Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

2nd Period completed their discussion of “Contents of the Dead Man’s Pockets” today, talking about the main thematic idea in the story: There are more important things in life besides collecting money and prestige, and oftentimes we have to be shaken around pretty hard before we’re able to stop and look at our lives with a different perspective. This lead, incidentally, to a famous quotation from Thoreau’s book Walden

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

…a poem from Edgar Lee Masters…

George Gray
I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me—
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire—
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid. 

…and a quote from Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar:

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

Heavy stuff. Then, I gave you an assignment sheet: “Write Like a Dead Man.” Tomorrow, we discuss death. 😀 

And what of 6th Period? We’ve only just begun. We begin down the “Dead Man’s Pocket” road that 2nd Period has already travelled. We’ll try to do in two days what they did in three, and thus catch up. The basic outline?
» Part 1: The Hero’s Journey in “Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket”
» Part 2: Of symbols and the yellow paper
» Part 3: Thematic ideas in “Contents,” or, “What happened to my dead man?” 

Assignments? Yep.

  • Vocabulary #5 is due on Monday, November 1st for all classes.
  • 2nd Period’s “Write Like a Dead Man” sheet is due on Thursday.
  • 6th Period’s Vocabulary #4 Quiz is still this coming Friday!