Junior English

October 5th, 2015

Themes: , ,

We wrapped up Frankenstein over the weekend1 and began outlining the essays in class today. The prompt is straightforward:

Is Frankenstein a Romantic work according to the Romantic sources we read earlier? Use at least two sources and the book to support your argument.

The trick is to look at how each presents its worldview or ethos: what does Prometheus seem to value in Byron’s poem? What does Victor? As statements of morality, do they align?

We will continue to work on these through the week, turning them in on Monday.

  1. right?? if not, you have some reading to do! []

Frankenstein Readings

Junior English

September 19th, 2015

Themes: ,

I’ve been looking over your journals in class this week and shared some ideas about organization with each of you. I will ask for them periodically, but if you ever make progress and want to share, just show me before class. Remember that your current grade can always jump up if you show progress, but your journal is graded holistically; if you only have vocab from the last half of the novel, your best grade will be 3/5. Watch your progress in the grade book and adjust your habits accordingly.

The reading schedule is straightforward—a chapter a night:

Read this (by this date)
Front cover–chapter 2 (Monday 14th)
Chapter 3 (Tuesday 15th)
Chapter 4 (Wednesday 16th)
Chapter 5 (Thursday 17th)
Chapter 6 (Friday 18th)
Chapter 8 (Monday 21)

Frankenstein and Journals

Junior English

September 4th, 2013

Themes: , , , ,

We began Frankenstein last night. Our goal in this section of the course is to better understand the Romantic era and the novel’s place within it. To this end, your prompt:

How does Mary Shelley’s argument compare/contrast with the arguments of contemporary works?

When put this way it is fairly straightforward. Indeed, you’ve already practiced this kind of comparison in your previous writings (rebellion and poetry). However, this will take it to another level—we will read contemporary works (poems, philosophy, short stories), discover and compare major themes, and use them to better understand Mary Shelley’s larger work.

If you’re interested in the Prometheus myth (or mythology in general) check out for the most comprehensive collection of stories on the ‘net.

I’m checking journals today, but may not get to all of them. If you need a refresher on what I’m looking for, check out this post from a while back or look over the journal rubric handout I gave you at the beginning of the year.

You should read (and journal) through chapter two by Friday.


Junior English

September 24th, 2012

Themes: , , , , ,

…probably enough of the Franken[portmanteaux], yes?

Just a quick overview of our process from start to finish:

  1. Read and journal
  2. Find patterns and group quotations underneath
  3. Make meaning of these patterns
  4. Find how these patterns connect with one another
  5. Compose thesis
  6. Polish outline, ensuring that each point (from thesis to the most basic) is an argument and all arguments are supported with quotations or paraphrasing
  7. Begin rough draft

Here’s a diagram of our process showing how each step contributes to the bottom-up creation of your paper:

We’ve set tentative deadlines as follows:

If you can, please compose your outline and paper in Google Docs, as you can share the live document with me for questions/editing.


Junior English

September 11th, 2012

Themes: , , , ,

Excellent discussions over the past few days! Glad to see we’re back in the swing of things. Below is a short overview of our goals this week and how they tie into the ultimate goal: writing the final paper. If you have questions, post them below, send me an email, stop me in the hall, or ask in class. This is confusing because it is new; don’t be ashamed if you feel like you aren’t getting it. That’s a sign that you’re learning. Keep asking questions until it clicks.

The assignment, as mentioned previously, is to write an essay answering the following question: In what ways is  Frankenstein a Romantic work?

In other courses the teacher may lecture over the Romantic Era and ask you to apply your notes to the novel.1 This is all well and good, but you guys need a challenge. Rather than providing you with a definition of Romanticism, I am asking you to note the themes of a number of Romantic works (the “Frankensources” packet) and use those to come up with a working explanation of the Romantic ethos.2 You will then use those to support your claims about Frankenstein‘s romanticism.

Today we began with very basic patterns—assertions of mankind’s apparent greatness, the importance of creativity, light-as-knowledge imagery, etc.—and played with how we could tie them together. It is important to realize that there aren’t any “wrong” answers here, just poorly supported ones. You can check the validity of your pattern by finding it elsewhere in the packet, or by finding other symbols arguing something similar. If all signs are pointing to the importance of a person’s humility and you find arguments in favor of man’s godlike nature, go back through your notes to see if you missed something. Or ask during class. Asking is always good.

  1. FYI, this is an example of a deductive exploration/explanation. The teacher gives you a definition, you assert whether or not an example (the novel) matches that definition. []
  2. This is informal inductive reasoning; those who have played with the scientific method before will recognize the pattern. []