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Let’s get bloggin’!

Welcome to the literary response and analysis blog for Mrs. Bradley’s 8th graders at Kenilworth Junior High School.  Her 3rd period class graciously agreed to be her “blog guinea pig” class so she could test out the use of blogging as a medium to improve student reading and writing.  She is so proud of the work they have done, and is especially pleased with how they have interacted with each other via the “comment” boxes below their posts.

The students first read The Pigman by Paul Zindel and wrote literary analysis journals for each chapter.  Their goal is to learn to move beyond simply responding to the text and reach a level of analyzing it.  The blog has helped them learn from one another as they grapple with this high-level task.  Thanks to 3rd period for all your work!  You should be proud of yourselves.

In January, 2nd period joined 3rd period on the blog, and both classes read The Moves Make the Man, by Bruce Brooks.  The blog allowed the students to “pass through” the classroom walls and interact with students from a different class period.

Both 2nd and 3rd period are ending their year with The Pearl, by John Steinbeck.  Since it is a novel rich with figurative language, their reading journals are focusing on the literary devices that Steinbeck used in his writing.

Welcome to the Book Club Goes Bloggy!

Maya Chp. 5

Quote: “They have taken the pearl. I have lost it. Now it is over,” he said. “The pearl is gone.” pg. 61

At the beginning, Kino is a nice man who cares for his family and despite wanting better is relatively happy in his life, becomes a selfish, twisted person who is scared that what he has found will be taken from him. The pearl is to blame. Kino became filled with feelings of selfishness, anxiety, and fear. It shows how warped people can get. It’s like if I found a large diamond ring. I’d hide it, I’d take it out to admire it, I’d sleep wit hit under my pillow for fear of it getting stolen: basicly I’d become obsessed, self-righteous, arrogant, and rather vain and foolish. It would be a blessing and a curse.

Maya Chp. 4

Quote: “Kino, this pearl is evil. Let us destroy it before it destoys us.” pg. 56

This makes me kind of scared. I haven’t been in any situations where I have had to give something up because it will hurt me in some way. I don’t like that Kino isn’t willing to give up something that is slowly warping his mind and changing him into a person that he isn’t. Kind of like in Star Wars (please don’t laugh, even though I am; I couldn’t think of a better comparison). Anakin gets on the path of the Dark side and though he is forewarned many times to stop before he destroys himself he pays no heed and people end up getting hurt. Driving yourself on until people get killed is not a good idea.

Maya Chp. 3

Quote: All manner of people grew interested in Kino-people with things to sell and people with favors to ask. pg. 23-Point of view

It’s amazing how excited people get when money gets involved. You could snub a person because they have no money and when they end up getting rich because they won the lottery (Which is a ridiculous idea because it’s unlike that they will, but for these purposes, lets say they did.), you’ll want to be their friend. Guaranteed, you’ll want to be their best friend. Or you’ll want to sell them a fancy product. Or treat them out to dinner in hopes of reaping some kind of gift or something. It makes Kino wary and I think it’s going to make him selfish and scared. I guess that’s how we’re programed….

Maya Chp. 3

Quote: A town is like a colonial animal. A town has a nervous system and a head and shoulders and feet…News seems to move faster than small boys can scramble and dart to tell it, faster than women can call it over fences. pg. 21

A town is alive just like a bee’s nest. It swarms with people and information flows through it at a rapid pace. The author made the comparison to show how busy a town can be, how it moves and acts like an organism instead of individual pieces.
In the world, news travels faster than light. A piece of gossip about a senator or the latest scandal with a celebrity is set up on the internet or published in the newspaper and within seconds the whole world knows. It’s hard to hide anything from anyone when its extraordinary or significant in some way.

Maya Chp. 2

Quote: Kino lifted the flesh, and there it lay, the great pearl, perfect as the moon. It captured light and refined it and gave it back in silver incandescence. It was as large as a sea-gulls egg. It was the greatest pearl in the world. pg. 19

This is a perfect example of figurative language. “…great pearl, perfect as the moon.” The description is very vivid, I can imagine it. For a poor man like Kino, who’s probably never seen anything so magnificent, the sight of so big a treasure must be breathtaking. Like the moon, the pearl is surrounded by an air of mystery and awe. Just like on cold rainy nights, when there’s no light and the moon shines through and brings hope, does the pearl to Kino. His fortune has increased and he has a chance at a new life. The author did an amazing job of describing a life-changing sight from the eyes of one who hadn’t ever seen a sight like it.

Maya Chp. 1

Quote: “Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for ‘little Indians’? I am a doctor not a veterinary.”
“Yes, Patron,” said the servant.
“Has he any money?” the doctor demanded. “No, they never have any money. I, I alone in the world am supposed to work for nothing-and I am tired of it. See if he has any money!” pg. 11

This guy cares more about money than helping other people. He seems like the kind of person who, like a lot of people in this country, is only focused on how much you’re worth in coin, then what you really might be like. He acts arrogant and thinks he’s superior to those with less money and status. He acts mean to others because he can be. I don’t like his attitude. Doctors should care for those who need treatment whether they can pay or not. It’s unethical to no treat sick people. I bet that once Kino finds the pearl, if he asks the doctor for help then, he’ll get it because he’s wealthy.

“…that they had gone through pain and had come out on the other side…”

Universal: I think that this is universal to any time period because anyone who has lost someone dear to them will have some kind of unnatural reaction which is totally natural! I think that everyone needs time to recover or they will never recover. It is also natural to need someone with you, a shoulder to cry on. I think the author included this in the text because if you are reading something deep like this it is so much mor comprehendable when you can relate to the text. Anyone can relate to this because we have all lostt someone or something, even if it’s just something small, like a friend moving away or losing a teddy bear that you’ve had ever since you were a little kid! It can scar you or build you, depending on the way you handle it.

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