The Starry Night -- Robert Fagles Long as I paint I feel myself less mad the brush in my hand a lightning rod to madness But never ground that madness execute it ride the lightning up from these benighted streets and steeple up with the cypress look its black is burning green I am that I am it cries it lifts me up the nightfall up the cloudrack coiling like a dragon's flanks a third of the stars in heaven wheeling in its wake wheels in wheels around the moon that cradles round the sun and if I can only trail these whirling eternal stars with one sweep of the brush like Michael's sword if I can cut the life out of the beast - safeguard the mother and the son all heaven will hymn in conflagration blazing down the night the mountain ranges down the claustrophobic valleys of the mad Madness is what I have instead of heaven God deliver me - help me now deliver all this frenzy back into your hands our brushstrokes burning clearer into dawn.
The Starry Night -- Anne Sexton That does not keep me from having a terrible need of -- shall I say the word -- religion. Then I go out at night to paint the stars. --Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother The town does not exist except where one black-haired tree slips up like a drowned woman into the hot sky. The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars. Oh starry starry night! This is how I want to die. It moves. They are all alive. Even the moon bulges in its orange irons to push children, like a god, from its eye. The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars. Oh starry starry night! This is how I want to die: into that rushing beast of the night, sucked up by that great dragon, to split from my life with no flag, no belly, no cry.
Vincent -- Don McLean mailto:http://www.filestube.com/3606c697dbc16cdc03ea/details.html Starry, starry night. Paint your palette blue and grey, Look out on a summer's day, With eyes that know the darkness in my soul. Shadows on the hills, Sketch the trees and the daffodils, Catch the breeze and the winter chills, In colors on the snowy linen land. Now I understand what you tried to say to me, How you suffered for your sanity, How you tried to set them free. They would not listen, they did not know how. Perhaps they'll listen now. Starry, starry night. Flaming flowers that brightly blaze, Swirling clouds in violet haze, Reflect in Vincent's eyes of China blue. Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain, Weathered faces lined in pain, Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand. Now I understand what you tried to say to me, How you suffered for your sanity, How you tried to set them free. They would not listen, they did not know how. Perhaps they'll listen now. For they could not love you, But still your love was true. And when no hope was left in sight On that starry, starry night, You took your life, as lovers often do. But I could have told you, Vincent, This world was never meant for one As beautiful as you. Starry, starry night. Portraits hung in empty halls, Frameless head on nameless walls, With eyes that watch the world and can't forget. Like the strangers that you've met, The ragged men in the ragged clothes, The silver thorn of bloody rose, Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow. Now I think I know what you tried to say to me, How you suffered for your sanity, How you tried to set them free. They would not listen, they're not listening still. Perhaps they never will.
Essay Prompts In a formal essay, describe three elements of Van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night” that are mentioned in Robert Fagles’ poem “Starry Night.” How does Fagles characterize Vincent Van Gogh? In a formal essay, describe three elements of Van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night” that are mentioned in Anne Sexton’s poem “Starry Night.” How does Sexton characterize Vincent Van Gogh? In a formal essay, describe three elements of Van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night” that are mentioned in Don McLean’s song “Starry Night.” How does McLean characterize Vincent Van Gogh?
Horse with Violin --Lawrence Ferlinghetti Don’t let that horse eat that violin cried Chagall’s mother But he kept right on painting And became famous And kept on painting The Horse With Violin In Mouth And when he finally finished it he jumped up upon the horse and rode away waiving the violin And then with a low bow gave it to the first naked nude he ran across And there were no strings attached
Writing Prompts How might the physical composition and style of Chagall’s paintings have contributed to the form of Ferlinghetti’s poem “Horse with Violin.” When looking at Chagall’s painting “Horse with Violin,” the reader might come to what conclusion about the afterlife of the poem “Horse with Violin”?
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Have students look at the painting as they write about the poem “Oh, you gatherer.” Prompt: Analyze the ways that Ferlinghetti uses the images of fire in his poem “Oh, you gatherer” which expounds on the brilliance of poets hoping to attain the skill of master poets, including Percy Shelley.
Shelley on the Beach at Viareggio -- Louis Edouard Fournier - 1889
Oh, you gatherer -- Lawrence Ferlinghetti Oh you gatherer of the fine ash of poetry ash of the too-white flame of poetry Consider those who have burned before you in the so-white fire Crucible of Keats and Campana Bruno and Sappho Rimbaud and Poe and Corso And Shelley burning on the beach at Viarreggio And now in the night in the general conflagration the white light still consuming us small clowns with our little tapers held to the flame
Frankenstein’s Romantic Roots In a formal essay, discuss how nature is presented in the two Romantic poems “When I Have Fears” and “Ozymandias.” In a formal essay, discuss the common elements of Romanticism found in Frankenstein and in the poems of the English Romantic poets.
When I Have Fears -- John Keats WHEN I have fears that I may cease to be Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain, Before high pil`d books, in charact'ry, Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain; When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face, Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance, And feel that I may never live to trace Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance; And when I feel, fair creature of an hour! That I shall never look upon thee more, Never have relish in the faery power Of unreflecting love;—then on the shore Of the wide world I stand alone, and think, Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.
Ozymandias -- Percy Bysshe Shelley I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal these words appear: `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, The lone and level sands stretch far away".
Oedipus Rex and Antigone Paired with Poetry Antigone -- Maria Euprosyne Spartali
Antigone -- Gershon Hepner For a reverence she thought was right she practiced her devotion, and till the corpses both were out of sight hung fiercely to the notion that those who’ve died deserve as much respect as those who carry on, but who can blame survivors who suspect that she, like Metatron, would like to be the one who’s in control? She crosses that fine border that circumscribes the playing field whose goal is set for law and order.
Essay Prompt In a formal essay, discuss the character of Antigone as presented in the play and in the poem “Antigone” by Gershon Hepner. How is Antigone different in each work? How is she the same? Describe the tone of each work.
Myth -- Muriel Rukeyser Long afterward, Oedipus, old and blinded, walked the roads. He smelled a familiar smell. It was the Sphinx. Oedipus said, “I want to ask one question. Why didn’t I recognize my mother?” “You gave the wrong answer,” said the Sphinx. “But that was what made everything possible,” said Oedipus. “No,” she said. “When I asked, What walks on four legs in the morning, two at noon, and three in the evening, you answered, Man You didn’t say anything about woman.” “When you say Man,” said Oedipus, “you include women too. Everyone knows that.” She said, “That’s what you think.”
Essay Prompts In a formal essay, discuss the implications of the sphinx’s words in the poem “Myth” by Muriel Rukeyser. In a formal essay, discuss how the story of Oedipus is different in the poem “Myth” by Muriel Rukeyser from the story in Sophocles’ play Oedipus Rex. In a formal paragraph, describe the tone of the sphinx in the poem “Myth” by Muriel Rukeyser.
Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart In a formal essay, discuss the two different narrators’ points of view in the two novels Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart. How does each narrator view native African culture? How does each narrator suffer from his view? In a formal essay, discuss Conrad’s and Achebe’s feelings about English Colonialism in the novels Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart. Is English Colonialism presented in a negative light in both novels? Why or why not?
The Tempest and Brave New World In a formal essay, discuss how the title of Huxley’s novel Brave New World is related to Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. In a formal essay, discuss three elements of a utopian society that are presented in Brave New World and The Tempest (benevolent ruler, elimination of love and lust, elimination of power struggles). In a formal paragraph, explain how there is a tempest in Huxley’s Brave New World and a brave new world in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Candide and Paradise Lost Voltaire and Milton have very different answers to the Problem of Evil (If God is perfect, how can evil exist in the world?). In a formal essay, discuss the different answers that each author gives to this question in Candide and Paradise Lost. Be sure to quote at least twice from each work.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time and Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds In a formal essay, discuss how both families in Curious Incident… and Effect of Gamma Rays… are dysfunctional families. In what ways are they considered dysfunctional? Who is the most “normal” person in each work?
Julius Caesar and Caesar and Cleopatra In a formal essay, discuss the two different characterizations of Caesar in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra. Which character is nobler? Which character is more human? Which character is the one to whom most modern women would relate? Quote at least twice from each play.
Metamorphosis and Brave New World Identify the modern hero in Kafka’s Metamorphosis and Huxley’s Brave New World. Discuss how each hero shows at least six characteristics of the modern hero that we discussed in class: middle class(average Joe) suffers does not realize fatal flaw Unconventional type of bravery attempt good things (compare to performs great feats) anti-hero(enemy of the people, might not do good) shaped by social forces/ideology and class works for the good of themselves and few select others not doomed from the start does not necessarily sacrifices for other gives up more easily loyal to himself modern conflicts/issues
Consider Poem/Novel Pairings Wild Geese – Mary Oliver The Mysteries of Udolpho – Anne Radcliffe You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting - over and over announcing your place in the family of things.