English 11

What we're doing...Where we're going!

A look at what we've done...

As the quarter comes to a close this Friday, we have made it through the major quarter assignments and are getting ready to start our first novel, The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien this week. We have been talking about how the American Dream was threatened as a result of the Roaring Twenties with the subsequent Great Depression and then how it was brought to a global pursuit following WWII and the beginnings of the Cold War.

The primary focus of this has been to show that a key element of the Dream is to keep a balance between an individual's ability to pursue his or her goals while still making sure the nation is strong enough to support future generations. The corruption and materialism of the 1920's shifted this balance and is what lead to the Great Depression. America had a very real reminder of how valuable the Dream was and the need for it to continue. This renewed appreciation for the Dream, overall moral purpose, national pride, and strong work ethic saw a surge in American growth and solidified its place as a superpower. This, paired with the growing threat Communism posed on American ideals, brought the debate to a global stage during the Cold War.

This background helps to understand the importance Vietnam had in preventing the Domino Effect associated with the spread of Communism. To help us get here, we looked at some speeches during this time by John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Jonson.We also read some stories written by local veteran, Dave Cole, and were fortunate to welcome him to class on Tuesday and hear him in person. As we go through the novel, I am hoping to look at some of the connections between what lead us into Vietnam and what is going on on the Middle East.

Upcoming Due Dates:

Journal: There will not be a new article this week, so no journal will be due on Monday.

Vocabulary: We did not have vocabulary this week, but will be returning to it next week with the root "micro".

Reading: The story, "The Things They Carried", chapter one of the book they will be getting Thursday, will be due for Friday.

...A look at where we are going

After we review characterization and conflict some on Thursday, we will start to listen to the first story in O'Brien's book, The Things They Carried, which shares the same title as the novel. As the name implies, it lists the items different soldiers in a unit carried with them. Whatever isn't read in class will be homework for Friday. On Friday, we will be looking at the different characters and talking about what they carried helping to define their role as a soldier and as a man, starting to bring awareness to both characterization and conflicts in the story.

This book is one of the most critically acclaimed stories written about a soldier's experience during war. Students will have a copy of this novel they should be bringing home most days. There will usually be reading to do 2 or 3 days a week in addition to the weekly journal and vocabulary. As we read, we will be looking at the cost of freedom, drawing a connection between the threat Communism was seen to have on our democracy during the 1970's and the current global threats on democracy.

Ms. Quinn

High School English Teacher

English Department Chairperson

Freshman Mentoring Advisor