More on "Terence"


Here, to give you some more concrete direction in your comments, are the last three questions that accompany the poem in Sound and Sense. They zero in the significance of the poem's structure and Terence's philosophy, which as Evan suggests reflects Housman's own.

Mithridates (76) was a king of Pontus and a contemporary of Julius Caesar; his “tale” is told in Pliny’s Natural History. The poem is structured by its line spacing into four verse paragraphs. What is the connection of this last verse paragraph with the rest of the poem? What is the function of the other three?

Essentially, Terence assesses the value of three possible aids for worthwhile living. What are they? Which does Terence consider the best? What six lines of the poem best sum up his philosophy?

Many people like reading material that is cheerful and optimistic; they argue that “there’s enough suffering and unhappiness in the world already.” What, for Housman, is the value of pessimistic and tragic literature?

"Terence, This is Stupid Stuff"


Help one another analyze Housman's poem. We'll take a brief look at it Thursday to help you with your approach.

Remember: your comment is incomplete if you don't cite the text.

"Suicide's Note" ~ join in the discussion before class Monday


Suicide's Note

The calm,
Cool face of the river
Asked me for a kiss.

—Langston Hughes.

From here on, we'll discuss the poetry we read in terms of its speaker or speakers. The poem says nothing; it is the expression of its speaker (quite often, a being entirely apart from the poet).
Examine the diction, sound, personification, and tone the speaker uses. Explore the frame of mind that could envision such a kiss.

Timed write Friday, & soliloquy stragglers to follow


Dear students,

Be sure to bring your copies of Hamlet on Friday. We're going to kick off with a 40 minute essay (I'll give you 10-15 minutes in advance to examine the prompt & outline some notes), then shift to performance mode for the last of the Hamlet soliloquies.
I may use the opportunity to examine the soliloquies as poetry, but juniors will have priority for any forecasting needs—rounding up signatures, getting last-minute advice, etc.
And don't forget Journalism, juniors, as you look over your options for your last year at old Westview High. Too bad it isn't Persimmon University—gold old P.U.

Independent study syllabus


Independent Study syllabus -

No blog this week after all!



I've changed my mind about a blog for Friday. We've got enough going on right now without the pain & distraction of another assignment.

Wednesday begins soliloquies—analysis due Friday.


Depending on how early you started memorizing your speech and how well you've come along with it, you might be ready to go for Wednesday's class. I'll take your names at the beginning of class, but if you want to go early in the proceedings, you can let me know via e-mail.

No matter when you take your turn—Wednesday or Friday—the analysis part of the assignment is due Friday.
You may dread these speeches, but they've always been fun in the past, and so they'll be this week.

The character of Hamlet's mother


You have read Carolyn Heilbrun's essay on Gertrude. Now consider the points Heilbrun makes, as well as the opinions of other critics she references. Do some thinking and studying of your own about Gertrude. Is she intelligent and verbally gifted? Is she ruled by sensual desire? Is she shallow and weak? To what extent does the action of the play pivot around her? Engage in a lively discussion with one another, but be sure to cite particular passages from the play & essay to support your ideas.