Tag Archives: English 30

Hamlet: Getting Started

“We all sympathize with Hamlet, and that is understandable, because almost every one of us recognizes in the prince our own characteristics.” – Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883) Russian novelist and playwright.

Hamlet raises many questions that you may recognize from your own life. Thinking about some of these issues will make your experience of the play more interesting and rewarding. Discuss one of the following questions in your blog. Write about any ideas you find interesting or thought-provoking.

  1. We all have procrastinated about something important that we had to do, sometimes disappointing other people and often disappointing ourselves. Why do we procrastinate?
  2. Most people have purposely “played the fool” at some time. Why do people do this? If a person for some reason plays the fool or pretends to be disturbed for a long time, do you think the person eventually can become truly disturbed?
  3. Isolation and loneliness are feelings common to most people at one time or another. Sometimes external circumstances create this situation, and sometimes people deliberately withdraw from those around them. What can friends or relatives do when someone has purposely withdrawn and chosen to be alone with his or her problems?
  4. Disillusion is a common experience of growing up. We find that people in the adult world whom we once idealized are less than ideal, and that situations we considered innocent are actually corrupt. How do young people encountering the “real world” for the first time handle these discoveries?
  5. In Shakespeare’s time, insane people were regarded as sources of entertainment. What is our society’s attitude toward mental illness?
  6. What is the difference between “taking revenge” and “getting justice”?
  7. Privacy is highly valued in our society. How would you feel if you found out you were “under surveillance” at school, at your job, at home, or among friends because of some change in your behaviour?
  8. What are you launching out to believe in your life? What are you seeking to know? How well are you using your mind in discovering the truth that you are here to know?

“We feel not only the virtues, but the weaknesses of Hamlet as our own.” – Henry MacKenzie (1745-1831), Scottish author

“Hamlet is the most baffling of the great plays. It is the tragedy of a man and an action continually baffled by wisdom. The man is too wise … The task set by the dead is a simple one. All tasks are simple to the simple-minded. To the delicate and complex mind so much of life is bound up with every act that any violent act involves not only a large personal sacrifice of ideal, but a tearing up of the roots of half the order of the world.” – John Masefield (1878 – 1967), British poet laureate

“Polonius is a man bred in courts, exercised in business, stored with observations, confident in his knowledge, proud of his eloquence, and declining into dotage.” – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784), British essayist, biographer, and developer of the first English dictionary

“It has been stated that Hamlet is the only one of Shakespeare’s characters who could have written the plays of his creator.” – Betty Bealey (1913 -2008)

“Hamlet again is an example of the removed thinker who is cut off – better who has cut himself off – from human affairs, from life. Who ever thinks of Hamlet as possessing a body? Hamlet is pure mind, a dynamo of thought whirring in the void. He never stopped to put his hand in the garbage can. He is Prince of Idleness, an addict of thought and futile speculation.” – Henry Miller (1891 – 1980), American novelist

“Hamlet! Hamlet! When I think of his moving wild speech, in which resounds the groaning of the whole numbed universe, there breaks from my soul not one reproach, not one sigh … That soul is then so utterly oppressed by woe that it fears to grasp the woe entire, lest it lacerate itself.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821 – 1881), Russian novelist

“Hamlet’s will … is paralyzed. He seeks to move in one direction and is hauled in another. One moment he sinks into the abyss. The next, he rises above the clouds. His feet seek the ground, but find only air….” – Stephen Leacock (1869 – 1944) Canadian author and humorist

“Hamlet is loathsome and repugnant. The fact that he is eloquent has nothing to do with him being obnoxious. He’s an aging playboy. The only time he gets animated is when he bosses around the players, telling them how to do their business.” – Charles Marowitz (b. 1934), American director, playwright, and critic

“Despite the initial view we get of Hamlet’s abhorrence of deception, he tries to dupe everyone else in the play.” – Michael M. Cohen (b. 1943), British Shakespeare critic

“This is the story of a man who could not make up his mind.” – Sir Laurence Olivier (1907 – 1989), British actor/director

“Hamlet is like a sponge. If he is not played in a stylized or antiquated manner, he immediately soaks up the entire contemporary scene unto himself. It is the most unique of all plays that have ever been written, because of its porosity.” – Jan Kott (1914 – 2001), Polish political activist, critic and theoretician of the theatre

“Shakespeare wrote of Hamlet as if Hamlet he were; and having, in the first instance, imagined his hero excited to partial insanity by the disclosures of the ghost – he (the poet) felt that it was natural he should be impelled to exaggerate the insanity.” – Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849), American poet, short story writer, and novelist

“Hamlet, this tragedy of maniacs. this Royal Bedlam, in which every character is either crazy or criminal, in which feigned madness is added to real madness and in which the grave itself furnishes the stage with the skull of a fool ….” – François René de Chateaubriand (1768 – 1848), French poet and essayist

“Character … is destiny. But not the whole of our destiny. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, was speculative and irresolute, and we have a great tragedy in consequence. But if his father had lived to a good old age, and his uncle had died an early death, we can conceive Hamlet’s having married Ophelia, and got through life with a reputation of sanity, notwithstanding many soliloquies, and some moody sarcasms toward the fair daughter of Polonius, to say nothing of the frankest incivility to his father-in-law.” – George Eliot (1819 – 1880), British novelist

“The most maligned man in history, one whose memory I propose not only to defend but to extol, is the man who complained that Hamlet was a boring play full of quotations, thereby proving the soundness of his literary instinct. Honour to this anonymous critic, whose sensitive though unlettered brain. stunned into apathy as one well-known phrase after another came booming accross the footlights ….” – Dame Ethel Smyth (1958 – 1944), English composer and a leader of the women’s suffrage movement

“Hamlet is a great story. It’s got some great things in it. I mean there’s something like eight violent deaths, there’s murder, there’s adultery, there’s a ghost, a madwoman, poisoning, revenge, sword fights. It’s a pretty good story.” – Mel Gibson, American actor

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Sources:
Hamlet Etext
Hamlet_eText

Hamlet Study Guide
Hamlet_eNotes

English 30 Poetry Assignment

Respond to each of the following in a well-considered post in your blog.
Limit your selection of detail to a separate poem for each response.

  1. Explain how image and symbol reinforce theme in a poem.
  2. Explain how facts about a writer’s life are relevant to your understanding of a poem.
  3. Explain how a poem can reflect a poet’s personal psychology.
  4. Explain how your own experiences affect your interpretation of a poem.

Trackback each post here.

Novel Study Preflight Checklist

Read a Novel from the Reading List:

Tracback a “map” of your response here.

Hamlet: Final Response

Choose a focus for your final response to Hamlet.

Synthesize alternative points of view, (include links to sources: your posts, STJ blogs, etc.).

Review your responses throughout our study:

Writing tips:

Trackback.

PS: “To thine own rubric be true.”
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November 9th is the “cut off” day for submission of my marks to the office.
Any assignment to be (re)submitted for grading must be “in my hand” before 2:00PM November 9th.

Kimberley Klein Wins $10000 Scholarship

Congratulations Kimberley! The two runners up, Jess Kim and Shelley Batts, will each be awarded $1,000.
The remaining 7 finalists in the top 10 will be sent a $100 award for their participation. This includes:

  • Thomas Peters
  • Matthew Burden
  • Grant Brisbee
  • Paul Stamatiou
  • Shane Lavalette
  • Stephanie Collins
  • Karin Dalziel

Any surprises?

Kimberly Klein was a clear first place choice by many STJ bloggers.

Student blog will win $10,000 Scholarship

One blogger chosen by “the internet” will win $10,000 US scholarship … for keeping a blog.

As the ratio of high school student blogs I read to the number of college student blogs I read approaches infinity, I think it a good time we troll a few of the best college bloggers in the US.

All STJ student bloggers have been involved in assessment of one another’s blogs since the beginning of STJ iblogs in 2006. I’m certain we’d pick a deserving “Final Four” from the list of 20 finalists.

I’m curious to know for what blogs STJ bloggers vote.

Submit your comment (or trackback) here with a brief reason/detail/example justifying your vote for the $10,000 US scholarship.

Consider our recent emphasis on structure and voice: How are these college bloggers defining themselves through voice? What structures/patterns do successful bloggers adopt? What role do comments play in the development of the blog?

Yaaar, there be pirates in one of the blogs . . . but don’t let that influence your vote.

Why read literature?(English 30)

Mark Twain once shrewdly observed that a person who chooses not to read has no advantage over a person who is unable to read. In industrialized societies today, however, the question is not who reads, because nearly everyone can and does, but what is read. Why should anyone spend precious time with literature when there is so much reading material available that provides useful information about everything from daily news to personal computers? Why should a literary artist’s imagination compete for attention that could be spent on the firm realities that constitute everyday life?

Submit via trackback, please.

English 30-1 Tips for Personal Response to Texts

Examples of Student Responses to English 30-1 Diploma

The Personal Response Assignment from June 2006:
(literature in the question is included in the exam)

The puppet master in Keith Carter’s “Pinocchio” manipulates the marionette’s strings, giving it the illusion of free will. In the poem “Come In,” the speaker resists the allure of an appealing opportunity. In the excerpt from the short story “The Introduction,” Lily confronts the social conventions of her world and struggles to preserve her true self. What do these texts suggest to you about the individual’s ability to pursue personal well-being when responding to competing internal and external demands? Support your idea(s) with reference to one or more of the texts presented and to your previous knowledge and/or experience.

Consider the importance of the opening paragraph and the first sentence of the first body paragraph.
Satisfactory response from June 2006
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Proficient response from June 2006
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Excellent response from June 2006
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The Critical/Analytical Response Assignment from June 2006:
(literature in the essay is from the course, not the exam)

Reflect on the ideas and impressions that you discussed in the Personal Response to Texts Assignment concerning the relationship between an individual’s perspective and his or her interpretation of the world. Consider how the effect of a new perspective has been reflected and developed in a literary text or texts you have studied. Discuss the idea(s) developed by the text creator(s) about the effect an individual’s perspective has on personal beliefs.

Proficient response from June 2006
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Excellent response from June 2006
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Creative Response: English 30

Choose from the following:

(Partner up if/where necessary)

  1. Write a folk song.
  2. Create a dialogue in the forums between any 2(or more) authors.
  3. Create a dialogue in the forums b etween any 2 or more characters
  4. Create a new scene to be inserted into a text synthesizing a character(or 2) from outside the text.

Trackback. Then rewrite the quiz on Steinbeck’s Chrysanthemums.(Post questions in the forums.)

Prepare for English Language Arts Finals

For those in the midst, or looking ahead at finals in my LA classes(9, 10-1, 20-1, 20-2, 30-1, 30-2).

Consider the outcomes we’ve tried to achieve.

Enhancing the artistry of communication has been a strong technical focus. Skills mastered include using online blogging tools, Word Processing, Spreadsheets, even graphical enhancements using Photoshop or audio/video podcasting tools have been included where time permitted and initiative taken. Participation on an online forum has generated a myriad of useful tips/reminders, questions/answers. There will be no speadsheets on the final, the use of Word will be necessary for English 30.

Each course has been structured around Focus Questions and related questions: English 10, English 9.

Emphasis on social networking, peer review/support/criticism has been critical for developing critical thought and reflection for writers defending an idea.

Each course has a reading list: English 10, English 30. Not every title has been studied intensively(or at all), but the proportion of attention paid to those pieces that were studied in class deserve the same level of attention on the final. Of course, those who choose additional literature from the list to focus on in the final deserve to have that initiative rewarded as well. If you choose to focus on Shakespeare, your audience gets tougher, I’ve noticed.

An English 30 paper looking at how the images/symbols/archetypes of Sophocles and Kingsolver relate to personal freedom to would be intriguing. Why not an English 10 paper discussing the threat of fanaticism by comparing the speeches of Mark Antony, Joseph Strorm, and Eamon De valera? What does Søren Kierkegaard have to do with every page you’ve ever read or written?

Extras, everyone should be able to link to Wikipedia for literary terms, difficult vocabulary, or just the odd or eccentric idea; can anyone incorporate the Hayflick Limit into their paper? Everyone has seen video and heard an mp3, but are any daring enough to Podcast their final essay? A carefully edited U2 mp3 snip, an embedded flash video of Ophelia Simpson, a slideshow?

rubric.pngThe only limit is to abide the first line of every rubric you’ve ever attached to any assignment:

I _________________ honestly declare that the work is what I have done. In circumstances when I have quoted a certain authority, I have clearly indicated what is a quote and the author. 

A Blogger’s Code of Ethics contains truths far older than the phenomenon of blogging.

English 30s will have no access to internet, filesharing, etc etc. English 10s can have it all.