Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Good, the bad, and the ugly...

Today we talked about why "good" people do bad things, the question we'll seek to answer during our short fiction unit. To further your thinking about this question, describe a time when you or someone else you consider "good" did something detrimental, something that was out of character for him or her. Apply the feedback from last week's post as you craft your response.

I'll start...

When I was in high school, my grandmother went to visit her sister in Texas and asked me to housesit for her. I happily agreed, excited to have a parent-free place to hang out with friends. She agreed that I could invite a few friends over, so I did. Unfortunately, a few friends each brought a few friends and their friends brought more friends, and before I knew it, her house was wall-to-wall with people. I knew there were more people there than what my grandma would want, but I felt completely out of control.

When she returned, her neighbors told her how many people had come in and out of her house and she confronted me about her dissapointment in my behavior and her inability to trust me any longer since I had violated our agreement. I felt so ashamed and still, twelve years later, often think about what a terrible thing this was to do.

I know now that I violated my grandma's trust because of peer pressure. I had transferred to my school and wanted people to like me, wanted to be "cool". Not thinking about the consequences of my behavior, I did a bad thing and acted completely out of character.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer Reading Fun

Over the summer, Arapahoe High School asked you to read at least two novels of your choice.

Briefly tell me what you read, including titles and authors.  I want to know what you liked about the books, what you learned and, more importantly, what matters to you about the book's content.  Keep in mind we will begin independent reading next week; tell your classmates who you think would enjoy this book.  Use specifics about characters, setting, conflicts, action details, etc. to make your response meaningful and be sure to adhere to proper conventions and proofread your response.

If you enrolled belatedly and weren't aware of the summer reading, do the same with two books you have read.

I'll start...

This summer, I read many books, but two of my favorites were We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates and Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's.   My favorite of the two was the former, which I so enjoyed that while I was on vacation in Mexico, I took it to the beach, to the pool, and enjoyed it on my ocean-facing balcony.  The story details the tragedy of a family living in rural New York who, for all intents and purposes, seem to enjoy a perfect life.  When a serious tragedy strikes the teenage daughter of this family, it reels and destruction, in one way shape or form, ensues for all of the family's members.  I found it heart-breaking and gripping and really enjoyed Oates's style, as I always do.  I would recommend this book to anyone who can stomach a bit of tragedy before they reach the happy ending. 

I also enjoyed Capote's novel, which follows the story of a seemingly independent New York City woman whose eccentrities seem to make her romantic.  Capote, however, reveals that she is more of a tragic figure than she seems.  This is a great work for someone who enjoys a briefer piece of fiction and some delicious Capote prose.  I also found some of the thematic ideas, like the facade of the glamorous, meaningful.