Thursday, July 7, 2011

Class day - 7/6

Wednesday was a class day. In class, the readings assigned were somewhat less challenging overall than the previous class when we discussed Eliot's "The Waste Land."

However, before we talked about the readings, we had to come up with a different plan for Thursday's field trip. You see, the original plan had included going to the Harry Potter 7 pt. 2 movie premier. The catch was that there were only going to be 7000 individuals of the public given places along the red carpet. The London authorities issued wrist bands to those who showed up starting Wednesday morning until they had given out the 7000 places. No one in my class was able to get a wrist band. Apparently the lines waiting to get a wrist band were massive. I expect there will be a lot of very dissappointed Harry Potter fans all across London - I know there 6 or 7 in my class who are VERY dissappointed. Still, most of them already have their midnight viewing tickets for the opening of the movie next week!

Well, we came up with a plan, but more of those details tomorrow.

I included the reading list for the whole summer in the last posting, but I will continue to link the readings to online copies so you can read along if you would like to do so. Anyway, Wednesday's readings reflect the work of two non-English writers, William Butler Yeats (who was Irish) and Dylan Thomas (who was Welsh). We discussed three of Yeats' poems, "When You are Old," "Into the Twilight," and "King and No King." The first two are from relatively early in his career, and the last is from a little later. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the students were really trying to engage these poems. I think the fact that they are more easily read on a literal level that the students started looking for additional possibilities. That's a good thing!
We also looked at two poems by Dylan Thomas, "And Death shall have no Dominion," and "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night."

I know that these poems seem to be looking at death, and may seem to be somewhat morbid. However, much of the Arthurian material, in addition to its heroic, chivalric, and nationalistic themes, looks toward a future, one filled with hope for a renewal of the good times in the past. There is an acknowledgement that bleak times may come, Camelot may end, but there's hope for a resurrection of the ideals of Camelot. These poems all hint at that too, on one level or another; some do so more directly of course. Anyway, that was the theme of Wednesday's class.

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