Tuesday, December 16, 2014

“A Kidnapped Santa Claus” by L. Frank Baum Reading Questions 
12.15.14


1.  Who is the protagonist?  Who is the antagonist?
-The protagonist would be Santa Claus; the antagonist would be the five daemons.

2. What is the conflict?
-Because Santa Claus causes children to behave properly, the five daemons resent him for they are unable to have children visit their caves if they are not filled with hatred, envy, selfishness, malice, and repentance. Due to this resentment the five daemons plan on kidnapping Santa in order to bring a revival to their caves.

3.  What is the setting?
-The story takes place in Laughing Valley, and the five caves. It also takes place in Christmas Eve.

4.  To what genre would you say this story belongs?  Why?
-This story belongs in the fantasy genre because fantasy is a genre where internal problems are externalized, and in the story the five daemons represent internal problems which are externalized in their characters.

5.  What do you notice about Baum’s writing style? 
-Baum's style is meant for children; it is simple and contains a fairytale-like flow. 

6.  Who are the Daemons?  How are they labeled?  Why are they named so?
-The daemons are five are five creatures who resent Santa. They are called the daemon of selfishness, the daemon of malice, the daemon of hatred, the daemon of repentance, and the daemon of envy. Each daemon represents internal problems that each human can embody.

7.  What familiar seasonal elements are used in the story?  What unfamiliar elements are there?
-Sleighs, reindeers, and a christmas trees were all elements mentioned in the story that we recognized. However, in the story his little helpers are different than what we are used to. Also we are introduced to Santa Claus' castle in the Laughing Valley, contrary to what we are used to, the north pole.

8.  What are some variations of this story that have been retold in the last few years?
-The Grinch and the Nightmare before Christmas are just a few stories that have been retold in the last few years.

9.  Are there any parts of the story that help to define Santa Claus as a character?  Does he make any tough decisions or risk something valuable?
-Santa Claus' sadness for not getting to the children, and his reluctancy to see any bad qualities in people show Santa Claus' true qualities.

10.  How does Santa escape the cave?
-One of the daemons lets him go.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Reflection Questions on Poetry II

“Ozymandias”

1.  What is the condition of the statue?
-The statue is ruined and in shambles.
2.  What is ironic about the boast inscribed on the statue?
-The writing inscribed on the statue is basically saying how you should feast upon the beauty of his kingdom. In reality the kingdom has been destroyed along with the statue.
3.  What do you think is the intended meaning of the poem?
-Stay humble because everything eventually perishes.

“The Second Coming”

4.  What is the tone of the poem?
-The tone is very eery, and depressing.
5. What object does the poem refer to in the second stanza that has “a gaze as blank and as pitiless as the sun”?
-The object was the sphynx.
6. What does the allusion to “Bethlehem” in the last line signify?
-It was the birthplace of Jesus, and now in reference to the poem it would be the birthplace of the devil.

“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”

7.  What is the tone of the poem?
-The tone is loving, but sad.
8. What does the speaker mean when he/she pairs the two opposites, “curse, bless me”?
-You can hate me or love me, just please do not die.

“The World is Too Much With Us”

9.  How does the speaker of the poem suggest we “lay waste our powers”?
-We waste our time on irrelevant things, such as getting and spending.
10.  What powers might that be?
-Knowledge, creativity, and free will.

“My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun”

11.  What is the tone of the poem?
-The tone of the poem is a happy one, although it is full of sarcasm and insults.
12.  How does this poem differ from typical love poems?  
-The poem is bashing his mistress' beauty something that is usually not seen when writing a poem.

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014

“The Gift of the Magi” Questions for Critical Reading
Review these questions. Take time to create your responses.

  1. What instances of irony exist in the short story? 
  • In the story Della cuts off her hair in order to get Jim a chain for his watch, and Jim sells his watch in order to get Della combs for her hair. This can be seen as situational irony.

2. Why would O. Henry put an emphasis on the number three for the story? 
-The story has three main characters: Della, Jim, and Madame Sophronie 
-Della counts her money three times (para. 1). 
-The narrator says that “Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles” (para. 2). 
-A reference is made to the Queen of Sheba, who gave King Solomon three types
of gifts: spices, gold, and jewels. 
-A sentence in para. 5 states, “She stood by the window and looked out dully at
a grey cat walking a grey fence in a grey backyard.” 
-The narrator alliteratively describes Della as speaking with “sudden serious
sweetness.” 
-The story centers on three valuables: Jim’s gold watch, Della’s hair, and the love
that Jim and Della share. 

-There is an emphasis on the number three because the magi was a group of three wisemen (mentioned on page nine). The whole moral of the story is surrounded by the magi.

3.  Who is the protagonist? Who or what is the antagonist? 
-Della and Jim are the protagonists of the story. The antagonist of the story was poverty.

4. How would the story change if the setting were different? Would this be an effective story if it were set in today’s time? 
-I feel that the story wouldn’t really change if the setting were different. Nowadays people still sacrifice a lot for one another or for a better cause. I think that the cherished items would be updated and possibly more technologically based, but regardless I feel there are Della’s and Jim’s all over this world.

5. Is there foreshadowing in the story? 
-There is foreshadowing present in the title of the story, and in the elaborate descriptions of Della’s and Jim’s prized possessions.

6. Does the story end the way that you expect? Why or why not? 
-The story does indeed end the way I expected. I feel this way because, regardless of the gifts either one received I expected them to both appreciate the lengths their significant other went through to obtain that said gift. I expected to story to end happily and with a positive vibe. And although the path was different, the end of the story was one that I expected.

7. Several passages in the story give subtle clues about Jim. Identify at least three passages that reveal aspects of Jim’s character and explain their significance.  
  • In the last paragraph on page five the narrator mentions that the watch mimicked Jim, because they both acquired a quietness and value to them. This tells you that Jim is valued by his wife, and he is also a docile soul
  • In the middle of page seven the narrator mentions that Jim was never late. This tells you that Jim is a very punctual man.

8.  What does the story teach about sacrifice?
-The story teaches us that sacrifice is enviable but if you love someone enough, if you are willing to do anything for that person, the sacrifice will forever be worth it. 

9.  If you had to teach this story as an example of good literature, what elements would you emphasize to your classes?
-The story sets the setting, elaborates on details, and leaves you guessing until the very end. As a teacher key points, hooking the reader and thinking outside of the box in your elaborations, would definitely be stressed. Another element that I would emphasize is the version of narration. The narrator was quite involved with the reader, he made statements directly to us.