Monday, May 4, 2020

Blog #8: To Kill a Mockingbird

This entry should use specific quotations or references through the end of the book
Due Date:
 Friday, May 8
Minimum Words: 650 of your own words, not counting quotations.
Note: Be sure you are using a lens and continually returning to the text. Feel free to refer to class discussions.

Helpful links: Sample Reader's Notebook from CIS Literature* | Critical Lens notecards |  Reading Schedule | Reader's Notebook Instructions Spark Notes

This blog entry is supposed to be 100% dictated by your own analysis and relationship to the text. If you can, try to do this without looking at the suggested questions below. However, for those of you who need a little push to begin this voyage, please feel free to consider the following questions or statements:

For this blog, try to move beyond just the reader response lens - just your reactions to the text. Instead, try to connect your reactions to something else, make observations and predictions, comparisons and contrasts, or use a different lens to shape your entry.

The most important thing to remember is that you should constantly refer to the text. Quote passages and paraphrase scenes.

Here are some questions or ideas you can look at tho get started if you are stuck:

  • How has this book connected to your exploration of other personal narratives (fiction or nonfiction) and your own experience analyzing your development through writing a narrative? What do all of these things combine to teach us? 
  • How is this book about the development of an identity and the role of community, parenting, our own choices, and chance in that development? 
  • Try to apply a critical lens to your reading, the characters, or Harper Lee.
  • Why is the book even called "To Kill a Mockingbird"? 
  • How is this book about innocence and growing up? Is innocence worth preserving at all costs? What is the balance between letting a child grow into their own person and directing their growth in a specific, desired way? When do we want our children to be better than ourselves? When do we want to limit their options?
  • Many schools and districts have had to ban the novel due to parent and community protests, do you agree that this is a dangerous book? What value is there in reading this book today? 
  • Analyze Boo Radley's role in the novel.
  • What makes Atticus the way he is. What is his role in Maycomb?
  • How do characters change throughout the novel? How do they remain the same?
  • What's the role of "family" and identity in the novel? Pay attention to Ms. Alexandra.
  • Here are some pictures of America during the time frame in which the novel is set. What connections can you make to the text?
  • Take a look at some of the actual artifacts from the Jim Crow era in America. How does this affect your reading or your perceptions of the novel?
  • Take a look at these Book Club questions if you're really stuck.

Please cite page numbers and specific passages from the novel to support your inferences and conclusions. We will be using these questions and your conclusions, questions, and insights to spark classroom discussion on Wednesday.

Example citation:
Scout says that " Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it" (4). She seems to be trying to emphasize not just the age of the town, but also the slowness of the town, the values of the people, and the way that summer heat made everything drag on.

This isn’t the first time we see one of the Price women choosing materialism over God, despite Nathan’s harsh beatings and warnings. On page 363, Rachel reaches for her mirror instead of for her Bible, explaining “[ . . . ] it didn’t seem worth saving at that moment, so help me God. It had to be my mirror.” Whether this shows rebellion or just the simplistic mindset of a 15-year-old teenage girl, I’m not sure. Perhaps she was, in her own, small way, rebelling from Nathan. But maybe she just wanted to make sure that no matter where she went in Africa, she would always know the state of her appearance. That seems pretty likely.

* The sample reader's notebook above is done by a senior in high school with a lot of experience writing these notebooks. It is also over 600 words longer than the entry you are expected to create. No pressure.