Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 7, 2013: What's Happening in A.P. Literature?

1. Grab a computer and post your tentative thesis statements on today's blog (under comments). Also please name your book and author. I will respond to each one of you sometime this week. You may also respond to each other's statements. This is the week to come in and see Mrs. Makovsky if you would like help with the upcoming paper.
2. Today we will complete our reading and viewing of Henry, Act II.
3. Time permitting, we'll begin a close-reading assignment that will be our focus this week.

HW--Independent study essay. Begin working on it now...


57 comments:

  1. In The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver, the act of burying in all forms symbolizes the value and paradoxical transient permanence of life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the focus detail, the recurrence of burying.The sentence isn't wholly clear--symbolizes the value of what? And what does transient permanence mean? I don't understand...Try to state the book's meaning more clearly.

      Delete
  2. Catch-22; Joseph Heller:
    Sex and money control many lives, causing unforeseen change in a person's mind and also in the societal mind; this warps how we see and interact with the world changing society in a drastic way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And so what exactly is your focus detail--recurring images of sex? of money? Probably you should limit yourself to one of these motifs. Restate the thesis so it clearly focuses on one element and then precisely states the idea that this element leads us to....

      Delete
  3. My thesis statement:

    In Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" the motif of drugs reveals the ignorant yet, blissful nature of Huxley's dystopian society.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And so...what's Huxley's point, then? Be sure to take your reader to the book's meaning. Merely to show that the utopia is ignorant and blissful isn't enough. Why does Huxley depict society in this way? What is he trying to reveal to us about modern life...?

      Delete
    2. Revised Thesis:

      In Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" the motif of drugs reveals that ignorant yet, blissful nature of Huxley's society; making them a culture of escapists.

      Delete
    3. And so...? What is Huxley saying, then? Why does he present us with a culture of escapists? What's his theme? Your thesis still doesn't state the book's meaning.

      Delete
  4. Although the battle between good and evil persists throughout John Steinbeck's East of Eden, each character proves that evil can be fought or succumbed to depending on their mindset and choices.

    John Steinbeck East of Eden
    Whitney K

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is too broad. It promises that you'll discuss each character. Limit yourself to a single focus detail--maybe to a minor character (or two). I don't see much that would challenge you in this thesis. It seems to be stating the obvious. What questions do you have about the book? Write an essay about something that confuses you or that might confuse a reader.

      Delete
  5. The motif of flowers throughout The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde supplements the theme of identity due to the flower's representation of beauty, youth, and purity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting focus detail! Go ahead and begin writing the essay, but come back and tinker with the thesis as your understanding grows. Don't keep the vague "theme of identity." In the final essay, clearly and forcefully state Wilde's idea about identity.

      Delete
  6. In Madame Bovary, Flaubert employs windows to portray the idea that longing for something one cannot have only leads to unhappiness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice! Have fun with this. I can't wait to read your paper. See me if you run into trouble.

      Delete
  7. Ian Stockdill Thesis
    The book wide allusion to the story of Cain and Abel is the backbone of East of Eden, changing the reader's perspective of character, and interpretation of every plot detail, since they reflect certain elements to their parallel in the biblical story of Cain and Abel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Discussing this allusion is a fine idea! But in your thesis, be sure to state what the allusion helps us to understand--how it conveys a particular meaning. It's not enough merely to show the allusion. You must also analyze how it helps Steinbeck convey his point. In the thesis, state the meaning that the allusion brings.

      Delete
  8. "The Color Purple", by Alice Walker, uses one of the characters, Celie, to show how a woman who lives under poverty, racism, and sexism is able to maintain her dignity and open her heart to love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't Celie the protagonist of the novel? Your thesis merely states what happens to her--so the paper would become descriptive rather than analytic. It would probably be better to select a "smaller" focus detail--a minor character, for example, or a recurring image that is associated with Celie. The thesis you've presented might not challenge you or and open up new for your reader...

      Delete
  9. "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley

    "Brave New World" uses Shakespeare to contrast the beliefs represented in Huxley's utopian society to reveal a false sense of happiness from the lack of harmony between beauty, truth, and happiness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Write: BNW uses allusions to Shakespeare...
      Also--Don't you need to insert "and" after "utopian society"?
      The thesis has a great focus detail and offers good idea, but please be very clear and precise in your wording. (I'm a little confused.) State Huxley's big idea in your thesis--the meaning of his work.

      Delete
  10. Lies and the remains of guilt in The Kite Runner by Kaled Hosseini impacts characters' ability to grow up into honorable people, but also alters their sense of right and wrong within their lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The focus detail you've selected looks promising. As you write, come back to the thesis to polish and improve it. "Impacts" is rather vague, for example. What kind of impact is the book talking about? "Alters" is also rather vague. Exactly how is the sense of right and wrong altered?

      Delete
  11. In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
    The Virgin Mary of Vigencita acts as both a beacon of hope during the tumultuous events of the revolution and a contrast between divine and earthly influences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting focus detail. Your thesis sets up the structure of your essay, but doesn't state the point. What meaning does the Virgin contribute? State the big idea that Alvarez's book conveys to us. (You might need to write a few paragraphs and then come back to the thesis. Your understanding will grow as you explore the topic, and then you can sharpen your thesis before handing in a final draft!)

      Delete
  12. My book is All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. I haven't decided what I want my motif to be, I am thinking either cowboys, or fate. Cormac McCarthy uses the symbol of fate in his novel All The Pretty Horses to show that even though fate plays a role, the outcome of a situation is ultimately up to the individual.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fate isn't really a symbol. (A symbol is something concrete--an object or a character or a recurring image--that represents a broad idea.) Fate would be very difficult to trace as a focus detail. Cowboys might be too broad because every practically character in the book is a cowboy (What about horses? Would that take you anywhere?) Your thematic statement is also quite broad. It could apply to practically any book ever written. My suggestion is to keep thinking. You don't appear to have a topic yet. Think about things in the book that confused you, or questions you still have about the characters and what happens to them. A thesis should answer a question.

      Delete
  13. The reoccurring image and symbolism of the butterfly in The Time of the Butterflies exemplifies each girls' unique ideas and actions against the dictatorship in a civilization stuck in its traditions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Focus detail looks good, as long as it will challenge you and isn't too obvious. What is the book's meaning, and how does the recurring image of the butterfly help to convey that idea? Your thesis and essay must answer these two questions. Look for and interpret patterns that occur with the imagery.

      Delete
  14. Through the three interpretations of time by the three Compson brothers, Faulkner reveals that time can neither be objectified nor understood and humans can interact with it in many ways which gives time a different meaning for each person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My book is The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

      Delete
    2. This is a very ambitious topic, one that may require much more than two or three pages of writing. Is there a way to narrow your focus? Instead of three characters, can you focus on one? Or can you focus on a recurring image that suggests time (clocks, maybe??). I like your ideas--and I admire the fact that you read this challenging book. Perhaps this thesis will work, as long as you can keep the essay specific and focused on text. Point to various passages where time is being "interpreted."

      Delete
    3. REVISION: Through the use of the influence the Compson's daughter Caddy has on the three Compson sons, Benjy, Quentin, and Jason, Faulkner is able to reveal the effect promiscuity has on the moral decay of the family.

      Delete
    4. This seems more focused, but be sure to get to a statement about the book's meaning, its theme. The book isn't just about how promiscuity leads to moral decay. It's bigger than that, right?

      Delete
  15. In The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Hosseini critizes the cliche that ignorance is bliss through both the lifestyles of many of the elite and the lifestyle of the lower class citizens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This thesis lacks a focus detail. Please reread the instructions I gave you. Select a particular literary element to analyze. Your thesis is far too broad.

      Delete
    2. In The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Hosseini uses time to demonstrate the significant impact that one seemingly insignificant event can have on an individual.

      Delete
    3. Time is quite broad. It's a concept, not really an image. A focus detail should be a concrete image (a watch or a clock, for example). What textual details are you planning to present? The seasons? Night versus day? Implements of time like clocks and watches? If so, good. If not, perhaps you need to look again at the novel's details.

      Delete
  16. Throughout the play of Dr.Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, the motif of blood and sin illustrate the corruption of power and human redemption.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's probably best to focus on only one recurring image. Blood is very specific and could function as a symbol. "Sin" is a broader concept--not really an image, not really a symbol. Also, your thesis must state Marlowe's big idea a bit more clearly. Don't merely list two thematic topics (power and redemption). Instead, tell what the play reveals about power (eg., power corrupts) and about redemption. Ideally, your thematic statement should express one balanced idea, not two.

      Delete
  17. Through the motif of marriage, Jane Austen's novel, "Emma," provides an insight on the necessity of self-transformation, and in return the opportunity for growth in early English society, contrasting Emma's confinement within society with the inevitable benefit of change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A motif is a recurring image--something concrete that appears throughout a work of literature and that takes on symbolic qualities. "Marriage" is more of a concept, not really a concrete image. (A wedding ring or a bridal veil would be images.) Marriage is a goal for the women in this novel...and I suppose you could treat it as a symbol....but be sure you bring in concrete textual examples and plenty of quotes that specifically mention marriage. Avoid broad generalities.

      In the above thesis, are you saying that through marriage, one grows and is transformed? I'm not sure I understand your idea.

      I like your statement about Emma being confined. Are there images of confinement that you could study as a motif?

      In general, your thesis has some great ideas, but it isn't fully unified or clear.

      Delete
  18. In East of Eden, by John Steinbeck, the presence of physical, mental, and behavioral scars are apparent through characters after a major confict or negative experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your focus detail--scars--is fine. Find direct references to scars that recur in your novel and use those details as support for your ideas.

      The above thesis is incomplete. What is the function/purpose of the scar motif? What larger idea does it point to and reinforce? State Steinbeck's theme in your thesis, and in your essay show how references to scars help to convey that theme.

      Delete
  19. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    The contrast between civilization and the wilderness is used to contrast the behavior of the villagers and the main character, portraying her as savage and them as controlled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your focus detail is good, but your thesis is incomplete. What does the book mean? Your essay must analyze how the author uses the contrast between civilization and the wilderness to convey a particular idea, and you need to state that idea in the thesis.

      What's the point of the book?

      Delete
  20. The Kite Runner
    -Kahled Hossein

    Committing rape or even permitting rape is the epitome of selfishness and bigotry, taking the innocence and purity of a weaker individual for one's own pleasure or display of dominance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And so what are you analyzing in the novel? What question are you answering for yourself and your reader? What is your point?

      The above thesis doesn't appear to have a focus detail. Neither does it convey the overall meaning of the book. Please reread the instructions I gave you and revise this thesis. You're welcome to see me for help.

      Delete
  21. In the late 1800s, the world was filled with expectations, one of which was not independence. Kate Chopin wrote "The Awakening" on the controversy of women's rights, creating a the struggle through the symbol of birds, aided by a theme of independence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your focus detail--the recurring image of birds--looks interesting. The thesis itself is confusing. In the thesis, say something like this: Kate Chopin uses the recurring image of birds to convey the idea......

      State the book's dominant theme--the one you will analyze by exploring the bird motif.

      Delete
  22. In Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World", technology is the cornerstone of society. Individualism and happiness are sacrificed in order to maintain government stability. The motif of soma, a drug that creates stability in the dystopian society, portrays human's true nature.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It looks like your focus detail is the recurring reference to soma. A recurring image takes on symbolic qualities, so be sure to clarify what soma comes to represent in this book.

      In the above thesis, be sure to state Huxley's main idea--the book's meaning. Your statement that "Soma...portrays human's true nature" is very vague--not a proper thematic statement. What exactly is a "human's true nature," according to Huxley in this book?

      Delete
  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  24. In Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin, reminiscing and story telling reveals the truth about people, especially after these people have died.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And so what's your point? What insight does "reminiscing and story telling" give you about the meaning and purpose of this novel? Your thesis must not only name your focus detail, but it must also show insight into the meaning of the book.

      Delete
  25. In A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, the appearance of burqas and hijabs symbolizes a sacrificing of self and identity for the sake of others, which is the basis of true love and friendship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like this! I hope you enjoy writing the essay. If you need to change the thesis as you move through the writing process, of course you may do that.

      Delete
  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete