Tag Archives: readings

Light in August

Light in August: A novel (1932) by William Faulkner (1898-1962), following the tragic career of the mixed-race central character, Joe Christmas. Faulkner’s working title had been Dark House, but when he heard his wife comment on the unique quality of the light in August in the American South he was taken with the phrase, and used it as the final title.

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Crime and Puzzlement: “The Awesome Treasure”

Alright, here is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “The Awesome Treasure.” I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the idiom “Any Port in a Storm.” This scan of the illustration and questions drives the case; this typescript of the answer key helps you solve 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.

Cultural Literacy: Enfant Terrible

I can think of no better time to post this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the term and concept enfant terrible, since we seem to have so many of them at the moment in our culture and society.

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.

Term of Art: Voluntary Associations

“Voluntary Associations: Any public, formally constituted, and non-commercial organization of which membership is optional, within a particular society. Examples include churches, political parties, pressure groups, leisure associations or clubs, neighborhood groups, and (sometimes) trade unions and professional associations. In some theories of democracy, emphasis is placed on the important role such groups can play in fostering participation in the civil society, and thus in maintaining social order.”

Excerpted from: Marshall, Gordon, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Osamu Dazai

Osamu Dazai: (1909-1948) Japanese author. Although chiefly known for his fiction, Dazai also wrote personal essays and memoirs, children’s stories, and historical narratives. His work has attracted a large and dedicated readership, for whom the author’s deeply troubled life, and its brilliant retelling, have struck a responsive chord. In masterpieces such as Shayo (1947; tr The Setting Sun, 1956), and Ningen shikkaku (1948; tr No Longer Human, 1957), Dazai captured the postwar crisis of Japanese cultural identity and the travail of a lost generation of youth. The characteristic Dazai protagonist, in his addictive, womanizing, self-indulgent excess, artfully mirrors the life of the author, who, following numerous failed suicide attempts, eventually succeeded. This final act of self-dramatization is reminiscent of Akutagawa and Mishima.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Everyday Edit: Japan’s “Coming of Age Day”

Here is an Everyday Edit worksheet on Japan’s “Coming of Age Day.” If you like these worksheets then you are in luck! The generous people at Education World give away a yearlong supply of them, and if you dig a little deeper over there, you’ll find the answer keys as well.

 

Mahabharata

“Mahabhrata: One of the two great epic poems of ancient India (the other being the Ramayana), about eight times as long as the Iliad and the Odyssey together. It is a great compendium, added to as late as AD 600, although it had very nearly acquired its present form by the 4th century. Covering an enormous range of topics, the Mahabharata, with its famous interpolation, the Bhagavadgita, has as its central theme the great war between the sons of two royal brothers, in a struggle for succession. The brothers are Dhritarashtra and Pandu, their families being referred to respectively as the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The Pandavas ultimately prevail, the eldest of them, Yudhishtira, gains the throne, and Arjuna, one of his younger brothers and in many ways the hero of the entire epic (especially through the Bhagavadgita), gains the hand of the lovely Draupadi and brings her home as the wife of all five brothers, The epic also contains the Shantiparvan, an important discourse on statecraft, and the famous Savitri episode, the tale of Nala Damayantt. In its totality, it is an encyclopedia of Hindu life, legend, and thought: ‘What is not in the Mahabharata,’ says the Mahabharata, ‘is not to be found anywhere else in the world.'”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.