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:
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
• 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:
- characterization: foil, dynamic, static, flat, round, stereotype
- plot: conflict, climax…
- irony: dramatic, verbal, situational…
- point-of-view: first person, third person, limited omniscient, omniscient…
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
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).