Sunday, December 14, 2014

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Dear Mythology Students,


1. Today we discussed the many literary allusions to Icarus! Each student received the following four poems. The first one entitled, "To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph" by Anne Sexton, was discussed as a class, and then we wrote an analysis of the work together. This is what we created as a class (see example below). Students were then asked to select TWO of the other THREE options and write a literary analysis. This was due at the end of the period.

To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph

Consider Icarus, pasting those sticky wings on,
testing that strange little tug at his shoulder blade,
and think of that first flawless moment over the lawn
of the labyrinth. Think of the difference it made!
There below are the trees, as awkward as camels;
and here are the shocked starlings pumping past
and think of innocent Icarus who is doing quite well.
Larger than a sail, over the fog and the blast
of the plushy ocean, he goes. Admire his wings!
Feel the fire at his neck and see how casually
he glances up and is caught, wondrously tunneling
into that hot eye. Who cares that he fell back to the sea?
See him acclaiming the sun and come plunging down
while his sensible daddy goes straight into town.

LITERARY ANALYSIS that we developed as a class! YOU may use this as an EXAMPLE to follow for the remaining pieces of work!

Anne Sexton’s poem, “To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph, references the mythological flight of Icarus as an accomplishment. Her use of the myth guides the reader in realizing that risks must occur in order to obtain goals.  Sexton describes Icarus's flight as the “first flawless moments over the lawn of the labyrinth.” She continues to say, “look at the difference that it made.” Both lines indicate that Icarus’ flight was not a mistake, but rather he achieved something memorable.  In addition, the allusion to Icarus flying too close to the sun offers the reader insight into the value behind attempting a goal, even if it might seem too lofty; the value comes in the attempt, even if it comes at a significant risk. Sexton’s states, “Admire his wings! Feel the fire at his neck and see how casually he glances up and is caught, wondrously tunneling into that hot eye. Who cares that he fells back to the sea?” Although Icarus does perish in the myth, the fact that he chose to do the impossible, even though he did fail, acts as a metaphor for life. One can never reach a goal without genuine risk and effort, and if the goal is not reached, more is actually accomplished purely from the attempt “to fly.”

Icarus did not die in the fall.
     What his father, Daedalus, never saw was this:                                                                 
 Icarus fell toward the Aegean Sea; fell through clouds,
 through billows and canopies and flotillas of clouds; and  fell away. 
 They were carried on the stratospheric currents, miles away from the drop point at which Icarus had vanished through the cloud foam.  When Daedalus banked and swooped and did his air-search, he found the pinions floating in the Sea.  But he did not find his son, because Icarus had come down miles away.
      In a wagon filled with sheep’s wool.
      But even from that height, even falling that distance, even though he had blacked out with fear and the air wrenched from his throat…the impact was enormous.  And Icarus broke both legs.  And Icarus slipped an inter-vertebral disk.  And Icarus went into total systemic shock.  And Icarus had his memory smashed out of him. 
     When he awoke in the hospital, he could not tell his name, could not relate the facts of his accident, could not offer a clue as to where he had come from, who he was, what he did for a living.  He was tabula rasa.
     He was taken in by a kindly family; and they raised him as their own son.  The family was poor, but honest.  Traditionally, they were vineyard hands and Certified Public Accountants during the months of October through April.
  After many years, Icarus left home and immigrated to Switzerland, where the need for vintners and notaries and young men who never seemed to age was limitless. 
     He settled in Berne.  Where he works to this day.  Frugal, fair-haired, unmarried, and neat, he shares his two-room flat with a small gray dog, and gets nine hours sleep every night.  And dreams of the sky.
     Every morning he washes the fever sweat from his body.
     And sees unfamiliar faces in the clouds.
                                               by Harlan Ellison

 ICARUS by Edward Fields
Only the feathers floating around the hat
Showed that anything more spectacular had occurred
Than the usual drowning. The police preferred to ignore
The confusing aspects of the case,
And the witnesses ran off to a gang war.
So the report filed and forgotten in the archives read simply
“Drowned,” but it was wrong: Icarus
Had swum away, coming at last to the city
Where he rented a house and tended the garden.
“That nice Mr. Hicks” the neighbors called,
Never dreaming that the gray, respectable suit
Concealed arms that had controlled huge wings
Nor that those sad, defeated eyes had once
Compelled the sun. And had he told them
They would have answered with a shocked,
uncomprehending stare.
No, he could not disturb their neat front yards;
Yet all his books insisted that this was a horrible mistake:
What was he doing aging in a suburb?
Can the genius of the hero fall
To the middling stature of the merely talented?
And nightly Icarus probes his wound
And daily in his workshop, curtains carefully drawn,
Constructs small wings and tries to fly
To the lighting fixture on the ceiling:
Fails every time and hates himself for trying.
He had thought himself a hero, had acted heroically,
And dreamt of his fall, the tragic fall of the hero;
But now rides commuter trains,
Serves on various committees,
And wishes he had drowned

Icarus by Wendy Shaeffer

Did Icarus,
        watching white feathers flutter upward,
        curse the wax as a fair-weather friend?
It seemed such a strong solid type,
        but it melted away
        when things got hot.
Did he rail at the sun,
        which beckoned enticingly,
        and then changed from a beacon to a furnace?
Did he blame Daedalus, his father?
Who warned him not to fly too high
        in the same distracted tones with which
        he admonished his son
        to put on a sweater in the cold,
        to eat his lima beans,
        to not run with scissors.
How could he have known that this time the old man really meant it?
Or did he regret that the illustrious inventor,
        when creating his flying apparatus,
        did not take the obvious next step:
        the emergency parachute?
He must have thought
        all of this
                and more.
It was
        a long
But as he neared the ocean,
        came close enough to wave to the startled fishermen in their boats,
        he laughed,
                and admitted
                that even had he known
                        of the many failings of fathers and feathers,
                                he would have done it anyway.

1. Remember that your "Movie Essay" or "Literary Allusions" assignment is due on Wednesday. I have included an example introductory paragraph that you are welcome to use to assist you.
2. Make sure that you have your mosaic and all your supplies with you on WEDNESDAY!


According to Joseph Campbell, Mythologist, and author of The Hero’s Adventure, stories possess merit only if they contain a hero.  Campbell states, “Even in popular novels, the main character is a hero or heroine who has found or done something beyond the normal range of achievement and experience.  Without a hero there is no story.” (The Hero’s Adventure) This explains why so many forms of entertainment, from novels to films contain plots that involve the heroic archetype. Characters such as, _________________________ (name of character), in ______________________ (name of film/make sure you underline the title) possess archetypal characteristics that guide _______ (him/her)  along a difficult journey, which ultimately assists __________________ (name of character) in gaining a heightened sense of self or what Campbell calls “enlightenment.”  

NOTE: So, for each body paragraph, you would need to discuss how the particular archetypal trait that you are discussing leads the hero to enlightenment!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dear Mythology Kids,
If you missed class we completed the following:  ICARUS!

1. We completed grading the "Labyrinth" quiz!
2. We then discussed the difference between a mythological "allusion" and a mythological "reference."
3. Students were given the following examples and asked to place them in the "handout" section of their notebook. Copy this as a work document and place it in the "handout section" of your notebook. As a class, we identified the allusions and references found within each section of poetry. Please do the same. If you need assistance, you are welcome to stop by my room during a flex session!
“But soon, too soon the lover turns his eyes;
Again she falls, again she dies.
All alone,
He makes his moan,
For ever, ever, ever lost!
(Bullfinch, Thomas, Bullfinch’s Mythology Library of Congress, Publishing New York, New York. 2004)
“…not that fair field
Where Core gathering flowers,
Herself a fairer flower, than gloomy Pluto
Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her through the world…
And cause Eden to die…”
(Bullfinch, Thomas. Bullfinch’s Mythology, Library of congress, Publishing. New York, New York. 2004)
“Arachne once, as poets tell
A goddess at her art defied,
And soon the daring mortal fell
The hapless victim of her pride.”
(Bullfinch, Thomas Bullfinch’s Mythology, Library of Congress, Publishing. New York, New York 2004)
“Anne smiled at her.  “There dear friend, don’t be concerned.  You’ve spoken about the weaving women to me often enough. 
Do you think they are spinning me happiness tonight?”
(Foreman, Amanda. Duchess of Devonshire.  Fulbright Publishing, Co. New York, New York 1997)
“I have brought wrath and ruin on thy house!
My heart hath braved the oracle that guarded
That fatal secret from us, and my hand
Lifted the lid of the mysterious chest!”
(Longfellow, Henry W. Poetry of Henry W. Longfellow.  Harper House, Publishing. London, England. 2000)
“…Love, could I see Narcissus lean to kiss
His laughing double in the glassy stream…”
(Terrance, Georgiana. Complete Works of Oscar Wild.  “La Belle Gabrielle.”   Seneca Publishing, Co. Chicago, Ill.  1991.)

4. We continued by discussing the many allusions and references found to Icarus within literature and art.
5. Students then received a new assignment entitled "Mythological Allusions." Students may choose between this assignment and the "Hero Movie," both are due on Wednesday! Please stop by my room regarding the Allusions assignment; it is too large to include here.

1. Choose between the "movie essay" or the "Mythological allusions" due on Wed., December 17th!
2. Remember that another 1/4 of your mosaic must be completed by the 19th!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Dear Mythology Kids,
REMEMBER THIS, my young friends! If you miss class, ALWAYS CHECK THE BLOG FIRST! ALWAYS! You should never come back to class without checking the blog or communicating with a friend! This is "smart college prep," and will also alleviate any undue stress for you!

If you missed class, we completed the following:
1. Each student, worked with a group, and he/she completed the storyboard from the previous day based upon the "Theseus" myth that they had read from the night before.
We then discussed the images and their possible meanings.

2. Students then worked with  "FACE PARTNERS" and "SHOULD PARTNERS"  regarding the four questions that were assigned as homework . If you missed those questions, please look at the previous post. We discussed them, and came up with some solid responses; however, we DID NOT located textual support. I left this for each student to do on their own! MAKE SURE YOU HAVE TEXTUAL SUPPORT FOR EACH QUESTION!

3. We had about 30 minutes remaining and students then worked on their mosaics. If you were not in class, then I wasn't able to give you the credit; however, you are welcome to make it up by bringing your mosaic to flex on Tuesday or Wednesday and working on it during that time, and you can receive the point then. Make sense!

Please stop by and visit with me if you have any questions. I am here to help you, my young friends! STOP MAKING EXCUSES! YOU CAN DO THIS, EVEN THOUGH IT TAKES WORK and IT IS HARD, YOU CAN DO IT!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wednesday, December 4th, 2014

Dear Mythology Kids,
If you missed class, I missed you! For whatever reason you were gone, I look forward to your return!

This is what we completed....
1. We finished the "history lessons" regarding the Minoans and the Myceneans.
2. Students then watched a 20 minute History Channel regarding the Minoan civilization. This is Journal #7. If you missed class, we can arrange a time for you to come in and watch the movie in order to make up the journal entry?
3. We then started discussing the myth by completing the storyboard that is included with your handout.

1. Please read the "Theseus" myth pages 155-165 for Friday.
2. Respond to the following four questions for Friday. Please support your answers with textual support from the myth. These questions will be useful for your "Theseus" quest!

A. Consider the archetypal heroic patter in relationship to the "Theseus" myth. Begin with his "birth" and go on from there........
B. The labyrinth is symbolic for something else. Remember that it is full of "twists" and "turns" causing those that enter to change their direction. Consider this when you evaluate the symbolic meaning.
C. The minotaur is an interesting monster. It has the head of a bull and the body of a human. What do you think the minotaur symbolizes?
D. The twine given to Theseus helps him escape from the labyrinth. What does it symbolize.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday, Dec. 1st, 2014

Welcome Back! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Break!

Did I miss anything?
No, we did nothing! We never do anything in class! Of course you missed something!  We started discussing the history behind our next hero called THESEUS!
What do I need to do?
Stop by the room and collect the "storyboard" that outlines all the information regarding the history and the myth itself.

Look up the following in relationship to the storyboard:
  •  Crete
  • Knossos
  • Minoans
  • Minos
  • Labyrinthian