We began class by discussing which prompts we responded to and why. Most students picked characterization of place and characterization of people. We discussed why these prompts were most attractive. We also discussed indirect characterization versus direct characterization. (Look these terms up if you are not familiar with them.) Fewer students chose to find and respond to quotations about writing style and narrative structure. We discussed why these prompts were more difficult and why they are important to consider.
This discussion led to the introduction of other important concepts: Aristotle's rhetorical triangle (logos=appeal to reason, pathos=appeal to emotion, ethos=appeal to trustworthiness); objective and subjective narration; and tone. (If these concepts are unfamiliar look them up.)
At the end of the first hour we then used the comment box below to share with each other three events/moments/passages in the book that we felt were most important, two characters that we thought were important even though others may have missed them, and one statement about Michael Patrick MacDonald's purpose in writing the book. If you missed Tuesday's session you should do this in the comment box below too. But because you were not present to explain your response aloud during our meeting you should explain your response in writing below.
Then we explained how particular parts of the book and particular choices made by the author contributed to MacDonald's purpose. The students present on Tuesday had a lot to say about this. We talked about style and purpose, characterization and purpose, structure and purpose. During this discussion we talked about narrative arc, juxtaposition, and emotional ambivalence. (If these concepts are unfamiliar look them up.) As we talked our understanding of MacDonald's choices (in other words, his rhetorical strategies) deepened along with our understanding of the book's purpose.If you were not present on Tuesday choose an event/moment/passage from someone else's list in the comment box below. Explain how that event/moment/passage contributed to MacDonald's purpose.
For the last sliver of class we discussed the extent to which MacDonald's point about pride is true in Gloucester. We were able to advance some interesting ideas but weren't able to dig into developing and supporting these ideas. (We'll return to our relationship to our own environments later in the year.)
We'll next meet on June 30 to discuss Nickel and Dimed. As you read look for quotations that reveal the importance of structure/organization/sequence in the narrative; the importance of the narrative voice, style, and tone; the importance of characterization and character development; and the importance of characterization of places. Gather the quotations as you read, then next week I'll post the assignment. (I'm leaving in an hour or so to spend the week camping in far northern New Hampshire. More soon.)