Basic plot: How to save the poor of Ireland from starvation: eat the babies!
There is little in teaching more fun than this little pamphlet. Start by iBasic plot: How to save the poor of Ireland from starvation: eat the babies!
There is little in teaching more fun than this little pamphlet. Start by introducing the concept of satire on day 1. Introduce to students the basic techniques and give some examples. On day 2, DON'T remind them of anything. Yes, I know good teaching says to always give the students the game plan to activate prior knowledge and all that, but DON'T. Just tell them that today they are going to read a piece by Jonathan Swift on how to fix poverty in Ireland. Then make them read it aloud in class themselves- you can popcorn it or just have them take turns by paragraph or number of sentences. Watch their faces. The looks of horror are priceless. KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE NO MATTER WHAT. Some of the students will get the satire right away, don't let them give away the game. As you finish the piece, discuss with students the rational arguments put forth by Swift as to how his plan could actually work. The kids who've figured it out will be invaluable for this discussion. Eventually, as you very rationally discuss the practicality of EATING BABIES TO SOLVE POVERTY, some brilliant soul in the classroom will finally blurt out, "OH! It's a satire! He's being sarcastic!" and the light bulbs go on and wonderful discussion can truly commence. Probably one of my favorite pieces to teach, ever.
As a side note, it also brings to mind some of the very real, non-sarcastic solutions for various social problems that are put forth by politicians today. Only they aren't joking, which is the real horror....more
I love Beowulf. I love the language, I love the story, I love the culture--- I love everything about it. That's why I have to give this edition (RaffeI love Beowulf. I love the language, I love the story, I love the culture--- I love everything about it. That's why I have to give this edition (Raffel's translation) of the poem only 4 stars. While it's a great edition for using to teach my seniors the basic plot of the story, too much of the poetry of the language gets lost in translation because it's WAY oversimplified.
The "extras" in the back of the text are fun supplements to the poem, but I don't know that I'll ever really use them to teach anything....more
I remember reading this book as part of one of my Eng/Ed classes at BSU. It struck me as interesting because I've always had a thing for the supernatuI remember reading this book as part of one of my Eng/Ed classes at BSU. It struck me as interesting because I've always had a thing for the supernatural, and it looked at werewolves in a slightly different way from the way they usually are. Werewolves are born that way in this book, not turned, which has a tremendous impact on how they are viewed by the reader. The protagonist is a werewolf in love with a regular human, and she has to decide if she's going to be with the human or with another werewolf. Blood (the wolves and their inherently violent lives, what with the hunter instinct and all) or chocolate (the sweetness and complexity of human life) is how it boils down. It was one of the better YA UF books I've read, but it didn't blow my mind or anything....more
Basic Plot: A professor of British Literature who specializes in John Donne discovers she has very advanced breast cancer, and then chronicles going tBasic Plot: A professor of British Literature who specializes in John Donne discovers she has very advanced breast cancer, and then chronicles going through her treatment.
This play is very moving and very funny, even through the tragedy of the main character. Rarely have I found myself both laughing and crying almost within the same breath. The use of classical John Donne poetry as a focus for the story is brilliant, especially the piece used. If you've never read Donne, don't worry, the play explains the arguments behind the poem and makes the poem (Holy Sonnet 14) very accessible and understandable. Frankly, anyone who can make metaphysical poetry this relatable to an audience impresses me as an author.
It's almost a one-woman show, as the main character is a bookish loner with no family to speak of. It would certainly be an endurance test for the actress playing the lead.
Overall, a very worthwhile play to see or read. It's deserving of the awards and accolades it's been given....more
Basic Plot: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"
Medea is the original jilted wife. The woman who sacrifices everything for the man she loves and sBasic Plot: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"
Medea is the original jilted wife. The woman who sacrifices everything for the man she loves and still ends up getting thrown over for a younger, richer woman. No wonder she's bitter. I can't say that I don't see where she's coming from. The play, though ancient, is masterfully written and catches the depths of her despair. It is something any woman who has ever suffered from an unfaithful husband comprehends.
The play becomes a demented sort of wish-fulfillment fantasy as we see Medea actually get to enact her revenge by killing everyone her ex loves, whereas most of us only dream of assaulting the "other woman" and would NEVER think of harming our children, no matter their connection to their father. Herein lies the tragedy of this play. She is so far gone that she sacrifices their innocence, their potential, their ability to make the world a better place by being raised in a more positive manner than their father, just to get revenge on her schmuck of an ex.
I have to say, life experiences being what they are, and really feeling some sympathy for Medea's plight, I still can't condone the end of the play where she kills her own children. That's too much for me. The play is powerful, moreso now than when I read it as part of my education, and even more horrifying than ever....more
Basic Plot: A wealthy man is taken in by a con artist posing as a holy man and nearly loses his whole family and fortune because of it.
As I am currentBasic Plot: A wealthy man is taken in by a con artist posing as a holy man and nearly loses his whole family and fortune because of it.
As I am currently teaching this play, I thought it appropriate to finally add my review of it to this site.
Tartuffe is a classic tale of religious hypocrisy. This satire has a wealth of funny material in it, and I can't begin to express how much I agree with Moliere's skewering of the hypocrisy of some people. As I tell my students, Moliere is most certainly not making fun of faith or the truly religious, he is mocking those who use religion to con others or to pursue very worldly ends. It's unfortunate that the play has such a deus ex machina ending, but nevertheless is a fun read I would recommend to anyone with a brain.
Students who have trouble with Shakespeare often have little to no problem with this play due to the more modern language, even though the play was written not long after Shakespeare's day. I also love giving students comedy to read. All too rarely are they actually exposed to the humorous in school. All of the death, suicide, rape, etc that are in most "high literature" make reading for school depressing, and the students rebel against that. I think they need something fun every now and then as a break, something that still makes a really good point about life. Nothing like satire for making a kid think about the world and what's going on in it....more
Life sucks, then you die, and death sucks, too. There's the play in a nutshell. Wh, then, do I give it four stars? The answer is simple: the journey iLife sucks, then you die, and death sucks, too. There's the play in a nutshell. Wh, then, do I give it four stars? The answer is simple: the journey is well-written. I can't help but feel for a guy who's been screwed from moment one, and just can never rise above who he is. I know too many people just like Willy Loman- friends, students- who never succeed and never figure out WHY their lives happen that way. For me this play's a lesson in awareness; I think everyone knows a Willy Loman. The goal is to avoid being him....more
Basic Plot: Offred the Handmaiden tries to survive and thrive in a dystopian future where the ability to procreate is vital, even if it doesn't give aBasic Plot: Offred the Handmaiden tries to survive and thrive in a dystopian future where the ability to procreate is vital, even if it doesn't give a woman any rights.
I read this book in a college course and it had a profound impact on me. I really need to re-read it some time soon. Dystopias have a way of pointing out the problems of current society by using exaggerated, futuristic versions of the results of those problems. The debate over reproductive rights, gender equality, overpopulation, disease, and a host of other, more minor, issues are addressed in this book.
It's hard, as a feminist (a female who believes in equality between genders, not that men suck) to see women sometimes as our own worst enemy. We don't trust each other. We hold each other to double standards. We get jealous and petty. We dither instead of making decisions. These are not absolutes, but they tend to be our worst problems. It's easy to see how beaten down and frightened women would be terrified into submission by more domineering personalities. I can absolutely see how the stratification of women into various subservient classes (as in this book) could actually happen.
Much like 1984 changed my views on individualism and government control when I was only a freshman in high school (talk about timing for reading that one...), this book helped solidify my views on feminism and equality when I was in college. It provokes a great deal of thought, whether the reader is a male or female, and I highly recommend it to anyone who feels they have a stake in the gender or reproduction debates....more