9/8 – Reading OMM Ch 1 & Foster Presentation Nutshells

Whew. We had a LOT of technical difficulties over the weekend, so I’m extending the deadline for Task 1 Prop 1 until Wednesday.

In the meantime, I asked you to read Chapter 1 of Of Mice and Men today. In your lab book, respond to this prompt: Compare/contrast Chapter 1 with these passages from the Hebrew Bible (or a .pdf version here) WHY does Steinbeck wants us to see these similarities? How might it help with foreshadowing?

Today we also had slide show presentations on Geography & Season as well as “…Or The Bible” from Foster’s book. In a nutshell, here are the take aways:

Geography: place matters. It can…

  • Define/develop a character
  • BE a character
  • Set the tone
  • Be a metaphor for the human psyche
  • Develop plot elements

In literature, the TYPE Of place tells us a lot about the character’s experiences, too:

  • Low places (swamps, valleys, jungles) – tend to be dark, confusing, foggy, diseased places
  • High places (moutnains, plateaus, hilltops) – tend to be clean, crisp, clarifying places
  • Characters going NORTH are moving toward order, rules, roles, structure, enlightenment, literal freedom
  • Characters going SOUTH are moving toward disorder/chaos, no rules, going crazy, no structure, freedom from consequences

Likewise, SEASON is a predictable set of signals, too:

  • Spring – childhood, youth, innocence, new life
  • Summer – adulthood, passion, romance, fulfillment
  • Fall – decline, middle age, tiredness — but also harvest
  • Winter – old age, resentment, death, bitterness

In terms of the Bible, Foster says that authors use nine things from the Bible:

  • Motifs
  • Characters
  • Themes
  • Plots
  • Situations
  • Quotations
  • Names
  • Irony

Of course, for those of us who aren’t experts on the Bible (all of us), the trick is simple: we use the RESONANCE test. The resonance test says that if something has more “weight” in the story than it “should” have, we can assume that it is probably an allusion to something else (Shakespeare, the Bible, Mythology are the big three). If you bring it to the group for discussion, we can hash it out and see what we find.


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