HW: Finish Gender essay. Read pgs. 189-211 in Handmaid’s.


What we’re up to:

  • Gender article work
  • Sartre:  Bad Faith
  • Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus


Should people aspire to be rebels? Is being a rebel a good thing? What are examples of good/bad rebels? What makes a good rebel and is it enough to be against bad things if you’re not sure what you’re for?

Let’s start by talking about the gender article. If you have a rough draft, you’ll get a chance to get a fellow writer to bounce ideas off of. If not, time to work.


  1. Read through your ideas. What is your subject? What key observations have you made about it?
  2. What outside sources are you bringing in? What quotes?
  3. Now: your partner should help by putting his/her 2 cents in and give suggestions about other angles to take.
  4. Finally, work together to research a good source to quote from and respond to. Besides Google, try ProQuest.

Next, let’s talk Sartre. Remember, we had these 4 points:

  1. Things are weirder than we think
  2. We are free
  3. We shouldn’t live in ‘Bad faith’
  4. We’re free to dismantle Capitalism

We’ll look at video about Sartre and bad faith. Then, in small groups, choose one of the 4 points and decide if you agree/disagree. Prepare a 2-3 minute presentation where you come to the front of the room and argue your case. Make sure you have evidence–actual real-life examples to work with.

Finally, we’ll talk about Camus and read from “The Myth of Sysiphus.”


TH/F–April 28th/29th–AP

HW: Read this prompt from Julius Caesar (Question 2) and instead of using the given prompt use this one: Characterize the differing strategies Calphurnia and Decius use to persuade Caesar. Explain what this says about what each character believes is true about their audience (Caesar).

What we’re up to:

  • Practicing AP prompt analysis
  • Small group: Compare AP prompt
  • Finding your own examples

Let’s start by moving. I’ll give you new partners, so that everyone has a group of 4. Then, we’ll practice on some short passages in QP to hone our rhetorical senses.

Next, we’ll go through the Florence Kelley AP prompt and break it down into these questions:

  1. What does Kelley want to accomplish? How do we know this?
  2. What is true of Kelley’s audience? How do we know this?
  3. Look at everyone’s thesis statements. Rewrite them together and republish them on QP.
  4. Look at the best body paragraph for each writer. Rewrite them together and republish them on QP.

Finally, I’d love for us to find our own examples of rhetoric. Let’s use the NPR Commencement speech archive to find good examples of logos, ethos, and pathos. Find 3 good sentences that illustrate some strategy and see if we see what you see.

Wed, Apr. 27th: Film

OK, let’s finish the film.

Before I start, I’d like you to create your own questions the film brings up for you. You’ll all get notecards.

Then, let’s talk:

Compare/Contrast with Goodfellas: What are are the similarities in theme, film craft, acting, and imagery between the two movies?

Revenge: How does the old story of revenge play out here? What is the motivation for diCaprio’s character in killing Bill. Who do we sympathize with and why? How do we feel about Bill? Is he the villain?

Family: What does the film seem to be saying about families and our responsibilities towards them? Use the events of the movie to explain your answer.

History: This movie is loosely, loosely, oh so loosely based on a book entitled Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury. That book, itself, is considered only semi-accurate and the movie itself another remove from the truth. Does it matter? How much of this did you take as an accurate look at history?

Acting: How do you decide if someone put on a “good” acting performance? Is Daniel Day Lewis “good” in this? DiCaprio? Diaz?

Then, I want to practice some writing about film. I’ll show you a scene and then you describe not what happens but what the film is showing us. What do we see? Where is the camera? How is the scene framed and edited?

We’ll write a bit on QP.

Then, I’d like you to comment on the why? Speculate as to the purpose behind Scorsese’s choices and what he’s trying to convey about character, about theme, about humans.

Finally, we’ll look at an example of A film essay on Scorsese and I’ll give you time to choose the essay topic.

Essay topics

Choose one of the three:

  1. Write a 500-1000 word essay on one of the following themes in Scorsese’s work:
  • guilt and sin (religion)
  • redemption/salvation
  • loneliness
  • the dominance of flawed male characters
  • corruption
  • pride and hubris leading to a fall
  • the outsider in Scorsese’s work
  • alienation (Existentialist concept)
  • sexuality and women
2) Do a deep dive of any scene in Gangs or Goodfellas where you examine the film techniques and connect them to Scorsese’s intent. What is he trying to accomplish with these choices and why?
3) Read one of the film essays on Scorsese written by David Bordwell (or someone else’s if you prefer) and explain which parts of his argument you agree or disagree with. Use examples to explain your position.
Due May 6th


HW: Write first draft of Gender Article. Read pgs. 151-188 in Handmaid’s.

First Discussion: Existential Comics

  • Imagine a Stoic Teacher, I mean, a teacher of Stoicism at SWHS.  What would they be like? How would they teach? See Existential Comics.
  • What would a work situation people entirely by philosophers look like? Again, see Existential Comics.
  • What would your best idea for an Existential comic be based on what we’ve learned?

Onto: Gender Essay

I’ll give you a hard copy of the assignment and we’ll pre-write our ideas for subjects. A good subject needs to have some aspect of it that connects to the roles and rules that men and women, girls and boys feel compelled to play. For instance, what does it mean to put Harriet Tubman on the $20. Or Beyonce’s Lemonade.  Or the existential nature of underwear.

Onto: Existentialism

We’ll start with Sartre and listen to a short explanation of some of his ideas:

  1. Things are weirder than we think
  2. We are free
  3. We shouldn’t live in ‘Bad faith’
  4. We’re free to dismantle Capitalism


We’ll discuss each in turn. I’d also like to see videos on Sartre’s concept of “Bad Faith” and “Existential Choice.”

If we have time, we’ll move on to Camus.


Tue/Wed–April 26/27–AP

HW: Read this prompt by Florence Kelly. Write a full AP response (thesis + 2 body paragraphs).

What we’re up to:

  • Cardinal Rules of AP Rhetoric
  • “Progressive Health” — How to convince someone to sacrifice…
  • AP prompt: Samuel Johnson

Progressive Health” by Carl Dennis is a poem in the voice of a strangely seductive health care official. In small groups, we’ll analyze it on 2 levels.

  1. How and with what strategies does the speaker attempt to convince the poet?  How does the speaker use knowledge of the audience to craft her argument? Break your analysis down into logos, ethos, and pathos strategies.
  2. What is the poem itself trying to convince us of and through what (obviously more indirect) strategies? What are we, the readers, supposed to learn from this? How do you know this?

OK, onto an AP prompt! Read Sam Jonson’s Question 2 letter to a distraught mother.

Then, we’ll use QP to respond. And talk together about how to deal with this piece.

If we have time, we’ll pre-prepare for the HW, which is to take a running leap at this prompt by Florence Kelly.


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