19 October 2011

Missed you yesterday! Today we had a socratic seminar.  I also passed out some things–

  • A Task 2 Proposal AMBULANCE
  • Task 2 Sample Calendar –These are NOT due dates, but a rough schedule if you feel like you need it.  Thanks to Brooks for such a great suggestion in his critical reflection.
  • A grade sheet with your current grade.  A few notes about this.  (1) For 90% of you, this is a more accurate mid-term than your mid-term!  The other 10% still do not have a paper grade.  Eek!  Get it in asap. (2) If you don’t have a score for your journal grade yet, you need to schedule an appointment with me.  My office hours are, as always, posted outside my classroom door.
We also rearranged the schedule a little bit.  Here is an Updated Reading for Pattern Unit Calendar.
Lastly, I have granted permission to make up seminar discussion on the blog today–so if you missed a chance to speak, or you have something to say, say it.

Whew! I wish everyone could have heard how fierce it was with Sonora and Mrs. B in period 6! 🙂  But not everyone was there, so let me say this.  Be careful about your evidence for whether or not Gene jounced the limb on purpose.  I suggest creating a T-chart in your journal and compiling quotes for and quotes against.  Then use the BALANCE of evidence to make a decision.  It’s an important thing to sort out in order to be able to make sense of the text, especially of how it fits the hero’s journey.  Do not let one quote push you to decide one way or the other.

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5 thoughts on “19 October 2011

  1. Everyone in 5th period today was talking about how they thought that Finny was an innocent like character, and had no worries in the world and he didn’t really have a greater understanding of anything or it’s consequences, and i never got to put my 5 cents in! I have a different view on the subject. Yes, Phineas has a very childlike attitude and breaks the rules, and does dangerous and outgoing things, but everything he does has already been thought through and well planned, and it all has a purpose. Whether that purpose is to make Gene feel inferior, conciously or not, or to let others know that he is watching them, and he knows he is “Above” them. For example, when he makes up the game, blitzball, he chooses Gene to be the one with the ball for the whole first game, and he doesn’t seem to have to have a reason to do that, but you kind of get the impression that Gene resents him for that, but also likes the game. And also, whose idea was it that they jump from the tree into the river? And that Gene should do it as well. I just think Finny has alterior motive and isn’t just someone to be written off as innocent.

    • Leah–you sound a lot like Gene in Ch 4! I think one of the problems is that Gene (and all of us readers in the real world) tend to suspect Finny of ulterior motives. But I’m not convinced he has them. I think Foster Ch 14 will help us a LOT with understanding Finny. 🙂

  2. During the discussion today, we debated for a while whether Phineas did or did not know that Gene had shook the branch on purpose. I still believe Phineas does know Gene did this. I believe Phineas knows because when Gene is questioning what Phineas remembers, Phineas says, “‘I just remember looking at your face for a second. Awfully funny expression you had. Very shocked, like you have right now,'” (65 paperback). Gene is Phineas’s best friend. He knows him better than most people, so it seems to me that he would recognize a face that is shocked because of guilt, or a face that is shocked that something is like this is happening, (similar to the one Gene may have had when he was about to fall). Secondly, later in the infirmary Phineas says, “‘It was a crazy idea, I must have been delirious. So I just have to forget it. I just fell,’ he turned away to grope for something among the pilllows, ‘that’s all.’ Then he glanced back at me, ‘I’m sorry about that feeling I had,'” (66). While some people may think that Phineas was just questioning his own judgement because of the circumstances, I think he was trying to get Gene to fess up. The part where it says, “Then he glanced back at me,” says to me that Phineas was giving an opportunity for Gene’s guilt to take over and for him to confess. When he didn’t, I think Phineas was disappointed and that’s why Gene was not allowed back in the infirmary.

    Later in the disscussion, I believe it was Emma G. who brought up the idea that the tree symbolized Phineas. I agree with her because in the beginning of Gene’s flashbacks everyone is sort of under Phineas’s “spell.” He is popular, good at everything, and in a sense untouchable. The tree is also big and sort of like their sacred object in their “Suicide Society.” The boys climb the tree and it becomes less and less daunting. Also, at the very beginning of the story Gene talks about how the tree is not so special and it is just the same as all the other trees. Similar to the tree, after Phineas breaks his leg, he essentially becomes not as intimidating as before. He was once a star athlete and now he is not. I think Phineas’s ego will be busted a little too now that he has been some what “defeated.” All that was once great and powerful, has now been put in perspective as the characters grow up.

  3. During class we seemed to be focusing a lot on wheter or not Gene jounced the limb and if Phinny knew or choose to ignore the possibility that he could of. I think that Gene definately did jounce the limb wheter it was deliberate or not is up to discussion. At the end of chapter 4, when this whole ordeal is going down he does say.. “I took a step towards him and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb.” proving he did jounce it. However below that he says with “unthinking sureness I moved out on the limb..” That supports that fact that Gene wasn’t in his right frame of mind and did it unconciously.

    • One of the most fascinating parts of this for me is the way that the first part of the sentence is passive: “my knees bent,” but the second part of the sentence is active: “I jounced the limb.” In fact, the first time I read the book (five years ago now), I had no idea what was going on in Chapter 5 because I MISSED that line. It seemed so insignificant at the time. Ha!

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