Monthly Archives: July 2018

Myth

Traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the worldview of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon. Myths relate the events, conditions, and deeds of gods or superhuman beings that are outside ordinary human life and yet basic to it. These events are set in a time altogether different from historical time, often at the beginning of creation or at an early stage of prehistory. A people’s myths are usually more closely related to their religious beliefs and rituals. The modern study of myth arose with early-19th-century Romanticism. Wilhelm Mannhardt, J.G. Frazer, and others later employed a more comparative approach. Sigmund Freud viewed myth as an expression of repressed ideas, a view later expanded by Carl Jung in his theory of a “collective unconscious” and mythic archetypes that arise out of it. Bronislaw Malinowski emphasized how myth fulfills common social functions, providing a model or “charter” for human behavior. Claude Levi-Strauss has discerned underlying structures in the formal relations and patterns of myth throughout the world. Mircea Eliade and Rudolf Otto held that myth is to understood solely as religious phenomenon. Features of myth are shared by other kinds of literature. Origin tales explain the source or causes of various aspects of nature or human society and life. Fairy tales  deal with extraordinary things and events but lack the authority of myth. Sagas and epics claim authority but reflect specific historical settings.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Orpheus and Eurydice

Have you ever seen the movie Black Orpheus? It’s something I would love to use in the classroom, but I fear it may be a tad too complicated (with fast-moving subtitles, for one thing) and subtle for the students I serve. It’s a masterpiece by any standard and available from the excellent Criterion Collection with an array of edifying extras.

So, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Orpheus and Eurydice that would, I think, serve as a useful adjunct to a viewing of the truly great film.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Denis Diderot on Skepticism

“Skepticism is the first step on the road to philosophy.”

Denis Diderot

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Portable Curmudgeon. New York: Plume, 1992.

Parsing Sentences Worksheets: Adjectives

Over time, I have begun to wonder if parsing sentences, somewhere along the line. I think not, at least in my classroom, which is why I wrote, and now pass along to you, these four worksheets for parsing adjectives in basic declarative sentences.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Argument

“To argue is to produce considerations designed to support a conclusion. An argument is either the process of doing this (in which sense an argument may be heated or protracted) or the product, i.e., the set of propositions adduced (the premises), the pattern of inference, and the conclusion reached. An argument may be deductively valid, in which case the conclusion follows from the premises, or it may be persuasive in other ways. Logic is the study of valid and invalid forms of argument.”

Excerpted from: Blackburn, Simon. The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

The Weekly Text, July 27, 2018

Today is July 27. On this day in 1953, United States and North Korean delegates signed the Korean Armistice Agreement, which ended the Korean War. In the United States, if is National Korean War Veterans Day. On this day in 1789, the United States Congress created the first presidential cabinet department, the Department of State.

Apropos of that founding, this week’s Text is a reading on the treaty of Versailles along with the comprehension worksheet that accompanies it.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Devil’s Dictionary: Descent (n)

“Descent, n. Going lower. Popularly used to indicated the existing generation is a peg worse that than which fathered it. Thus one Darwin justly discourses upon the superiority of the ancestral baboon in a melancholy essay, called ‘The Descent of Man.’” 

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000.