Thursday, September 30, 2010

Media Madness

Class work today focused on analysis of print ads in magazines looking specifically at how the images of men, women, and families are portrayed.  What message does that send to a) consumers and b) society at large?  Who has the power - the product companies or the consumer?

Don't forget, essays due on Oct 6.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Power or Personality?

Power. Control. Authority. Command.  Control.  Influence.  Oppress. 

No matter how you say it, having power can be tricky business.  There are those that use their power and influence for the good of others and those that abuse their position and authority.  We've all met people in both of these categories.  We've responded to these powerful people in various ways.  Regardless of your experience, it is safe to say we can't get away from them - parents, peers, teachers, celebrities, government officials, school administrators, police officers, and bosses to name a few.  And to quote a popular country song, "Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug."

For Janie, power and control come in the form of her Nanny and her husbands.  To varying degrees and with mixed results, each person exerts physical, emotional and/or psychological pressure on her to conform to their ideas about her behavior and role as a woman.  She continues to struggle to discover who she really is beneath all of the outside forces.  Tea Cake, I believe, gives her a glimpse of that person, but she hasn't completely emerged yet.  And when she does, what sort of power will she have?

  • Do Tea Cake and Janie have a strong relationship?  What makes it so or what are they lacking?
  • Does Tea Cake treat her well?
  • What is the difference between Eatonville and the Everglades in terms of lifestyle and such for Janie?
  • Mrs. Turner is clearly a racist.  Why would Hurston include her and her ideas in this novel?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Let the Games Begin

Good stuff in class today.  According to our online poll, the majority of readers approve of Janie's relationship with Tea Cake and think she deserves the happiness and fun she's experiencing.  Quiz scores were great.  Looks like kids are keeping up with the reading and enjoying the story thus far.

You've been introduced to this blog so now start your comments!  Remember, you need to post at least one by midnight next Friday.  Here are some things to ponder and discuss:
  • What is the difference between mourning and grief?
  • How does Tea Cake endear himself to Janie?  Does she buy it?
  • Janie's hair once again figures into the story.  How?
  • Why does she push Tea Cake away from her?  Is that weakness?
  • Do you think this relationship will last?  Explain.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way

Admit it.  There are people in your life that are born leaders.  Wherever they go, they command a crowd and whenever the speak, the masses listen.  You may not agree witht their tactics - intimidation, manipulation, bribery, arrogance - but you cannot argue they fact that they lead and others follow.  And then there are those that lead by example, never demanding to be heard and always in the background.  They, too, lead and others follow.  Whichever style of leadership, it is effective one way or another.  During our reading of Hurston's novel, we had a great discussion today about both leadership styles.

This is one of my favorite parts of the novel.  Janie, the protagonist, finally realizes how domineering her husband is and she finally speaks up for herself.  It is quite a turning point because it starts her down the road to discovering her true self.  I know, that sounds like something right from but it's true.  And I can't wait for my students to read on and discover where she ends up next.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Welcome to Lit and Laughter, a place where teacher and students can read, reflect, and write together.  My goal is to provide information about our literature class, solicit responses about readings and class activities, and hear from you about any number of things.  That being said, I hope you've been keeping up in class because here we go!