Honors English 11

By Ernest Kelly,2014-08-12 11:54
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Honors English 11 ...

Honors English 11

    Summer Reading Assignment for 2009 - 2010


    The first part of the summer reading assignment for English Honors 11 is to read John Steinbeck’s novel,

    The Grapes of Wrath; you are required to take thematic notes in response to the reading, to learn the vocabulary words

    from the novel that are listed here, and to prepare to write an essay in class sometime during the first week of school.

    The Grapes of Wrath is a powerful novel of the Great Depression that brought instant fame to the author and was, in large part, responsible for Steinbeck’s winning of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. The Swedish Academy praised Steinbeck for not being a writer who only comforts and entertains his readers, but for being a writer who challenges us and our complacency while he celebrates the indomitable spirit of the American people at a very harsh time thin our history. The novel is a classic one of the most widely read and highly regarded works by an American in the 20


    As you read, notice those elements that make Steinbeck’s style so distinctive: his lavish descriptions, his

    masterful recreation of dialect, his rich use of metaphors and figurative language, and his mighty themes. Notice the manner in which he connects the story of the struggle of the Joad family with the story of America in the 1930’s. Be

    conscious as you read of the great love the author has for our country and its people and his passion for justice. And don’t

    miss his earthy sense of humor.

    In order to prepare to write a well-supported, cohesive essay and to facilitate class discussions of the novel, it is

    essential that you take notes on the reading. Participation is critical in an honors level class, and that good notes will give you a springboard into discussion.

     Concentrate your efforts on looking for references to the following themes and taking notes on them as you read the novel:

    1. The Land and its place in the lives of the people

    2. Family

    3. Materialism in American society

    4. The Journey

    5. Organizing to Effect Social Change

    6. Mechanization

    7. Biblical symbolism in the novel and its significance

Keep the following suggestions in mind when you take notes:

    1. Establish a dialogue with the novel by selecting textual references to the various themes and

    responding to them. How do the lines in the novel reveal the author’s philosophy or present his/her

    view of how the world operates? How do the lines you select explore the author’s understanding of

    human nature? How do the lines you highlight allow you to discover and assess the author’s

    underlying purpose in writing the book? Does the author wish to entertain? To inspire? To create a

    climate for change in society? To protest against the ills of society? To celebrate the good and heroic

    among us?

    2. Actively respond to the ideas you recognize from the novel. Speculate. Question. Anticipate.

    Comment upon. Agree or disagree. Enthuse.

    3. Avoid summarizing the novel. Do not respond to a quotation by restating it in your own words. Do

    not retell the story. Your ability to determine what is important in what you are reading and your

    ability to determine how you feel about that important idea are what count here.

    4. Take notes from the entire book. Steinbeck does not drop themes and ideas as the book progresses;

    if anything, the themes grow stronger as the novel goes along leading to the final, culminating scenes.

    The notes you take should reflect this.

    5. Do not use Spark Notes or any other “aid” to understanding the novel. This is a long book, but it

    is easy to read. Trust yourself and your ability, confront the text boldly, and don’t deprive yourself of

    an opportunity to tangle with a great book by a great American author.

    Here’s an example of how you might react to a section of text. In Chapter 17, Steinbeck describes the way the migrant families come together to camp be the side of the road each night:

    “At first the families were timid in the building and tumbling of worlds, but gradually the technique of building worlds became their technique. Then leaders emerged, then laws were made, then codes came into being. And as the worlds moved westward they were more complete and better furnished, for their builders were more experienced building them.”(250)

    Living together in an orderly way is an inherent talent of human beings. Just as our ancestors saw the need to make laws so that all members of society may be safe and secure, so did the migrants instinctively realize what rules must be understood and obeyed by all. People who had the natural talent to lead would emerge from the crowd and take up the responsibility of leadership. They didn’t need college degrees to form a society, only common sense, a respect for justice, and a little practice. Steinbeck has great faith in the ability of the common people to do right by one another and create viable and just societies.

    The second summer reading assignment for English Honors 11 is Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and

    Dimed, a bestselling book that explores the world of the working poor in the United States. The author has

    been praised as “our premiere reporter of the underside of capitalism” (Dorothy Gallegher, critic for The

    New York Times). You are required to write ten post-it note responses on whatever ten statements in the

    book you feel strongly about. Three notes from each of the book’s three sections and one “free choice”

    would do it.

    This book may be purchased for a reduced price ($10.00) if you bring in the money and order it from us.

    Please learn these words and their parts of speech over the summer. You will be quizzed on them when school begins in the fall.

    dissipate scatter, disperse

    listless limp, lacking energy, languid

     sharecropper a poor farmer who pays a portion of his crop as rent

    scuttle scurry, scamper

    parapet a fortification, a wall

    proboscis nose, snout

    resinous filled with sap, as pine

    zenith peak, summit, pinnacle

    baptize name (ritually)

    declivity a downward inclination, a slope in the land

    penitent sorry, contrite, regretful

    pique (1)stimulate, intrigue (2) bother, annoy, irritate

    truculent hostile, defiant, confrontational

    wane diminish, fade

    transcend rise above, go beyond, excel

    petulant huffy, snappish, irritable

    incredulous disbelieving, skeptical

    ostracize exclude, banish, shun

     lithe supple, flexible

    supplication entreaty, prayer, request

    tentative hesitant, uncertain, unsettled

    conjecture guess, infer, speculate

    feral untamed, natural, wild

    benediction blessing

    fatuous idiotic, stupid, inane

    lucent transparent, clear

    fallow unplanted, unsown

    covet desire, yearn, crave

    imperious commanding, haughty, over-bearing

    vivacious lively, cheerful, energetic

    languid relaxed, lazy, drowsy

    restive fidgety, twitchy, restless

    morose miserable, gloomy, pessimistic

    belligerent aggressive, quarrelsome

    paradox contradiction, irony

    disconsolate unhappy, dejected

    prostrate face-down, drained, exhausted

    derelict dilapidated, in ruins, abandoned

    unkempt untidy, disheveled, scruffy

    exhort urge, press, encourage

    pustule -- boil, pimple, skin eruption

    ravenous famished, very hungry, starving

    rakish jaunty, stylish, dashing

    nebulous vague, imprecise, ill-defined

    sullen surly, brooding, somber

    agrarian of or having to do with agricultural persons or pursuits

    contrite remorseful, apologetic

    wry dryly humorous, cynical

    intermittent alternating, sporadic, irregular

    wizened wrinkled, shriveled, aged

    circuitous indirect, meandering, roundabout

    contemptuous disdainful, sneering, despicable

     fetid putrid, stinking, squalid

For those of you who feel sure that you’ve heard the title of this novel somewhere before now, we include the following.

    Steinbeck, aware that he might be accused of anti-American sentiment and he was for having written the book, insisted that these

    words be printed as an introduction to the novel when it was first printed in 1939.

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

     by Julia Ward Howe

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;

    He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible, swift sword: His truth is marching on.

Glory, glory Hallelujah!

    Glory, glory, Hallelujah!

    Glory, glory, Hallelujah!

    His truth is marching on!

    I have seen him in the watchfires of a hundred circling camps, They have builded him an altar in the evening dews and damps; I can read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps: His day is marching on.


    I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel: “As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal:”

    Let the Hero born of woman crush the serpent with His heel, Since God is marching on.


    He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat; Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him, be jubilant, my feet! Our God is marching on.


    In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me; As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on.


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