Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Should MVH get a good grade for conditions of our facility?

Read the report first.  The survey will ask you to review the report; it will not be asking you to review the conditions of the school--but you can address the school's condition in the comments.

Examine THIS REPORT first.

1) Read the report linked above
2) Ask yourself if the report accurately reflects conditions of our facilities.
3) Indicate in your survey answers when you think the report grades conditions "too high" or "OK" or "too low." (This is a bit confusing--it might be meant to be so.)


Let's all be advocates for the campus we deserve.


recommended reading list

Titles from Open Response Questions*

Updated from an original list by Norma J. Wilkerson.
(and then the old man lifted the list from this website:
(with photos of Godard, Karina, Belmondo, Bardot, Seberg, Léaud, Hepburn shamelessly pasted uncredited from various sources)

*Works referred to on the AP Literature exams since 1971 (specific years in parentheses)
Please note that only authors were recommended in early years, not specific titles..

Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner (76, 00, 10, 12)
Adam Bede by George Eliot (06)
The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (13)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (80, 82, 85, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 99, 05, 06, 07, 08, 11, 13)
The Aeneid by Virgil (06)
Agnes of God by John Pielmeier (00)
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (97, 02, 03, 08, 12, 14)
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (00, 04, 08)
All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren (00, 02, 04, 07, 08, 09, 11)
All My Sons by Arthur Miller (85, 90)
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (95, 96, 06, 07, 08, 10, 11, 13)
America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan (95)
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser (81, 82, 95, 03)
American Pastoral by Philip Roth (09)
The American by Henry James (05, 07, 10)
Angels in America by Tony Kushner (09)
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (10)
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (80, 91, 99, 03, 04, 06, 08, 09)
Another Country by James Baldwin (95, 10, 12)
Antigone by Sophocles (79, 80, 90, 94, 99, 03, 05, 09, 11, 14)
Anthony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare (80, 91)
Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler (94)
Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer (76)
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (78, 89, 90, 94, 01, 04, 06, 07, 09)
As You Like It by William Shakespeare (92 05, 06, 10)
Atonement by Ian McEwan (07, 11, 13)
Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson (02, 05)
The Awakening by Kate Chopin (87, 88, 91, 92, 95, 97, 99, 02, 04, 07, 09, 11, 14)

“The Bear” by William Faulkner (94, 06)
Beloved by Toni Morrison (90, 99, 01, 03, 05, 07, 09, 10, 11, 14)
A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul (03)
Benito Cereno by Herman Melville (89)
Billy Budd by Herman Melville (79, 81, 82, 83, 85, 99, 02, 04, 05, 07, 08)
The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter (89, 97)
Black Boy by Richard Wright (06, 08, 13)
Bleak House by Charles Dickens (94, 00, 04, 09, 10)
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya (94, 96, 97, 99, 04, 05, 06, 08)
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (07, 11)
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (95, 08, 09)
Bone: A Novel by Fae M. Ng (03)
The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan (06, 07, 11)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (89, 05, 09, 10)
Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat (13)
Brideshead Revisted by Evelyn Waugh (12)
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (79)
Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos (09)
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevski (90, 08)
Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall (13)

Candida by George Bernard Shaw (80)
Candide by Voltaire (80, 86, 87, 91, 95, 96, 04, 06, 10)
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (06)
The Caretaker by Harold Pinter (85)
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (82, 85, 87, 89, 94, 01, 03, 04, 05, 07, 08, 11)
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (01, 08, 11, 13)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams (00)
Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood (94, 08, 09, 13)
The Centaur by John Updike (81)
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (94, 96, 97, 99, 01, 03, 05, 06, 07, 09, 12)
The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov (71, 77, 06, 07, 09, 10)
The Cider House Rules by John Irving (13)
The Chosen by Chaim Potok (08, 13)
“Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau (76)
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (06, 08)
The Color Purple by Alice Walker (92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 05, 08, 09, 12, 13)
Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje (01)
Copenhagen by Michael Frayn (09)
The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett (10)
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton (85, 87, 91, 95, 96, 07, 09)
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevski (76, 79, 80, 82, 88, 96, 99, 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 09, 10, 11)
“The Crisis” by Thomas Paine (76)
The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy (09)
The Crucible by Arthur Miller (71, 83, 86, 89, 04, 05, 09, 14)

Daisy Miller by Henry James (97, 03, 12)
Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel (01)
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (78, 83, 06, 13)
“The Dead” by James Joyce (97)
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy (86)
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (86, 88, 94, 03, 04, 05, 07, 12, 14)
Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty (97)
Desire under the Elms by Eugene O’Neill (81)
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler (97)
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (06)
The Diviners by Margaret Laurence (95)
Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (79, 86, 99, 04, 11)
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (10)
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen (71, 83, 87, 88, 95, 05, 09)
The Dollmaker by Harriet Arnot (91)
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (01, 04, 06, 08)
Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia (03)
Dutchman by Amiri Baraka/Leroi Jones (03, 06)

East of Eden by John Steinbeck (06)
Emma by Jane Austen (96, 08)
An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen (76, 80, 87, 99, 01, 07)
Equus by Peter Shaffer (92, 99, 00, 01, 08, 09)
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (80, 85, 03, 05, 06, 07, 14)
The Eumenides by Aeschylus (in The Orestia) (96)

The Fall by Albert Camus (81)
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (99, 04, 09)
The Father by August Strindberg (01)
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev (90)
Faust by Johann Goethe (02, 03)
The Federalist by Alexander Hamilton (76)
Fences by August Wilson (02, 03, 05, 09, 10)
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (03)
Fifth Business by Robertson Davis (00, 07)
The Fixer by Bernard Malamud (07)
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (03, 06)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (89, 00, 03, 06, 08)
A Free Life: A Novel by Ha Jin (10)

A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest Gaines (00, 11)
Germinal by Emile Zola (09)
A Gesture Life by Chang-Rae Lee (04, 05)
Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen (00, 04)
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams (71, 90, 94, 97, 99, 02, 08, 09, 10, 12)
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (10, 11, 13)
Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien (01, 06, 10)
The Golden Bowl by Henry James (09)
The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford (00, 11)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (95, 03, 06, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13)
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (79, 80, 88, 89, 92, 95, 96, 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 07, 08, 10, 12, 13)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (82, 83, 88, 91, 92, 97, 00, 02, 04, 05, 07, 10)
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin (83, 88, 90, 05, 09)
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (87, 89, 01, 04, 06, 09)

The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill (89, 0994, 97, 99, 00)
Hamlet by William Shakespeare (88, 94, 97, 99, 00)
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (03, 09)
Hard Times by Charles Dickens (87, 90, 09)
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (71, 76, 91, 94, 96, 99, 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 06, 09, 10, 11, 12)
The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene (71)
Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen (79, 92, 00, 02, 03, 05)
Henry IV, Parts I and II by William Shakespeare (80, 90, 08)
Henry V by William Shakespeare (02)
A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes (08)
The Homecoming by Harold Pinter (78, 90)
Home to Harlem by Claude McKay (10)
A House for Mr. Biswas by V. S. Naipul (10)
House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday (95, 06, 09)
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (04, 07, 10)
The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne (89)
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (08, 10, 13)

The Iliad by Homer (80)
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (06)
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (10)
In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien (00)
In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (05)
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (76, 77, 78, 82, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 94, 95, 96, 97, 01, 03, 04, 05, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (78, 79, 80, 88, 91, 94, 95, 96, 97, 99, 00, 05, 07, 08, 10, 13)
Jasmine by Bharati Mukherjee (99, 10, 13)
J.B. by Archibald MacLeish (81, 94)
Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson (00, 04)
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (97, 03, 13)
Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding (99)
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (71, 76, 80, 85, 87, 95, 04, 09, 10)
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (82, 97, 05, 07, 09)
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (77, 78, 82, 88, 89, 90, 96, 09)

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (08)
King Lear by William Shakespeare (77, 78, 82, 88, 89, 90, 96, 01, 03, 04, 05, 06, 08, 10, 11, 12, 14)
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (07, 08, 09)

Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde (09)
A Lesson before Dying by Ernest Gaines (99, 11)
Letters from an American Farmer by St. John de Crèvecœur (76), 11)
Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor (14)
The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman (85, 90, 10)
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (08)
Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill (90, 03, 07)
Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe (10)
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (77, 78, 82, 86, 00, 03, 07)
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (85, 08)
The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh (89)
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich (95)
“Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot (85)
Lysistrata by Aristophanes (87)

Macbeth by William Shakespeare (83, 99, 03, 05, 09)
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (80, 85, 04, 05, 06, 09, 10)
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane (12)
Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (87, 09)
Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw (79, 96, 04, 07, 09, 11)
Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw (81)
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (03, 06)
Master Harold...and the Boys by Athol Fugard (03, 08, 09)
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (94, 99, 00, 02, 07, 10, 11)
M. Butterfly by David Henry Wang (95, 11, 12)
Medea by Euripides (82, 92, 95, 01, 03)
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers (97, 08)
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards (09, 14)
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (85, 91, 95, 02, 03, 11)
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (78, 89)
Middlemarch by George Eliot (95, 04, 05, 07)
Middle Passage by V. S. Naipaul (06)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (06, 12)
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (90, 92, 04)
The Misanthrope by Moliere (08)
Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West (89)
Moby Dick by Herman Melville (76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 89, 94, 96, 01, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 09)
Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe (76, 77, 86, 87, 95, 09)
Monkey Bridge by Lan Cao (00, 03)
The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie (07)
Mother Courage and Her Children by Berthold Brecht (85, 87, 06)
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (94, 97, 04, 05, 07, 11)
Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw (87, 90, 95, 02, 09)
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (97, 14)
Murder in the Cathedral by T. S. Eliot (76, 80, 85, 95, 07, 11)
“My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning (85)
My Ántonia by Willa Cather (03, 08, 10, 12)
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok (03)

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (09, 10, 13)
Native Son by Richard Wright (79, 82, 85, 87, 95, 01, 04, 09, 11, 12)
Native Speaker by Chang-Rae Lee (99, 03, 05, 07, 08)
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (09, 10)
1984 by George Orwell (87, 94, 05, 09)
No Exit by John Paul Sartre (86, 12)
Noah’s Compass by Anne Tyler (14)
No-No Boy by John Okada (95)
Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevski (89)

Obasan by Joy Kogawa (94, 95, 04, 05, 06, 07, 10)
The Octopus by Frank Norris (09)
The Odyssey by Homer (86, 06, 10)
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (77, 85, 88, 00, 03, 04, 11)
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (01)
Old School by Tobia Wolff (08)
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (09)
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (05, 10)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (0, 121)
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (89, 04, 12)
O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (06)
The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty (94)
The Orestia by Aeschylus (90)
Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf (04)
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (12, 14)
Othello by William Shakespeare (79, 85, 88, 92, 95, 03, 04, 07, 11, 14)
The Other by Thomas Tryon (10)
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (90)
Our Town by Thornton Wilder (86, 97, 09)
Out of Africa by Isaak Dinesen (06)

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (01)
Pamela by Samuel Richardson (86)
A Passage to India by E. M. Forster (71, 77, 78, 88, 91, 92, 07, 09, 12)
Paradise Lost by John Milton (85, 86, 10)
Passing by Nella Larsen (11)
Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen (06)
Père Goriot by Honore de Balzac (02)
Persuasion by Jane Austen (90, 05, 07)
Phaedre by Jean Racine (92, 03)
The Piano Lesson by August Wilson (96, 99, 07, 08, 10, 12)
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (02)
The Plague by Albert Camus (02, 09, 12)
Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov (97)
Pocho by Jose Antonio Villarreal (02, 08)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (10, 11, 12, 14)
Portrait of a Lady by Henry James ( 88, 92, 96, 03, 05, 07, 11, 14)
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (76, 77, 80, 86, 88, 96, 99, 04, 05, 08, 09, 10, 11, 13)
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (95)
Praisesong for the Widow by Paule Marshall (96)
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (09, 14)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (83, 88, 92, 97, 08, 11, 12)
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (90, 08)
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (13)
Push by Sapphire (07)
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw (03, 05, 08)

Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow (03, 07)
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (87, 90, 94, 96, 99, 07, 09, 12, 14)
The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope (81)
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (08)
Redburn by Herman Melville (87)
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (00, 03, 11)
Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie (08, 09)
The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy (07)
Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco (09)
Richard III by William Shakespeare (79)
A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean (08)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (10)
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (10)
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (76)
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster (03)
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (90, 92, 97, 08)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard (81, 94, 00, 04, 05, 06, 10, 11)

Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw (95)
The Sandbox by Edward Albee (71)
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (71, 77, 78, 83, 88, 91, 99, 02, 04, 05, 06, 11, 14)
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (13)
Sent for You Yesterday by John Edgar Wideman (03)
A Separate Peace by John Knowles (82, 07, 13)
Set This House on Fire by William Styron (11)
The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (97)
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse (13)
Silas Marner by George Eliot (02)
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser (87, 02, 04, 09, 10)
Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (10)
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (91, 04)
Snow by Orhan Pamuk (09)
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (00, 10, 12)
A Soldier’s Play by Charles Fuller (11)
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (81, 88, 96, 00, 04, 05, 06, 07, 10, 13)
Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence (77, 90)
Sophie’s Choice by William Styron (09)
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (13)
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (77, 86, 97, 01, 07, 08, 13)
The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence (96, 04)
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (11, 13)
The Stranger by Albert Camus (79, 82, 86, 04)
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (91, 92, 01, 04, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 14)
The Street by Ann Petry (07)
Sula by Toni Morrison (92, 97, 02, 04, 07, 08, 10, 12)
Surfacing by Margaret Atwood (05)
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (85, 91, 95, 96, 04, 05, 12)

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (82, 91, 04, 08, 14)
Tartuffe by Moliere (87)
The Tempest by William Shakespeare (71, 78, 96, 03, 05, 07, 10)
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (82, 91, 03, 06, 07, 12, 14)
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zorah Neale Hurston (88, 90, 91, 96, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 10, 11, 13, 14)
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (91, 97, 03, 09, 10, 11, 14)
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien (04, 09)
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (06, 14)
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (11, 13)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (08, 09, 11, 13)
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (77, 86, 88, 08)
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (90, 00, 06, 08)
Tracks by Louise Erdrich (05)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (13)
The Trial by Franz Kafka (88, 89, 00, 11)
Trifles by Susan Glaspell (00)
Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne (86)
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (92, 94, 00, 02, 04, 08)
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (85, 94, 96, 11)
Typical American by Gish Jen (02, 03, 05)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (87, 09)
U.S.A. (trilogy) by John Dos Passos (09)

The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (06)
Victory by Joseph Conrad (83)
Volpone by Ben Jonson (83)

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (77, 85, 86, 89, 94, 01, 09, 12)
The Warden by Anthony Trollope (96)
Washington Square by Henry James (90)
The Wasteland by T. S. Eliot (81)
Watch on the Rhine by Lillian Hellman (87)
The Way of the World by William Congreve (71)
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope (06)
We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (07)
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka (12)
Who Has Seen the Wind by W. O. Mitchell (11)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee (88, 94, 00, 04, 07, 11)
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (89, 92, 05, 07, 08)
The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen (78)
Winter in the Blood by James Welch (95)
Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare (82, 89, 95, 06)
Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor (82, 89, 95, 09, 10)
Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston (91, 08, 13)
The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor (09, 10, 12, 14)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (71,77, 78, 79, 83, 86, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 96, 97, 99, 01, 06, 07, 08, 10, 12)

The Zoo Story by Edward Albee (82, 01)
Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez (95)

 Most Frequently Cited 1970-2014
26 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
20 Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
18 Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
17 King Lear by William Shakespeare
16 Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevski
16 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
16 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
15 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
15 Moby Dick by Herman Melville
14 Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
13 The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
13 Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zorah Neale Hurston
12 The Awakening by Kate Chopin
12 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
12 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
11 Billy Budd by Herman Melville
11 Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
11 Light in August by William Faulkner
10 Antigone by Sophocles
10 As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
10 Beloved by Toni Morrison
10 The Color Purple by Alice Walker
10 The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
10 Native Son by Richard Wright
10 Othello by William Shakespeare
10 Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
10 A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
9 Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
9 A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
9 A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
8 All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
8 Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
8 Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
8 Candide by Voltaire
8 The Crucible by Arthur Miller
8 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
8 Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
8 The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
8 Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
8 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
8 Sula by Toni Morrison
8 Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
7 All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
7 Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
7 Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
7 Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
7 Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
7 The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
7 Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
7 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
7 The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
7 The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
7 The Tempest by William Shakespeare
7 Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
7 Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
6 Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
6 A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
6 An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen
6 Equus by Peter Shaffer
6 Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
6 Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
6 Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw
6 Medea by Euripides
6 The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
6 Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
6 Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
6 Murder in the Cathedral by T. S. Eliot
6 Obasan by Joy Kogawa
6 The Piano Lesson by August Wilson
6 The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
6 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
5 Bleak House by Charles Dickens
5 The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chkhov
5 Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
5 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
5 Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
5 Hamlet by William Shakespeare
5 Macbeth by William Shakespeare
5 Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw
5 Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
5 A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
5 Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
5 Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

Shakespeare - All Plays Total = 80

2 Anthony and Cleopatra
4 As You Like It
5 Hamlet
3 Henry IV, Parts I and II
1 Henry V
4 Julius Caesar
17 King Lear
5 Macbeth
6 Merchant of Venice
2 A Midsummer Night's Dream
2 Much Ado About Nothing
9 Othello
1 Richard III
4 Romeo and Juliet
7 The Tempest
4 Twelfth Night
4 Winter's Tale

 Classical Greek & Roman Literature = 30

1 The Aeneid by Virgil
10 Antigone by Sophocles
1 The Eumenides by Aeschylus
1 The Iliad by Homer
1 Lysistrata by Aristophanes
6 Medea by Euripides
3 The Odyssey by Homer
6 Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
1 The Orestia by Aeschylus

Saturday, August 16, 2014

a photo of the beginning of a list

of writers whose novels
are not just recommended but also have a track record--in the sense that i've loaned them to students and friends and the results have been good.  novels that reenergize readers that may have been temporarily lured away from regular reading.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Po Bronson "How Not to Talk to Your Kids" from New York Magazine.

New York Magazine

How Not to Talk to Your Kids
The inverse power of praise.

By Po Bronson Published Aug 3, 2007

What do we make of a boy like Thomas?

Thomas (his middle name) is a fifth-grader at the highly competitive P.S. 334, the Anderson School on West 84th. Slim as they get, Thomas recently had his long sandy-blond hair cut short to look like the new James Bond (he took a photo of Daniel Craig to the barber). Unlike Bond, he prefers a uniform of cargo pants and a T-shirt emblazoned with a photo of one of his heroes: Frank Zappa. Thomas hangs out with five friends from the Anderson School. They are “the smart kids.” Thomas’s one of them, and he likes belonging.

Since Thomas could walk, he has heard constantly that he’s smart. Not just from his parents but from any adult who has come in contact with this precocious child. When he applied to Anderson for kindergarten, his intelligence was statistically confirmed. The school is reserved for the top one percent of all applicants, and an IQ test is required. Thomas didn’t just score in the top one percent. He scored in the top one percent of the top one percent.

But as Thomas has progressed through school, this self-awareness that he’s smart hasn’t always translated into fearless confidence when attacking his schoolwork. In fact, Thomas’s father noticed just the opposite. “Thomas didn’t want to try things he wouldn’t be successful at,” his father says. “Some things came very quickly to him, but when they didn’t, he gave up almost immediately, concluding, ‘I’m not good at this.’ ” With no more than a glance, Thomas was dividing the world into two—things he was naturally good at and things he wasn’t.

For instance, in the early grades, Thomas wasn’t very good at spelling, so he simply demurred from spelling out loud. When Thomas took his first look at fractions, he balked. The biggest hurdle came in third grade. He was supposed to learn cursive penmanship, but he wouldn’t even try for weeks. By then, his teacher was demanding homework be completed in cursive. Rather than play catch-up on his penmanship, Thomas refused outright. Thomas’s father tried to reason with him. “Look, just because you’re smart doesn’t mean you don’t have to put out some effort.” (Eventually, he mastered cursive, but not without a lot of cajoling from his father.)

Why does this child, who is measurably at the very top of the charts, lack confidence about his ability to tackle routine school challenges?

Thomas is not alone. For a few decades, it’s been noted that a large percentage of all gifted students (those who score in the top 10 percent on aptitude tests) severely underestimate their own abilities. Those afflicted with this lack of perceived competence adopt lower standards for success and expect less of themselves. They underrate the importance of effort, and they overrate how much help they need from a parent.

When parents praise their children’s intelligence, they believe they are providing the solution to this problem. According to a survey conducted by Columbia University, 85 percent of American parents think it’s important to tell their kids that they’re smart. In and around the New York area, according to my own (admittedly nonscientific) poll, the number is more like 100 percent. Everyone does it, habitually. The constant praise is meant to be an angel on the shoulder, ensuring that children do not sell their talents short.

But a growing body of research—and a new study from the trenches of the New York public-school system—strongly suggests it might be the other way around. Giving kids the label of “smart” does not prevent them from underperforming. It might actually be causing it.

For the past ten years, psychologist Carol Dweck and her team at Columbia (she’s now at Stanford) studied the effect of praise on students in a dozen New York schools. Her seminal work—a series of experiments on 400 fifth-graders—paints the picture most clearly.

Dweck sent four female research assistants into New York fifth-grade classrooms. The researchers would take a single child out of the classroom for a nonverbal IQ test consisting of a series of puzzles—puzzles easy enough that all the children would do fairly well. Once the child finished the test, the researchers told each student his score, then gave him a single line of praise. Randomly divided into groups, some were praised for their intelligence. They were told, “You must be smart at this.” Other students were praised for their effort: “You must have worked really hard.”

Why just a single line of praise? “We wanted to see how sensitive children were,” Dweck explained. “We had a hunch that one line might be enough to see an effect.”

Then the students were given a choice of test for the second round. One choice was a test that would be more difficult than the first, but the researchers told the kids that they’d learn a lot from attempting the puzzles. The other choice, Dweck’s team explained, was an easy test, just like the first. Of those praised for their effort, 90 percent chose the harder set of puzzles. Of those praised for their intelligence, a majority chose the easy test. The “smart” kids took the cop-out.

Why did this happen? “When we praise children for their intelligence,” Dweck wrote in her study summary, “we tell them that this is the name of the game: Look smart, don’t risk making mistakes.” And that’s what the fifth-graders had done: They’d chosen to look smart and avoid the risk of being embarrassed.

In a subsequent round, none of the fifth-graders had a choice. The test was difficult, designed for kids two years ahead of their grade level. Predictably, everyone failed. But again, the two groups of children, divided at random at the study’s start, responded differently. Those praised for their effort on the first test assumed they simply hadn’t focused hard enough on this test. “They got very involved, willing to try every solution to the puzzles,” Dweck recalled. “Many of them remarked, unprovoked, ‘This is my favorite test.’ ” Not so for those praised for their smarts. They assumed their failure was evidence that they weren’t really smart at all. “Just watching them, you could see the strain. They were sweating and miserable.”

Having artificially induced a round of failure, Dweck’s researchers then gave all the fifth-graders a final round of tests that were engineered to be as easy as the first round. Those who had been praised for their effort significantly improved on their first score—by about 30 percent. Those who’d been told they were smart did worse than they had at the very beginning—by about 20 percent.

Dweck had suspected that praise could backfire, but even she was surprised by the magnitude of the effect. “Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control,” she explains. “They come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.”

In follow-up interviews, Dweck discovered that those who think that innate intelligence is the key to success begin to discount the importance of effort. I am smart, the kids’ reasoning goes; I don’t need to put out effort. Expending effort becomes stigmatized—it’s public proof that you can’t cut it on your natural gifts.

Repeating her experiments, Dweck found this effect of praise on performance held true for students of every socioeconomic class. It hit both boys and girls—the very brightest girls especially (they collapsed the most following failure). Even preschoolers weren’t immune to the inverse power of praise.

Jill Abraham is a mother of three in Scarsdale, and her view is typical of those in my straw poll. I told her about Dweck’s research on praise, and she flatly wasn’t interested in brief tests without long-term follow-up. Abraham is one of the 85 percent who think praising her children’s intelligence is important. Her kids are thriving, so she’s proved that praise works in the real world. “I don’t care what the experts say,” Jill says defiantly. “I’m living it.”

Even those who’ve accepted the new research on praise have trouble putting it into practice. Sue Needleman is both a mother of two and an elementary-school teacher with eleven years’ experience. Last year, she was a fourth-grade teacher at Ridge Ranch Elementary in Paramus, New Jersey. She has never heard of Carol Dweck, but the gist of Dweck’s research has trickled down to her school, and Needleman has learned to say, “I like how you keep trying.” She tries to keep her praise specific, rather than general, so that a child knows exactly what she did to earn the praise (and thus can get more). She will occasionally tell a child, “You’re good at math,” but she’ll never tell a child he’s bad at math.

But that’s at school, as a teacher. At home, old habits die hard. Her 8-year-old daughter and her 5-year-old son are indeed smart, and sometimes she hears herself saying, “You’re great. You did it. You’re smart.” When I press her on this, Needleman says that what comes out of academia often feels artificial. “When I read the mock dialogues, my first thought is, Oh, please. How corny.”

No such qualms exist for teachers at the Life Sciences Secondary School in East Harlem, because they’ve seen Dweck’s theories applied to their junior-high students. Last week, Dweck and her protégée, Lisa Blackwell, published a report in the academic journal Child Development about the effect of a semester-long intervention conducted to improve students’ math scores.

Life Sciences is a health-science magnet school with high aspirations but 700 students whose main attributes are being predominantly minority and low achieving. Blackwell split her kids into two groups for an eight-session workshop. The control group was taught study skills, and the others got study skills and a special module on how intelligence is not innate. These students took turns reading aloud an essay on how the brain grows new neurons when challenged. They saw slides of the brain and acted out skits. “Even as I was teaching these ideas,” Blackwell noted, “I would hear the students joking, calling one another ‘dummy’ or ‘stupid.’ ” After the module was concluded, Blackwell tracked her students’ grades to see if it had any effect.

It didn’t take long. The teachers—who hadn’t known which students had been assigned to which workshop—could pick out the students who had been taught that intelligence can be developed. They improved their study habits and grades. In a single semester, Blackwell reversed the students’ longtime trend of decreasing math grades.

The only difference between the control group and the test group were two lessons, a total of 50 minutes spent teaching not math but a single idea: that the brain is a muscle. Giving it a harder workout makes you smarter. That alone improved their math scores.

“These are very persuasive findings,” says Columbia’s Dr. Geraldine Downey, a specialist in children’s sensitivity to rejection. “They show how you can take a specific theory and develop a curriculum that works.” Downey’s comment is typical of what other scholars in the field are saying. Dr. Mahzarin Banaji, a Harvard social psychologist who is an expert in stereotyping, told me, “Carol Dweck is a flat-out genius. I hope the work is taken seriously. It scares people when they see these results.”

Since the 1969 publication of The Psychology of Self-Esteem, in which Nathaniel Branden opined that self-esteem was the single most important facet of a person, the belief that one must do whatever he can to achieve positive self-esteem has become a movement with broad societal effects. Anything potentially damaging to kids’ self-esteem was axed. Competitions were frowned upon. Soccer coaches stopped counting goals and handed out trophies to everyone. Teachers threw out their red pencils. Criticism was replaced with ubiquitous, even undeserved, praise.

Dweck and Blackwell’s work is part of a larger academic challenge to one of the self-esteem movement’s key tenets: that praise, self-esteem, and performance rise and fall together. From 1970 to 2000, there were over 15,000 scholarly articles written on self-esteem and its relationship to everything—from sex to career advancement. But results were often contradictory or inconclusive. So in 2003 the Association for Psychological Science asked Dr. Roy Baumeister, then a leading proponent of self-esteem, to review this literature. His team concluded that self-esteem was polluted with flawed science. Only 200 of those 15,000 studies met their rigorous standards.

I am smart, the kids’ reasoning goes; I don’t need to put out effort. Expending effort becomes stigmatized—it’s public proof that you can’t cut it on your natural gifts.
After reviewing those 200 studies, Baumeister concluded that having high self-esteem didn’t improve grades or career achievement. It didn’t even reduce alcohol usage. And it especially did not lower violence of any sort. (Highly aggressive, violent people happen to think very highly of themselves, debunking the theory that people are aggressive to make up for low self-esteem.) At the time, Baumeister was quoted as saying that his findings were “the biggest disappointment of my career.”

Now he’s on Dweck’s side of the argument, and his work is going in a similar direction: He will soon publish an article showing that for college students on the verge of failing in class, esteem-building praise causes their grades to sink further. Baumeister has come to believe the continued appeal of self-esteem is largely tied to parents’ pride in their children’s achievements: It’s so strong that “when they praise their kids, it’s not that far from praising themselves.”

By and large, the literature on praise shows that it can be effective—a positive, motivating force. In one study, University of Notre Dame researchers tested praise’s efficacy on a losing college hockey team. The experiment worked: The team got into the playoffs. But all praise is not equal—and, as Dweck demonstrated, the effects of praise can vary significantly depending on the praise given. To be effective, researchers have found, praise needs to be specific. (The hockey players were specifically complimented on the number of times they checked an opponent.)

Sincerity of praise is also crucial. Just as we can sniff out the true meaning of a backhanded compliment or a disingenuous apology, children, too, scrutinize praise for hidden agendas. Only young children—under the age of 7—take praise at face value: Older children are just as suspicious of it as adults.

Psychologist Wulf-Uwe Meyer, a pioneer in the field, conducted a series of studies where children watched other students receive praise. According to Meyer’s findings, by the age of 12, children believe that earning praise from a teacher is not a sign you did well—it’s actually a sign you lack ability and the teacher thinks you need extra encouragement. And teens, Meyer found, discounted praise to such an extent that they believed it’s a teacher’s criticism—not praise at all—that really conveys a positive belief in a student’s aptitude.

In the opinion of cognitive scientist Daniel T. Willingham, a teacher who praises a child may be unwittingly sending the message that the student reached the limit of his innate ability, while a teacher who criticizes a pupil conveys the message that he can improve his performance even further.

New York University professor of psychiatry Judith Brook explains that the issue for parents is one of credibility. “Praise is important, but not vacuous praise,” she says. “It has to be based on a real thing—some skill or talent they have.” Once children hear praise they interpret as meritless, they discount not just the insincere praise, but sincere praise as well.

Scholars from Reed College and Stanford reviewed over 150 praise studies. Their meta-analysis determined that praised students become risk-averse and lack perceived autonomy. The scholars found consistent correlations between a liberal use of praise and students’ “shorter task persistence, more eye-checking with the teacher, and inflected speech such that answers have the intonation of questions.”

Dweck’s research on overpraised kids strongly suggests that image maintenance becomes their primary concern—they are more competitive and more interested in tearing others down. A raft of very alarming studies illustrate this.

In one, students are given two puzzle tests. Between the first and the second, they are offered a choice between learning a new puzzle strategy for the second test or finding out how they did compared with other students on the first test: They have only enough time to do one or the other. Students praised for intelligence choose to find out their class rank, rather than use the time to prepare.

In another, students get a do-it-yourself report card and are told these forms will be mailed to students at another school—they’ll never meet these students and don’t know their names. Of the kids praised for their intelligence, 40 percent lie, inflating their scores. Of the kids praised for effort, few lie.

When students transition into junior high, some who’d done well in elementary school inevitably struggle in the larger and more demanding environment. Those who equated their earlier success with their innate ability surmise they’ve been dumb all along. Their grades never recover because the likely key to their recovery—increasing effort—they view as just further proof of their failure. In interviews many confess they would “seriously consider cheating.”

Students turn to cheating because they haven’t developed a strategy for handling failure. The problem is compounded when a parent ignores a child’s failures and insists he’ll do better next time. Michigan scholar Jennifer Crocker studies this exact scenario and explains that the child may come to believe failure is something so terrible, the family can’t acknowledge its existence. A child deprived of the opportunity to discuss mistakes can’t learn from them.

My son, Luke, is in kindergarten. He seems supersensitive to the potential judgment of his peers. Luke justifies it by saying, “I’m shy,” but he’s not really shy. He has no fear of strange cities or talking to strangers, and at his school, he has sung in front of large audiences. Rather, I’d say he’s proud and self-conscious. His school has simple uniforms (navy T-shirt, navy pants), and he loves that his choice of clothes can’t be ridiculed, “because then they’d be teasing themselves too.”

After reading Carol Dweck’s research, I began to alter how I praised him, but not completely. I suppose my hesitation was that the mind-set Dweck wants students to have—a firm belief that the way to bounce back from failure is to work harder—sounds awfully clichéd: Try, try again.

But it turns out that the ability to repeatedly respond to failure by exerting more effort—instead of simply giving up—is a trait well studied in psychology. People with this trait, persistence, rebound well and can sustain their motivation through long periods of delayed gratification. Delving into this research, I learned that persistence turns out to be more than a conscious act of will; it’s also an unconscious response, governed by a circuit in the brain. Dr. Robert Cloninger at Washington University in St. Louis located the circuit in a part of the brain called the orbital and medial prefrontal cortex. It monitors the reward center of the brain, and like a switch, it intervenes when there’s a lack of immediate reward. When it switches on, it’s telling the rest of the brain, “Don’t stop trying. There’s dopa [the brain’s chemical reward for success] on the horizon.” While putting people through MRI scans, Cloninger could see this switch lighting up regularly in some. In others, barely at all.

What makes some people wired to have an active circuit?

Cloninger has trained rats and mice in mazes to have persistence by carefully not rewarding them when they get to the finish. “The key is intermittent reinforcement,” says Cloninger. The brain has to learn that frustrating spells can be worked through. “A person who grows up getting too frequent rewards will not have persistence, because they’ll quit when the rewards disappear.”

That sold me. I’d thought “praise junkie” was just an expression—but suddenly, it seemed as if I could be setting up my son’s brain for an actual chemical need for constant reward.

What would it mean, to give up praising our children so often? Well, if I am one example, there are stages of withdrawal, each of them subtle. In the first stage, I fell off the wagon around other parents when they were busy praising their kids. I didn’t want Luke to feel left out. I felt like a former alcoholic who continues to drink socially. I became a Social Praiser.

Then I tried to use the specific-type praise that Dweck recommends. I praised Luke, but I attempted to praise his “process.” This was easier said than done. What are the processes that go on in a 5-year-old’s mind? In my impression, 80 percent of his brain processes lengthy scenarios for his action figures.

But every night he has math homework and is supposed to read a phonics book aloud. Each takes about five minutes if he concentrates, but he’s easily distracted. So I praised him for concentrating without asking to take a break. If he listened to instructions carefully, I praised him for that. After soccer games, I praised him for looking to pass, rather than just saying, “You played great.” And if he worked hard to get to the ball, I praised the effort he applied.

Just as the research promised, this focused praise helped him see strategies he could apply the next day. It was remarkable how noticeably effective this new form of praise was.

Truth be told, while my son was getting along fine under the new praise regime, it was I who was suffering. It turns out that I was the real praise junkie in the family. Praising him for just a particular skill or task felt like I left other parts of him ignored and unappreciated. I recognized that praising him with the universal “You’re great—I’m proud of you” was a way I expressed unconditional love.

Offering praise has become a sort of panacea for the anxieties of modern parenting. Out of our children’s lives from breakfast to dinner, we turn it up a notch when we get home. In those few hours together, we want them to hear the things we can’t say during the day—We are in your corner, we are here for you, we believe in you.

In a similar way, we put our children in high-pressure environments, seeking out the best schools we can find, then we use the constant praise to soften the intensity of those environments. We expect so much of them, but we hide our expectations behind constant glowing praise. The duplicity became glaring to me.

Eventually, in my final stage of praise withdrawal, I realized that not telling my son he was smart meant I was leaving it up to him to make his own conclusion about his intelligence. Jumping in with praise is like jumping in too soon with the answer to a homework problem—it robs him of the chance to make the deduction himself.

But what if he makes the wrong conclusion?

Can I really leave this up to him, at his age?

I’m still an anxious parent. This morning, I tested him on the way to school: “What happens to your brain, again, when it gets to think about something hard?”

“It gets bigger, like a muscle,” he responded, having aced this one before.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Important link for the hard-working who are preparing for the final exam in the old man's classes.

Click here to go to "Semplica Girl Diaries" in The New Yorker

excerpt below from the interview with George Saunders about the story.  image above front the same source.


The Semplica-Girl Diaries” deals with a family in a not-too-distant future (or perhaps an alternate present or past?) that is struggling to keep up with the Joneses—which, in this society, means leasing some unusual garden ornaments.

Where do your sympathies lie here? Is Eva right to deplore the practice? Is her father right to think of it as a potential step up for the women and their families?
My answer is YES. “Yes” to both questions. You’ve put your finger on the essential energy of the story. It felt like the more I could get the reader to answer “yes” to both of those questions, the more powerful the story would be.
The artist’s job, I think, is to be a conduit for mystery. To intuit it, and recognize that the story-germ has some inherent mystery in it, and sort of midwife that mystery into the story in such a way that it isn’t damaged in the process, and may even get heightened or refined.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

did we put a baby in here? what about an ethnic old man whose wrinkled smile represents the happiness and wisdom of the poor?

This Is a Generic Brand Video from Dissolve on Vimeo.

Here's the link to the folks who made the video:

And here's the link to the McSweeney's piece (see below) this video is based on:

and while you're here don't forget to consider this super-maxi important older post that will be considered during our 'city of dreams' project.



- - - -
We think first
Of vague words that are synonyms for progress
And pair them with footage of a high-speed train.

Is doing lots of stuff
That may or may not have anything to do with us.

See how this guy in a lab coat holds up a beaker?
That means we do research.
Here’s a picture of DNA.

There are a shitload of people in the world
Especially in India
See how we’re part of the global economy?
Look at these farmers in China.

But we also do business in the U.S.A.
Or want you to think we do.
Check out this wind energy thing in Indiana,
And this blue collar guy with dirt on his face.

Also, we care about the environment, loosely.
Here’s some powerful, rushing water
And people planting trees.
Our policies could be related to these panoramic views of Costa Rica.

In today’s high speed environment,
Stop motion footage of a city at night
With cars turning quickly
Makes you think about doing things efficiently
And time passing.

Lest you think we’re a faceless entity,
Look at all these attractive people.
Here’s some of them talking and laughing
And close-ups of hands passing canned goods to each other
In a setting that evokes community service.

And advancement
Are all words we chose from a list.

Our profits
are awe-inspiring.
Like this guy who’s looking up and pointing
At a skyscraper or a kite
While smiling and explaining something to his child.

Using a specific ratio
of Asian people to Black people to Women to White men
We want to make sure we represent your needs and interests
Or at least a version of your skin color
In our ads.

Did we put a baby in here?
What about an ethnic old man whose wrinkled smile represents
the happiness and wisdom of the poor?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Questions to ask yourself before you turn in your "war story" paper.

(AKA the questions the old man will be asking himself as he reads your paper)

The basic three questions:

Did this student read the documents assigned for this synthesis project?
Did this student understand the documents assigned for this project?
Did this student understand the connections between the documents assigned for this project?

Can I find evidence in this paper to demonstrate an answer to the above three questions? (and maybe to some of the additional questions below?)

More questions:

Does this student writer understand David James Duncan's assertion about the importance of truth over 'facts' and reporting?  Does this writer understand the connection between Duncan, Orr and O'Brien's themes in "How to Tell a True War Story?"

Does this writer avoid relativism and solipsism? (look up these terms if you don't understand this question)

Does this writer honor Czleslaw Milosz's assertion that "the true enemy of man is generalization?"  Is the paper padded with generalization?  Does the generalization obscure the specific and genuine and human?

Does this writer understand the connection between Curt Lemon's sister and the woman who wasn't listening? (characters in O'Brien's story)

Can Miss Jadwiga be saved?  Or at least not forgotten?  Does this writer seem to understand that question?

Does this writer understand why Orr makes poems?  Why Duncan makes fiction?  Why humans tell stories?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

MLA works cited page from the Purdue "online writing lab" Use it.

Purdue OWL MLA works cited page sample

Another resource for AP students working on 'war story' synthesis paper

Afghanistan: A Gathering Menace

American Scholar article here

(an excerpt)

The soldiers around me were barely visible, but I could smell them. They had not washed for days, and a sharp musk of sweat and sleeplessness, tobacco and chemically mummified food, wove through the fields and orchards. It was after midnight, moonless, the stars brilliant but unhelpful. The soldiers wore night-vision goggles, but I did not, so I stumbled after their scent along the remote edge of a fading war, envisioning things I could not see.
Up ahead, in the stream of black shapes, were the American soldiers I had come to fear. They were men who enjoyed demolishing Afghan houses, men who shot dogs in the face. The pair who had embraced like lovers, one tenderly drawing the blade of his knife along the pale, smooth skin of his friend’s throat. There was a guy who’d let the others tie his legs open and mock-rape him, and there were several men who had boasted of plans to murder their ex-wives and former girlfriends.
We paused in the darkness. A line of Afghan soldiers shuffled past, also nearly blind without night-vision equipment. They moved into position for the coming raid, clumsy as boxcars, trailing their own earthy stink. I thought back to what an American Army sergeant had told me hours earlier.
“This is where I come to do fucked-up things.”
His face had been clear and smooth, his smile almost shy. It was a statement of happy expectation, as though Afghanistan were a playground. He was the de facto leader of a platoon I will call Destroyer, and although he is a real person, not a composite, I have heard his words in many variations, from many American combat troops. But he and some of his men were the first I had met who seemed very near to committing the dumb and vicious acts that we call war crimes.

Chris Hedges: Murder Is Not an Anomaly in War - Chris Hedges (extra resource for students working on 'war story' papers)

Chris Hedges: Murder Is Not an Anomaly in War - Chris Hedges - Truthdig

(an excerpt)

War perverts and destroys you. It pushes you closer and closer to your own annihilation—spiritual, emotional and finally physical. It destroys the continuity of life, tearing apart all systems—economic, social, environmental and political—that sustain us as human beings. In war, we deform ourselves, our essence. We give up individual conscience—maybe even consciousness—for contagion of the crowd, the rush of patriotism, the belief that we must stand together as a nation in moments of extremity. To make a moral choice, to defy war’s enticement, can in the culture of war be self-destructive. The essence of war is death. Taste enough of war and you come to believe that the Stoics were right: We will, in the end, all consume ourselves in a vast conflagration.

A World War II study determined that, after 60 days of continuous combat, 98 percent of all surviving soldiers will have become psychiatric casualties. A common trait among the remaining 2 percent was a predisposition toward having “aggressive psychopathic personalities.” Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in his book “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society,” notes: “It is not too far from the mark to observe that there is something about continuous, inescapable combat which will drive 98 percent of all men insane, and the other 2 percent were crazy when they go there.”