This year, you are going to keep commonplace books for your readings. These can include quotes, words, axioms, adages, drawings, art, newspaper clippings, editorials, pictures, song lyrics,…Basically, you are going to create a collage of all things literary that inform, support, engage, or epitomize your understanding of a text. This is a major project two semesters of work. A grade will be taken in December/January and another in May.
For example, after reading “ A Clean, Well-lighted Place” by Ernest Hemingway, you might begin with a quote by Hemingway in the center of the page like: “There is nothing to writing, all you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.” Then, you might include a picture of a Corona typewriter like the one he used. You may make your pen bleed on the page. You might include a picture of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, or Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night, both of which resonate the café in the story. You might write the Lord’s Prayer. You could add some quotes about nada. You may include the quote from Death of a Salesman and remark about what the old waiter says to the younger waiter as Willie Loman exits the chophouse for the seed store. You may comment upon the Spanish Civil War. You might define the “lost generation,” or copy a line or two from Hemingway’s memoir A Moveable Feast which connects with the story’s theme, or include pictures of other expatriates from the 1920s and 1930s. You might draw a copita of brandy, or streaks of yellow light. The possibilities are endless! James Joyce once remarked: “He [Hemingway] has reduced the veil between literature and life, which is what every writer strives to do. Have you read ‘A Clean, Well-Lighted Place?’ It is masterly. Indeed, it is one of the best short stories ever written.” YOUR JOB IS TO SHOW WHY. You need to keep a log in the front of your book for each of your entries.
First Semester Second Semester
“Introduction to Poetry” “To an Athlete Dying Young”
*“Dulce et Decorum Est” *“The Yellow Wallpaper”
“The Charge of the Light Brigade” “If”
“Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” “Entirely”
“A Pair of Tickets” “Gethsemane”
Sir Gawain *Frankenstein
*“The Lady of Shallot” *“Richard Cory”
“Lochinvar” “Eleanor Rigby”
*“The Chrysanthemums” “Fallen Angel”
*“A & P” “Vindication of the Rights of Women”
Oedipus Rex *“A Good Man is Hard to Find”
*“My Papa’s Waltz” “Hills Like White Elephants”
“Those Winter Sundays” *Jane Eyre
*“Roman Fever” *“The Road Not Taken”
“Shooting an Elephant” *“A Worn Path”
*Macbeth “My Mistress’ Eyes”
*“Miss Brill” “Dover Beach”
*“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” “Barbie Doll”
You must do the works marked with an asterisk (10). Then you may choose five additional works from the list making a total of 15 to submit for a grade of 150 points. Grades will be taken twice (probably January and May).