September 2011 Archives

My Antonia Questions for Friday

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Ch. 17-19 (Book I) and Ch. 1-6 (Book II)
1. Consider issues of gender roles. How did working in the fields change Ántonia in appearance and otherwise? Why do Jim and his grandmother disapprove?
2. What kind of chores did Ántonia do that would make the farmhands joke "in a nasty way"? (100, Ch. 17)
3. How was the feud between Jake and Ambrosch made into an issue about "foreigners"?
4. Why was Mrs. Shimerda's action kissing Mr. Burden's hand "Old World"? What does that mean and why was Mr. Burden embarrassed? (106, Ch 18)
5. How is Jim's life different from Ántonia's? What are the gender role and social class expectations in Jim's idea that Ántonia needs to be "nice" all the time?
6. When Jim moves to Black Hawk what are the activities that make him a "boy"? Why are these activities gendered male? Several female members of the Harling family cross gender roles? What makes them boyish or mannish? How does Jim view the Harling females' actions? Compare to how he views Ántonia working in the fields.
7. At the same time, how does working at the Harlings help Ántonia become more girlish? Why was this important? What does it mean that Mrs. Burden thought she had to "save" Ántonia?
8. Why was Mrs. Harling skeptical of Lina Lingard? How was Lina's life on the farm represented and why was she looked down upon?
9. Book II of the novel is titled "The Hired Girls." What does it tell us about the girls' status and how the townspeople view them?
10. What does the homeless man mean when he says "so it's Norwegians now, is it? I thought this was Americy"?

My Antonia Questions Wed. Sept 28

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Ch. 10-16
1. What were the Shimerda's circumstances in Bohemia and why did Mr. Shimerda want Ántonia to tell the Burdens?
2. What was Mrs. Burden's reaction to Mrs. Shimerda's mushrooms? How does it reflect sentiments about immigrants by the dominant culture? Why does she say the Shimerdas are "lacking in horse-sense" (64, Ch. 10 ) and what does this mean?
3. How does the narrator describe Mr. Shimerda in Ch. 12? What insight does this description give to his physical or emotional state?
4. What reaction did Mr. Shimerda have to the Burden's Christmas tree? What religion does Mr. Shimerda belong to and how did Mr. and Mrs. Burden respond to his actions? Why does Jim say that "there had been nothing strange about the tree, but now, with someone kneeling before it..." (72, Ch. 12)?
5. What does the disagreement between Jim and Ántonia tell us about Jim's attitudes toward the immigrants? What does his grandmother understand that he doesn't?
6. What are the religious beliefs about Mr. Shimerda's death that are explained in Ch. 14? What does Jim imagine about Mr. Shimerda and how does his feeling cohere with Ambrosch's beliefs about Purgatory?
7. What was the controversy about burying Mr. Shimerda in Ch. 15? How did Mrs. Burden respond to the Protestant's decision? What was her idea and how is it significant?
8. What does Mrs. Burden mean when she says that a hymn would "seem less heathenish" (93, Ch. 16)? What does this reveal about her beliefs?
9. What sentiment does Jim carry with him about the burial place? Why do you think he feels this way? What does he mean by "I loved the spirit that would not carry out the sentence" (94, Ch. 16)?

My Antonia Questions Part I

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1. What does the introduction suggest about Jim Burden's character and how he contributes to the novel?

2. What are Jim's impressions of the plains upon his arrival and throughout these first chapters? How does the landscape compare or contrast with his former home in Virginia? What is the significance of his view of the plains?

3. Read carefully the descriptions of Jim's grandparents house. What does it tell us about their status and situation? Why are the kitchen and dining room in the basement? How do you imagine the Shimerda's sod house compares with the Burden's?

4. Consider the various descriptions of the immigrants (The Russians, the Shimerdas, and others) in these chapters. How are the different immigrant groups viewed by the Burdens and Jake (European Americans)? How are the immigrants viewed by other immigrants (commonalities or conflicts)?

5. What are the character differences between Antonia's mother and father?
What kind of life can you infer the Shimerda's lived in Bohemia?

6. What interests you most about the novel to this point?

For Wednesday, read the section in A Pocket Style Manual as noted on the Reading and Assignment Schedule. Use the suggestions on integrating sources and evidence as you begin to write.

Bring a hard copy (1-1/2 to 2 pages, typed and double-spaced) rough draft of the first half of your paper to class. Begin by writing an introduction and include your revised thesis at the end of the introduction.

Choose the best evidence from the readings to support the ideas in your thesis. Find several different examples to support each element of the thesis. Then write 3-4 fully developed paragraphs in the order which best addresses the ideas in your thesis.

Paragraphs should include the following elements:
1) A topic sentence that introduces the main point you will make in the paragraph.
2) An Introduction of the source (author and title of article the first time you refer to that source) and background information about the evidence that the reader needs to know to understand the evidence
3) Then, present the specific evidence or a brief quotation.
4) Finally, analyze how the evidence supports your thesis.

As you write, consider your audience to be someone who has not read the articles and who needs full explanations of ideas. Remember the reader cannot read your mind so you need to present ideas in a logical fashion and fill in the gaps for the reader.

Be sure to save your writing on a flash drive or send it to yourself by e-mail because we will be working on the writings in class.

Finally, bring both the Pocket Style Manual and the course packet to class so you can refer to them as you are revising.

Comparison/Contrast Writing for Wednesday

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For Wednesday, read the section in A Pocket Style Manual as noted on the Reading and Assignment Schedule. Use the suggestions on integrating sources and evidence as you begin to write.

Bring a hard copy (typed and double-spaced) rough draft of the first half of your paper to class. Begin by writing an introduction and include your revised thesis at the end of the introduction.

Choose the best evidence from the readings to support the ideas in your thesis. Find several different examples for each element of the thesis. Then write 3-4 fully developed paragraphs in the order which best addresses the ideas in your thesis.

Paragraphs should include the following elements:
1) A topic sentence that introduces the main point you will make in the paragraph.
2) An Introduction of the source (author and title of article the first time you refer to that source) and background information about the evidence that the reader needs to know to understand the evidence
3) Then, present the specific evidence or a brief quotation.
4) Finally, analyze how the evidence supports your thesis.

As you write, consider your audience to be someone who has not read the articles and who needs full explanations of ideas. Remember the reader cannot read your mind so you need to present ideas in a logical fashion and fill in the gaps for the reader.

Be sure to save your writing on a flash drive or send it to yourself by e-mail because we will be working on the writings in class.

Thesis Writing

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Bring a written thesis statement to class on Monday.

To write a strong thesis:
1) Read the article on Irish immigration and add to your comparison and contrast list.

2) Reread the German and Swedish immigration articles and analyze the types of similarities and differences that exist among all three groups.

3) Synthesize this information into one or two main ideas that characterize the overall experience of immigration described in all of the articles.

4) Create an argument/thesis statement that tells the reader what you think are the most significant ideas in the articles.

5) Use specific information, rather than vague ideas. The more specific the better.

You may want to use an "Although" clause to allow for differences or contrasts among the groups or discrepancies in expectations. Example: Although all of the immigrants desired..., what they found when they arrived....

Online grammar exercises instructions

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Dear Students,

It may not be clear on the assignment schedule, but the readings in A Pocket Style Manual include doing the online grammar exercises.

First, go to the website . Then click on "Student" under "Register" on the right hand side and enter the requested information. Registration insures that you can access your scores and exercises in the future.

Important Note When Registering: Be sure to enter my e-mail address: blakedj@umn.edu, so that the program allows me to access your exercises and scores.

Next click on Grammar exercises, then Clarity and then the exercise number. As stated on the Assignment Schedule, do the exercise sets for sections 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9 in the Clarity chapter. For example, there will be a set of 10 questions in each exercise labeled, 1-1, 1-2, 1-3...; 2-1, 2-2, 2-3...; 7-1, 7-2, 7-3... etc. Be sure to save each set of exercises before you proceed to a new section.

To move to a new question, click on the orange arrow next to the exercise number (1 out 10, 2 out of 10, etc.) Finally, be sure to read the explanations for why you got the answer wrong or right so you understand the rationale behind the grammar rule.

I will extend the deadline to Friday to complete the exercises but please read and bring the book to class tomorrow.

Wednesday's Analysis

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Because we discussed the laws for the first two periods of immigration at length in class, I would like you to focus on the last two periods in your written analysis. I've listed the dates for the four major periods of immigration below. Focus your writing on who exactly the laws affected and how the laws contributed to the make-up of the U.S. population after they were enacted.

1. Colonization through 1840
2 1840-1869
3. 1870-1929
4. 1965-1997

Store or send your summary

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I hope you had time to enjoy the wonderful weather this weekend. I went to an outdoor jazz festival for a few hours last night. It was delightful.

For class tomorrow... Remember to read the section in A Portable Style Manual before you begin to write your one-page summary of the article. After you finish writing the summary, be sure to save it to a portable storage device or send it to yourself by e-mail. We will be revising the summaries in class.

Also, remember to bring a hard copy of the summary and both books to class.

Poem and Blog Subscribe

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It was great meet you all yesterday!

First, I want to remind you to subscribe to the blog feed so that you recee ive updates whenever I post a new message, which I plan to do frequently.

You might also want to "Add a Block" in Moodle for the blog. On the right side column of Moodle click on "Add a Block" and in the drop-down menu click on "add a blog," Then type in this blog address: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blakedj/myblog/. Of course, you can always click on the link I showed you in class, in the middle column of Moodle at the top..

Remember also to read and think about the meaning of the poem, The New Colossus. We will be discussing the poem briefly in class and then writing about it.

Consider the following questions as you read and reread the poem:
1) What sentiments about the U.S. as a nation and about immigrants of the late 19th century does the poem represent.
2) Do you think the same sentiment about immigrants exists today by government officials and agencies? U.S. citizens? Why or why not?
3) What is the significance that this poem was inscribed on a plague in the Statue of Liberty?

Welcome!

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Welcome to campus all first year students and hello again to returning students!

One of your first assignments for this course is a fun one. You get to create a profile and upload your photo on our Moodle course page. Be sure to describe some fun and interesting facts about yourself so that everyone in the class can get to know you.

To access the course website click on Moodle under the course name on your MYU MyCourses page. On the right hand side of the page click on My Profile

Be sure to read all the profiles of your classmates as they are posted!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2011 is the next archive.

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