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Year 9: Ways of Seeing

Essential Goals

1. Understand How to Read the World in a Literary Way

          that we author our lives and that our lives and the world are made of patterns to be read

2. Understand the Power of Language

          that language affects what we see and how we see | what we feel and how we feel



Approaches to Goal 1 so far:




Approaches to Goal 2 so far:


Texture—the felt quality of language 



Class for 23 Sep

This is all very confusing, isn't it? My hope was to have today's chat during class time. However, many have not emailed me, nor have they sought access to the wiki. So that is the current HW--to email me, to get wiki access, and to put their email on the wiki, as the instructions indicate. Be checking this space for future info.

So during class time today to do the email and wiki things I've mentioned on the FrontPage and again in the above paragraph. Beyond that, for today just read, and enjoy reading tonight as well. That's valuable and relaxing at the same time.
I hope that's helpful.

Ender's Game Example Essay



Don't worry about the info below. I need to update that in a less harried time. 

Personal Poetry Poster

May be paper or virtual

From a poem in the packet or on poetryoutloud.org

At least 14 lines and >100 words

(You will be memorizing this AND later writing on this...so NO SECONDARY RESEARCH, NOW OR EVER)

Practice reading it. Bring in a copy tomorrow, along with your summary of its plot stapled to it.

Poster due: Thu 7 May

Poetry Poster

Day 1

You are going to make a poetry poster.

It will include the whole poem with symbolic annotation.

You will have a legend for your audience to interpret the symbols.

Also, write 2 paragraphs addressing the poem's global aspects: plot, theme, atmosphere, tone.

Before the end of class, choose a poem, approve with Mr. P.

HW, annotate poem's devices.

Come ready to collaborate


Day 2

On the newsprint, write or attach the poem--plenty big.

Divide and conquer--split up responsibilites among individuals.

Done by the end of the double--and recorded.


"This Is Just to Say" (32)


Please write three paragraphs, one per stanza (when speaking about stanza one, be sure to discuss the title as well), exploring how the imagery, diction, and alliteration enrich the poem's meaning (you'll have to decide what the poem's meaning is, which you'd convey in the topic sentence of your first paragraph).


Integrate evidence properly.


Animal Farm 

Appearance vs. Reality

Seeing Is Believing? Not so fast. Check out this video. She's not real: Emily


Poetry: AOI - Human Ingenuity

Essential Question: What is the point of poetry?

 _Mary Oliver - Poetry Unit.pdf (download)

Chapters studied: "Sound," "Diction, Tone, Voice"


Forthcoming: Poetic Devices Pkt


"The Fish" Model Essay Response

(How does Elizabeth Bishop’s imagery in “The Fish” make you feel?)


Caught by the Catch

  After the speaker hauls in her “tremendous fish / and held him beside the boat,” she inspects him and attempts to admire the battle-weary lunker. Her description is lengthy, striking, and surprising. Instead of feeling pride, the speaker first observes that her catch is no trophy, but “homely.” In our first specific image of him, his skin “hung in strips like ancient wallpaper.” Rather than sounding like a fish out of water, he sounds like a decrepit veteran battered by war, a victim of napalm, or a banished leper. Although there is something beautiful about this wallpaper, with “shapes like full-blown roses,” this beauty “hung in strips” and is “stained and lost through age.” He is a relic or a museum. He is alive but barely, and the angler has caught a fish, but barely a fish. 

  Upon examining his skin and gills, the speaker “looked into his eyes,” having an intimate, soul-searching moment. The fish, however, is oblivious to it, as he is busy dying, “breathing in the terrible oxygen.” Just like his body, his eyes, along with its irises and lenses, are a sad state: “shallower” and “yellowed,” “irises…packed with tarnished tinfoil,” and “scratched” lenses. The fish neither looks well, nor does he see well. We can do nothing but pity this fish. Once an impressive predator, he now lives his muddled life, seeing through murky lenses. He bumbles along, snags yet another angler’s hook because he cannot see or perceive the trap, and is hauled in like dead weight.

  However, Bishop piles on this imagery of decay only to make a dramatic shift. This sad fish becomes a heroic figure, a warrior with a beard of hooks and fish line. What the speaker could have called a “drooping” lip becomes “grim, wet, and weaponlike.” Hooks grow “firmly in his mouth,” and we see that not only has the fish made a life of biting off more than he can chew, but he lives to tell about it. He has “snapped” and “broken[n]” lines, and now these rusty barbs and tethers hang “Like medals with their ribbons,” “a five-haired beard of wisdom.” What began as a lament over this fish ends in praise and awe. He becomes wise and heroic, a model fish. Ironically, the angler so much grows to see this fish as the model that she does not bring him to the taxidermist to make a trophy of him. She “let[s] the fish go” to show she, ultimately, did not catch this fish. It was she, rather, who was captivated.


WC: 424


The Fish - Model Response.doc (download) 


“The Fish” Response


Question: How does the imagery of Elizabeth Bishop's “The Fish” make you feel?


Use multiple paragraphs.

Depend on topic sentences to focus your ideas. Underline each paragraph's topic sentence.


Tip: to build a focused paragraph, build it around a specific sense (sight, touch, etc.), specific sensory image, or a family of related sensory images. Then explain what effect that image has on you and how that effect helps you understand the poem better. 


Keep your response to one page: 350-400 words, 1.5 spacing, 12 pt Time New Roman.

Give it an interesting title, but don't underline, bold-face, italicize, or make it any other font. Let the ideas in your title be the interesting part.

Do Not skip a line between paragraphs; use indentations; that's what they're for.



The poem's speaker is the poem's speaker, not Elizabeth Bishop.


Plan your response. Write down your examples. You won't have enough space to discuss the whole poem. So you need to choose what will go in each paragraph and in what order the paragraphs should go. Topic Sentences. Topic Sentences. Topic Sentences.


If you're quoting something that runs onto another line, use a slash to indicate a line break:

After the speaker hauls in her “tremendous fish / and held him beside the boat,” she inspects him and attempts to admire the battle-weary lunker. Her description is lengthy, striking, and surprising.


The Fish Essay.rtf (download)




Choose first- or third-person point of view (if third, also choose if omniscient, limited-omniscient, or limited) and then characterize the boy at the photo's center. Use the setting and atmosphere to characterize him, as well as the other standard techniques:

  • What he says and thinks
  • What he does
  • What he looks like
  • What others do, say, or think in response


Don't let plot take over. Your task is to create a believable, compelling character. Remember, your words create worlds. Choose them carefully. Use the senses. Just because you have a photograph of the boy at a distance doesn't mean there are no sounds or smells or that your narrator has an equally vague notion of this boy's intent or features.


500 words, 1.5 spacing 



We all know the basics: buzz, thud, clap, pop, fizz, tweet, etc.

That's "cheap" onomatopoeia. I want you to begin to listen to language's richness, 

and how richly onomatopoetic it is. 


As Abraham Joshua Heschel said, "Words create worlds." A Jewish rabbi, He constantly reminded his daughter that the Holocaust did not begin with concentration camps and gas chambers, but with evil ideas spread by dark words. Or to come at this a different way, consider one of my favorite witty poems by Geof Hewitt:


Typographical Errors


Don't let them bother you, she said.

After all, those are just worlds.


You create worlds with your words. Your language affects how others see you

and how you see the world.


Do you say "Shut up," "Hush," or "Shhh"? How is a world filled with the first

different from a world filled with the second or third?


Or consider these: glisten, shimmer, sparkle, dazzle, wince, crest, peak, plummet, pliers,

wrench, screw, ribbon, tape, jug. How are they onomatopoetic?


And how is one different from another?

jug, bottle

chasm, canyon

creek, stream, river

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