Index Card Workshop

World Literature

April 21st, 2009

Themes: , ,

Today we discussed the two stories included in the packet yesterday. While the connection between the two might have been obvious, it gave us a chance to discuss the portability of stories and practice the index card system.  Here are three examples from 5th hour today:


Notice the author’s name on the right, the quotation in the middle, and the analysis at the end.  This student also included a connector for the Anansi story.

The “Brer Rabbit” title seems a bit specific, but if this student were to continue to study this particular character, the title would help him find cards from different stories easily.

imageAgain, the author’s name in the upper right corner and a title that includes the name of a character.  I’ve added “(wife)” to the General Topic on the top left to allow this card to fall under the more general “all wives” category rather than this specific woman.

This card contains, rather than a direct quotation, a paraphrase of the action in the story.  This is a good thing to do instead of quoting large sections of the story (the wife’s advice in the four trials, in this case).

The analysis in this card is better than the first example, as the student is looking into the motivations of the character and comparing her to her husband.

image Another great example.  Similar to the previous example, I have added “(sky god)” in the General Topic section in order to open up the possibility of connecting this character to Zeus, Horus, etc.

The analysis pulls the god’s miserly nature from the fact that he “kept all the stories locked up in a wooden box.” The next step, perhaps, for this student would be to look for miserliness in other gods or characters, or perhaps look for other boxes in other stories…

Archetype Calendar

World Literature

April 20th, 2009

Themes: , , , ,

(Not a caimagelendar that is the epitome of calendar-ness, just an overview of what we’ll be up to in the coming weeks. Click to expand)

This is going to be a fantastic close to your senior year; archetypes are (by definition) apparent in every culture around the world and can be seen in every story ever told. For the past two years I’ve emphasized that “everything’s connected”; now it’s time to see just how closely.

This will be a four-step project with plenty of benchmarks on the way. (More specifics to come.) Today I have you an overview of how to learn/do research with index cards.  Trust me on this.  Follow my instructions and you’ll have no problems.

Your homework tonight is to choose an archetype that you wish to study.  I’ve given you lists, and here are some more. And some tropes from television. And here’s a t-shirt.

After you’ve chosen, read the two stories I included with the “Index Cards are Your Friends” handout and compare. Mark the similarities and the differences, and anything else you find interesting about them.  Make index cards for them if you’d like to get ahead for tomorrow, but I’ll walk you through the process in class.

And please, for the love of the class, let me know if I’ve made a mistake on this calendar. (All dates subject to change with advanced warning. Things happen.)

Visual Arguments

AP Language

December 11th, 2008

Themes: ,


Check out the Conservative/Liberals Post for readable instructions.

Please bring a clean, final copy of your argumentative article to class tomorrow.

Frankensteinian Stories

British Literature

December 5th, 2008

Themes: , ,

The projected due date: December 12, 2008.

The task: To take a theme (see image below) from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and create a new work explore it with an original work.  This work can be visual (painting, drawing, CGI), tactile (dance, sculpture, diorama), auditory (song), or written (poetry, short story, essay, screenplay, comic book).  If I haven’t mentioned a medium you’d like to work within, just post a comment.

The goal:  We’ve discussed the role of fiction in society (to take an aspect of life and magnify it), we’ve discussed what Shelley might be trying to tell us, so now it’s your turn.  Create a work that explains an idea, thought, action, problem, or other aspect of life in a new and interesting way for your audience.

The rules:


"Monstrous" parakeet:

Victorian Essay Links

British Literature

November 17th, 2008

Themes: , , ,

Previous post on "How To: Head Your Paper"

MLA Formatting and Style Guide at the OWL at Purdue


Remember, you will be writing over how aspects of Victorian culture may have impacted or brought about the novel you are reading.  Look into the life of the writer, the major historical events that came before the book was published, and any other information you can find about the historical background of the book.

Post a comment below or send me an email if you have a question.