Day 88: Housekeeping and Brother Keeping

Today, we did two things: first, we returned papers and turned in flash fiction, and then we prepared to read Of Mice and Men by discussing the Genesis story “Cain and Abel,” to which many literary works allude.

1. Reflection on Flash Fiction. Students answered the following questions about their flash fiction stories:

  1. What do you think is the strongest literary element in your story? What’s so good about it? (Could be syntax, figurative language, plot, imagery, mystery, characterization, etc.)
  2. What was most difficult about the fiction writing process? Why? (Could be coming up with ideas, changing drafts, reading aloud, creating mystery, adding details, etc.)
  3. What do you think the theme of your story is?
  4. What grade would you give yourself and why? (You will be graded on how well you met the requirements in addition to how interesting/meaningful your story is to read.)

2. Passbacks. Students received their rewrite grades for the To Kill a Mockingbird collaborative essays as well as their TKaM motif journals. We put these in our writing portfolios.

3. Passing Notes. As we worked, organized, and looked over comments, we began preparing to read John’s Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men by discussing the following question through a note passed from partner to partner:

Are you your “brother’s keeper”? Or is it every man for himself?

In other words, are we joined together in a deep way to other people? Or are we alone in the world — we were born alone and we’ll die alone?

Think about this: For instance, if you see someone being bullied, meaning repeatedly picked on, whether it’s physical or verbal, is it your personal responsibility as a human being to protect that person? What if it’s your blood relative? Or your best friend? Who deserves to be “kept” and who does not?

Or think about this: Would you rather set off on your own? Or would you rather have someone to keep you company, even if they’re sometimes really annoying?

4. Cain and Abel. We read and discussed Cain and Abel as illustrated by R. Crumb. This was taught as an important literary allusion, not as the word of God or G-d or YHWH, as it were.

HW: none

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