Sunday, December 3, 2017

IB Lit: Transgression and Redemption Final 2017



  1. How does the city serve simultaneously as a symbol of society and of Raskolnikov's state of mind?
  2. How do the living spaces reflect and enhance our understanding of the characters and the plot?
  3. How does the novel function as an allegory for Russian Orthodox Christian's journey?
  4. How should the reader reconcile Svidrigailov's charitable gestures at the end of the novel with his violent confrontation of Dunya during the same time frame; does his eventual suicide affect the response?

Prep all four; draw on exam day. You will use your prepped notes and your novel to answer the question you draw.

Monday, October 23, 2017

IB Lit: Infernal Exam Topics

Four Questions:
  • Discuss how the Pilgrim's journey in general and his gradual change in reaction to the sinners as he ventures deeper into Hell can be read allegorically.
  • Discuss why Dante the Pilgrim gets this peculiar chance at redemption.
  • Discuss the allegorical relationship between “The Inferno” and Classical literature.
  • Discuss the significance of Cocytus, the frozen lake at the bottom of Hell.


IB Lit: Presentation Topics for Crime and Punishment

All presenters need to be ready to roll beginning November 6.
  • Biography
    • Dostoevsky pre-exile
    • Dostoevsky's exile
    • Dostoevsky post-exile
  • History
    • 19th Century Petersburg: A history
      • White Nights
    • 19th Century Popular European Philosophy
    • Nietzsche and Nihilism
      • Russian Nihilism
  • Philosophy and Religion
    • The Philosophical Teachings of N. G. Chernyshevsky
    • The Story of Lazarus
    • The Russian Orthodox Church: Practices
      • Communions and Confessions


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

IB Film Assignment: What's in Jane's Bags?


Make a short film that answers the question, "What's in Jane's bags?"
  • Select a production role
    • Director - presents movie
    • Writer - script
    • Cinematographer - storyboards
    • Sound - original music/ fx
    • Editor - edits
  • Script Due Tuesday, October 17
  • Storyboards Due Thursday, October 19
  • Final film to be presented in class Wednesday, October 25
    • 3 minutes with titles and credits
    • Production slate before film
  • Production Reflection (all students) due Wednesday, October 25
    • 250-300 words, MLA format or similar
    • reflect on your performance in this role

Thursday, September 28, 2017

IB Lit: Infernal Presentation Topics 2017

Presentation Topics:
  • Mythological Prison Guards: Pagan Creatures in The Inferno
  • The Prophesies of The Divine Comedy: the Meaning and Implications of the 4 Prophesies in The Inferno
    • Canto VI - Ciacco
    • Canto X - Farinata
    • Canto XV - Brunetto Latini
    • Canto XXIV - Vanni Fucci
  • The Powers and Limitations of Human Reason in The Inferno
    • Why does Dante do what he does with Virgil?
  • Dante's Politics in The Inferno (or "Dante v. the Pope")
  • The Highway to Dante's Hell--the Biblical, Classical, and non-Christian Inspirations for Dante's Version for the Terrain of the Underworld
  • Botticelli, Blake, Dore, and Dali: a Comparison of the Pictorial Representations of The Inferno in Various Illustrations
  • Robert Frost's "Fire and Ice": A Thematic and Analytical Comparison to The Inferno
Due Date (All Project Teams): October 9th

Presentation Parameters:
  • Each partner is responsible for an equal share of the work
  • Each partner is responsible for five (5) minutes' worth of the presentation
  • Visuals are acceptable and encouraged (PowerPoint, Prezi, etc)
  • Rubric ____/30 points possible
    • Knowledge and Understanding: 0-5 points
      • How well does the candidate know and understand the content of the work(s)? 
    • Interpretation and Personal Response: 0-10 points 
      • How valid is the candidate’s interpretation of the work(s)?
      • To what extent does the candidate’s response show critical thinking and originality?
    • Presentation: 0-10 points
      • How effective and convincing is the candidate’s presentation?
    • Use of Language: 0-5 points
      • How accurate, clear, and precise is the language used by the candidate?

Friday, September 22, 2017

IB Lit: The Elephant Vanishes Final

Thursday, September 28

  1. Discuss the tension between Japanese society and the characters in Murakami’s stories. Why would Murakami seek to portray such a rift?
  2. How does the lack of character detail affect the stories themselves? If this puts a greater emphasis on the stories’ thematic elements, then what purposes do the characters serve?
  3. Discuss the magical/surreal elements of Murakami’s stories. How do such elements affect readers’ understanding of contemporary reality?
  4. Literature alludes to myths, folk tales, superstitions, and other cultural touchstones regularly, sometimes even coincidentally or accidentally. How does what some critics call Murakami’s “attack on the cultural connotation of dreams” illustrate the divide between modernity and tradition?

Monday, August 28, 2017

IB Lit: Short Story List and Presentation Assignment

Our list of short stories for the first six weeks in the order we will read them. 
  • Capote (handout)
    • "My Side of the Matter"
  • Murakami (from The Elephant Vanishes)
    •  "The Second Bakery Attack"
    • "On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning"
    • "Barn Burning"
    • "The Little Green Monster"
    • "Family Affair"
    • "The Last Lawn of the Afternoon"
    • "The Elephant Vanishes"

Group Presentation Topics: Japanese Literature and Culture
  • Murakami's Biography
  • The Salaryman
  • Group v. Individual
  • Women
  • Hierarchies
  • Cosmology
  • Superstition
  • Magical Realism as a Genre
  • Other (must be approved in advance by McGhee)

Presentation Parameters:
  • Each presentation team is comprised of 3-4 partners
  • Each partner is responsible for an equal share of the work
  • Each partner is responsible for no less than three (3) minutes' worth of the presentation
  • Each presentation is to be 9-15 minutes in length
  • Visuals are acceptable and encouraged (PowerPoint, Prezi, etc)

Rubric ____/30 points possible
  • Knowledge and Understanding: 0-5 points
    • How well does the candidate know and understand the content of the work(s)? 
  • Interpretation and Personal Response: 0-10 points 
    • How valid is the candidate’s interpretation of the work(s)?
    • To what extent does the candidate’s response show critical thinking and originality?
  • Presentation: 0-10 points
    • How effective and convincing is the candidate’s presentation?
  • Use of Language: 0-5 points
    • How accurate, clear, and precise is the language used by the candidate?


Some websites that may help you to create your presentation