Response to Course Materials 2/26

The first thing that we did was our final exam project. First off, I love how open ended these are. I always have way too much fun with creating games, and when it doubles as a school assignment, I can feel productive while having fun. I spent too much time on this game for homework, but it was worth it and a ton of fun in the end. I think that most of the class enjoyed it, and if we have an open ended project for Hamlet, I can’t wait to create “Stabby Hamlet”.

I have created Stabby Macbeth, Stabby Boys (this one), and I am working on a more full featured game for a class I am taking at MSU. I always love how there are well written games, that make it more of an interactive literature experience.

After that, we covered a bunch of poetry. Hearing my classmates debate and talk about the different viewpoints made me realize that there is rarely one “true” answer for any given piece of text. There are bad answers that may lack evidence, but there are a lot of good ones, influenced by prior readings.

We then started a Shakespeare unit, with Elizabethan theatre, before jumping into Hamlet. Hamlet is a good story, albeit with some missing parts almost (I really wish that Shakespeare had written an addition for it that explained more of the plot). He died in his fifties, so it isn’t unreasonable that he may have had a sequel or prequel in mind. We read through the play, which is always nice. Polonius’ lines were a pain. He didn’t have that many, but they were literally tongue twisters.

We also did the multiple choice creation exercise. Learning what it is like from the other side does better prepare us for the AP. I had a few learning moments where I realized just how College Board designs questions, and how to exploit that to do better.

The poetry projects were very cool. I loved seeing how many people were able to have different opinions on something as short as a poem. Just being forced to sit down and analyze something isn’t something I have done since middle school. Since I have learned a ton since then, it was fun to read something and give myself time to mull it over.

My goal score on the AP exam is a 5. I need to work on my writing skills a ton, I think that I have been underperforming recently. I don’t often write out the connections I make in my head, or my thesis morphs as I write. Most of this is just practice. The only way you could help me is by grading extra AP essays that I fill out by myself, and leaving helpful feedback.

2006 Open Prompt

In Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck uses a country setting to show how primative the country can often be. He has many simple laborers working in a secluded area, where murders take place without anyone in the outside world really noticing. The country setting also manages to create some simple characters, such as Lennie and Candy. Lastly, the setting influences the dreams that the characters have while living there.

Having sheep dogs killed, and Lennie’s puppy, shows that nobody in the country of this book really cares. It is a part of life, and the people just accept it. When Candy’s sheep dog is killed, everyone accepts it, and they try to get him a new dog. Lennie pets his puppy to death, and Curley’s wife to death. The killing of a human being would ordinarily make the news, and cause sensation, but we are left thinking that soon this will only be a memory. The country setting serves to cover up some of the more viscious crimes that take place.

The setting creates a few simple characters. First we have Lennie Smalls, who has always lived in a country area with his protector, George. We have Candy, who offers his life savings for a farm, without any guile or tricks. Carlson is also a part of the story, with him playing a simple brute of a man. The country setting shows how uncomplicated many of these people are. When Candy offers giving all of his money to three strangers, only George is a little apperhensive at first. He warms up to the idea as well, something that would not happen in a city setting.

The biggest influence the country has on the story is with the dreams of the characters. Candy’s dream is to work his own land. He has spent his entire life working for other people, and now he wants to work for himself, still within the country. If this had been any other setting, he wouldn’t have wanted that. Curley’s wife wants to be a movie star, something that is as far away from the country as possible. George and Lenny’s dream is similar to Candy’s dream, to have their own farm with rabbits. Crooks wants his own garden where he can plant what he wants. All of these people clearly want things based on what they have seen. Curley’s wife wants to get out of the country, everyone else wants a better version of it for themselves.

The country setting in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men leads to many mishaps, dreams, and adventures that would not be possible without it. The pleasant setting belies many of the killings that take place there, the people have dreams due to it, and some of the characters are quite simple.