29 November 2006

Gamma Rays Post #3 - "Dreams" and Gamma Rays

This is the third homework blog posting... The calendar says it is due Friday, but we'll extend this one until Monday.

So far in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, we have been introduced to the Hunsdorfer family - Tillie, Beatrice, and Ruth. Tillie is working on a science project, which has gained her some attention at school. Read the following poem by Langston Hughes. Who in the play do you think this poem speaks to the most - Tillie, Beatrice, or Ruth? Who has dreams? What line or lines stand out that seem to speak directly to her situation? Explain your connections.

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

- by Langston Hughes

28 November 2006

Gamma Rays Post #2 - Marigolds and science experiments

This is the second homework blog posting... Did you already complete the post on good literature?

In The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, Tillie conducts an unusual science project. She subjects three different batches of marigolds to the potentially damaging effects of gamma rays - a topic we addressed in a previous blog post. But why did the play's author, Paul Zindel, choose marigolds as the flower to use in the science experiment? Check out some information on marigolds at wikipedia and then post your ideas about the use of marigolds in the story. What makes marigolds different from other flowers? How might the characteristics or qualities of this particular flower be a symbol that connects to important ideas in the play? Why might have Zindel used marigolds as the flower?

26 November 2006

Gamma Rays Post #1 - Define good literature

One of the most difficult questions you are asked in an English class is "What makes this a good piece of literature?" As we read The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, you can expect that question to come up again. However, before you can come up with a good answer, you should have a clear ideas for a definition of good literature. Let's do that here. Define the characteristics of good literature. Remember to avoid meaningless reasons like "it keeps me interested" or the like. Good literature, by definition, should keep you interested - you have to point out just what the author does to make it interesting. Think about the literary terms we have studied in the short stories. If possible, use some of them to help you craft a concise, clear definition. Once you have your definition, tell us your favorite piece of literature that we've read in class this year. Evaluate your selection using your criteria.

17 November 2006

Connecting Gamma Rays and dysfunctional families

We just read about NASA brief about Gamma-rays and a psychological perspective on different types of dysfunctional families. On the surface, it appears we have two entirely different topics, two different readings, and it might seem like neither of them have anything to do with one another. But what if we went out of our way to come up with a connection, anything? Can we do it? Maybe we need to think about it beyond a literal level. What can we come up with if we stretch our minds and look for any connections? What are the parallels we can draw? Please post your findings here...

14 November 2006

Any happy returns?

In the short stories "A Visit to Grandmother" and "Rules of Game," we meet children and parents who just don't seem to effectively connect with one another. In "A Visit to Grandmother," Charles, after spending nearly 20 years away from his family, finally returns to confront his mother about her parenting style. While Meimei in "Rules of the Game" faces off with her mother over her chess-playing abilities. At one point, Meimei runs away, but she comes back to "ponder [her] next move." What do you think of the way Charles and Meimei handled their conflicts with their mothers? How would you have handled it?