For Wed. (April 5)


Let’s read up to Chapter 15 in Grapes of Wrath.

As you read, keep track of the different voices and kinds of voices that you “hear” in Steinbeck’s narrative.  E.g. make a list of examples of different voices in the text.  As you list various voices, think about the relation among these voices: how are they associated with setting? or with authority? can you identify certain genres or clusters of voices that seem to belong together?  can you see any patterns in the distribution of voices among the narrator(s) and characters?

Hey, wait a minute . . .what is “voice” in narrative fiction?  We can start to think about voice in terms of dialect, or divergence from a standard spoken or written idiom.  Here’s a helpful rubric for starting to identify/think about voice/dialect in written prose.

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For Monday (April 3)

Let’s tackle the first nine chapters of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939) in class.

One good introduction to the situation of the Joads can be found in the video above – – Pare Lorentz’s The Plow That Broke the Plains (1937).  Well worth watching in full!

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For Wed. (March 29)

It’s presentation day!  Remember: 20 minutes per group.  Time limits will be ruthlessly enforced.

Also, your three (3) page (approximate) write-up on your subgroup’s research is due.  Write this in a google doc and send me the link.

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News and updates

Friends, there will be no class today (Monday, March 13) due to a stomach bug that swept through my household over the weekend.  Recall, also, that class for Wed. (March 15) is cancelled because I’m scheduled to travel to a conference.  In other words, we won’t see each other again until Monday, March 27.

In the meantime, keep preparing your research presentations.  Your presentations will happen on Wed., March 29.  Each group will be allotted 20 minutes of in-class time.  In addition, each “mini-group” will be responsible for a three or four-page write up of your research results.  I will add these components to our research project page.

Take a look at the excerpt from In Dubious Battle that I distributed last Wed.  Your goal in re-reading this excerpt is to see how much of the whole narrative you can read into this one fragment, i.e. to connect this excerpt as much as you can to the whole novel.  Give it a try and we’ll review it the results on Monday, March 27.

Start reading Grapes of Wrath.  It’s a fairly long novel, so try to get as far into the book as you can by the time we return to the classroom.  (I’d say up to Chapter 19 or so would be a good goal.)

And, finally, enjoy your spring recess!

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For Wed. (3/8)

We’ll actually discuss In Dubious Battle on Wed.

On other fronts, you should have three good research questions and a research plan good-to-go by Wed.  And, you should be reaching out to find and digest materials per your research plan.

Remind me also to briefly describe my policy on revision.  (In brief, if you rec’d less than an A- on your first assignment, you should revise for greater glory.)

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For Monday (3/1)

Finish reading In Dubious Battle.

And, be sure to post your research questions for your group along with a tentative research plan, e.g. where you’re going to look for further material and what kind of material you’ll be looking for.

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For Wed. (3/1)

Keep reading In Dubious Battle – – you want to be at least up to Chapter 14.  Don’t forget the formal analysis sheet I handed out on Monday.  Annotate this excerpt from the novel, indicating characterization, setting, and narration/narrator.

And, work toward your three research questions.  It would be good to have a draft of these questions about your topic by Wed.  I’ll check in on your google docs.

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For Wed. (2/22)

First, don’t forget: your Tortilla Flat assignment is due!

Keep reading In Dubious Battle, but we’ll pause our discussion of the novel to get your research projects going.  See our 1930s page, where I’ve added links to each group’s google doc.  I’ve also tried to clarify the purpose and process of your research in a handy little guide.  Bring questions (and a portable computing device) to class on Wed.

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For Monday (2/20)

Let’s read to the end of chapter 8 in In Dubious Battle.

For our research groups: 1) the designated folks should create a google doc for each group; 2) start reading the documents for your group that I’ve included in our research starter-kit; 3) as you read, think about connections between what you’re reading and In Dubious Battle; 4) bring a portable computing device to class on Monday.

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