Corman's Corner

Knowledge potluck: Bring something to share.

The Crucible


This (short) week will be spent finishing reading and viewing the play. I would then like you to create a conflict mind map: illustrating the multiple conflicts and arguments in the play between the Proctor’s, the Putnam’s, the Corey’s, the Paris’s and the girls. Show who the conflicts are between, whether or not they are resolved, and a short description of who is involved in the conflict. This resource may be helpful to you in establishing relationships and potential conflicts. Reading the character descriptions will help you establish who has conflicts with who.

While not including all of the elements I am looking for, this is an example of a relationships mind map – just to give you an idea.

Your map may be created on-line or on paper.

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The Crucible


Write a short journal entry in which you describe an experience of discrimination. Think about the following questions:

  • What events, if any, led up to this experience?
  • Where were you?
  • Who else was there?
  • How did they react to the situation?
  • How did you react to it?
  • What changed after you experienced this?

As part of your study of The Crucible, you will be watching In Search of History: The Salem Witch Trials.

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The School Globe



The School Globe

by James Reaney

Sometimes when I hold
Our faded old globe
That we used at school
To see where oceans were
And the five continents,     5
The lines of latitude and longitude,
The North Pole, the Equator and
the South Pole‹
Sometimes when I hold this
Wrecked blue cardboard pumpkin   10
I think: here in my hands
Rest the fair fields and lands
Of my childhood
Where still lie or still wander
Old games, tops and pets;     15
A house where I was little
And afraid to swear
Because God might hear and
Send a bear
To eat me up;       20
Rooms where I was as old
As I was high;
Where I loved the pink clenches,
The white, red and pink fists
Of roses; where I watched the rain   25
That Heaven¹s clouds threw down
In puddles and rutfuls
And irregular mirrors
Of soft brown glass upon the ground.
This school globe is a parcel of my past,   30
A basket of pluperfect things.
And here I stand with it
Sometime in the summertime
All alone in an empty schoolroom
Where about me hang     35
Old maps, an abacus, pictures,
Blackboards, empty desks.
If I raise my hand

No tall teacher will demand
What I want.       40
But if someone in authority

Were here, I’d say
Give me this old world back
Whose husk I clasp
And I’ll give you in exchange    45
The great sad real one
That’s filled
Not with a child’s remembered and
pleasant skies,
But with blood, pus, horror, death,   50
stepmothers, and lies.

INSTRUCTIONS: Read the poem entitled “The School Globe.”

1. In paragraph form and with reference to the poem, discuss what the globe represents
to the poet. (6 marks)

2. In paragraph form and with reference to the poem, discuss the poet’s adult view of
the world. (6 marks)

Multiple Choice 

1. Which of the following phrases implies that as a child the narrator experienced
physical abuse?

A. “Rooms where I was as old / As I was high. . . .”
B. “In puddles and rutfuls / And irregular mirrors. . . .”
C. “where I watched the rain / That Heaven’s clouds threw down . . . .”
D. “Where I loved the pink clenches, / The white, red and pink fists / Of roses . . . .”

2. In line 10, “Wrecked blue cardboard pumpkin” is an example of

A. irony.
B. paradox.
C. metaphor.
D. oxymoron.

3. Lines 11 and 12, “I think: here in my hands / Rest the fair fields and lands,” contain an
example of

A. rhyme.
B. rhythm.
C. dissonance.
D. onomatopoeia.

4. Lines 21 and 22, “Rooms where I was as old / As I was high,” suggest that the
speaker was

A. tall for his age.
B. short for his age.
C. young and small.
D. young compared to the globe.

5. In line 23, the words “pink clenches” literally refer to

A. the clouds.
B. flower buds.
C. the boy¹s fists.
D. the school desks.

6. In lines 25 and 26, the words “I watched the rain / That Heaven’s clouds threw
down” contain an example of

A. paradox.
B. hyperbole.
C. metonymy.
D. personification.

7. In lines 28 and 29, the words “irregular mirrors / Of soft brown glass” refer
specifically to

A. ice.
B. mud.
C. puddles.
D. broken bottles.

8. In line 31, the phrase “A basket of pluperfect things” implies or suggests

A. school supplies.
B. childhood memories.
C. a flower arrangement.
D. the countries on the globe.

9. The speaker is alone in the classroom because

A. it is summer vacation.
B. he has been given a detention.
C. the other students have been dismissed.
D. he returned at the end of a school day to get the globe.

10. In a sense, the poem contains two personas or narrators, namely

A. the teacher and the child.
B. the stepmother and the child.
C. the child and the parent he became.
D. the child and the grownup he became.

11. The poem¹s tone shifts dramatically at line

A. 35.   B. 40.   C. 45.   D. 50.

12. Which of the following best describes the form of the poem?

A. free-verse sonnet.
B. retrospective lyric.
C. introspective ballad.
D. blank-verse narrative.


Holistic Scale: Marking Criteria for Content and Written Expression

Literary interpretation should clearly demonstrate synthesis of content, organization and style.

6/5 Answer:
HIGH‹Substantial, clear, perceptive

The high level response demonstrates a focused, clear, and perceptive understanding of the task and text and is written in a fluid manner. Thoughtful engagement with the text is apparent through the use of specific, relevant, and integrated support. The reader is impressed by the quality of the response. The 5 response, which may not be as sophisticated or mature as the 6, reads with less ease, possibly as a result of a greater density of minor errors.

4/3 Answer:
MIDDLE‹Sufficient, satisfactory, basic

The middle level response reflects a basic, literal reading of both task and text with some sensitivity to nuance or subtlety and is written in a satisfactory manner. Support is adequate. Organization may be simplistic with mechanical transitions. Errors in mechanics rarely impede understanding. The 3 response may be barely adequate. It may also feature weak support, awkwardness of expression or a higher density of mechanical errors.

2/1 Answer:
LOW‹Awkward, unclear, deficient

The student misses the intent of the question (e.g., does not understand the term ³contrast²), but writes well even though off topic. The low level response attempts to address the task but manages to produce an essentially awkward and/or confusing statement. Support is inadequate, unclear, and further diminished by a multiplicity of errors. The 1 response demonstrates a deficient command of language skills appropriate to the task.

0 Answer:

Answers may be awarded a 0 for failure to provide a response in keeping with the purpose of the question.

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literary paragraph is a formal argument, in defense of a thesis about a text. Such a paragraph consists of a Topic sentence, followed by 3 sets of Point/Proof/Explanation, and closed with a Conclusion.

Well-organized paragraphs have four components that work together to produce a coherent, unified product.  Think of each paragraph as a mini-essay endeavoring to prove one aspect of your thesis statement.  That is, each paragraph should
  •     make a debatable claim (the topic sentence)
  •     provide proof for that claim (the evidence or support)
  •     show how the evidence supports the claim (the analysis)
  •     contain effective transitions both within the paragraph so that the reader can follow the logic of the argument.
Let’s break these components down and define each one.

Topic sentence: The topic sentence states the claim or argument of the paragraph. A topic sentence can be more than one sentence if necessary.

Support: Support or evidence usually refers to quotations from or summary of the literary work.  Without support, your topic sentence will go unproven and your paragraph will fall flat.

Analysis: With analysis, you tell your reader how you want him or her to understand the quotation or summary you have provided as support.  As a writer, you can’t necessarily assume that your reader will draw the same conclusions you have drawn from the evidence.  You need to elaborate, through your analysis, on your own interpretation. Thus, support and analysis go hand in hand.

Transitions: Well organized paragraphs use transitions between the topic sentence, support, and analysis which let the reader know where the argument is going.  Simple transitions such as “for example,” “for instance,” “therefore,” “however,” and “also” are useful to show relationships between ideas. More complex transitions can be whole phrases or even sentences that show how the writer is moving from one idea to another.

Sample Paragraph:  Read it and notice how it incorporates each of the required components of an effective paragraph.

Though many readers may sympathize with the narrator because his brother is addicted to heroin, the narrator actually begins as a hardened, unfeeling man.  Two scenes show his lack of compassion. The narrator first shows how cruel and unfeeling he is when he meets Sonny’s friend on the street.  Adopting a sarcastic tone, the narrator questions the friend’s motives: ”You come all the way down here to just tell me about Sonny?”  We can see in this tone that the narrator doubts that the friend truly cares for Sonny. The narrator also swears at the friend, saying “you’re pretty goddamn smart, I bet,” and offers him no sympathy for his “sad story,” declaring that he wishes the friend had a pistol so he could kill himself (49).  These reactions to the friend show the narrator’s anger at the situation Sonny is in, but they also convey a stark lack of compassion for those less fortunate than himself.  In fact, the narrator’s anger seems to fuel his lack of compassion.  In the flashback scene, we find out that the narrator has been angry with Sonny before, for when the narrator visits Sonny in his Greenwich Village apartment, he tells Sonny that he “might just as well be dead as live the way he was living” (62). These scenes depict the narrator’s warped personality; his anger and fear have made him cruel, almost sadistic in wishing for the deaths of his brother and his brother’s friend.  

Anger by Linda Pastan

You tell me
that it’s all right
to let it out of its cage,
though it may claw someone,
even bite.
You say that letting it out
may tame it somehow.
But loose it may
turn on me, maul
my face, draw blood.
Ah, you think you know so much,
you whose anger is a pet dog,
its canines dull with disuse.
But mine is a rabid thing,
sharpening its teeth
on my very bones,
and I will never let it go.

Write a literary paragraph in which you discuss the use of extended metaphor in Linda Pastan’s “Anger”. 

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Mother to Son

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time 
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps.
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. 

1. Examine the diction (word choice) in this poem. Why is it important? What does it tell you?

2. An extended metaphor is used in this poem, comparing life to a staircase. What details tell us about the speaker’s life? What do they reveal?

3. Describe the mood and tone of the poem.


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The Synthesis Essay


Please note: There is no written assignment for this activity. I simply want you to be aware of what is involved. Your next written assignment will be a synthesis essay.

Watch this video!

Topic: Assess the role that optimism plays in the lives of Jenny in “Circus in Town” and Chris Gardner in ” ‘Happyness’ for Sale.”

1. Please read the two pieces referred to above with the assigned topic in mind. Print, highlight and take notes.

2. Next, work through this very helpful handbook.

3. Look at these student samples and the marks they received based on the criteria. 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.


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The Original Composition


Original Composition: We will look at the original composition in general, and the narrative essay specifically. (handout) This video might be helpful.

In a narrative essay, the emphasis shifts from the story as a story to a story whose purpose is to inform or instruct. There should be an introduction with a thesis, a body, and a conclusion (including a reflective comment).

Sample Essay Topics

We will look at the criteria for the original composition and some student samples: analyzing strengths and weaknesses.


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The Novel Study: Reading Journals


Over the course of reading your selected novel, I would like you to write 5 journal entries (spread out over your reading of the book).

Evaluation of reading journals will be based on the following scoring guide:

Summary: 6/10
If your reading journals are plot summaries, your reading journal grade will be a C.

Connections: 7/10 – 8/10
Your journals must connect plot events to your personal experiences. You should write about both the plot events and the effect the book has on you. Listed here are triggers for beginning such responses. (Select only one trigger for each reading journal – and only if you cannot generate your own original idea.)

• As I read the part about…, I began to think of…
• I know the feeling of…, because I…
• I was surprised…
• If I had been (character’s name), I…
• based on…, I predict…

Sentences must be well crafted and paragraphs well organized.

Author’s Craft: 9/10 – 10/10
You will write a response as described above (connections) plus an additional paragraph on some aspect of the author’s craft. Such comments might include:

• Telling about a section that you really liked and explaining why
• Telling about the author’s use of figurative language (simile…)
• The use of foreshadowing or suspense
• Effective or ineffective use of dialogue
• Themes
• Comparison to other books (similar settings, characters…)
• Analysis of character or comment on character development

I would suggest trying to include some of the literary terms and devices you are responsible for in your discussion of author’s craft. Prose suggestions would include:

  • allusion
  • antagonist/protagonist
  • atmosphere/mood
  • characterization: foil, dynamic, static, flat, round, stereotype
  • plot: conflict, climax…
  • dialogue
  • dilemma
  • irony: dramatic, verbal, situational…
  • point-of-view: first person, third person, limited omniscient, omniscient…
  • flashback
  • foreshadowing
  • imagery
  • narrator
  • setting
  • symbolism
  • tone
  • theme

It will not be enough to simply identify these devices. You must discuss how they contribute to the story.

To receive an A, you must make your point by basing your response on a
specific quote(s).

You need a rich vocabulary to be a strong writer. The best way to acquire a rich vocabulary is to read at every opportunity. Although you will absorb many new words merely by meeting them frequently, you will accelerate the assimilation of new words if you will take the trouble to look up the meaning of unfamiliar words as you meet them. Write these words, their definitions, and the sentences they are used in, into your journal.


“No Renewal” is a dystopian look at the future written from the perspective of the past. In this short story, an elderly man named Douglas Bent is going through the process of making himself a special cup of wintergreen tea for his birthday. As he goes through this seemingly mundane process; the oddities, quirks, and to some horrors, of this world are revealed. The world has run out of petroleum (though cars and consumer electronics are still commonplace). As a result, the area around the Bay of Fundy in Newfoundland has been dug up for the clay that humans now make everything out of. There is no wood left. All the animals have died. Partway through the story, Douglas realises that he doesn’t even know how old he is. In search of an answer, he retreats to his attic where a trunk containing remnants of younger years lies. He eventually finds his birth certificate, which shows that his “expiry date” is today. The story ends with him embracing his imminent euthanasia.

It’s an interesting concept. The authour has some very creative ideas that should play out well, but in short, they don’t. At the root of the problems are a number of obvious contradictions and even (prepare yourself) mathematical errors. Most apparent is the fact that though there is no oil left, there are cars. Now of course they could be hydrogen cars or electric cars or solar powered cars or some such. But one undeniable mistake is the existance of the electric clock. The clock would need a housing. The housing could be made out of clay, but the wires inside would also have to be insulated. Wires can’t be insulated with clay. Then there is the “Panic Winter of ’94″ where they had to burn their 200 year old clock, but then somehow didn’t have to burn the large trunk upstairs. It’s almost like the author had a bunch of good ideas of things that might happen in the future, but had no time to flesh them out or figure out the implications. Then there’s the error with the dates. the period of time from 1989 to 2049 is 60 years, not 50. I hope he fired his editor and took a math course at his community college or something.

Needless to say, I didn’t think much of the story. it seemed poorly thought out and rushed. There are so many dystopian short stories out there that are better than this one. The only really new idea that this one brought to the genre was digging up clay to make up for plastic, and the actual implications of this were nowhere to be found in the story. Perhaps I am so unimpressed because I just watched Manufactured Landscapes last night, but “No Renewal” is just another unoriginal, formulaic, dystopian short story. The idea of compulsory euthanasia, which was clearly intended to pack a powerful dramatic punch, was considerably watered down, as the idea was introduced midstory. That, and he fact that, like most ideas in this story, it’s already been done before way better (like in The Giver).

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The Novel Study


With Spring Break fast approaching, it is a good time to begin reading a novel. I can’t think of a better way to spend vacation time. You will get some say in what you’d like to read, but I do have some suggestions for you:

  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  • Shabanu by Suzanne Fisher Staples

I have copies in class for you to take a look at before you decide, and we can chat.

Karley has chosen to read The Poisonwood BibleThis Bookdrum page includes a review of the novel, discussion of setting, a glossary, a brief author bio, and a plot summary. The “Bookmarks” section is remarkable: allusions from the novel are explained and illustrated. Check it out!

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Irony Continued….


I would like you to read “An Ode to the User-Friendly Pencil” by Bonnie Lang. (handout)

There will be a number of multiple choice questions for you to answer. Consider this open book, as you make look up definitions of literary terms that you are unsure of. Circle the answers on the sheet provided and submit when complete.

You will also be asked to write a paragraph discussing the irony in the article. Please refer specifically to the piece and include quotations as support. Don’t forget to include the name of the piece and the author in your topic sentence as well as letting the reader know that the paragraph will focus on irony.

Don’t forget analysis paragraph format:

Your paragraph should
  •     make a debatable claim (the topic sentence)
  •     provide proof for that claim (the evidence or support)
  •     show how the evidence supports the claim (the analysis)
  •     contain effective transitions both within the paragraph so that the reader can follow the logic of the argument.

Submit using Google Docs.

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