo is Judith’s sweetheart.

For the rest of the day, Judith’s hands were of no use to her, so she slipped away with her dog, Pete, through the bush to a little ravine where a pool had gathered below the thread of a spring. Pete caught a scent and was off, and Judith was left alone.

It was clingingly warm, as before rain. Not knowing fully what she was doing, Judith took off all her clothing and lay flat on the damp ground with the waxy feeling of new sunless vegetation under her. She needed to escape, to fly from something – she knew not what. Caleb . . . Ellen . . . the farm the hot reek of manure in the stable when it was close as today. Life was smothering, overwhelming her, like a pillow pressed against her face, like a feather tick[quilt] pinning down her body.

She would have struck Caleb today had it not been for Amelia. Always pity stood in the way of the tide of violence she felt could break from her. Pity for Amelia, who would get what Caleb did not dare mete out to her, Judith.

Oh, how knowing the bare earth was, as if it might have a heart and a mind hidden here in the woods. The fields that Caleb had tilled had no tenderness, she knew. But here was something forbiddingly beautiful, secret as one’s own body. And there was something beyond this. She could feel it in the freeness of the air, in the depth of the earth. Under the body there were, she had been taught, eight thousand miles of earth. On the other side, what? Above her body there were leagues and leagues of air, leading like wings – to what? The marvelous confusion and complexity of all the world had singled her out from the rest of the Gares. She was no longer one of them. Lind Archer had come and her delicate fingers had sprung a secret lock in Jude’s being. She had opened like a tight bud. There was no going back now into the darkness.

Sven Sandbo, he would be home in May, so they said. Was it Sven she wanted, now that she was so strangely free? Judith looked straight about her through the network of white birch and saw the bulbous white country that a cloud made against the blue. Something beyond Sven, perhaps . . . freedom, freedom. She dipped her blistered hands down into the clear topaz of the pool, lifted them and dipped them and lifted them, letting the drops slip off the tips of her fingers each time like tiny cups of light. She thought of the Teacher, of her dainty hands and her soft, laughing eyes . . . she came from another life, another world. She would go back there again. Her hands would never be maps of rope-blisters and Jude’s were now, from tugging a calf out of a mudhole. Jude hid her hands behind her and pressed herself against the cold ground. Hard, senseless sobs rose in her throat, and her eyes smarted with tears. She was ugly beyond all bearing, and all her life was ugly. Suddenly she was bursting with hatred of Caleb. Her large, strong body lay rigid on the ground, and was suddenly unnatural in that earthy place.

Martha Ostenso
1900-1963

ASSIGNMENT

Literature often describes some aspect of the human desire to escape. An individual may desire escape from physical, social, emotional, or psychological circumstances. Whether the individual responds actively or passively to that desire affects the course of his or her life.

In this excerpt from the novel Wild Geese, Martha Ostenso uses descriptive details to convey to the reader a sense of Jude’s longing to escape.

What idea(s) does Martha Ostenso develop regarding the desire to escape? Develop your essay by providing specific supporting details from Wild Geese.

•FOCUS your essay on your controlling idea regarding escape. Provide only those details that develop and support your controlling idea.

•ORGANIZE your essay so that your ideas are clearly and coherently developed.

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A Canadian Family Portrait: The Gares

In Canadian literature the family is handled quite differently. If in England the family is a mansion you live in, and if in America it’s a skin you shed, then in Canada it’s a trap in which you’re caught. The Canadian protagonist often feels just as trapped inside his family as his American counterpart; he feels the need for escape, but somehow he is unable to break away.

Families in Canadian fiction huddle together like sheep in a storm or chickens in a coop: miserable and crowded, but unwilling to leave because the alternative is seen as cold empty space.

Grandparents are not necessarily settlers, . . .instead of pitting their force of will against the land– that’s been done for them by their ancestors – they pit it against other people, most notably their descendants.

Parents lack the will, the attachment to the land and the metallic strength of their parents, but they have been unable to replace it by anything more positive and attractive.

Children try to escape both previous generations. They desire neither the Calvinism and commitment to the land of the Grandparents, nor the grey placelessness and undefined guilt of the parents. They want, somehow, to live, but they have trouble finding a way to do this. They sometimes feel a double pull – back to the tough values and the land, like the Grandparents, or away – farther away than the parents managed to get. –Margaret Atwood, Survival.

Atwood, in Survival, presents arguments on several thematic developments in Canadian literature. In this section of her book she discusses the Canadian author’s treatment of family relationships. Many authors are included in her analysis, including Margaret Laurence, Hugh MacLennan, Tom Wayman, Mavis Gallant, and George Bowering. However, Margaret Atwood makes no direct mention of Martha Ostenso in Survival.

Compare and contrast the themes developed in Martha Ostenso’s Wild Geese with the above statements by Margaret Atwood. Why should, or should not, Atwood’s chapter on family relationships include reference(s) to Wild Geese?

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ELA 30 Midterm

ELA 30-1
Discuss the idea(s) developed by Elie Wiesel in Night about the role adversity plays in shaping an individual’s identity.
You must

  • carefully consider your controlling idea and how you will create a strong unifying effect in your response
  • develop your ideas and support them with appropriate, relevant, and meaningful examples from Night.

ELA 30-2
What is your opinion of the idea that the ability to face hardship is an essential human quality?
You must

  • discuss a character from Night, by Elie Wiesel. You may choose to discuss more than one character.
  • ensure the details you select support your opinion of the idea that the ability to face hardship is an essential human quality
  • reflect upon your own knowledge and/or experience
  • present your ideas in an organized discussion so that your ideas are clearly and effectively presented.

Carefully Consider the following in preparation …

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ELA 10 Final Essay Topics

English Language Arts 10 Final Essay Topics

ELA 10-1

Your response can be in the form of a narrative or essay.

In Julius Caesar, we have many people working together for various reasons and with varying degrees of success. Most of the relationships have tension in them and all are marked with conflicting pressures, values, and consequences that surround decision making.

Choose any two characters that have a close relationship and examine the effect of their decisions on their relationship. Consider carefully how the decisions of these characters are affected by three of the following “big ideas”: power, fate and free will, friendship, art and culture, gender, manipulation, pride, principles.

Brutus and Cassius

or

Brutus and Portia

or

Caesar and Antony

or

Antony and Octavius

 

ELA 10-2

Your response can be in the form of a narrative or essay

Write a narrative or essay in which you examine conflicting pressures, values, and consequences that surround decision making. Connect to news, history, culture, religion, politics, sports, and/or society in your exploration of the decisions that surround the use of violence.

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ELA 10 Midterm Assignment

When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice. -William James

Read carefully the two short stories, The Sniper by O’Flaherty and Araby by James Joyce.

Write a post in response to one of these stories in which you discuss the idea(s) the author suggests to you about decisions.

Consider the rubric:

Tips General:
This assignment should allow you to showcase your expository writing skills. As well, you should consider relevant items for your discussion from your Short Story Study Guide. Show how the author builds interest/intensity about decisions through the use of literal (information, vocabulary, conflict, etc) figurative (symbolism, irony, allusion, etc) and archetypal elements.

Tips Extra:
The rubric will reward discussions which incorporate philosophical ideas in general. This task would be an excellent opportunity to quibble about existential ideals specifically.

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Same Circus, New Clowns, … and New Clown Pants

I was thinking this morning I had better push out a list of some items new and returning students should have or soon add to their sites:

  • update choice of themes, revised site titles and tag lines.
  • check profile and update any details – especially your password and email details (must be your active @ecacs16.ab.ca email)
  • customize your theme – look at theme settings for any other details to make your site more uniquely your own
  • add a personal gravatar to your ecacs16.ab.ca email account
  • create a few amazon book widgets: “Books I’m Reading”, “Books I’ve Read”, “Books I Want”, “Favourite DVDs” etc.
  • create a custom menu widget of your class (and other classes)
  • add a custom menu widget for your most used links: forum Book Talk, email, School Calendar, Snowflakes, etc…
  • add a link to your custom menu to your current course outlines and focus questions at the Pingo Lingo and ComTech blogs

If you have other tips or tidbits in your blog you think we all should have, please drop me a comment below.

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ELA 30 Writing Assignments: Modernism

First and second assignments:
30-1, 30-2, and 30-4 do the following:

Third assignment:
30-1 do the following:

30-2 do the following:

30-4 do the following:

Fourth assignment:
30-1, 30-2, and 30-4 do the following:

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Hamlet and the Human Condition

“Hamlet is a name; his speeches and sayings but the idle coinage of the poet’s brain. What then, are they not real? They are as real as our own thoughts. Their reality is in the reader’s mind. It is we who are Hamlet.” – William Hazlitt (1817)

Write an essay about what Hamlet (the play and/or the character) has to say about who we are, about the human condition.

Tips:
Try the online essay planner for Hamlet at shmoop.com.
Synthesize arguments from the notes and discussions topics from our own classes (any topic/concept/question/conundrum from Apollonian to Xenophobia).

… not selfishly–or not always selfishly, we are in search of our identity, the identity of our human condition.
- Malcolm Ross & John Stevens

The most profound discovery that we can make is our discovery of self. Our identity rests in the kind of people we are. To understand who we are and to develop fully as human beings, we must explore the nature of our humanness and the purpose of our lives. Who and what are we? What are the common human qualities and ideals we hold? What roles do other people (e.g., friends, family) play in our lives? What brings us joy, inspiration, and fulfillment? What doubts and fears do we have? By examining our lives and searching for answers to these and other questions, we can find meaning and fulfillment as human beings.

The life which is unexamined is not worth living.
- Plato

Critical Response Rubric

Critical Response Rubric

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Gender Equality

TED video: Sheryl Sandberg: COO, Facebook “Why we have too few women leaders”(2010)

“Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women.

Ask yourself some of these focus questions on equality or some of these questions on feminist criticism specifically.

Identify Sheryl Sandberg’s core messages about equality. Think carefully.

Write about Elisa Allen. What would be the messages Sheryl Sandberg may have for Elisa?

Read more about Sheryl Sandberg on amazon.ca

Extra: Modern European Intellectual History: Abelard to Nietzsche.

“Sandberg’s message matters deeply: it has a shot at bringing about a cultural change that would improve the lives of all women.”
—Judith Warner, TIME

http://meaganspooner.tumblr.com/post/70393105689/on-luck

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