PROJECTS is a page that guides students through various projects we are developing in our classes.







Please CUT AND PASTE only what you need on to a word document;

otherwise, you will end up printing this whole page.


Your project: Go to the Museum of Contemporary Art and see this wonderful exhibition of the art of Kerry James Marshal. It's on until September 25th. Free admission on Tuesdays.


















By Maureen Dowd

Well, there goes the Jewish women's vote.

Twin revelations of Arnold Schwarzenegger's groping and goose-stepping are not going to play well with some Californians. The androgynous Gray spent the weekend hissing at Arnold's excess testosterone, as Arnold tried a rope-a-grope strategy.

The governor had to be singing "Danke Schön" over tales of the Austrian's 70's foolery: playing Nazi marching songs; clicking his heels and pretending to be an SS officer; clowning as Hitler with comb as mustache; and praising the dictator's ambition and oratorical skills. A Davis aide slyly wondered if Mel Brooks was Arnold's campaign manager.

When I was in California, Democrats said that as soon as Mr. Schwarzenegger went up in the polls, the Davis camp was prepared to blast him on women and "play it out in all its seamy glory," as one well-connected Hollywood Democrat said.

When the star's female accusers were recycled in the L.A. Times, Democratic women's groups — already in full cry against Arnold for being boorish despite his un-Bushian moderate stances on women's issues — howled even louder. They rejected his apology and explanation that he was just being "playful" when he grabbed several left breasts out of left field over the decades.

Even before the latest charges, Hillary Clinton, by phone, and Ann Richards and the lawyer Gloria Allred, in person, joined Governor Davis at a bristly rally in West Hollywood with 200 female activists, including contingents from NOW and Planned Parenthood, chanting about Arnold's sins.

At the Davis rally, Senator Clinton chose not to defend the groper who was not her husband. Ms. Richards chose not to defend the groper who was not a Democrat; in 1998, the former Texas governor shrugged off Mr. Clinton's louche behavior: "If we try to retire every man from office who's done what he did, we wouldn't need affirmative action."

Now Republicans who thundered against Bill — not Arnold, who scorned impeachment as a waste of time and money — argue that peccadilloes are not relevant to governing. And feminists who backed Bill are ushering Arnold gropees up to the Democratic microphones.

Cheekbones jutting, Maria Shriver played the Tammy Wynette-Hillary role with nerve and verve, reassuring Republican women in Newport Beach: "You can listen to the people who have never met Arnold, or who met him for five seconds 30 years ago. Or you can listen to me."

Certainly, the bodybuilder-turned-phenom has had moments of being, to use David Letterman's word, a lunkhead. But I find the selective outrage of feminists just as offensive.

Feminism died in 1998 when Hillary allowed henchlings and Democrats to demonize Monica as an unbalanced stalker, and when Gloria Steinem defended Mr. Clinton against Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones by saying he had merely made clumsy passes, then accepted rejection, so there was no sexual harassment involved. As to his dallying with an emotionally immature 21-year-old, Ms. Steinem noted, "Welcome sexual behavior is about as relevant to sexual harassment as borrowing a car is to stealing one."

Surely what's good for the Comeback Kid is good for the Terminator.

It was no surprise on Friday that Mr. S was backing off his promise to release those "Springtime for Hitler" outtakes from George Butler's 1977 documentary "Pumping Iron." No dummy, he knew years ago his "Nazi stuff" could be trouble. He bought up the incriminating evidence, 100 hours of histrionic interviews, for a mil, and worked with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, giving it a mil in guilt gilt.

I asked my friend Leon Wieseltier, who knows a lot about Judaism and politics and women, about Arnold.

"Schwarzenegger is obviously not anti-Semitic or an admirer of genocide," he said. "Hitler does not appear to have been his moral ideal, but his business model. His old fondness for the Führer is just another expression of the animating principle of his life and movies: the worship and steady acquisition of power. Sacramento is simply the biggest Hummer he can buy."

Or, if Maria is right, Arnold will be a "smart, innovative, disciplined, determined . . . can-do" leader, trying to give something back to the state where he arrived penniless.

Besides, if we ever hear the "Horst Wessel Song" drifting from Governor Schwarzenegger's office in Sacramento, there's always the blitzkrieg option: the recall of the recall.  

© Maureen Dowd, N.Y. Times 2003


Essay analyzing Maureen Dowd’s Op-Ed from the Oct 6, 2003 issue of The New York Times

In this dry, droll and ironic op-ed from the New York Times, Maureen Dowd observes the media circus surrounding the candidacy of Arnold Schwarzenegger--specifically the public’s reaction to the revelations of his politically incorrect past--then takes on the selective amnesia of his critics.

Dowd sets the droll tone with the title--“Win One for the Groper”--alluding with mock-heroic language to the famous inspirational speech Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne once gave to his team to “win one” for a dying player called “The Gipper.” The fact that the character of the young football player in the Hollywood movie was played by Ronald Reagan (arch-republican President and former governor of California in whose shoes Schwarzenegger is trying to walk) and the fact that the un-heroic word “groper” can so ironically mock the heroic “gipper,” shows that Dowd is biting as sharply as ever.

In fact, Dowd weaves through her argument by spinning many such word plays. Phrases like “rope-a-grope,” “nerve and verve,” “guilt gilt” and “the recall of the recall” show she is a very clever wordsmith indeed. But it’s in her ironic citing of references to popular culture that she suggests her agenda. In the flippant first sentence--“Well, there goes the Jewish women’s vote”--Dowd manages to both categorize Arnold’s enemies and relegate them to the status of an irrelevant focus group at the same time. This dismissive condescension continues in the next paragraph, where she mitigates Schwarzenegger’s former bad habits--touching women’s breasts and buttocks against their will and expressing positive views of Adolph Hitler--with the clever alliteration of “groping and goose-stepping.”

Is Dowd dismissing all this liberal caterwauling about as much ado about nothing? One of her most telling references alludes to the famous “rope-a-dope” strategy Muhammud Ali once used in a heavyweight championship fight with George Foreman. Ali, a showman if there ever was one, leaned back against the ropes and let Foreman punch himself out. Clearly, Dowd believes this to be Arnold’s strategy. Let his opponent, Governor Grey Davis (whom Dowd slyly refers to as “androgynous,” half-ironically suggesting that he not the real man Arnold is) continue his “hissing” (read feline and feminine), don’t react to it (“rope-a-grope”), and then watch his accuser exhaust himself.  She refers to a Davis aid, who “slyly wondered” if Arnold’s campaign manager might be Mel Brooks, the director of The Producers, a film which contained that notorious satirical musical number, “Springtime for Hilter.” The word “slyly” suggests a smugness, both in the tone of the campaign manager and in the subtle revulsion to it in Dowd’s reaction. Also, she seems quite pleased to hint at the self-satisfied tone of the well connected Hollywood Democrat who said that this would “play out in all its seamy glory.” And when she implies that Davis must have been singing “Danke Schön,” a sappy faux German love song often associated with Wayne Newton, godfather of Las Vegas showmanship, it mocks both the entire political spectacle and the cheesy quality of the Davis campaign.

As she rocks on her sarcastic hobby-horse, we quickly get to what bothers her; it's the Democratic women’s groups who seem to be unfairly reviling Mr. Schwarzenegger. She has a bone to pick, accusing them of using a double standard, pointing out how they have conveniently forgotten Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and/or have “contextualized” it. She accusingly quotes Ann Richard’s somewhat dismissive remark over the affair: “If we try to retire every man from office who’s done what he did, we wouldn’t need affirmative action.” She even takes a swipe at the classic liberal family--the Kennedys (Shriver's family)--by referring to her defiant defense of Arnold (“cheekbones jutting”) to a “Tammy Wynette-Hillary role." Wynette, of course, is famous for the country music hit (read conservative values) “Stand By Your Man.”

Dowd’s tone turns even more mocking and strident when she suggests that the feminist movement is bankrupt, arguing that they sold their soul down the river when “Hillary allowed henchlings” to “demonize Monica” and when Gloria Steinem, one of the founders of the feminist movement, excused Bill’s other “peccadilloes.” In short, they shouldn’t be calling the kettle black. This thesis is clearly articulated with the dry and mock-judicious sentence: “Surely what’s good for the Comeback Kid is good for the Terminator.”

By the end it is pretty clear that Dowd has come down on Arnold’s side. She twice mentions positions he’s taken that should seem reasonable to moderates--his strong stand on women’s issues and his belief that the Clinton impeachment was a waste of time--but have been ignored in the flurry of accusations. She even cites Leon Wieseltier, editor and historian, who states that Schwarzenegger is not a closet Nazi. Wieseltier believes  Schwarzenegger’s admiration for Hitler was “another expression of the animating principal of his life …worship and steady acquisition of power.” By using Wieseltier’s ethos--a respected thinker and a Jew--Dowd would have the reader buy into the idea that Schwarzenegger’s beliefs can also be “contextualized.” She finishes by lathering on some Horatio Alger pathos, referring to Shriver’s remarks (and who can we trust if we can’t trust Dowd telling us to trust Arnold’s wife) that Arnold will be “innovative, disciplined and determined” because he came here “penniless.”

Dowd’s piece is witty, condescending, and snide, suggesting a distinct distance and disgust with the American left. One doesn't have to wander far from her opening line--a good-riddance-we-don’t-need-them-high jacking-the-political-dialogue--to recognize her views smack of a thinly veiled neo-conservatism.




November 27, 2003

WWASHINGTON — Maybe it's so touching because Alonzo Mourning seemed so tough.

"A cartoon image of toughness," as our sports editor, Tom Jolly, puts it, "a rugged 6-foot-10, larger-than-life guy with a great work ethic, an aggressive player who had been the Knicks' archenemy when he played for Miami."

The enduring image of "Zo" to many fans was the night of April 30, 1998, when the Miami star slugged it out with the Knicks' Larry Johnson in the last second of a playoff game, with Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy hanging on to Mr. Mourning's leg in a vain attempt to stop him.

But now that virile image has been supplanted with a vulnerable one: the 33-year-old walking away from his $23 million comeback deal with the Nets because his doctor says that his chronic kidney disease has grown so bad he can no longer play without risking cardiac arrest

Upon learning that Mr. Mourning would need a kidney transplant, dozens of people from across the country, including some Knicks fans, called the Kidney and Urology Foundation to offer their kidneys.

Elaine Berg, head of the New York Organ Donor Network, was happy to see the issue getting attention, but called it a shame "that it takes a personal tragedy of someone famous like Alonzo to raise awareness when 17 people on the list die each day — 17 personal tragedies."

Like my brother Michael, who was fortunate enough to have our niece, Jennifer, offer him half of her liver and be an eligible match, Mr. Mourning could be lucky and find a donor among his fans or family. If he had to wait for a deceased donor kidney, he would join the other 56,355 Americans languishing on the blind list. Ms. Berg says that median waiting time for his blood type — O — is 4.4 years.

(African-Americans make up 12 percent of the population but 35 percent of the waiting list for kidneys because they have a higher proportion of kidney disease, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.)

We will have Michael at our family Thanksgiving table today thanks to the gutsy Jen, pictured wearing a cut-out dress I gave her to show off her scar at the 25th anniversary dinner of the New York Organ Donor Network.

Today is the perfect day to talk turkey to your family about your desire to donate. As a reformed irrational nondonor, I know it's not simple.

Hundreds of readers sent poignant e-mails. Nehama Glogower was a committed organ donor when she lost her brother Noam in a biking accident. He, too, was a donor, giving his kidneys, liver, heart valves and corneas.

"Just when you are barely capable of breathing, you are called upon to reach beyond yourself and extend empathy to a total stranger," she wrote. "It is an unimaginable stretch of human capacity. While we prepared for the funeral, my thoughts kept straying to what was going on in the hospital. Were they opening him up now? The brutal violation of his body was ever present in my thoughts, even while I knew that it meant life for someone else."

Larry Kramer, the vociferous AIDS activist who received a liver transplant last December, says that checking the box on our driver's licenses is small potatoes.

"Each transplant center putting a person on staff to be conscious of who in the hospital is getting ready to die and lining up his/her body in advance is probably the best way," he wrote. "That's what Spain does."

He railed that Tommy Thompson and Bill Frist, a former transplant surgeon "who should know better," are doing so little to rectify the organ shortage that "it is a monumental tragedy of inhumane proportions."

Lara Rios, a good friend of Lyric Benson — the lovely Yale grad murdered by her ex-boyfriend — wrote to say that it was a shock to hear that Lyric's mother had harvested her daughter's organs for donation.

"I think many of us supported organ donation in principle and theory, but in practice, with our friend, it was painful to hear that her precious body was further ripped apart," Ms. Rios said. "I think our pain clouded the ultimate beauty of her mother's decision. As her aunt articulated, Lyric's body built others, and part of her life continued to grow in the people she saved. . . . I often think about my friend and I know she is still alive both in heaven and on earth."

 © New York Times 2003  



October 26, 2003

WASHINGTON -- As much as I love to argue, especially in front of vast national television audiences, I had to bow out when a popular cable TV talk show recently asked me to debate author Abigail Thernstrom on the delicate topic of the academic achievement gap between black and white students.

Thernstrom, a liberal supporter of the civil rights movement for most of her life, has become a leading neo-conservative voice on the U. S. Civil Rights Commission since her appointment by President Bush.

Her latest book, co-authored with her husband Stephan Thernstrom, "No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning," (Simon & Schuster ), argues that black and Hispanic students do not perform as well as white and Asian students because their parents do not push the value of education on their children as much.

The program's booker was looking for someone to argue against that position. "I can't do that," I told the booker. "I agree with her position, although I'm sure my 14-year-old son would have another view."

There was a brief moment of silence on the other end of the line. I felt my shot at the national limelight evaporate and they would not be interested in booking my son. That's show biz.

The program needed an argument--Sparks! Fire! Invective!-- not a discussion. Yet, ironically, reasoned and candid discussion is precisely what the persistent racial achievement gap needs.

One of the most disturbing disappointments in the years since the 1960s civil rights revolution is that the black-white academic performance gap (as much as four years by the time they graduate high school) persists, even among children of the new black middle class.

For that reason, whether I agree with everything the Thernstroms have to say or not (And I have disagreed with them regarding the merits of affirmative action), I appreciate their contribution to an issue that has, by no means, been over-discussed. In fact, if we could solve the racial academic achievement gap, our need for affirmative action would evaporate with it.

Yet, whites are not the top performing group. As the Thernstroms point out, the gap between white and Asian-American student performance is actually wider than the gap between blacks and whites, with Hispanics performing about as poorly as blacks.

Among the most intriguing possible reasons for this disparity is an intriguing group difference in the way students measure their family's "trouble threshold," according to one study that the Thernstroms cite. The "trouble threshold" is the lowest grade that students think they can receive before their parents go volcanic with anger and start clamping down on TV time, etc. In the survey by Laurence Steinberg, a Temple University social scientist, published in his 1996 book, "Beyond the Classroom," most of the black and Hispanic students surveyed said they could avoid trouble at home as long as their grades stayed above C-minus.

Most of the whites, by contrast, said their parents would give them a hard time if their children came home with anything less than a B-minus.

By contrast, most of the Asian students, whether immigrant or native-born, said that their parents would be upset if they brought home anything less than an A-minus.

Unlike most non-Asian parents, who tended to think of academic success in terms of innate ability, good fortune, teacher bias or other matters "outside their personal control," Steinberg found that Asian parents tended to believe that academic performance depended entirely on how hard they worked.

Is that standard too harsh? Despite the contrary view of certain teen-agers I know, I don't. Instead I am startled by another study that the Thernstroms cite which found that nearly a third of black twelfth graders spent five or more hours on school nights in front of TV sets. Some called it their "social homework." Whatever they may call it, their TV viewership was five times the proportion of whites and more than twice that for Latinos.

Another study found that the average white kindergartner had 93 books at home, twice the average of their black classmates' homes.

The result, as Harvard economist Ronald Ferguson found a few years ago, is that almost half of the black middle and high school pupils in 15 affluent school districts said they "completely" understood the teacher's lesson only "half the time or less"--almost twice the figure for whites in answer to the same question.

"Black folks don't want white folks coming into their communities and saying, `You ought to be more like us'," said Ferguson, who is black. Yet, he insists, the point needs to be confronted. He's right. Before we lose another generation, we need to have higher expectations for our children and their schools. No excuses.


© Chicago Tribune 2003



November 26, 2003

SONSONATE, El Salvador

Pope John Paul II would be scandalized if he came to the Roman Catholic hospital here in the poor southwestern part of El Salvador.

The Vatican is increasingly out of touch and exerts a reactionary — even, in this world of AIDS, deadly — influence on health policy in the developing world. Here in El Salvador, church leaders in 1998 helped ban abortions even when necessary to save the life of a woman, and, much worse, helped pass a law, which took effect last month, requiring condoms to carry warnings that they do not protect against AIDS.

Thank God!


In El Salvador, where only 4 percent of women use contraceptives the first time they have sex, this law will mean more kids dying of AIDS. The reality is that condoms no more cause sex than umbrellas cause rain.

Here at the grass roots, the Catholic Church is a vibrant, flexible organization enormously different from the out-of-touch Vatican. At the Catholic-run hospital here in Sonsonate, doctors tell women about IUD's and the pill — and especially about using condoms to protect against AIDS. Their humanitarian work is a reminder that the Catholic Church is much greater than the Vatican: local priests and nuns often ignore the troglodytes in Rome and quietly do what they can to save parishioners from AIDS.

"The bishop is in San Salvador and never comes here," explains Dr. Martha Alica De Regalada. "So we never get in trouble."

The Vatican has consistently opposed condoms and safe-sex education, even claiming falsely that condoms don't protect against AIDS. That's on par with the church under Pope Urban VIII putting Galileo under house arrest — except that this will have more deadly results.

Yet I take my hat off to the much broader Catholic Church that is toiling in the barrios of Latin America and the slums of Africa and Asia. Catholic Relief Services, one of the most vigorous aid organizations in the third world, is an example of humanitarianism at its noblest.

At ground level, priests apply doctrine with a flexibility that must drive the pope wild. In the desperately poor Salvadoran hillside village of Chucita, where campesinos live in shacks without water or electricity, a teacher explained how his fifth-grade class learns about dealing with AIDS.

"A social worker comes in with a banana and puts a condom on it," said the teacher, Eduardo Antonio Ascencio Mata. The priests, he says, have no objection.

In the remote Guatemalan town of Coatepeque, Maryknoll sisters run a first-rate AIDS clinic and prevention program, saving lives on a vast scale. They work with prostitutes and school children and explain how condoms can protect against AIDS.

So what about Vatican teachings?

"Certainly, God does not want us to kill each other," responded Marlene Condon, who works with AIDS patients. "You've got to do something."

Elsewhere in Coatepeque, some priests hold meetings where young people preparing for confirmation learn about AIDS — and condoms.

The Vatican has appointed hard-line bishops to eviscerate liberation theology and bring parishes back into line. Still, the French and German bishops' conferences have urged that condoms be permitted to fight AIDS, and Bishop Kevin Dowling of South Africa is pushing hard for the church to change policy to save lives.

Just this month, Catholics for a Free Choice and 20 other Catholic organizations called on bishops to accept condoms as a way to fight AIDS.

The irony is that no organization does more to help AIDS victims and their orphans than the Catholic Church. Some 25 percent of AIDS care worldwide is provided by church- related groups. Yet the Vatican blindly opposes condoms, even within a marriage when a husband or wife is infected with H.I.V. A member of the Kenyan Parliament has called the church "the greatest impediment in the fight against H.I.V./AIDS."

Let's hope the Vatican will learn from its priests and nuns on the ground, who do so much heroic work fighting the disease. In Coatepeque, I spoke with Father Mario Adolfo Dominguez, who sighed as I grilled him on the theology of condoms.

"We don't recommend the use of condoms, but we're not opposed to their use because we know they prevent AIDS," he said, looking nervous as I wrote down his words. "There is no contradiction between Christianity and a piece of rubber."

©  2003 New York TImes



November 26, 2003

AAccording to legend, New York lore and two major Hollywood flicks, Macy's Santa is the real deal. And tomorrow, to the delight of millions of little children (not to mention the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court), the Santa in New York's great parade will be half of a same-sex couple.

And guess who the other half will be? Me! Harvey Fierstein, nice Jewish boy from Bensonhurst, dressed in holiday finery portraying the one and only Mrs. Claus.

Won't America get a kick out of that? But what if Santa really was gay? Could there be a another Mr. Claus? Would those grinches who, as we speak, are fashioning legislation to deny marriage to gay and lesbian Americans make an exception for the jolly old soul? What has Santa ever done except bring joy and gifts to all? Just the sight of his face is enough to bring a smile to the Scroogiest of politicians. Would his gifts of love and goodwill be answered with exclusion and derision?

The answer, history tells us, is "of course." Consider the Americans who have rained nothing but glory on our nation. Think about the magnificent works of Walt Whitman, James Baldwin and Hart Crane. They're just a handful of writers who shaped the American vision and yet could not achieve full citizenship because they were homosexual. How many wedding parties have walked down the aisle to the music of Virgil Thompson, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman or Aaron Copland? Yes, we get to provide the music, but we are not allowed to get married ourselves. The next time you stand, hand on your heart, and sing "America the Beautiful," remind yourself that we owe those towering words to Katharine Lee Bates, a lesbian.

Remind yourself, too, of the Rev. Mychal F. Judge, the fire department chaplain who was killed on September 11. There was hardly a religious leader in our city who did not glorify his name and hold him up as someone to emulate. But remind them that he was a proud and openly gay man and those same moralists will turn their backs in denial.

The unhappy tradition continues today. The Bush administration spends billions spreading freedom abroad while at home it devises legislation to deny equal rights to gays and lesbians. What is it with you people, anyway? Are you so insecure about the way you handle marriage that you're scared gay folk will show you up? Trust me, we will make as much of a mess out of matrimony as you do. Just give us a chance.

In the end all I can say is this: If I really was Santa's life partner, you can believe that he would ask and I would tell about who has been naughty or nice on this issue. Still, as we approach the holiday season I'd like to imagine that fear and bigotry will not prevail in this land. Maybe this holiday season we can toss out some of the intolerance that nests in our hearts and make room for more love and acceptance.

Of course, there will be those who say, Santa Claus lives near Canada and isn't even an American. To them I reply, neither is anyone who would deny a person full citizenship because of whom he or she loves. Besides, we've been looking at a time share on the Cape. Happy holiday and remember to wave to me on my float. I'll be the man in the big red dress.

Harvey Fierstein won the 2003 Tony Award for his performance in "Hairspray."

© New York Times 2003 



November 27, 2003

AUSTIN, Texas -- Wow! Not one, but two huge, horrible, last-minute life-changing bills, and the second is even worse than the first! Record-shattering bad legislation immediately eclipsed by record-shattering bad legislation. These Republicans have talent: It is not easy to do this much damage to people's lives with a straight face and that unctuous air of piety.

I like the timing too--slipped that Medicare deform bill through just in time for the drug companies, the insurance companies and the HMOs to give loud hosannas around their Thanksgiving tables.

Oh, and as for you senior citizens who believed that amusing little claim that you would all benefit from this bill--suckers! According to Public Citizen, pharmaceutical companies have given $44 million since 1999--78 percent to Republicans, 22 percent to Democrats--and spent millions more hiring an army of lobbyists that outnumbers the 535 members of Congress. The Health Reform Program of Boston University estimates that of the bill's $400 billion price tag, $139 billion will go to increase drug-company profits over eight years, a 38 percent increase in what is already the world's most profitable industry.

But forget about the Medicare bill--it won't take effect until 2006 anyway, so you won't even notice what it does until then. Regard the even more amazing energy bill. In case you haven't been keeping up, there is a gasoline additive called MTBE that has polluted groundwater across the country. So naturally, the Republicans have put in a provision that would limit the liability of the manufacturers of MTBE--that means you can't sue them for ruining the water--and the bill would give the companies up to $2 billion in federal aid. Congratulations! That means you, the users of MTBE-polluted water across the nation, will get to pay for cleaning it up.

This is an amazing energy bill because it does not: A) reduce our dependence on foreign oil, B) provide significant new energy sources, C) create many jobs, D) improve the grid system so we won't have more blackouts, E) promote energy efficiency or conservation or F) do anything about global warming.

But it will cost at least $20 billion in subsidies to fossil fuel companies. Those poor li'l oil, gas, coal and nuclear companies like Exxon/Mobil and General Electric need our help--this is compassionate conservatism.

We would, of course, tell you who wrote this abomination, except Dick Cheney, who headed the task force, doesn't think any of us should know where this law came from, and the Republicans who have been working on it in secret for months met in secret. Democrats were not even admitted to the committee meetings.

The environmental groups still are going through it, finding new horrors hidden away. Greenwire, a leading source for daily coverage of environmental and energy politics and policy, reports that "Section 349 would remove the discretion of the Interior Department to deny applications to drill amid onshore and offshore lands--upon receiving an application to drill in a leased area, the department would have 10 days to determine whether additional information is required to grant a permit. Once the information is provided, the department must approve the application regardless of whether drilling would damage the environment."

I like that. Suppose the additional information required shows the company to be a notorious polluter, responsible for numerous previous spills and even blowouts. Nothing to be done.

The Natural Resources Defense Council reports that the bill rolls back environmental protections to boost oil and gas drilling on American's last remaining wild lands and open spaces. It also means eliminating consumer protections and subsidizing construction of new nuclear plants most Americans don't want, and it means exempting polluters from laws that ensure clear water and healthy air. A provision seriously weakening the Clean Air Act was inserted at the last minute behind closed doors.

And the sin of omission once again outweighs all the sins of commission, even in this stupefyingly bad bill. Our economy wastes more energy than any other country, perhaps as much as half of our total energy. This bill does nothing to encourage energy efficiency or fuel economy standards. The cheapest thing we can do about energy is save it--but of course if we conserve energy and make our cars more efficient, that means lower profits for oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries.

No wonder the energy companies have given more than $71 million in contributions to politicians, over 80 percent to Republicans, since 1999. They're getting a $20 billion return on that little investment just in direct subsidies, and there is much more in the bill in indirect subsidies. Folks, it is time to get serious about fixing this system.

Copyright © 2003, Chicago Tribune



November 30, 2003


II stood on the sidewalk in London the other day and watched thousands of antiwar, anti-George Bush, anti-Tony Blair protesters pass by. They chanted every antiwar slogan you could imagine and many you couldn't print. It was entertaining — but also depressing, because it was so disconnected from the day's other news.


Just a few hours earlier, terrorists in Istanbul had blown up a British-owned bank and the British consulate, killing or wounding scores of British and Turkish civilians. Yet nowhere could I find a single sign in London reading, "Osama, How Many Innocents Did You Kill Today?" or "Baathists — Hands Off the U.N. and the Red Cross in Iraq." Hey, I would have settled for "Bush and Blair Equal Bin Laden and Saddam" — something, anything, that acknowledged that the threats to global peace today weren't just coming from the White House and Downing Street.


Sorry, but there is something morally obtuse about holding an antiwar rally on a day when your own people have been murdered — and not even mentioning it or those who perpetrated it. Watching this scene, I couldn't help but wonder whether George Bush had made the liberal left crazy. It can't see anything else in the world today, other than the Bush-Blair original sin of launching the Iraq war, without U.N. approval or proof of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.


Believe me, being a liberal on every issue other than this war, I have great sympathy for where the left is coming from. And if I didn't, my wife would remind me. It would be a lot easier for the left to engage in a little postwar reconsideration if it saw even an ounce of reflection, contrition or self-criticism coming from the conservatives, such as Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, who drove this war, yet so bungled its aftermath and so misjudged the complexity of postwar Iraq. Moreover, the Bush team is such a partisan, ideological, nonhealing administration that many liberals just want to punch its lights out — which is what the Howard Dean phenomenon is all about.


But here's why the left needs to get beyond its opposition to the war and start pitching in with its own ideas and moral support to try to make lemons into lemonade in Baghdad:

First, even though the Bush team came to this theme late in the day, this war is the most important liberal, revolutionary U.S. democracy-building project since the Marshall Plan. The primary focus of U.S. forces in Iraq today is erecting a decent, legitimate, tolerant, pluralistic representative government from the ground up. I don't know if we can pull this off. We got off to an unnecessarily bad start. But it is one of the noblest things this country has ever attempted abroad and it is a moral and strategic imperative that we give it our best shot.


Unless we begin the long process of partnering with the Arab world to dig it out of the developmental hole it's in, this angry, frustrated region is going to spew out threats to world peace forever. The next six months in Iraq — which will determine the prospects for democracy-building there — are the most important six months in U.S. foreign policy in a long, long time. And it is way too important to leave it to the Bush team alone.

On Iraq, there has to be more to the left than anti-Bushism. The senior Democrat who understands that best is the one not running for president — Senator Joe Biden. He understands that the liberal opposition to the Bush team should be from the right — to demand that we send more troops to Iraq, and more committed democracy builders, to do the job better and smarter than the Bush team has.


Second, we are seeing — from Bali to Istanbul — the birth of a virulent, nihilistic form of terrorism that seeks to kill any advocates of modernism and pluralism, be they Muslims, Christians or Jews. This terrorism started even before 9/11, and is growing in the darkest corners of the Muslim world. It is the most serious threat to open societies, because one more 9/11 and we'll really see an erosion of our civil liberties. Ultimately, only Arabs and Muslims can root out this threat, but they will do that only when they have ownership over their own lives and societies. Nurturing that is our real goal in Iraq.

"In general," says Robert Wright, author of "Nonzero," "too few who opposed the war understand the gravity of the terrorism problem, and too few who favored it understand the subtlety of the problem."


For my money, the right liberal approach to Iraq is to say: We can do it better. Which is why the sign I most hungered to see in London was, "Thanks, Mr. Bush. We'll take it from here."   

©  New York Times 2003



November 30, 2003



They are pretty.


Pretty and soothing.


Soothing and smooth.


Smooth and light.


Light and watery.


The eight designs for a memorial at ground zero, gleaming with hanging candles and translucent tubes and reflecting pools and the smiling faces of those killed on 9/11, aim to transcend. And they succeed.


They transcend terror. They have the banality of no evil. They represent the triumph of atmosphere over atrocity, mood over meaning. The designs are more concerned with the play of light on water than the play of darkness on life.


They have taken the heaviest event in modern American history and made the lightest memorials.


As I walked around the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center, looking at the finalists in the competition held by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, it was hard to feel any connection to the grotesque evil that had crashed into innocence right outside these windows two years ago, the evil that still radiates from that huge pit and makes you mutter imprecations against Osama bin Laden.


"The designs are horribly, horribly bland," mourned Eric Gibson in The Wall Street Journal.


The ugliness of Al Qaeda's vicious blow to America is obscured by these prettified designs, which look oddly like spas or fancy malls or aromatherapy centers. It's easy to visualize toned women with yoga mats strolling through these New Age pavilions filled with waterfalls and floating trees and sunken gardens and suspended votives. Mass murder dulled by architectural Musak.


The designs are reflections of our psychobabble culture, exuding that horrible and impossible concept, closure. Our grief and anger have been sentimentalized and stripped of a larger historical and moral purpose.


Even the names of the models sound like books by Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson: "Garden of Lights," "Inversion of Light," "Votives in Suspension," "Suspending Memory," "Reflecting Absence," "Passages of Light: The Memorial Cloud." All ambient light and transient emotion — nothing raw or harsh or rough on which the heart and mind can collide.


The spontaneous memorials that sprang up right after 9/11, both near ground zero and at police and fire stations around the city, had more power and raw passion. What's missing from the designs is some trace of what actually happened on this ground. Why not return that twisted metal skeleton cross to the site, the one that made the World Trade Center ruins such a chilling and indelible memory for the thousands of Americans who flocked to ground zero in the months after the attack?


That's what makes other memorials, like Pearl Harbor's sunken Arizona, which still emits oil bubbles almost 62 years later, and the rebuilt Berlin church that retained its bombed spire, so emotionally affecting. They remain witnesses to the evils of modern history.

The fussy 9/11 designs also lack the power of narrative. With its black marble gravitas, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial tells the anguished story of how America got sucked in deeper and deeper, with the death toll rising along with the memorial's V-shape design.

Like the White House, these designs turn away from examining what went wrong and offer no instruction. How were we so vulnerable to attack? Who are our terrorist foes? Why do they hate us? The Holocaust museum in Washington shows that you do not have to choose between reflection and instruction; it offers both.


There's no darkness in these designs, literally or metaphorically. They have taken death and finality out of this pulverized graveyard.


At a debate last year at Columbia with Daniel Libeskind, the architect whose firm submitted the first plan, which failed to garner support, Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, suggested that the site itself has so much power that a flag and a void would suffice.

"Lower Manhattan must not be transformed into a vast mausoleum, obviously," he said, "but neither must it be transformed into a theme park for advanced architectural taste."

The memorial cannot be sunshine-and-light therapy to make current generations feel they have moved beyond grief and shock. It must be witness and guide to future generations so they can understand the darkness of what scarred this earth.

© New York Times 2003



Dec 4, 2003


WWASHINGTON — Russia's future will be defined as much by geology as by ideology. Unfortunately, while leaders can pick their ideology, they don't have much of a choice when it comes to geology.


Russia has a lot of oil, and this inescapable geological fact will determine many of the policy choices available to it. Oil and gas now account for roughly 20 percent of Russia's economy, 55 percent of all its export earnings and 40 percent of its total tax revenues. Russia is the world's second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia, and its subsoil contains about 30 percent of the world's gas reserves. It already supplies 30 percent of Europe's gas needs. And Russia's oil and gas industry will only become more important. No other sector has the potential to be as internationally competitive, or as profitable.

Yet such growth is also dangerous. Russia risks becoming, and in many respects may already be, a "petrostate." In the debate set off by the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former chief executive of Yukos Oil and Russia's richest man, over what kind of country Russia is becoming, its characteristics as a petrostate deserve as much attention as the Kremlin's factional struggles.


Petrostates are oil-rich countries plagued by weak institutions, a poorly functioning public sector, and a high concentration of power and wealth. The gulf between a petrostate's rich natural resources and the chronic poverty of its citizens often leads to political unrest and frustration. Nigeria and Venezuela are good examples.


That Russia is rich in oil is old news. What's new are the changes in politics, technology and markets in the petroleum sector. Throughout the 1990's, privatization and innovations in exploration and drilling brought into production oil fields that had hitherto been underperforming or off limits. To energy companies worried about growing domestic instability among the major oil exporters of the Middle East, Russia became an attractive hedge.


Regardless of its political turmoil, Russia will continue to appeal to oil companies. They know how to operate profitably in countries with weak property rights and unstable politics, and sooner or later Russia's beguiling geology will attract companies that cannot afford to be left out of some of the world's richest oil reservoirs.

But what's good for the energy markets is not necessarily good for Russia. When oil revenues flood a nation that has a weak system of democratic checks and balances, dysfunctional politics and economics ensue. A strong democracy and an effective public sector help explain why oil has not distorted Norway the way it has Nigeria or Venezuela. A lot of oil, combined with weak public institutions, fuels poverty, inequality and corruption. It also undermines democracy.


The economic effects are more noticeable. A country whose economy relies mostly on oil exports inevitably has an exchange rate that encourages imports and hinders exports. Such an imbalance favors oil at the expense of other sectors, like agriculture and manufacturing, as their products become more expensive abroad.


And while oil generates export revenues and taxes for the government, it creates few jobs. Despite its enormous economic weight, Russia's oil and gas industry employs just two million workers out of an economically active population of 67 million. Also, since the price of oil is volatile, petrostates suffer constantly from boom-bust cycles. The busts leave in their trail banking crises and public budget cuts that hurt the poor disproportionately.


Even the tax revenue generated by oil is a mixed blessing. Petrostates commonly suffer from a narrow tax base. In Russia, for example, the 10 largest companies account for about half of total tax revenues.


The political consequences of all this are corrosive. Thanks to the inevitable concentration of the industry into a few large firms, owners and managers acquire enormous political clout. In turn, corruption often thrives, as a handful of politicians and government regulators make decisions that are worth millions to these companies.

Nationalizing the oil industry fails to solve these problems: state-owned oil companies often become relatively independent and are rife with corruption, inefficiency and politicization. Privatizing the industry without strong regulatory and tax agencies is also not a solution, as private monopolists are no better than public ones.


In petrostates, bitter fights over the control and distribution of the nation's oil revenues become the gravitational center of political life. It is no accident that the current crisis in Russia hinges on control of the country's largest oil company and the political uses of its profits.


But Russia is not Nigeria. It is a large, complex country with a highly educated population, a relatively strong technological base and an economy that is still somewhat diversified. A strong and independent public sector, tempered by the checks and balances of a truly democratic system, will help Russia to compensate for the economic and political weaknesses that plague all countries where oil is the biggest industry and the most potent political force. Such institutions are essential if Russia is to overcome the crippling effects of its ideological past and its geological present.


Moisés Naím is editor of Foreign Policy magazine.


© 2003 New York Times



Dec 5, 2003


AMHERST, Mass.--This year marks the 150th anniversary of Commodore Matthew Perry's fabled "opening" of Japan. If you said, "Commodore who?" you wouldn't be alone. Commodore Perry — Matthew Calbraith Perry, to be exact — has faded from American memory, even though every Japanese school child knows his name.


In 1853, Perry brought a fleet of four heavily armed "Black Ships" into Edo Bay, near present-day Tokyo, and demanded, in the name of President Millard Fillmore, that Japan open its ports to American ships. Japan, which had been closed to foreigners for more than two centuries, complied, and Perry steamed home expecting a hero's welcome.

He was disappointed, for Washington had more pressing concerns than a tiny archipelago across the Pacific: namely, the extension of slavery into the West and the threatening noises about secession from Southern senators. Perry decided he needed public relations help. He asked Nathaniel Hawthorne, then United States consul in Liverpool, England, if he might consider writing a book about the opening of Japan, with Perry as hero.

Hawthorne was tempted. As he wrote in his journal on Dec. 28, 1854, "It would be a very desirable labor for a young literary man, or for that matter, an old one; for the world can scarcely have in reserve a less hackneyed theme than Japan." But Hawthorne had other books on his mind, and suggested that Perry approach Herman Melville, who knew something about the Pacific. Perry, stupidly, decided to write the book himself, a wooden performance that did nothing to enhance his reputation.


Today, Perry's image still needs burnishing in his own country. He has what you might call a Columbus problem: he is seen as more an invader than an explorer. This is unfair. Perry came in search of treaties, not territory. However imperious his manner, his aims — at least with regard to Japan — were not imperialist. Backed by his guns, he opened Japanese ports to foreign goods and ideas; but he also opened the way for Western understanding of Japan.


It's worth remembering that the United States did not occupy Japan. Instead, Japan took one look at Perry's steamships and cannons and decided to modernize the country — and quick. In the span of 50 years, Japan turned itself into an industrial power, learning watch-making from the Swiss and war-making from the Prussians, and won a place among the world powers in the ghastly battles of the Russo-Japanese War.

Yet some Japanese questioned whether this was progress. In "The Book of Tea," published in 1906, Kakuzo Okakura observed that the average Westerner was accustomed "to regard Japan as barbarous while she indulged in the gentle arts of peace: he calls her civilized since she began to commit wholesale slaughter on Manchurian battlefields."


The truth is, though, that Perry didn't really open Japan. He did the easy part: showing off American firepower to the gaping samurai on shore, and forcing a trade agreement on the emperor. But there was a second, slower, more significant opening, which required actual understanding — of Buddhism, for example, and the traditional arts of judo and the tea ceremony.


This cultural opening was the result of patient effort by dedicated men and women who saw more in Japan than good harbors and coal for whaling ships. They were people like Edward Sylvester Morse, who traveled to Japan in 1877 to teach Darwin's theory of evolution to the Japanese and ended up as the world's authority on Japanese ceramics, or his younger contemporary, Ernest Fenollosa, who taught Emerson and Hegel at Tokyo Imperial University before falling in love with Buddhist painting and sculpture.


This sort of opening is as much an internal process as an external one. People talk about the Japanese influence on America; you might call this the "particle theory" of cultural exchange. But what we see in the 150 years of Japanese-American interaction is something more complicated and harder to name. Maybe we need a "wave theory" of cultural exchange, to explain the constant oscillation between East and West.


That oscillation continues today, in movies like "Lost in Translation" and "The Last Samurai." Both movies take as their heroes broken-down Americans, hired by the Japanese, who find unexpected regeneration in opening themselves to Japan. In "The Last Samurai," Nathan Algren, the hollowed-out Civil War veteran played by Tom Cruise, comes to Japan to modernize its army. He is typical of those oscillating 19th-century Americans who found that Old Japan had more to teach them than they could offer in return. Like his samurai sword, inscribed "I belong to the warrior in whom the old ways have joined the new," Algren forges himself into an alloy of East and West.


Not long ago we learned that Bob Dylan, in his album "Love and Theft," had taken some lines from a Japanese book called "Confessions of a Yakuza," by Junichi Saga. These similarities gave rise to some understandable hand-wringing about plagiarism and cultural appropriation. But Bob Dylan is just another example of the great wave of Japanese-American cultural oscillation. This is Bob Dylan, for crying out loud, the guy who was born Robert Zimmerman in Minnesota, adopted as his last name the first name of a Welsh poet, and modeled himself on Woody Guthrie.


Could it be that his saga, not to mention the flurry of movies about Japan and self-discovery, are signs that finally, 150 years after Perry cracked open the door to Japan and sailed away, the real opening has taken place?


Christopher Benfey, professor of English at Mount Holyoke College, is author of "The Great Wave: Gilded Age Misfits, Japanese Eccentrics, and the Opening of Old Japan

© 2003 New York Times



Dec 9, 2003


WWASHINGTON — This fall, more than 10 million Americans went hunting. Some met with success, maybe even managing to bring home some ducks or geese or a deer. Of those who returned empty-handed, many did so with the knowledge that a fair hunt comes with no guarantees.


A growing number of people, however, are embracing a different set of rules — they're taking part in hunts that are largely rigged. In the United States, there are at least 4,000 "canned hunting" operations, where people may pay thousands of dollars to pursue trophy animals that have little chance to escape. Bird-shooting operations offer pheasants, quail, partridges and mallard ducks, sometimes dizzying the birds and planting them in front of hunters or tossing them from towers toward waiting shotguns.


At ranches catering to big-game enthusiasts, hunters can shoot exotic species native to five continents — everything from addax to zebra. "Tired of traveling, spending money and coming home with nothing to show for it?" reads an advertisement on the Web site for Old Stone Fence Hunting Adventures in Rensselaer Falls, N.Y. "Book your successful trophy hunt today! . . . No license required; no harvest — no charge." Though enterprises like this claim to offer "fair chase" hunts, the promise is hollow, since the animals are confined in fences and the money changes hands only if the hunter gets a trophy.


How does an Arabian oryx or a Russian boar find its way to a hunting ground in Pennsylvania or Texas? Many are obtained at exotic animal auctions. A sale at one auction last year included zebras, camels, ostriches, kangaroos and lion cubs — some destined for canned hunts, some for private collections. The three-day sale of 3,225 animals brought in more than $1.5 million.


Of course, no one would expect someone like me — a person who works for the Humane Society — to support canned hunting. But in this fight, animal advocates are not alone. A good many hunters also find the practice abhorrent. In its 2003 national hunting survey, Field & Stream magazine asked readers what they thought about hunting animals "in enclosures or fenced-in ranches." Sixty-five percent of those who responded opposed the practice; 12 percent endorsed it and 23 percent said they had no opinion. Game ranches have also been denounced by a number of outdoor sporting groups, including the Izaak Walton League of America, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Boone and Crockett Club, which oversees national hunting records.


The hunts go on, though, in part because they have the support of the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International, a pre-eminent trophy hunting organization.

In fact, it's the Safari Club's award program that helps to drive patronage of canned hunting operations. To win the club's Africa Big Five award, for example, you have to go to Africa to shoot the elephant, the rhinoceros and the leopard, but you can pick off the Cape buffalo and the lion in the United States. There is even an award for Introduced Trophy Animals of North America, in which you can do all your hunting for 18 different species right here at home. In fact, you can shoot all of the species for an award category at just one place. It's one-stop shopping. No more expensive fortnights in the wilds of Africa — and no one to know whether the head mounted above the mantel came from Asia or Oklahoma.


But canned hunting is more than crass — it's cruel. Animals are sometimes drugged, shot in their cages or at a feeder, or killed slowly with spears. Despite this, only 13 states have passed laws to ban canned hunts involving mammals. This year, New York almost passed such a law, but it was vetoed in August by Gov. George Pataki. New York lawmakers should try again. And so should legislators in other states and in Congress, which has the authority to ban the interstate transport of exotic mammals destined for canned hunts.

Canned hunting belongs in the same category as other forms of animal abuse, like cockfighting and bullfighting. It's hard on animals and easy on people — and it should be against the law.


Wayne Pacelle is a senior vice president of the Humane Society of the United States.


© 2003






        (two short related sentences now joined) 

         S  V  ;  S  V.

EX: Caesar, try on this toga; it seems to be your size.

EX: The cry for freedom stops at no border; it echoes endlessly in the hearts of all men..

EX: The vicuna is a gentle animal living in the central Andes; his fleece often becomes the fabric of expensive coats.



        (comma indicates the omitted verb) 

        S  V  DO  or SC   ;   S,   DO  or  SC.

EX: The Eskimo lives in an igloo; the American Indian, in a teepee.

EX: A red light means stop; a green light, go.

EX: The Russian ballerina wears a tutu; the Malaysian dancer, a brightly colored sarong.

WRONG: We like classical music; George, hard rock.



         (clauses separated by a colon)

         General statement (idea) : specific statement (example)

         (an independent clause)     (an independent clause)

EX: Darwin’s Origin of Species forcibly states a hard truth: only the fittest survive.

EX: The empty coffin in the center of the crypt had a single horrifying meaning: Dracula had left his tomb to stalk the village streets in search of fresh blood.

EX: Creative writing is a little like biological creation: the offspring is sometimes quite different from the parent.



         (a series in any part of the sentence)

          A, B, C

This pattern is the simplest form of the series. The items making up the series are separated by commas, and in this special pattern there is no conjunction linking the final two items. Omitting this conjunction in the series here is effective, for it gives your sentence a quick staccato sound, a sound of crispness and liveliness. Remember that tone and sound and fluency are important considerations here.

EX: The United States has a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

EX: The goals of the ecology-awareness people are clear: breathable air, drinkable water. livable space, viable soil, an unpolluted ocean.

EX: Shortly after midnight in a serene, enchanting, mysterious performance, the night-blooming cereus gradually begins to bloom.



        (note the rhythm)

        A and B,     C and D,      E and F.

        (may be in any slot in the sentence)

EX: Anthony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, Lancelot and Guinevere were all famous lovers of literature.

EX: Lorenzo had that paradoxical character of the Renaissance man – idealist and materialist, artist and débauche, angel and devil.

EX: Jane Austin depicts with gentle satire the foibles and weaknesses, eccentricities and ambitions, triumphs and defect of the human species.



        (with a dash and summarizing subject)

        Appositive, appositive, appositive  -- summery word SV.

EX: The trees, the earth, the green water of the lakes, the hills – all told their stories.

EX: To struggle, to exist, and so to create his own soul – this is a man’s great task.

EX: Love, hate, fear, anger, ambition – how many are the emotions that direct our day-dreams?

EX: An old photograph, a haunting fragrance, a sudden view of a half forgotten scene – something unexpectedly triggers our nostalgia for the past.



       (enclosed by a pair of dashes)

       S – appositive, appositive, appositive – V.

Because the series will have commas, there must be a pair of dashes (one before and one after the series) to separate these appositives from the rest of the sentence.

EX: Which famous detective – Sherlock Holmes or Nero Wolfe or Dick Tracy – will you take as your model?

EX: Young Beauregard – handsome, dashing and debonair – kept all the young ladies on southern verandas.

EX: All the science – physical, biological, and social – share the search for truth.



         S  --  appositive – V

         dashes = dramatic

         parentheses = whisper

         commas = ordinary

EX: A familiar smell – fresh blood –assailed his jungle-trained nostrils.

EX: The Elizabethan concept of artifice (craftsmanship well-executed and therefore admirable) made the word “artificial” a compliment, not a criticism.

EX: His father, the minister, performed the ceremony.



        (at the beginning or end of a sentence)

        If….,if….,if…., then S  V.

        When…., when…., when…., S  V.

        S  V  that…, that…., that….,

        (omit the third clause and just have two if you wish)

Save this pattern for special places. It can be effective at the end of a single paragraph to summarize the major points; in structuring a thesis statement have three parts (or points); in the introductory or concluding paragraphs to bring together main points of a composition in a single sentence.

EX: Whether one needs fantasy or whether one needs stark realism, the theatre can become a Mecca.

EX: If you promise not to keep your socks under the bed, if you agree to help me with the dishes every evening and take out the garbage pail every morning, if you really will “love, honor and cherish,” then I might marry you.

EX: In Biology 3130 Stella learned that a hummingbird does not really hum, that a screech owl actually whistles, and that storks prefer to wade in water rather than fly around carrying tiny babies.



          S  V  key term  --  repeated term

          (use a dash or comma before repetition)

You will repeat some key word in a modifying phrase attached to the main clause. You may repeat the word exactly as it is, or you many use another form of it: brute may become brutal, freak may become freaky, battle may become battling. Be sure the word is worthy of repetition.

EX: He was just a cruel brute of a man, brutal to his family and even more brutal to his friends.

EX: We all inhabit a mysterious, inorganic world – the inner world, the world of the mind.



         S   V  :   the appositive

                       (with or without modifiers)

EX: Most contemporary philosophers echoes ideas from one man: Plato.

EX: Anyone left abandoned on a desert should avoid two dangers: cactus needles and rattlesnakes.

EX: Were those twins my children, I’d make one thing perfectly clear to them: the curfew hour.



         S  ,  modifier  ,   V  .

         S  -  modifier  -  V  .

         S  (whispering modifier)  V  .

EX: A small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, can make millions think.

EX: He jumped at the chance (too impetuously really) to shoot the rapids in a kayak.

EX: Her joyous bursts of laughter – a delight to all who knew her – no one will ever forget.



         Participle phrase   ,   S   V  .

         S  V  ,  participle phrase  .

EX: Chaucer’s monk is quite far removed from the ideal occupant of a monastery, given as he was inclined to such pleasures as hunting, dressing in fine clothes, and eating like a gourmet.

EX: Overwhelmed by the tear gas, the rioters groped their way toward the fountain to wash their eyes.

EX: Printed in Old English and bound in real leather, the new edition of Beowulf was too expensive for the family to buy.



         standard  =  S-V   or  S-V-Adj   or  S-V-DO  or S-V-SC

         inverted  =  V-S   or  Adj-V-S   or  DO-V-S   or SC-V-S

EX: Down the street and through the mist stumbled the unfamiliar figure

EX: From his years of summering came eventual understanding and compassion

EX: Westward fly their dreams



          S (dependent clause as subject)  V  .

          S  V  (dependent clause as object or compliment)

EX: How he could fail is a mystery to me.

EX: He became what he has long aspired to be.

EX: What man cannot imagine, he cannot create.

EX: Why many highly literate people continue to watch insipid “situation comedies” on television constantly amazes writers, producers, even directors.



          Absolute construction ,  S  V  .

          S  ,  absolute construction  ,  V  .

          (or a pair of dashes or parentheses)

An absolute construction is a noun or a pronoun plus a participle with no grammatical connection to the independent clause. It is a separate entity and provides further information without modifying anything. They are not dependent clauses because they have no verbs.

EX: We had our Memorial Day picnic after all, the rain having stopped before sunset.

EX: All things considered, the situation seems favorable.

EX: I plan to sail to Tahiti (my pension permitting) as soon as I retire from this company.




Tim O'Brien's classic war novel lives 20 years on

April 18, 2010|By Julia Keller | CULTURAL CRITIC

The first time I read "The Things They Carried," I had a chip on my shoulder roughly the size of Texas — which was only fitting because that's where author Tim O'Brien lives.

But I didn't know that then. I only knew that I'd read a lot of books about the Vietnam War, and a lot of books about a lot of wars, and everybody was telling me I just had to read "The Things They Carried." It was originally published in 1990. But this was 2000, and I thought I knew all I cared to know about that complex and terrible time.

Give it, I thought, a rest.

Still, duty called, and so I read it. Filled with resentment, stewing in a sour attitude of, "Great, another war book — hooray," I read it. Didn't want to, didn't think I needed to, groused about it even as I plopped down with the paperback — that giant chip on my shoulder made standing precarious — and read.

The chip vanished. The world changed.

"The Things They Carried" is not a war book. It's a life book. A death book. A dream book. A memory book. It's a book about writing, about being young, about falling in love, about watching people die, about wishing they didn't have to, about learning how to bring them back — how to bring everything back — with stories.

I've never been the same since I read it. And I'm not alone. "The Things They Carried" has sold millions of copies. High schools and colleges have made it a staple of the curriculum. A special 20th anniversary edition is now available from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in hardback, paperback and e-book.

O'Brien, 63, a quiet, humble, self-effacing guy who always seems to be wearing a baseball cap, just wound up a coast-to-coast tour on behalf of the new edition. His final stop was in Chicago this month.

Reading the book now, he says, "is like remembering a stranger. I can remember sitting in my underwear in front of an old Wang computer and writing the first chapter." He laughs softly. "That guy had all of his hair. And not so many lines around his eyes."

It took him five years to write "The Things They Carried," he recalls. He has revised it a few times for subsequent editions — "I'm never wholly satisfied with any book, good reviews or bad" — and he revised it yet again for the 20th anniversary version. "I went through it and added little fixes here and there. Added a word or two. I doubt many readers would be able to notice what I did. But it's an improved book."

Hard to see how it could be. A series of 22 linked stories, some just a few pages long, "The Things They Carried" is eloquent and grisly and mysterious and funny. It's ugly and it's beautiful.

It's about a guy named Tim from a small town in the Midwest who is drafted and sent to Vietnam.

Is it autobiographical?

O'Brien, a guy from a small town in the Midwest — Austin, Minn. — who was drafted and sent to Vietnam, hates that question. "People want answers. Strict answers. If you have a literal mindset, this book is frustrating," he says. "I think people forget that truth evolves. It's not a hard and fast thing. Truth changes. It's slippery and evasive, particularly if you're in a situation of great stress or trauma.

"Whenever I'm speaking somewhere and someone raises a hand and says, ‘Is it true?' a little trap door opens in my heart. I want to say, ‘Go back and read the book again.'"

O'Brien has written other fine novels as well, such as "Going After Cacciato" (1978), "In the Lake of the Woods" (1994) and "July, July" (2002). The Vietnam War figures in all of his work, he says, either obviously or obliquely.

"I came from a small, conservative town. I believed certain things. I remember being taught, ‘Thou shalt not kill.' Then you find yourself in a place where you'd better kill — or you'll be court-martialed. If that doesn't challenge your sense of self and your sense of truth, I don't know what will."

He has two sons, 6 and 4, and his next book is about being an older dad. But it's also about Vietnam, he adds. He just doesn't know how yet. "It's there. No matter what I write about, the feel of 1969 is still there."

Here's how he puts it in "The Things They Carried":

"You take your material where you find it, which is in your life, at the intersection of past and present … That's the real obsession. All these stories."

Later in the book, he writes: "War is hell, but that's not the half of it." The rest of it is stories.



Metafiction and O'Brien's The Things They Carried


"Metafiction is a term given to fictional writing which self-consciously and systematically draws attention to its status as an artifact in order to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality."

--Patricia Waugh, Metafiction: The Theory and Practice 
of Self-Conscious Fiction.New York: Methuen, 1984.



In many respects, Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried concerns the relationship between fiction and the narrator. In this novel, O'Brien himself is the main character--he is a Vietnam veteran recounting his experiences during the war, as well as a writer who is examining the mechanics behind writing stories. These two aspects of the novel are juxtaposed to produce a work of literature that comments not only upon the war, but also upon the actual art of fiction: the means of storytelling, the purposes behind them, and ultimately the relationship between fiction and reality itself.

Through writing about his experiences in Vietnam, O'Brien's character is able to find a medium in which he can sort through his emotions, since "by telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths" (158). He does not look upon his stories as therapy--he recounts his stories since they are a part of his past, and who he is now is the direct result of them: 

Forty-three years old, and the war occurred half a life-time ago, and yet the remembering makes it now. And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. (38)

O'Brien's character makes several comments on storytelling in certain sections of the novel, such as "How to Tell a True War Story." Through making these comments, the narrator is not only justifying the intent of The Things They Carried,but he is also providing clues to the content, structure, and interpretation of the novel. The narrator states that one fundamental truth is that "In any war story, but especially a true one, it's difficult to separate what happened from what seemed to happen....The angles of vision are skewed" (71). This novel is written in this way: characters such as Curt Lemon are killed and then later introduced, or the narrator undercuts what he has previously lead the reader to believe, as in the case of Norman Bowker's suicide. A true war story is distinguishable "by the way it never seems to end. Not then, not ever" (76). None of the anecdotes in this novel demonstrates complete closure, except perhaps in the case where the character was killed. Even then, however, that particular loss had an impact upon the lives of the people who have survived. Even the end of the novel itself is indefinite and without resolution. 

Most importantly, "In a true war story, if there's a moral at all, it's like the thread that makes the cloth. You can't tease it out. You can't extract the meaning without unraveling the deeper meaning" (77). Through extracting the true meaning of The Things They Carried, it is impossible to miss the deeper relationship that is being expressed in this novel and the true motivation behind the narrator's storytelling: the relationship between stories, reality, and time. 

As the narrator, O'Brien often comments upon the concept of time, such as in the section "On the Rainy River": "Looking back after twenty years, I sometimes wonder if the events of that summer didn't happen in some other dimension, a place where your life exists before you've lived it, and where it goes afterward" (54). During the lake scene in this section, O'Brien sees everyone important in his life on the shore: "I saw faces from my distant past and distant future....It was as if there were an audience to my life" (59). In this scene, the power of fiction to transcend the barriers of time and space and also life and death are shown. We are directly the result of our experiences, and, through the powers of storytelling, everyone who has had an impact upon the life of the narrator is brought together. As a collective entity, they are not only an audience to his life, but also serve as reflection of O'Brien's life in its entirety. 

Drawing upon the ability of fiction to preserve life against death, O'Brien says that, during wartime, that they were able to "[keep] the dead alive with stories" (239). To the living, stories were a way to keep the memory of the dead alive, but to the dead, it was the simple act of remembering that kept them alive: "That's what a story does. The bodies are animated. You make the dead talk" (232). This theme of preservation is exemplified by story of Linda, in which O'Brien uses the power of storytelling and memory to keep people alive: "Stories can save us. I'm forty-three years old, and a writer now, and even still, right here, I keep dreaming Linda alive...They're all dead. But in a story, which is a kind of dreaming, the dead sometimes smile and sit up and return to the world." (225). 

Ultimately, this novel is not about Vietnam--in fact, it is not about war at all. It is about the narrator's attempt to find a place where the erosion of time will have no effect. By working through the "threads" of this novel, O'Brien's intentions become obvious: He is fighting to preserve the physical against deterioration, and by extension, to preserve life by immortalizing it in fiction. He is not writing as a result of neurosis or as a form of therapy; he does this since immortality and preservation lies in the memory of people. If the true measure of life is how long we live after we are gone, then keeping the memory of people alive through fiction is a means of preserving life: 

I'll never die. I'm skimming across the surface of my own history, moving fast, riding the melt beneath the blades, doing loops and spins, and when I take a high leap into the dark and come down thirty years later, I realize it is as Tim trying to save Timmy's life with a story. (246)

Since O'Brien's life itself is the culmination of his past relationships with all of the people who have been a part of it--both past, present, and future--then keeping them alive does the same for himself. In short, O'Brien's writing is a matter of survival since, through the powers of storytelling, he can ensure the immortality of all those who were significant in his life. It is through their immortality that he has the ability to save himself with a simple story.


'How to tell a true war story': Metafiction in 'The Things They Carried.'

Calloway, Catherine, 'How to tell a true war story': Metafiction in 'The Things They Carried.'., Vol. 36, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, June, 1995, pp 249 ff. .

Tim O'Brien's most recent book, The Things They Carried, begins with a litany of items that the soldiers "hump" in the Vietnam War - assorted weapons, dog tags, flak jackets, ear plugs, cigarettes, insect repellent, letters, can openers, C-rations, jungle boots, maps, medical supplies, and explosives as well as memories, reputations, and personal histories. In addition, the reader soon learns, the soldiers also carry stories: stories that connect "the past to the future" (40), stories that can "make the dead talk" (261), stories that "never seem . . . to end" (83), stories that are "beyond telling" (79), and stories "that swirl back and forth across the border between trivia and bedlam, the mad and the mundane" (101). Although perhaps few of the stories in The Things They Carried are as brief as the well-known Vietnam War tale related by Michael Herr in Dispatches - "'Patrol went up the mountain. One man came back. He died before he could tell us what happened,' "(6) - many are in their own way as enigmatic. The tales included in O'Brien's twenty-two chapters range from several lines to many pages and demonstrate well the impossibility of knowing the reality of the war in absolute terms. Sometimes stories are abandoned, only to be continued pages or chapters later. At other times, the narrator begins to tell a story, only to have another character finish the tale. Still other stories are told as if true accounts, only for their validity to be immediately questioned or denied. O'Brien draws the reader into the text, calling the reader's attention to the process of invention and challenging him to determine which, if any, of the stories are true. As a result, the stories become epistemological tools, multidimensional windows through which the war, the world, and the ways of telling a war story can be viewed from many different angles and visions.

The epistemological ambivalence of the stories in The Things They Carried is reinforced by the book's ambiguity of style and structure. What exactly is The Things They Carried in terms of technique? Many reviewers refer to the work as a series of short stories, but it is much more than that. The Things They Carried is a combat novel, yet it is not a combat novel. It is also a blend of traditional and untraditional forms - a collection, Gene Lyons says, of "short stories, essays, anecdotes, narrative fragments, jokes, fables, biographical and autobiographical sketches, and philosophical asides" (52). It has been called both "a unified narrative with chapters that stand perfectly on their own" (Coffey 60) and a series of "22 discontinuous sections" (Bawer A13).

Also ambiguous is the issue of how much of the book is autobiography. The relationship between fiction and reality arises early in the text when the reader learns the first of many parallels that emerge as the book progresses: that the protagonist and narrator, like the real author of The Things They Carried, is named Tim O'Brien. Both the real and the fictional Tim O'Brien are in their forties and are natives of Minnesota, writers who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Macalester College, served as grunts in Vietnam after having been drafted at age twenty-one, attended graduate school at Harvard University, and wrote books entitled If I Die in a Combat Zone and Going After Cacciato. Other events of the protagonist's life are apparently invention. Unlike the real Tim O'Brien, the protagonist has a nine-year-old daughter named Kathleen and makes a return journey to Vietnam years after the war is over.(1) However, even the other supposedly fictional characters of the book sound real because of an epigraph preceding the stories that states, "This book is lovingly dedicated to the men of Alpha Company, and in particular to Jimmy Cross, Norman Bowker, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Henry Dobbins, and Kiowa," leading the reader to wonder if the men of Alpha Company are real or imaginary.

Clearly O'Brien resists a simplistic classification of his latest work. In both the preface to the book and in an interview with Elizabeth Mehren, he terms The Things They Carried "'fiction . . . a novel'" (Mehren E1), but in an interview with Martin Naparsteck, he refers to the work as a "sort of half novel, half group of stories. It's part nonfiction, too," he insists (7). And, as Naparsteck points out, the work "resists easy categorization: it is part novel, part collection of stories, part essays, part journalism; it is, more significantly, all at the same time" (1).

As O'Brien's extensive focus on storytelling indicates, The Things They Carried is also a work of contemporary metafiction, what Robert Scholes first termed fabulation or "ethically controlled fantasy" (3). According to Patricia Waugh,

Metafiction is a term given to fictional writing which self-consciously and systematically draws attention to its status as an artefact in order to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality. In providing a critique of their own methods of construction, such writings not only examine the fundamental structures of narrative fiction, they also explore the possible fictionality of the world outside the literary fictional text. (2)

Like O'Brien's earlier novel, the critically acclaimed Going After Cacciato,(2) The Things They Carried considers the process of writing; it is, in fact, as much about the process of writing as it is the text of a literary work. By examining imagination and memory, two main components that O'Brien feels are important to a writer of fiction (Schroeder 143), and by providing so many layers of technique in one work, O'Brien delves into the origins of fictional creation. In focusing so extensively on what a war story is or is not, O'Brien writes a war story as he examines the process of writing one. To echo what Philip Beidler has stated about Going After Cacciato, "the form" of The Things They Carried thus becomes "its content" (172); the medium becomes the message.

"I'm forty-three years old, and a writer now," O'Brien's protagonist states periodically throughout the book, directly referring to his role as author and to the status of his work as artifice. "Much of it [the war] is hard to remember," he comments. "I sit at this typewriter and stare through my words and watch Kiowa sinking into the deep muck of a shit field, or Curt Lemon hanging in pieces from a tree, and as I write about these things, the remembering is turned into a kind of rehappening" (36). The "rehappening" takes the form of a number of types of stories: some happy, some sad, some peaceful, some bloody, some wacky. We learn of Ted Lavender, who is "zapped while zipping" (17) after urinating, of the paranoid friendship of Dave Jensen and Lee Strunk, of the revenge plot against Bobby Jorgenson, an unskilled medic who almost accidentally kills the narrator, of the moral confusion of the protagonist who fishes on the Rainy River and dreams of desertion to Canada, and Mary Ann Bell, Mark Fossie's blue-eyed, blonde, seventeen- year-old girlfriend, who is chillingly attracted to life in a combat zone.

Some stories only indirectly reflect the process of writing; other selections include obvious metafictional devices. In certain sections of the book, entire chapters are devoted to discussing form and technique. A good example is "Notes," which elaborates on "Speaking of Courage, " the story that precedes it. The serious reader of the real Tim O' Brien's fiction recognizes "Speaking of Courage" as having first been published in the Summer 1976 issue of Massachusetts Review.(3) This earlier version of the story plays off chapter 14 of Going After Cacciato, "Upon Almost Winning the Silver Star," in which the protagonist, Paul Berlin, is thinking about how he might have won the Silver Star for bravery in Vietnam had he had the courage to rescue Frenchie Tucker, a character shot while searching a tunnel. However, in The Things They Carried's version of "Speaking of Courage," the protagonist is not Paul Berlin, but Norman Bowker, who wishes he had had the courage to save Kiowa, a soldier who dies in a field of excrement during a mortar attack.(4) Such shifts in character and events tempt the reader into textual participation, leading him to question the ambiguous nature of reality. Who really did not win the Silver Star for bravery? Paul Berlin, Norman Bowker, or Tim O'Brien? Who actually needed saving? Frenchie Tucker or Kiowa? Which version of the story, if either, is accurate? The inclusion of a metafictional chapter presenting the background behind the tale provides no definite answers or resolutions. We learn that Norman Bowker, who eventually commits suicide, asks the narrator to compose the story and that the author has revised the tale for inclusion in The Things They Carried because a postwar story is more appropriate for the later book than for Going After Cacciato. However, O'Brien's admission that much of the story is still invention compels the reader to wonder about the truth. The narrator assures us that the truth is that "Norman did not experience a failure of nerve that night . . . or lose the Silver Star for valor" (182). Can even this version be believed? Was there really a Norman Bowker, or is he, too, only fictional?

Even more significant, the reader is led to question the reality of many, if not all, of the stories in the book. The narrator insists that the story of Curt Lemon's death, for instance, is "all exactly true" (77), then states eight pages later that he has told Curt's story previously - "many times, many versions" (85) - before narrating yet another version. As a result, any and all accounts of the incident are questionable. Similarly, the reader is led to doubt the validity of many of the tales told by other characters in the book. The narrator remarks that Rat Kiley's stories, such as the one about Mary Ann Bell in "Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong," are particularly ambiguous:

For Rat Kiley . . . facts were formed by sensation, not the other way around, and when you listened to one of his stories, you'd find yourself performing rapid calculations in your head, subtracting superlatives, figuring the square root of an absolute and then multiplying by maybe. (101)

Still other characters admit the fictionality of their stories. Mitchell Sanders, in the ironically titled "How to Tell a True War Story," confesses to the protagonist that although his tale is the truth, parts of it are pure invention. "'Last night, man,'" Sanders states, "'I had to make up a few things . . . The glee club. There wasn't any glee club . . . No opera,'" either (83-84). "'But,'" he adds, "'it's still true'" (84).

O'Brien shares the criteria with which the writer or teller and the reader or listener must be concerned by giving an extended definition of what a war story is or is not. The chapter "How to Tell a True War Story" focuses most extensively on the features that might be found in a "true" war tale. "A true war story is never moral," the narrator states. "It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done" (76). Furthermore, a true war story has an "absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil" (76), is embarrassing, may not be believable, seems to go on forever, does "not generalize" or "indulge in abstraction or analysis" (84), does not necessarily make "a point" (88), and sometimes cannot even be told. True war stories, the reader soon realizes, are like the nature of the Vietnam War itself; "the only certainty is overwhelming ambiguity" (88). "The final and definitive truth" (83) cannot be derived, and any "truths are contradictory" (87).

By defining a war story so broadly, O'Brien writes more stories, interspersing the definitions with examples from the war to illustrate them. What is particularly significant about the examples is that they are given in segments, a technique that actively engages the readers in the process of textual creation. Characters who are mentioned as having died early in the work are brought back to life through flashbacks in other parts of the text so that we can see who these characters are, what they are like, and how they die. For instance, in the story, "Spin," the narrator first refers to the death of Curt Lemon, a soldier blown apart by a booby trap, but the reader does not learn the details of the tragedy until four stories later in "How to Tell a True War Story." Even then, the reader must piece together the details of Curt' s death throughout that particular tale. The first reference to Lemon appears on the third page of the story when O'Brien matter-of-factly states, "The dead guy's name was Curt Lemon" (77). Lemon's death is briefly mentioned a few paragraphs later, but additional details surrounding the incident are not given at once but are revealed gradually throughout the story, in between digressive stories narrated by two other soldiers, Rat Kiley and Mitchell Sanders. Each fragment about Curt's accident illustrates the situation more graphically. Near the beginning of the tale, O'Brien describes the death somewhat poetically. Curt is "a handsome kid, really. Sharp grey eyes, lean and narrow-waisted, and when he died it was almost beautiful, the way the sunlight came around him and lifted him up and sucked him high into a tree full of moss and vines and white blossoms" (78). Lemon is not mentioned again for seven pages, at which time O'Brien illustrates the effect of Lemon's death upon the other soldiers by detailing how Rat Kiley, avenging Curt's death, mutilates and kills a baby water buffalo. When later in the story Lemon's accident is narrated for the third time, the reader is finally told what was briefly alluded to in the earlier tale "Spin": how the soldiers had to peel Curt Lemon's body parts from a tree.

The story of Curt Lemon does not end with "How to Tell a True War Story" but is narrated further in two other stories, "The Dentist" and "The Lives of the Dead." In "The Lives of the Dead," for example, Curt is resurrected through a story of his trick-or-treating in Vietnamese hootches on Halloween for whatever goodies he can get: "candles and joss sticks and a pair of black pajamas and statuettes of the smiling Buddha" (268). To hear Rat Kiley tell it, the narrator comments, " you'd never know that Curt Lemon was dead. He was still out there in the dark, naked and painted up, trick-or-treating, sliding from hootch to hootch in that crazy white ghost mask" (268). To further complicate matters, in "The Lives of the Dead," O'Brien alludes to a soldier other than Curt, Stink Harris, from a previous literary work, Going After Cacciato, written over a decade before The Things They Carried. Thus, the epistemological uncertainty in the stories is mirrored by the fact that O'Brien presents events that take place in a fragmented form rather than in a straightforward, linear fashion. The reader has to piece together information, such as the circumstances surrounding the characters' deaths, in the same manner that the characters must piece together the reality of the war, or, for that matter, Curt Lemon's body.

The issue of truth is particularly a main crux of the events surrounding "The Man I Killed," a story that O'Brien places near the center of the book. Gradually interspersed throughout the stories that make up The Things They Carried are references to a Vietnamese soldier, "A slim, dead, dainty young man of about twenty" (40) with "a star- shaped hole" (141) in his face, who is first mentioned in the story "Spin" and whose death still haunts the narrator long after the end of the war. Nine chapters after "Spin," in "The Man I Killed," the protagonist graphically describes the dead Vietnamese youth as well as creates a personal history for him; he envisions the young man to have been a reluctant soldier who hated violence and "loved mathematics" (142), a university-educated man who "had been a soldier for only a single day" (144) and who, like the narrator, perhaps went to war only to avoid "disgracing himself, and therefore his family and village" (142).(5) "Ambush," the story immediately following "The Man I Killed, " provides yet another kaleidoscopic fictional frame of the incident, describing in detail the events that lead up to the narrator's killing of the young soldier and ending with a version of the event that suggests that the young man does not die at all. The reader is forced to connect the threads of the story in between several chapters that span over a hundred pages; not until a later chapter, "Good Form," where the protagonist narrates three more stories of the event, does the reader fully question the truth of the incident. In the first version in "Good Form," the narrator reverses the details of the earlier stories and denies that he was the thrower of the grenade that killed the man. "Twenty years ago I watched a man die on a trail near the village of My Khe," he states. "I did not kill him. But I was present, you see, and my presence was guilt enough" (203). However, he immediately admits that "Even that story is made up" (203) and tells instead what he terms "the happening-truth":

I was once a soldier. There were many bodies, real bodies with real faces, but I was young then and I was afraid to look. And now, twenty years later, I'm left with faceless responsibility and faceless grief. (203)

In still a third version, "the happening-truth" is replaced with " the story-truth." According to the protagonist, the Vietnamese soldier

was a slim, dead, almost dainty young man of about twenty. He lay in the center of a red clay trail near the village of My Khe. His jaw was in his throat. His one eye was shut, the other eye was a star- shaped hole. I killed him. (204)

But the reader wonders, did the narrator kill the young man? When the narrator's nine-year-old daughter demands, "'Daddy, tell the truth . . . did you ever kill anybody,'" the narrator reveals that he "can say, honestly, 'Of course not,'" or he "can say, honestly, 'Yes'" (204).

According to Inger Christensen, one of the most important elements of metafiction is "the novelist's message" (10). At least one reviewer has reduced O'Brien's message in The Things They Carried to the moral "'Death sucks'" (Melmoth H6); the book, however, reveals an even greater thematic concern. "Stories can save us," asserts the protagonist in "The Lives of the Dead," the concluding story of the text (255), where fiction is used as a means of resurrecting the deceased. In this multiple narrative, O'Brien juxtaposes tales of death in Vietnam with an account of the death of Linda, a nine-year-old girl who had a brain tumor. As the protagonist tells Linda's story, he also comments on the nature and power of fiction. Stories, he writes, are "a kind of dreaming, [where] the dead sometimes smile and sit up and return to the world" (255). The narrator of "The Lives of the Dead" thus seeks to keep his own friends alive through the art of storytelling. "As a writer now," he asserts,

I want to save Linda's life. Not her body - her life . . . in a story I can steal her soul. I can revive, at least briefly, that which is absolute and unchanging. . . . In a story, miracles can happen. Linda can smile and sit up. She can reach out, touch my wrist, and say, "Timmy, stop crying." (265)

Past, present, and future merge into one story as through fiction O'Brien zips "across the surface of . . . [his] own history, moving fast, riding the melt beneath the blades, doing loops and spins . . . as Tim trying to save Timmy's life with a story" (273). His story mirrors his own creative image of history, "a blade tracing loops on ice" (265), as his metafictive narrative circles on three levels: the war of a little boy's soul as he tries to understand the death of a friend, the Vietnam War of a twenty-three-year-old infantry sergeant, and the war of "guilt and sorrow" (265) faced by "a middle-aged writer" (265) who must deal with the past.

In focusing so extensively on the power of fiction and on what a war story is or is not in The Things They Carried, O'Brien writes a multidimensional war story even as he examines the process of writing one. His tales become stories within stories or multilayered texts within texts within texts. The book's genius is a seeming inevitability of form that perfectly embodies its theme - the miracle of vision - the eternally protean and volatile capacity of the imagination, which may invent that which it has the will and vision to conceive.(6) "In the end," the narrator states,

a true war story is never about war. It's about sunlight. It's about the special way that dawn spreads out on a river when you know you must cross the river and march into the mountains and do things you are afraid to do. It's about love and memory. It's about sorrow. It' s about sisters who never write back and people who never listen. (91)

How, then, can a true war story be told? Perhaps the best way, O'Brien says, is to "just keep on telling it" (91).


Mr. Rychlewski on The Things They Carried.

When I was in first grade there was a boy who had cancer. He was chubby and had to wear a hat, like Linda. I used to watch him from across the school yard with a mixture of fear and curiosity. At some subliminal level I knew he was very sick and probably going to die. I never played with him or talked to him. I left that school—and Chicago—halfway through first grade. When I came back to the school in 7th grade I asked about him. They told me he had died. He has become “the boy who dies in childhood” for me. Not unlike Linda.

I have canoed up on the Minnesota/Canadian border—at Quatico Park in Canada and at The Boundary Waters in Minnesota. They are both very primitive areas: the only way in is via canoe and you have to portage from lake to lake. They’re really quite wonderful and if you portage 4 or 5 lakes in, you will see almost no one for as long as you’re there. But though they’re beautiful, they’re also very raw and rough. And you get to the basics real quick: food and shelter and nothing else. Whenever I read “The Rainey River” (which I crossed in the journey to Quatico) I think of how the old man Elroy is sort of a flinty personification of that landscape. Even his words are cut to the basics: “I’ll bet.” ” “Ain’t biting.” It curious that O’Brien’s long fugue of imaginary people rooting him one way or the other is in such contrast to the clean silence of the place itself.

I always found the scene where the soldiers hear the cocktail music and order the area bombed really surreal. And I liken it to two movies: Apocalypse Now and The Quiet American. They both have scenes that are really mysterious, almost mystical. As if Vietnam was some sort of dream world. But then I also bring in Lord Jim and “Heart of Darkness “ by Conrad. In neither of those works do you feel the characters have any sure footing. There is also wonderful book of short stories called “A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain.” From that book you get the sense that Vietnam harbors many ghosts. Certain cultures really believe in ghosts and I think Vietnam is one of them. I don’t believe in ghosts, but all this gives me pause.

The Mary Ann sequence is disturbing. She is what the men are fighting for and somehow she leaps over them and disappears forever into the jungle. It’s so daring and unsettling because she is the All-American peaches-and-cream cheerleader girl. We can’t imagine her keeping human flesh as a souvenir or hanging around with people that put up signs like “Assemble Your Own Gook.” But then I think what war does to men and women, what it did to my cousin and other people I know who went to Vietnam, what it does to the characters in The Deer Hunter. I believe that whole story is false. It never happened. O’Brien invented it. But he used it as the ultimate reversal of expectations. So I'll cut him slack.

I like small towns. I like to drive past the baseball fields to see if there are any games going on. Drive through the town center, sleepy and calm. Maybe drive up to some A & W Root Beer stand and get a float. It’s all so Americana. It’s all so peaceful and bucolic. But inside the houses are older men who fought in wars like WWII  and can’t understand the silence of their sons. Norman Bowker’s story is perhaps the most painful in the book, at least for me. I think of my uncle, the doctor, who had three sons: the oldest went to war; the next became a doctor; the last, a priest. The priest thing didn’t materialize. Still, two of the three chose those routes, and I wonder how much they did that to please their father. I never had to please my father in that way, and I’m happy we never came to those sorts of expectations.

Those are five instances in the book that made me think of my world and my life. I suppose on another day I could have chosen five more. The book is that rich.














The Research Process in Ten Easy Steps:

Follow these TEN steps and you won’t go wrong!!


      1) Find your topic:

q       Make it meaningful: Think about subjects studied, hobbies enjoyed, materials read.  Consider controversial topics, newsworthy stories and things important in your daily life. Find a topic that will hold your interest (don’t forget--you don’t want to bore your audience!).

q       Keep it manageable: Remember you only have a limited amount of time; it’s not a book!  Zero in on an area of your subject that interests you the most.

 (This is how your process might go: wildlife4 endangered species4 programs to protect endangered species4 programs to protect the gray wolf4 programs to reintroduce the gray wolf into the lower 48 states).

q       Be original: Don’t just rehash what you read--find your own voice!  Prove something!  Try to answer an important question!

Avoid a topic that is too broad, too narrow, too trivial, too subjective, too controversial, too familiar, too technical, too factual, too new, and too regional.


I already know…    

I want to find out who...   

I want to discover what...   

I want to learn when…   

I want to know where...

I want to understand why...

I want to find out how…

      2) Do some preliminary work: 

q       Review encyclopedias or other general references to get some background.

q       Write research questions (10+) that reflect your purpose--what do you wish to discover?  (For example, “Why did this_____ affect_____?,” “How significant was…?,” “What are the consequences of…?”

q       Brainstorm and create a working outline.  (Remember: your ideas may change as you find more information, and that’s okay).

                                        Time to become an expert!  


      3) Locate secondary sources: Good researchers use books, magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, as well as non-print media like video

        and electronic sources. Don’t forget to evaluate the sources.  Have any ideas changed since publication?  Check for validity.  Do you

        have up-to-date sources from reliable authors and publishers?


      4) Use primary sources: Read through your secondary references carefully to determine which primary sources may be of benefit

        to your research.  Remember these are first-hand sources.  Possibilities include: interviews, surveys, experiments and letters.

      5) Take notes: You may use note cards--it helps to arrange materials!

q       Summarize--reduce what you’ve read to a few important points in your own words (who, what, when, where, why, how).

q       Paraphrase--restate smaller passages into your own words.

q       Quote directly--record the statement word for word and add quotation marks (Be picky about what you choose to copy down--a research paper is not just a string of quotes!)

B Don’t forget to record the complete source and page numbers for later documentation in your paper. Think citations!

Plus, include reflections with your notes.  Start drawing some conclusions.  Try to discover the purpose, theme or strategy of your paper.  Don’t panic if nothing emerges; this is the hardest part of the process!  Find a sounding board for possible suggestions.

6) Write a final thesis and outline: Thesis Checklist = Does it focus on a single subject? Is it stated in a clear, direct sentence?  Does it convey a clear point of view, attitude, opinion or stance on the topic? Do you have enough access to good information to support your thesis? Outline Strategy = Choose a plan: chronological, order of importance, or cause/effect.

7)        Write your draft: Think of your audience and purpose first.  

q       Remember “ABC” for your introduction- Attention getter, Background information and a Clear thesis.  Use this formula:

               A specific subject

               +  a specific condition, feeling, stand

               = an effective thesis

q       Follow the organization established in your outline and blend research material with your owns words using topic sentences for the body paragraphs (think your pal, “MEL” for the body paragraphs: Main idea, Evidence, Link).

q       Remember to include transitional devices so that that reader does not get lost: 1) Be precise with your pronouns. 2) Repeat a key word in the first sentence of a new paragraph that you used in the preceding one.  3) Use connection words whenever possible: accordingly, also, another, as a result, at last, consequently, for example, for instance, furthermore, however, in fact, moreover, nevertheless, on the other hand, similarly, therefore, etc. 4) Create transitional paragraphs if you have several phases to your subject, letting your reader know when s/he enters a new phase.  

q       Conclude your paper effectively with an ending strategy: (anecdote, echo, instruction, pointed question, prediction, quote, strong punched statement).

8)       Revise, revise, revise!!!: Seek out peer editors!

9)       Prepare final manuscript: Follow general manuscript form, using M.L.A. or A.P.A. documentation.

10) Proofread: Allow ample time to review your entire paper and your works cited page for accuracy.  Try reading your final paper out loud.   Check your text for accurate documentation to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism = F …or worse. Make sure your paper reflects your best effort!

 Sorenson, Sharon. A Quick Reference to the Research Paper.  New York: Amsco Publication, 1999.



# 1

In these two passages the authors create two very different images of the environment of the Okefenokee Swamp. The first is of a more informative nature while the second has much more opinionated views on the subject

Diction is an important strategy employed in both pieces. In the first passage most of the words used are common and factual. For instance, matter-of-fact adjectives like “giant” and “shallow” describe the swamp and common and statistical words like “Atlantic” and “25 miles” abound. The authors purpose here is to inform us. We feel when we read this that we can rely on it. It’s giving us the flat facts. On the other hand, the second passage contains words that are much more descriptive. In addition, many words have negative connotations. The reader encounters words like “stinging, biting, and boring insects,”  “caterwauling” and “screeching.’ These paint a vivid and gruesome picture of the swamp.

The authors embrace two different styles of syntax as well. In the first piece the basic verb “is” predominates, proceeded by factual nouns: “swamp is” and “vegetation is.” These colorless verbs introduce facts. Furthermore, the even distribution of commas used in explaining the various aspects of the swamp demonstrate that this is an objective, even-handed piece of writing. However, the second piece seems to be using every sense word known to man, sometimes in a group of six or seven. And the commas are used to pound each explicit detail into the very core of your mind.

Finally, there is a difference in images. Passage one has lots of facts and information but very few images. We don’t really see or smell anything. The second passage, by contrast, has very vivid images, images of death and decay, of muck and festering things, of an impenetrable jungle

It is evident that the first piece was written to inform the reader, while the second was created to shock and disgust. The first is an objective presentation that one might find in an encyclopedia; the second is more personal, visual and opinionated. You might find it in a satirical description or in some piece of argumentation.       

# 2

In these two passages the authors create very different images of O.S. One is using it to inform and the other one, to repel.

Diction is an important strategy found in the both passages. In the first passage the words used are common and factual—“long,” “water,” and “low.” These words give the readers general ideas. In addition, “sandy,” “grassy,” and “giant” are adjectives that describe nature in a simple way. Furthermore, there are many factual nouns such as Florida, Georgia and Atlantic. The purpose of such flat writing is to simply give objective information. By contrast, the second passage contains many negative and subjective words. In fact, they are all over the passage—“unconquerable,” “beaks,”  “talons,”  “stinging,” “fester,” and “seething galaxies of gnats.” Clearly the author is trying to repel the reader from this place. Even when the author is giving objective information he piles on so many words as to create a negative affect--“muck…ooze…slime.”

The authors also differ in their syntactical strategy. The first uses straightforward syntax—subject-verb. For instance, “swamp is” occurs many times, followed by factual information. The “swamp is” gets you right to the point. In addition, the three commas per sentence average in the first is typical of general information articles. Each aspect of the swamp gets equal weight. On the other hand, the second passage uses commas to create a list, piling up negatives. The author piles up the commas, pounding home his effects: “beaks, talons, claws, teeth, stingers, and fangs.” The author wants you to see the overpowering presence of the unpleasant things in the swamp and the commas help him accomplish this.

It’s clear these two authors have a very different agenda in writing their respective pieces about O.S.



Having read Fast Food Nation and now learning the tricks of advertising, we might consider thinking about how we can apply this knowledge to our own lives. How we can our destiny in our own hands, be we 18 or 53? With that in mind, check out the following article (also streaming video) at concerning diets and maybe we can begin to discuss in class possible avenues for change.



What follows are some Venn diagram notes on four films about Germany in WWII: Memory of the Camps, Blind Spot, Hitler’s Secretary, The Great Dictator and The Pianist


  1. Non-fiction
  2. People coming to terms with their refusal to accept what happened
  3. Not dramatic, people talk, walk, nobody really heroic
  4. Filled with discoveries not previously known, revealed years later. Both films are revelations.
  5. Parts missing. Last reel of CAMPS, her “blind spot” at the time of Hitler’s suicide. Both documentaries = both missing, unfinished, like the real world. (Yet things are unfinished in PIANIST—he never says goodbye)


  1. Many images but no real individual story
  2. No images but one real individual story
  3. The viewer must imagine in BLIND, little is left to the imagination in CAMPS
  4. BLIND circles around the center (Hitler), CAMPS deals with the farthest peripheries. A portrait of decisions versus a portrait of their results.


  1. Filmed near the moment the historical event occurred
  2. Fresh history, almost as it’s being made
  3. Not aware of what possible repercussions might follow from the document itself. History is still to be played out in both films.
  4. Both portray the pomp of power, the large picture. Hitler speaking, the Nazis marching
  5. Lots of silences in both films.


  1. CAMP not funny, DICTATOR funny
  2. Silences in CAMP used for shock, silences in DICTATOR used for humor


  1. Intense focus on the Jews at different times.
  2. Human degradation at the center of both films
  3. Focusing on people who seem lost, dazed. POV inside PIANIST himself, from outside in CAMPS


  1. Jews at the beginning (PIANIST) versus Jews at the end (CAMPS)
  2. No musical score CAMPS, scores in PIANIST


  1. Psychological portrait of Hitler at the center (ego mad, mood swings)
  2. Lackeys sucking up in both films.
  3. Secretaries in both films.


  1. At the center a world famous personage (Chaplin) versus at the center a nobody (Secretary)
  2. Purpose to motivate in DICTATOR, to purge and to inform in BLIND. Action versus understanding? Justice versus Mercy?


  1. Both central figures are on a journey of discovery
  2. Neither seems a figure capable of intense action. They seem more acted upon. Passive. Room to room in BLIND, apartment to apartment in PIANIST.
  3. Both survived many years afterwards


  1. BLIND has no guide or protector, PIANIST does
  2. One a Jew, the other not. The view from on top versus view from on the bottom. (DICTATOR had both)
  3. Choice available in BLIND. not in PIANIST. (Or is it reverse?)


  1. Moments of arbitrary brutality in both
  2. Lovers in foreground against backdrop of history. The big picture painted through a few people’s lives.
  3. Both have a sympathetic Nazis in them. A fairer portrait?


  1. One breaks fourth wall (DICTATOR); the other doesn’t.
  2. One suffers from all we have learned (PIANIST), the other has not seen it's repercussions yet, though it seems to know what’s coming, especially with the Jews.
  3. DICTATOR propaganda, PIANIST not, so deeper and more human?



SHARED MEMORY = Collectively they allow us to create a shared memory. We see the event and the time from many angles now.



HISTORY AS CONTRAST = CUTS BACK AND FORTH FOR EFFECT: Not BLIND, but the other three. DICTATOR with Hitler playing piano, PIANIST playing piano and his old street, local German town versus camps in CAMPS

HISTORY AS MORAL TALE = PIANIST (One feels we’ve seen a full life here, not in the others. So we can identify more with narrative. A rack to hang our human hat on?)



























At the end of the year you should be able to recognize, analyze and create texts that demonstrate understanding of various rhetorical modes: description, narration, persuasion, exposition, comparison and contrast, process analysis, division and classification, and extended definition. We will emphasize process all year long; this means rewriting your text many times. You will receive critical advice from us and from your peers, and you will be able to go to the WRITE ZONE as often as you like to improve your writing. There will be teachers and student tutors available there every period of the day. We strongly encourage you to use this facility. Students who make frequent trips to the WRITE ZONE almost always see results. Go there. It will make you feel more confident about your writing and your life. And your grades will reflect it.


Vocabulary is an essential ingredient in both clear writing and clear thinking. Having a broad vocabulary will allow you to express yourself with a great deal of precision and to discover and explore nuances in your experience that you never knew existed. Let's consider writing about someone who talks a lot. If you're a beginning writer, you might describe them as "talkative" or "chatty," but there are several other words to consider that might give a clearer and more precise picture of the person. They might be called loquacious. This means given to excessive talking. Then again, they might be called garrulous. This definition includes loquacious but adds a negative twist; it means someone who is loquacious but also tedious and rambling. Perhaps you have some friends who talk a lot and other friends who talk a lot and go on and on and bore everyone to death. Those friends are not talkative or chatty or loquacious; they are garrulous. Calling them what they are is important. It gives the reader a much clearer understanding of the person. Or they might be demonstrative. This means they display their feelings openly when they talk. Or they might be effusive. This means they are a too demonstrative; they have a tendency to gush; they show a little too much sentiment or enthusiasm. Or they might be expansive. This means they may sometimes exaggerate in a euphoric way. Clearly good writers, good observers and good thinkers are able to distinguish one type of talkative person from another. It's like the word good. He was a good guy. Does this mean he was full, savory, valid,  genuine, auspicious, ample, expedient, excellent, salubrious, solvent, pleasant, kind, proper, estimable, just, virtuous or godly? Clearly, "good" is not good enough. Below are some words we'll be using this year. Look up their definitions, their synonyms and their roots and use them as often as possible in your writing.





























































































































Achilles' heel























































































































American Studies / Rychlewski

Courage to Keep the Promise of America

"In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience – the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men – each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient – they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this, each man must look into his own soul."

John F. Kennedy

American History is a history of intolerance.  There are literally millions of people who have been marginalized, or made ‘outcasts’ in American History.  Among these marginalized groups have been African-Americans, women, immigrants from Europe, Asia and Latin America, homosexuals and the poor.  The list of people is endless, but their stories are similar. 

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “We find these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.”  In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln added, “Our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”  Unfortunately, as a nation, we have failed to live up to these lofty ideals and standards.  Despite this fact, there have been many individuals who dared to challenge the inequities of our society, trying desperately to make equality in our nation not just an ideal or promise, but a reality.  These people have Courage.   

                    To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice. -- Confucius

The Project:  Each student is responsible for……. 

A.     Investigating and researching individual acts of Courage.

B.     Analyzing and explaining the context in which these acts of Courage took place.

Courage is nine-tenths context.  What is courageous in one setting can be foolhardy in another and even cowardly in a third.                      ~Joseph Epstein

C.     Demonstrate how these acts of Courage helped to make the “Promise of America reality for marginalized people.

D.    Creating a POWERPOINT or WEB-PAGE that accurately portrays and illustrates BOTH the ways in which people have been marginalized and the Courage needed to overcome the obstacles.

Many a man never fails because he never tries. ~Norman MacEwan

E.     Answering the Essential Questions throughout their projects.


Essential Questions:     

                                1. What was/is the “Promise of America”?

2.      Who made the Promise?  (Be specific to era of study)

3.      Who was the Promise made to?  (Be specific to era of study)

4.      What was Promised?  (Be specific to era of study)

5.      Was the Promise kept?  Why or why not?

Start doing the things you think should be done, and start being what you think society should become. Do you believe in free speech? Then speak freely. Do you love the truth? Then tell it. Do you believe in an open society? Then act in the open. Do you believe in a decent and humane society? Then behave decently and humanely.                                                                                                                                                                          Adam Michnik

People of Courage

Jackie Robinson                  

Cesar Chavez            

Theodore Roosevelt

Frederick Douglas                  

Susan B. Anthony

Billy Mills                    

Jesse Owens

George Washington Carver

Chief Joseph

Hank Greenberg       

Robert Hayden

Andrew Espinosa          

Nellie Bly

Margaret Sanger               

Elizabeth Blackwell

Dick Gregory          

Ida B. Wells

Mary McLeod Betune         

Marcus Garvey

Elizabeth Cady Stanton 

Audy Murphy

Walter Payton

Booker T. Washington   

Harry S. Truman

Angela Davis         

Woodrow Wilson

Renee Berry-Huffman          

Edgar Daniel Nixon

John F. Kennedy         

Richard Rodriguez

Robert Kennedy

Arthur Ashe          

Barney Frank

Bernadette Dorn               

Betty Friedan

Dred Scott         

A. Phillip Randolph

Harriet Keyserling       

Helen Keller

Sojourner Truth

Charlayne Hunter-Gault       

Branch Rickey    

Upton Sinclair

Harry Truman

Chief Sitting Bull

William Lloyd Garrison            

Rosa Parks

Oliver Brown 

Jane Addams

Beth Robinson             

Thurgood Marshall   

Franklin D. Roosevelt

John Brown                             

Wilma Mankiller

Charles Brace                          

Reed Brody

Ryan White                             

Melissa Etheridge

Julia Ward Howe              

Harvey Milk

Muhammad Ali                        

Mary Beth Tinker

Samuel Gompers                

Anne Hutchinson

Huck Finn

Edward R. Murrow

Crazy Horse                            

Gloria Steinem

Malcolm X    

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.     

Harriet Tubman

Abraham Lincoln

Eleanor Roosevelt

W.E.B. DuBois

Lt. Col. Leonard Lynch        

Henry Gonzalez

Annie Smith Peck                     

Karen Silkwood

Medgar Evers    

Ellen Degeneres

Lyndon B. Johnson                  

Little Rock 9  

Sgt. York                                  

Stokely Carmichael

Jimmy Carter

Atticus Finch

Curt Flood

Walt Whitman


Grammar and Spelling:  Your web page/power point must be well argued and written in a clear and coherent manner.  Correct grammar, spelling and writing mechanics are important.

Research:  All students are encouraged to use a minimum of 4 resources in researching their topic such as newspapers, periodicals, articles from the Internet, books, personal interviews, (you can conduct a personal interview if your subject is still living) and other reputable sources.

What the project should include:  This is not a checklist, but an overall framework for you to use as a guide in the construction of your project on Courage.

1.      In your introduction, you should introduce…….

A.     Your person of courage.

B.     The concept and definition of Courage, as you are applying it in this paper.

C.     The marginalized group your person helped with their Courage.

2.      You will need some context.  This is NOT a biography, but you do need to “set the stage.”

A.     Time and place your person found/finds themselves.  (be specific)

B.     General time and “feeling” in the country about marginalization. 

C.     Example of the dominant discourse and the marginalized group your person challenges.

3.      How did your individual fight injustice in our society? 

4.      How does the story of your person of courage represent the much larger issue of Inequality and the ongoing struggle for Equality in the United States/world?

5.      Big picture.  What can we all learn from your person?  What role do we play in this struggle?  What is the role of Courage in the struggle for the America’s Promise of Equality?


"Not only do the problems of courage and conscience concern every officeholder in our land... For, in a democracy, every citizen, regardless of his interest in politics, ‘holds office’; every one of us is in a position of responsibility; and, in the final analysis, the kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsibilities."

John F. Kennedy
Profiles in Courage




1860 –


1880 – 1900

1900 –


1920 – 1940

1940 –


1960 - 1980



African – Americans


Children and workers

African – Americans

The Baby-boom

African – Americans




Black Codes


Chinese RR workers

Immigration quotas

Great Migration

Civil Rights

Latinos, Asians






Abraham Lincoln

13, 14, 15 Amendments

Relocation of Native Americans

Teddy Roosevelt

The Progressives

W.E.B. Dubois



Kennedy and Johnson


Health Care,





Tenant Farming



Trust busting

Booker T. Washington


Women in the work force

Great Society

Insider Trading





vs. Protestant


Harlem Renaissance


Protestant Ethic in Post WWII America

Martin Luther King





American Studies / Rychlewski

Preliminary Research Checklist


Directions:  As our research continues on COURAGE (and Cowardice), it is important that each of you understand the information you are compiling. You can’t simply print something from the internet. You have to read it and understand it. Next Tuesday, each of you will be ‘interviewed’ by another student. You will be required to know the following information about your person / people of courage. This information is presented in the form of questions outlined below. This will give you an opportunity to think about what you are reading, over the week-end and Monday in the computer room. Be focused! Be responsible! Think! We will give the grade to the interviewer, not to the person being interviewed.


I.                    General Conditions

A.     What were/are the historical conditions that exist(ed) in the United States (CONTEXT) in which your person of courage operated?


1.  What was the social climate of the United States at that time?


a.       What time period are you focusing your research on? Be specific.


2.       Where in the United States was your person of courage active? (Be sure to explain the sectional differences in the country at that time)


II.                 Background Information

A.     What were the circumstances of your person’s life that required them to act with courage?


1.       How did they get interested and involved in their quest? 


2.       Did anyone (person, group) help them in their struggle?  Who?  How?


III.               Historical Moment of Impetus

A.     What was the defining moment / impetus which started your person of courage on their path?


IV.              What were 3 specific moments / examples / struggles which help to clearly define your person


A.     _____________________________-



B.     _____________________________-



C.     _____________________________-


V.  What was the immediate impact of your person’s COURAGE? In their region? In the country?




  1. Devote the first paragraph to exploring the period your person lived in, using two adjectives to describe the period. EX: “The 1960’s was a turbulent and exciting decade in America.” Then give two or three detailed examples that prove your adjectives. At the end of the paragraph create a sentence that introduces your person of courage, perhaps saying that they “embodied” the struggles of that period.
  2. In the second paragraph give us a brief biography of your person, up to but not including the moment in their life that mobilized them to become a person of courage. This would be a paragraph of general biographical information rendered in your own words. Conclude this paragraph with a sentence that leads us up to the moment or circumstances that changed your person from the average Joe into a person of courage. EX: “Then in 1857 a series of events occurred that changed _________ forever.”
  3. In this paragraph explore in detail the event or events that changed your person. Try to discern why this (these) events so mobilized your person. This paragraph should include the first dramatic example of your person’s act(s)courage. “Finally, in November of 1921, disgusted with the situation, ___________ decided to act. She went to the______”
  4. This paragraph should discuss other examples of courage that this person demonstrated in their life. It is essentially a continuation of the biography, but with the parts that make your person historical and important. EX: “________ went on in 1943 to _______ . In 1951 he got involved with _________. At the end of her life she was still________”
  5. This paragraph should discuss the support system, if any, that helped your person of courage. It may have been a mother, a friend, a colleague, an organization. Or perhaps your person did it relatively alone. Explore how this support system helped or hindered your person. EX: “_______ did not do this alone. All along the way she received help."
  6. In this final paragraph discuss the immediate and long-term impact of your person’s contribution in their field of endeavor, both in their region and in the country. EX: “The work that ________ did produce may improvements in ________. Today in America you can________” Be prepared, as well, to discuss the failure of this person’s ideas, if their endeavors have ultimately not (or only partially) succeeded.



Bacis study questions for Huck Finn / Chapters 1-11

  1. Contrast the Widow Douglas with Miss Watson as they relate to Huck and Huck to them.
  2. Point out at least five examples of superstition and try to explain the origin of these superstitions.
  3. Is Huck’s father a believable character? Why or why not?
  4. Why does Huck’s father rant against the government and mistreat his son?
  5. Why do you suppose Huck never mentions his mother?
  6. Why is Huck essentially decent despite his background?
  7. Find three examples each that show Huck to be a mixture of

A)    “a country-bumpkin’s literal-mindedness”

B)    gullibility and innocence

C)    a frontier lad’s practically and shrewdness.

  1. Why did Jim run away?
  2. What is the legal status of a run-away slave in 1840’s Illinois/Missouri?
  3. What are Huck’s attitude toward Jim as a run-away slave
  4. Find five instances where Huck (in his own ignorant, honest and unconscious way) subtly point out faults in adult behavior, religion and society’s laws and traditions to the reader.
  5. Look up the definition to any words you don’t know.




Methods of Characterization:  How do we get to know a character?  Pay close attention to the following: physical appearance, actions, environment, speech patterns, the inner thoughts & feelings of that character and comments by other characters.

Bibliographic entry:  Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  McDougal Littell:  Illinois, 1997.


·        Quote: “I got into my old rags, and my sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied” (3).

·        Explanation of passage: Huck despises the clothes that he is forced to wear.  He feels out of place and uncomfortable; He doesn’t feel like himself unless he is in his own clothes.  On a very basic level, he equates freedom with his ability to slip into his own clothes, not those selected by someone else. He is clinging to a small issue of personal freedom.

·        Reader identification: Everyone has a favorite pair of blue jeans, gym shoes, or sweat pants.  These articles of clothing usually are the “holey” and worn but people continually turn to them for comfort and security. 


·        Quote: “So we shortened up one of the calico gowns and I turned up my trouser legs to my knees and got into it.  Jim hitched it behind with the hooks, and it was a fair fit.  I put on the sun-bonnet and tied it under my chin, …” (65).

·        Explanation of passage: This is the scene when Huck dresses up like a girl to get into town undiscovered.  He is trying to find out what the word is about his disappearance since Jim relayed the message that people believe he is dead.  His plan to get away is working.

·        Reader identification: Most people have played “dress up” before as a child but this game seems like a combination between childhood and a serious adult situation.  Huck uses the game to retrieve information but it seems like he can’t quite leave either.


·        Quote: “I laid there in the grass and the cool shade, thinking about things and feeling rested and ruther comfortable and satisfied.  I could see the sun out at one or two holes, but mostly it was big trees all about, and gloomy in there amongst them” (44)

·        Explanation of passage: Once Huck reaches Jackson’s island, he feels calm and collected, away from his lonesome new home and abusive father.  As he states, he is satisfied, and the description of his natural surroundings reflects his own mood: sun in some parts now that he is away, but a little gloomy too.

·        Reader identification: Sometimes it is beneficial to sit and be a part of nature without worrying or running from place to place.  Everyone needs space and time to figure out what direction to travel in next or what decision to make.


·        Quote: “’Well, I did. I said I wouldn’t, and I’ll stick to it.  Honest injun I will People would call me a low-down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum- but that don’t make no difference’” (51).

·        Explanation of passage: This shows his loyalty to his word, since Jim is worth $800, and Huck decides he will keep his word regardless.  When Huck says- “Honest injun…”- his childhood innocence is apparent.

·        Reader identification: We can all relate to having our word of honor tested and wanting to defend it especially to a friend.  If circumstances change, will Huck still be able to stand by his word?

Inner thoughts & feelings

What others say

·        Quote: “ ‘ Don’t you give none o’ your lip… You’ve put on considerable many frills since I’ve been away.  I’ll take you down a peg before I get done with you’” (23-24).

·        Explanation of passage: This is the first meeting between Huck and his father.  It shows the noticeable lack of a father-son bond.  Pap seems to be threatened by his son’s changes instead of proud that Huck is growing up respectable.

·        Reader identification: No parent/child relationships are easy, especially when the parent is violent, verbally and physically.  There is clearly a huge difference between biological father and parent.  Unfortunately, like Huck, many children today face the same type of hopeless relationship.




You’re going to write a letter in which you create a persona from The Civil War. You can choose a soldier, a nurse, an officer, a reporter or a civilian and they can be from either side. You may invent them or use a real person by going to one of the hundreds of Civil War sites and finding a name. Do not use famous people. No Lincoln, no Robert E. Lee, no Harriet Beecher Stowe. You may have them write to whomever they wish--a girl friend, a father, a politician, an editor. In order to do this well you’re going to have to research the common life of an American during The Civil War, the details of a particular military campaign and the important historical events just preceding this campaign. All of these things might be mentioned in a letter, and you’re going to have to know them to make the letter seem real.

Common life. This means what the people wore at that time, what they ate, how they traveled, how they slept…etc…and any unusual way they spoke (their use of vocabulary and syntax in particular). A soldier might be eat differently than a civilian so obviously you’re going to have to look that up accordingly. These details should be mentioned in your letter. Go to web sites that offer this type of information and read about it.

Research this. Then print and highlight what you intend to use

Military Campaign. The eight biggest battles of The Civil War were Antietam, Chancellorsville, Chickamauga, Gettysburg, Shiloh, the Appomattox Campaign, the Petersburg Campaign, and the Siege of Vicksburg. Pick one and know the following:

Research this. Then print and highlight what you intend to use.

Historical Events: This means what was happening in the country just before this. Other battles might be worth knowing about but also political decisions and/or any famous events outside of the war. Ex: Origin of Species was publish during The Civil War, Walt Whitman was writing poems during The Civil War, The Homestead Act was passed during The Civil War, there were draft riots in New York during The Civil War, people were playing baseball during The Civil War, The Lombard brothers were singing songs during The Civil War. Your persona might discuss such events in the letter.

Research this. Then print and highlight what you intend to use.

When you hand in the letter it must be dated sometime during The Civil War, it must be addressed to a particular person, it must have details of daily life, it must mention one of the eight battles, and it must discuss the events in the country at that time. It must be at least 500 words long. You may type it or write it long hand. If you want to make the paper look old or include trinkets or photos that you print from the Internet, go ahead. If you want to put it in a worn envelope and dabble it with perfume and address it, go right ahead. If you want to write it in the handwriting of that era, there are sites that show this.

NOTE: You cannot hand in the letter without the research sheets accompanying it. The sheets must be highlighted and half of what you highlighted must be in the letter. No research highlighted, no letter accepted, no grade given.

To get a feel for this go read the most famous letter written by a soldier during The Civil War. It’s by a man named Sullivan Ballou.

Here’s the address.



Thoreau said that walking through the landscape near his home was an event always filled with surprise. “It will never quite become familiar to you,” he remarked. We don’t have the opportunity to walk through a natural landscape like Thoreau did except when we walk through a large park or the forest preserves. Most of our walking is in the city, down familiar streets. Nevertheless, we might have the opportunity for discovery, if we just keep our senses open.

Was Thoreau right? Are there always new things to experience if you just keep your senses open? Let’s subject his theory to some empirical study.

Here is your assignment: leave your house on three separate days and take three 20-minute walks, each time along the same route. You can walk down familiar streets or unfamiliar streets. Or both. If you wish, you can walk through parks or forest preserves. It’s your choice. Just make sure you take the same route each time. And every time you go out note the NEW things you have discovered. Take a notebook with you. As you’re walking pay attention to the doors of houses, the tops of building, the signs in windows, various people, sounds, animals, types of cars, things in trees, objects strewn about, what is going on inside businesses, the conversations people are having, smells, things you might touch. In short, anything and everything that is out there that you might not normally have noticed. Once you have your notes from the three trips assembled, sit down and write an essay. In the essay you should support, refute or qualify Thoreau’s remark. Did your route never quite become familiar to you? If so, why? If not, why not? Use your three expeditions as the proof in the three body paragraphs. Make the opening paragraph interesting to grab the reader’s attention. Finish with some larger statement about Thoreau, this assignment and/or yourself. Type it--at least 500 words. Put the word count at the top of the page.

  1. Go out three times and take notes.
  2. Write the essay using the three expeditions
  3. Open in an interesting fashion in which you support, refute or qualify Thoreau.
  4. Close in an interesting fashion.
  5. Put word count on top of the page.



1. Discuss the setting of the film, Matewan, West Virginia. How would you characterize this country? Describe it, and discuss the feelings that this setting creates.

2. The basic plot line to the film is one of the oldest in the books: A stranger rides into town. The status quo is disrupted through conflict. Complications ensue. Events reach the point of no return. The status quo is restored (but not exactly as before) when the stranger leaves town. Why do you think Sayles chose this plot for his film? Does it come across as stale and predictable?

 3. This is a film full of conflict--in fact, it is a film about conflict and about different ways to come to terms with it. List the various conflicts going on in this film, as many as possible.

4. Discuss Joe Kenehan. What is it that motivates him? What does he want more than anything else? Do you find him one-dimensional in his pursuit of his goals? Does he develop?

5. Sayles writes, "To personalize the backbone of the film, Joe's struggle for justice without violence, I created Danny Radnor. . . . Joe's fight becomes a struggle for Danny's soul" Thinking in Pictures 19). Discuss Danny, and discuss the "struggle for Danny's soul."

6. In a quote that reminds one of how different Sayles is from someone like Spike Lee, the director writes, "Our one general decision was to stay away from self-conscious, authorial kinds of camera moves. As often as possible we wanted the characters and the action to lead the eye, rather than have the camera drag it around. Though bravura camera moves can add a lot to a certain kind of movie, establishing a grand style or an ironic distance from the story, we wanted the audience to be inside the story and to forget about the movie-makers as much as possible" (Thinking in Pictures 88). Did he succeed in this? Does the style of the film make you forget that you are watching a movie? Does the film have a documentary feel to it? Do you find that the style of the film works for you, or do you find it uninteresting?

7. In this film Sayles worked with veteran cinematographer Haskell Wexler. What do you think of the cinematography in the film? Discuss a couple of scenes that stand out.

8. Discuss the use of music in the film. For example, how is music used to characterize the various ethnic groups? How does this fit into the film's central themes?

9. Choose one of the confrontation scenes and discuss the way tension is built to the point of explosion.

10. What role does Few Clothes play in the film?

11. Discuss the relationship between Joe and Elma.

12. Sayles writes, "The pace of a movie can often be quickened by bringing the audience into a scene as late as possible, skipping the knock on the door, the introductions and build-up, and getting right to the meet of the action" (Thinking in Pictures 29). Discuss a scene in which Sayles accomplishes this end, shifting from one scene to the middle of another.

13. What do you think of the ending of the film? What is the film telling us at the end?

14. Discuss the politics of this film. What does Sayles seem to be saying about unions, about the capitalist system, about race relations?

15. Finally, Sayles writes, "Movies that make the audience ask questions almost invariably have to push beyond genre, beyond the satisfying ritual of the expected" (Thinking in Pictures 17). Does Matewan make the audience ask questions? Which questions? Does it undercut any of your expectations?



"Historians have long talked about a seemingly cyclical nature to our country’s history - that trends, attitudes, and events tend to repeat themselves with marked regularity and that Americans tend to move back and forth between two different and competing impulses or motivations."    Henry Adams 

As a class, we have been studying the Cyclical Theory of American History as proposed by Arthur Schlesinger Jr.  Now it is time to begin both our evaluation of the theory.  Using only your history textbook, your goal is to write a typed 5 paragraph essay contrasting the Private Interest Cycle of the Industrial Era in the United States (1880s to 1900) and the Public Purpose Cycle of the Progressives (1900 to 1920). 

The following pages and chapters are to be used as a reference for you in your research.  You are by no means expected to address all of the following topics and issues, but you must illustrate your understanding and comprehension of both Schlesinger’s Cycles and relevant historical information.


(For cross curricular work with American History teacher)

Private Interest  The Gilded Age

1.      Chapter 10 in its entirety

2.      Chapter 11      Section 1 A Way of Life Destroyed, The Dawes Act                                 

3.      Chapter 12      Section 1 and 2

4.      Chapter 13 in its entirety

Public Purpose  The Progressive Era

1.      Chapter 14 in its entirety

2.      Chapter 15 in its entirety

3.      Chapter 16 in its entirety

Your essay should research and highlight 3 specific events, practices and/or overall social conditions that were prevalent and important during the given time periods.  Your job is to discuss a specific aspect of the Private Interest Cycle in Chapters 10 – 13.  (i.e.  The Homestead Strike) and then find a direct contrast from the Public Purpose Cycle explained in Chapters 14 – 16.  (i.e.  The AFL-CIO) 

"The dynamic is between a willingness to sublimate private personal gain and interest (Private Interest) to the greater national good and purpose (Public Purpose) and an unwillingness to do so."   Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

 Schlesinger says that cycles change because of the “Inevitable Disappointment With the Status Quo.”  What this means is, people grow tired of the way things are, and look for a change to make things both different and better.  With this in mind, find out what the conditions and lives of the people in America were like in The Gilded Age.  After you have done that, you will be able to explain their complaints and dissatisfaction.  Then, find out which reforms from The Progressive Era addressed these specific complaints and social problems.  As Isaac Newton said, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”



America 1940-1980: At Home, in Europe and in Asia

Your goal is to energize yourself to discover, create and share (BY TEACHING!) the American Experience from 1940-1980. The project will be divided into four parts.

Assessment #1:  People, Places, Events, Supreme Court Decisions:               through "Baseball" Cards

Assessment #2:  The Big Picture:                                                                      with a "Pictorial History"

Assessment #3:  Media:                                                                                       using clips in a Movie Analysis

Assessment #4:  Lesson:                                                                                      teaching what you learned.        

Assessment #1:  People, Places, Events, Supreme Court Decisions: "Baseball" Cards

Baseball Cards are generally divided into two very distinct and important parts.  The first part is a picture or visual on the front, which illustrates and the second part is the backside, which explains by listing statistics and/or biographical information. We want you to create cards for World War II, The Cold War/Korea or The Vietnam War. You can work in groups but you must create the cards individually. We would like 20 cards per student. Below is a research list of subjects for your cards. We have focused on people, places, events and Supreme Court decisions. There is also a list of films, which we will discuss later in assessment # 3. After the assessment # 1 research list you’ll find a schedule. NOTE: the schedule will apply to only certain classes.




GROUP 1: World War II

Battles/Confrontations in Bold

Events and Places in Italics


Dawes Plan     

Good Neighbor Policy

Nazi Party       


Mein Kampf

Puppet State



Munich Conference

Non-Aggression Pact



Pearl Harbor 


Axis Powers


Battle of El Alamein

Battle of Stalingrad

Battle of Midway

Bataan Death March

Concentration camps

Death Camps  

War Production Board

The Wilhelm Gustoff

“The Blitz”

Lend-Lease Act               


Trde Embargo



Battle of the Bulge


The Big Three  

Island Hopping



Iwo Jima

Battle of Guadalcanal

Manhattan Project



Enola Gay      


GI Bill of Rights                    

Nuremburg Trials

United Nations


Little Boy                    

Fat Man                               


Battle of Monte Cassino


WW II: Important People Directly Connected to the War

Vladimir Lenin

Benito Mussolini

Adolph Hitler

Joseph Stalin   

F.D. Roosevelt

Neville Chamberlain

Georgi Konstantinovich


Winston Churchill

Emperor Hirohito

Chester Nimitz

Joseph Goebbels

George S. Patton                  

Albert Einstein

Charles De Gaulle

Harry S. Truman

Admiral Halsey

Hideki Tojo

J. Robert  Oppenheimer              

Roberto Falco

Gen. Montgomery

Jimmy Dolittle

Albert Speer                          

General Telford Taylor

Heinrich Himler

Enrico Fermi

Omar Bradley

George Marshall

Vyacheslav Molotov


WW II: Civilians such as famous figures, writers, artists, correspondents, entertainers…etc

Chester Himes         

Ernie Pyle                 

Bill Mauldin  

Norman Mailer

James Jones             

Elaine Shepard          

Artvid Friedburg        

 Ted Williams

Bob Hope

The Andrews Sisters

Frank Sinatra               

Glen Miller

Audie Murphy         

Clark Gable               

 John Wayne                 

Richard Wright

Langston Hughes      

Jackson Pollack 

Ernest Hemingway

Rosie The Riveter         

Jimmy Stewart         

Benny Goodman       

 James Tate                   

Thomas McGrath

James Dickey           

Ezra Pound               

Tennessee Williams     

Eleanor Roosevelt

Norman Rockwell

Axis Sally

Howard Nemerov    

Louis Simpson           

Richard Hugo              

Edward Field

Harvey Shapiro        

Kurt Vonnegut          

Charles Lindbergh         

Henry Ford

William Shirer

Tokyo Rose


WW II: Movies about the war or about America during and/or after the war

Saving Private Ryan (in class) / The Fog of War (in class)

The Thin Red Line

Enemy at the Gates

Band of Brothers

Stalag 17

Bridge on the River Kwai

Mrs. Miniver

From Here to Eternity


The Enemy Below


Sands of Iwo Jima

Twelve O’Clock High

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

The Best Years of Our Lives

The Glass Menegerie

A League of Their Own

The Guns of Navarone

A Bridge Too Far

The Longest Day

To Hell and Back


The Desert Fox

The Pawnbroker

Too Be or Not To Be

The Train

South Pacific

The Great Escape

To Hell and Back

The Caine Munity

It’s a Wonderful Life

The Dirty Dozen

Come See the Paradise



Operation Petticoat

Mr. Roberts

Sink the Bismark

Von Ryan’s Express

Run Silent, R un Deep



**** this site will give you the important Supreme Court decisions of the last century, according to the ACLU.

Look at the decisions and find one pr two that seem interesting.


GROUP II: Korea / Cold War

Korea / Cold War:

Battles/Confrontations in Bold 

Events and Places in Italics


Cold War        

Satellite (not space)

Iron Curtain


Truman Doctrine

Marshall Plan

Berlin Blockade

The Pueblo

Berlin Wall






Korean War


Hydrogen Bomb            


Massive retaliation

Third World    

Suez War

Hungarian Uprising

U-2 Incident   

Baby Boom

Highway Act of 1956  

Pork Chop Hill


Peace Corps

Berlin Crisis

Cuban Missile Crisis

Bay of Pigs

New Frontier               

Urban Renewal

Montgomery Bus Boycott

The Thresher   


Korea / Cold War: Important people directly connected to the Cold War / Korea and/or famous figures, writers, artists, correspondents, entertainers from the period

George Marshall

Chang Kai-Shek            

Mao Tse Dong(Zedong)

J. D. Salinger

Charley Parker

Elia Kazan

Robert Rauschenberg

Joseph McCarthy

Douglas MacArthur

John F. Kennedy

James Baldwin

Marlon Brando

Leonard Bernstein

Richard Nixon

Nikita Khrushchev

Lyndon B. Johnson

Fidel Castro

Thelonious Monk

James Dean

Mark Rothko

Jackie Gleason

General Tito

Alan Ginsburg

Jack Kerouac

The Beats

Marilyn Monroe

Jasper Johns

Sid Caesar


Korea / Cold War: Movies

13 Days

Dr. Strangelove

The Manchurian Candidate

Goodbye Lenin

High Noon

Hunt for Red October

The Spy Who Came in From the


Rebel Without a Cause

One, Two, Three

Uncommon Valor

This is War

Battle Hymn

Steel Helmut

On the Waterfront

Red Dawn

Bad Day at Black Rock

Pillow Talk

The Bridges of Toko-Ri

Men in War


Pork Chop Hill


North by Northwest


East of Eden




**** this site will give you the important Supreme Court decisions of the last century, according to the ACLU.

Look at the decision and find one pr two that seem interesting.




Battles in Bold  (12)

Events and Places in Italics






French – Indochina



Coup d’etat


Geneva Conference



Gulf of Tonkin Incident

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution


Ho Chi Minh Trail



Carpet bombing

Agent Orange


Tet Offensive


My Lai Massacre

Kent State                  

Khmer Rouge

The Christmas Bombing

Domino Theory

War Powers Act


Vietnam: Important people directly connected to the Vietnam and/or famous figures, writers, artists, correspondents, entertainers from the period.

Ho Chi Minh   

Ngo Dinh Diem

John F. Kennedy

Buddhist Monks          

Lyndon B. Johnson      

William Westmoreland

Tunnel Rats     





Robert McNamara

Richard Nixon 

Bob Dylan                   

Henry Kissinger

Nguyen Van Thieu

Le Duc Tho     

Joan Baez

Pol Pot

Harry S. Truman

John Prine                              

Tim O’Brien            

John Kerry                             

Tobias Wolfe            

Crosby, Stills & Nash     

Jane Fonda                           

Pete Seeger                         

Muhammad Ali                      

Chicago 7

John McCain

Weather Underground            

Arlo Guthrie                          

Green Berets

John Wayne                           

Bob Hope

The Smothers Brothers                            


Vietnam: Films about the war or important films made during the era                             

Born on the 4th of July

Rolling Thunder

The Deer Hunter

Go Tell The Spartans

Good morning, Vietnam


Regret to Inform

Guess Whose Coming to Dinner

The Wild Bunch

Apocalypse Now

Coming Home

The Deer Hunter

First Blood

The Green Beret

The Long Road Home

Tiger Land

Mary Poppins

West Side Story

Full Metal Jacket

The Graduate

Five Easy Pieces

Easy Rider

In Country

Missing in Action


Bonnie and Clyde

2001: A Space Odyssey




**** this site will give you the important Supreme Court decisions of the last century, according to the ACLU.

Look at the decision and find one pr two that seem interesting.


Day, Date

In-Class Lesson Schedule

Work / Progress Schedule

Monday: Day 1


Introduction of Project

Handout of Project Requirements

Assignment of Specific Individual Topics:


          -World War II

          -Cold War


Baseball Cards- World War II, the Cold War and Vietnam

"Baseball Cards for People, Events and Places" is due 10 class days from today. "Pictorial History” is due 15 class days from  today. "Historical Movie Analysis" is due 20 class days from today




Class will meet in the Computer Lab Today



Classroom:  Notes and discussion

The Great Depression and the New Deal

Programs of the New Deal



New Deal and the Great Depression




Class will meet in the Computer Lab Today

Baseball Cards for People, Events and Places is due 5 class days from today. "Pictorial History” is due 10 class period from this day. Historical Movie Analysis" is due 15 class days from today


Class will meet in the Computer Lab Today




Classroom:  Notes and Discussion

World War II in Europe- League of Nations fails

Appeasement:  Oui, Oui

Hitler, Mein Kampf, the final solution  and The German Military Plan




20 minutes to gather and organize “Baseball Cards” information

Conclude any German notes and discussion




Classroom:  Notes and Discussion

U.S. Japanese Relations, the role of the U.S. in the War

Pearl Harbor and the U.S. reaction

War Production Board




Collect “Baseball Cards”

Introduction and Class Discussion of “Pictorial History”

The United States enters the war

"Baseball Cards for People, Events and Places" is due today. "Pictorial History” is due on the 5 class days from today. "Historical Movie Analysis" is due 10 class days from today.



Classroom Notes and Discussion:

1.  Hiroshima

2.  Nagasaki



Class will meet in the Computer Lab Today



Class Discussion and Notes



Class will meet in the Computer Lab Today



20 minutes for “Pictorial History” discussion

20 minutes for Movie Introduction

"Pictorial History” is due today. "Historical Movie Analysis" is due 5 class days from today



Class Discussion and Notes: 

Introduction of the Cold War and the Truman Doctrine



Class Discussion and Notes:

Berlin Wall and Cuba



Class Discussion and Notes:

Song Analysis of Cold War



Class Discussion and Notes:

Introduction of Vietnam using Songs and notes



Class Meets in Classroom

Vietnam in Song, Pictures and Discussion

"Historical Movie Analysis" is due 5 class days from today.



Class meets in Computer Lab to type and construct lesson, worksheets and assessments

Teaching Begins Tomorrow


World War II lessons Begin

Complete Handouts and Questions


World War II lessons Conclude

Complete Handouts and Questions


Cold War lessons Begin

Complete Handouts and Questions


Cold War lessons Conclude

Complete Handouts and Questions


Vietnam lessons Begin

Complete Handouts and Questions


Vietnam lessons Conclude

Complete Handouts and Questions

Assessment #1:  People, Places, Events, Supreme Court Decisions:               Baseball Cards

Assessment #2:  The Big Picture:                                                                      Pictorial History

Assessment #3:  Media:                                                                                       Movie Analysis

Assessment #4:  Lesson:                                                                                      Teach It        



You have been studying eras and the texts from those eras for the entire year. It is now time to put your knowledge to work. Below are the eras we have studied and various representative texts from those eras that we have read, seen as movies, or have easy access to. Pick three eras and type a 600-1,000+ word essay in which you:

A)   Create a venn diagram comparing and contrasting the three eras.

B)   Pick two adjectives that apply to each of the three eras which together create a dialectic. (A dialectic deals with opposites. For instance, you may say an era was “exciting” and “dangerous.”)

C)   Use the representative texts to explain how those text embody the dialectic of the era. (By “embody” I mean that those text contain in them the two words that you have choosen to use to describe

D)   Hand it in on the day of the final exam as your ticket to TAKE the final exam.

ERA                                                                   TEXT

Pre-Revolutionary War

The Crucible, Black Elk Speaks

The Revolutionary War

Declaration of Independence, Crisis, Speech at the Virginia Convention.


Huck Finn

The Civil War

Cold Mountain, or movies: Glory, Andersonville, Gods and Generals, Gettysburg

Post-Civil War to 1900

My Antonia, Black Elk Speaks

Industrialization and Immigration 1900-1920

The Jungle, Matawan

The 20’s

The Great Gatsby

The Depression

The Glass Menagerie


Movies: Saving Private Ryan, The Best Years of Our Lives, The Thin Red Line, From Here to Eternity

Post Hiroshima 1945-1960

The Catcher in the Rye

Vietnam Era

The Things They Carried and movies: Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, Platoon, Born on the 4th of July.











Bulletin board






Chart story

Check lits









Creative writing

Crossword puzzle











Display case








Experiment station


Field manual

Field trip

Flannel board






Information table




Joke book


Learning center




Make believe





















Paper mach







Project cube








Research center






Sequence story





Story problem



Tape recording


Time line


Video tape


Wood carving



I want you to be to able access and understand the various educational resources available on the Britannica site for CPS, be able to explain them in a written “student-centered” introduction, be able to verbally guide an audience through your own personal discovery path of that site and--in the end--have a solid in-depth research experience.

Before you begin exploring the site generate a series of questions and/or problems that you usually encounter when researching sites. This will heighten your awareness of your personal predispositions and help focus you on what you should be looking for as you "discover" this Britannica site. I will show some video clips from the site to get you energized. If you're a responsible student, come to me and I'll allow you to partner-up.

As you discover the site use the following two approaches 1) explore all pages and links (always taking notes) to get a broad understanding of the site and  2) go deeply into a specific subject on the site and follow it through as many links as possible (also taking notes). The deep and long lasting goal here is to have you understand the nature of research, especially how to balance breadth with depth. Again, as you are discovering interesting spots/links make notes on them, especially specific points that make that spot/link interesting and/or worthwhile. When a particular site is worth exploring always go further in. Enjoy the discovery process.

After you've assembled enough notes begin writing an essay, focusing on audience and purpose. Show me a draft along the way and we can conference for re-writes. Selected volunteers will present a five or ten-minute personal discovery path for the whole class.

I want you to start using this site in your research in all subjects and I want you to be able to teach the site to other students. If you can teach it, you know it.




PURITANISM     1680-1750

RATIONALISM   1750-1810                        


Essentially evil; Original Sin; Individual is of lesser value than society; Hoped to be one of the elected therefore tried to act as he thought the Elect should act.

Essentially good and bad; Responsible for his/her own mistakes and successes


Wrathful; Old Testament punisher of wrong “fire and brimstone” power; Anthropomorphic (having human form and characteristics); Fore-ordains all things.

Deistic; No miracles, no Divine intervention or punishment.


A threat to existence; Forest viewed as devil’s last “citadel;" A direct expression of God’s Will; Wilderness is devil’s home

A force to be reckoned with; America’s Manifest Destiny: frontier; Emphasis on science; Well-ordered universe


The greater good; Duty to society before individual freedom; Work ethic: utilitarian; Theocracy: form of government in which God is recognized as the supreme civil ruler; No separation of Church & State   

Humanitarian attitude: do good for others; Social problems solved with aid and reasoning; No charity: build a perfect society; Pragmatic


A release from life, yet an uncertainty because man did not know whether he was one of “the Elect”; Heaven and Hell: Hell was a favorite topic of sermons

No fear of death; Actions in life determine after-life; Good rewarded, bad punished






Basically good, but can be corrupted by Society; “Noble Savage” ideal: back to Nature = back to Heart

Man contains a “spark of dignity” which leads to Man’s intuitiveness; Man is good because God is in him


Benevolent; anthropomorphic; Loss of faith a damning sin; God speaks to man through Nature

Oversoul; omnipresent and omniscient; God is not a separate entity


God’s message to man is manifested in Nature; Nature represents man’s soul; Nature is a soother, healer, teacher, comforter; Nature reflects the order in the universe.


Emphasis on the INDIVIDUAL instead of the group; Emphasis on the common man; Nationalistic spirit; Break from tradition. Corrupting influences are found in money, power, etc; Distrust of institutions.


A natural part of man’s life cycle and not to be feared.



REALISM 1865-1900          

NATURALISM 1900-1920


Contains both good and evil right thing, but society brings out worst in him; Writing deals with common man

Fate ruled by environment & heredity; Ethics: man tries to do right but can’t; Pessimistic; No Free Will


Man feels abandoned by God but still looks to God for answers;  God puts things into motion, but then man must fend for himself

God doesn’t care about man


Romantic, but Nature can be both beautiful & threatening; It is objective

Nature is indifferent to man; Powerful & threatening


Becomes an oppressive concept often in conflict with the individual

Survival of the fittest; Fate of individual does not matter in overall concept


FEARED!  Thought of as horrible death is not glorious and a bad life is more valuable than a glorious death

Gruesome, but a release from the struggle of life





Man is condemned to freedom; Man must devise his own code of ethical beliefs. “Who am I?”  Man is therefore utterly responsible for his actions.


Atheistic: “God is dead;” Christian: it is necessary to re-evaluate the way we think of God; Old concepts no longer works.


Man is alienated from Nature; Man and Nature are indifferent to or apathetic about each other.


Man is alienated from others; He is isolated: a “marginal” man; He is living on the outskirts of society: he may see it, but not fit into society; Society is destructive to the individual.


Atheist’s view: death is Nothingness; Christian’s view: death as Heaven and Hell



Information on previous projects will be inserted at a later date.


Yes, We Can


I remember when I was little and my parents telling me that everything would be alright but I was too young to realize that there was a War going on in Serbia and my parents had me and my brother to worry about and themselves. The problem was getting on a plane and leaving the country due to a war but there was no way of doing that because many of the planes were not aloud to fly during the war because they could have gotten shot down for being an intruder. But my parents had never given up on me and my brother but my brother was old enough and knew what was going on but he never really talked about it because he was scared, buy my parents always tried and tried until we were safe from the war.

Then one afternoon after waiting about one month for an plane to leave for America my parents grabbed me and my brother and got on the plane without packing we had just left with our clothes on our back. I remember the day we arrived in America we had nothing except the clothes on our back. Then my mom told me the problem was making money and having a place to live and none of us knew how to speak English. But after living ten years in America My father had become a lawyer and my mother had become a doctor. During the ten years we all learned how to interact with people and went to college and got good jobs.

When my mom was young and lived with her mother she told her dad who was my grandfather always worked hard until he was drafted until the military to protect her from all of the bad people. She remembers crying everyday because sometimes he was gone for months. She thought she would never see him again. But that all changed when my grandma and my mom went to the military to see my grand pa but they knew that they wouldn’t let you in unless somebody had died in your family, but they tried and tried until they were let in to see. What I’m trying to say is even if you don’t succeed the first time you should keep trying and trying until you get what you want this represents “Yes, We Can” because even though they knew they couldn’t get into the military to see him they tried harder and harder to get in.

Another story my mother had told me was about me when I was young and had to go to school the first day but I really didn’t speak English she said that someday that I will be able to speak it even if I didn’t want to because she knew that I would not quit. That when she told me yes you can because she believed in me and in a couple of years I learned how to speak English and become very intelligent. I give thanks to my parents because they loved me and my brother and took care of us and themselves by giving us a better opportunity to have a better life in America. Yes We Can does change everything because nothing is impossible unless you don’t try it.

Last night while I was talking to my mother, she had told me a story when her mom was young and WWII was going on and she remembers being small and not knowing what was going on. She told me that my grandma was small when her dad was in the war protecting them.  She told me that my grandma’s dad was a good man and a great soldier but he had died in the war protecting his team. She always knew that he was a brave man because even though he knew that there was no chance of getting the whole team he said Yes’ I Can to try to save everyone he ended up getting everyone out except himself.

 What Yes, We Can means to me is that no one ever gives and tries to achieve there goal and always try to help someone no matter what challenges you have in your life nothing is impossible unless you don’t try it.



Each grade will be worth 100 points:

Grade 1: Getting the books. 5 books if you're working alone (20 pts. per book), 10 books if you're a team (10 pts. per book). No sharing of books for your count, though you may share for your research. Due on or before December 4th. NOTE: books must be okayed by me so get them ASAP.

Grade 2: Creating a thesis/argument (300 words) and preparing note cards. 20 if you're working alone (5 pts. per card), 33 if you're a team (3 pts. per card). Due on or before Dec 10.

Grade 3: Outline prepared. Detail step-by-step your strategy. This means essentially putting your note cards together in a logical fashion and typing up an outline. Due on or before Dec 17th

Grade 4: First draft. Due on or before Jan 11. (10 points off for every day late) Working alone = must be 6 pages minimum (under 4 not acceptable) Pairs = must be 9 pages (under 6 not acceptable)

Grade 5: Second draft. Due on or before Jan 18 (10 points off for every day late)





1.     Impressive control of language

·        interesting and precise diction, especially the use active verbs

·        use of subordinate clauses or a series of clauses to demonstrate that you

          can sustain a complicated thought

·        varying sentence length

·        doesn’t over use the rhetorical vocabulary which can smack of the five-

          paragraph essay

·        outside references cited that can demonstrate some world knowledge

·        variation in the use of  SVO

·        employs quotes and ellipses for economy

·        creates sophisticated transitions (EX: “The most salient feature is the

          use of blank.” “Another integral element in the piece is blank.” “Blank

          is also in evidence here. One can recognize it in the…” “Finally, Blank,

          which really (verb)…”

·        has a distinct voice

·        smoothly leads the reader from point to point

·        seems to have had fun writing the essay--a mix of sophisticated and

          causal language


2.     Sophisticated and coherent argument

·        demonstration of dialectical and nuanced thinking

·        use of contrasting transitions--however, conversely, on the other

          hand, even so

·        skillful in synthesizing sources.

·        organic structure. The piece has an individuality to it. It doesn’t feel

          like there is a template superimposed over the analysis

·        sustained interaction with the text. The essay is not drifting.

·        uses parallelism

·        recognizes irony


3.     Position developed with evidence

·        not simply quoting a passage but explaining how the passage works

          with proof that is appropriate and convincing.

·        analyzes the evidence in chronological order rather than jumping

          around to find examples of specific rhetorical strategies


4.     Thesis examined implicitly as well as explicitly

·        you don’t have to spell it out step-by-step in some five paragraph




                             Like a Weed I Will Grow


My feet are planted firmly on the ground as if ready for something.  I am ready for my future, ready to live my dream. A dream made possible because of a little determination, a little pride, and a tremendous amount of perseverance. Weeds are not the apple of many people eyes, but weeds are strong and when you want to get rid of a weed better chop well because if not it will grow back stronger. Like a weed I will flourish in an open prairie.

I have a closet, a closet with lots of shirts. I love these shirts even though some of these shirts don’t fit, but I still hold on to them. This closet represent my life, the shirts represent a parts of my life. I did not want to get rid of my shirts because I remember how they use to fit me, but time past and I kept getting these new shirts and soon my closet/ my life became un-functional.  I realized I had to move on and I had to unpack my closet and get rid of my shirts I had for so long. Now that my closet is cleaned out I can move on and now my closet is functional I can close it! To do this you have to connect the cause and the effect because if you do not you would not know what is your problem to correct.

I have all this knowledge, about math, science but I don’t have the ability to do them. People can know everything from the secrets to Da Vinci painting to knowing everything Albert Einstein understood but they don’t have the ability to do what they have done. Someone can teach you how to swim but you want know how to swim until you are in the water. I want it all I am ready to do; I am ready to have the ability of my knowledge.

I ran for Secretary for National Honors Society, I put everything I had into my speech and it took everything out of me to stand in front of other out standing students and present my speech. I didn’t get elected secretary, at one point I was very forlorn saying why I never get to shine, what make someone else better then me. I might not have their grades, didn’t rank one of class, not president of senior class, but I know I have the dream; I have the perseverance that will keep me going. One quote I really relate to is “being defeated is more valuable then having victory all of the time.” When you are defeated you become stronger you learn your mistake your skin getting tougher. A person who had victory all the time will fall hard when they lose because it will be too late for their first wake up call to reality.

I am in many clubs such as: buildOn, environment club, art club, French club, Big brother/Big sister club (mentoring youth), President of National Art Honor Society, National Honor Society, National Langue Society,  science club, tennis team and I am a college ambasstors. Theses clubs actually change and mold me to the person I am now. buildOn is a origination that help build communities in urban areas and also build school in third world countries such as: Mali, China, India just to name a few. No, I never got to go to those countries and gain the experience like I would love to but I have gain more experience than I have ever had before by just doing community service every Saturday with buildOn in local Chicago areas. Yes, I have gain over two-hundred service hours with buildOn but I have also gain knowledge out of my community, I have gained the confidence to get outside my comfort zone and interact with different culture, different people of life. 

I have done an internship with a park district community green house, I have learned so much about plant life from just local neighbors. The people that volunteer there are so amiable that they know my name and each other’s names, it’s like we are a family every time we meet up there. The internship not only was to  keep up of local members community gardens but also  include of teaching children from ages three to ten all about basic plant life. This internship was my dream because I want to major and both biology and education. This internship over the summer gave me hands on, first look of what my future career will consist of.  Yet my internship is over I still go to the events and go by frequently to the community garden. I enjoyed my internship at Kilbourn Organic Green House and won’t change my experience there for anything least.

Life is about growing and learning and adapting. Face it, life and struggle is a total package; you can’t get the deal without both. I am only 17 years old and life basically is about to begin for me. Life told me to avoid the cliché and break the cycle and destroy this young ego I have so I can learn and live. I only can dream of my future and celebrate the present because that is just simply what life is about.