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English 11 Honors Summer 2015 Assignments All Assignments due IN CLASS or on Google Classroom by the first day of school: Thursday, 9/3/2015
Texts to read: The Orphan Train – by Christina Baker Kline (One Book One School) Pride and Prejudice - by Jane Austen Literary Critique: “Time and the Women of Pride and Prejudice” (in packet) “Letters from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra” (in packet)
Film to watch: Twelfth Night or What You Will (William Shakespeare) – Directed by Trevor Nunn (1996)
Assignments: DUE BY THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL (9/3) TO GOOGLE CLASSROOM OR PRINTED OUT. Read the One Book One School Selection: The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline – Assessment in class on 9/4/15. *Read and annotate Pride and Prejudice (annotation guide and rubric in packet). (Quiz – due 9/3 in class) Read Literary Critique: “Time and the Women of Pride and Prejudice” (in this packet). Read “Letters from Jane Austen to Her Sister…” (in this packet) *Complete the Discussion Questions as you watch Twelfth Night or What You Will. Submit to Google Classroom (Quiz) *Write a 2-3-page (4-7 paragraph) synthesis essay responding to the prompt in this packet. Submit to Google Classroom (Quiz)
(*These 3 Assignments will either be turned in to Google Classroom or submitted by the first day of school. NO exceptions.*)
Google Classroom (REQUIRED):
Sign on to Google Classroom using your jefftwp.org account (every student has one). See the separate document for complete directions (can be found on Mrs. Shamy’s Blog)
NOTE: It is HIGHLY advised that you access Shmoop.com to help you with both Pride and Prejudice (some tidbits included in the Synopsis portion of this packet) as well as Twelfth Night. Shmoop has great videos, summaries, analyses and explanations. Use it AFTER (not instead of) reading/viewing the texts!
In this packet:
Page 3 Synopsis: a brief explication of the rising role of female characters in England from Shakespeare’s time to Austen’s time.
Page 6 Literary Critique “Time and the Women of Pride and Prejudice”: Read thoroughly and make notes directly on critique. Utilize quotations from this critique to help you prove your thesis on the synthesis paper.
Page 9 Letters from Jane Austen…: Read thoroughly and make notes. Utilize quotations from these letters to help you prove your thesis on the paper.
Page 11 An Introductory Guide to Synthesis Essays: designed to help you write your synthesis essay.
Page 13 Viewing Guide Discussion Questions: To be completed and submitted via Google Classroom or printed out and handed in on 9/3/15. This is a quiz grade. If hand-writing answers, you MUST do so on a separate sheet of paper. There is NOT enough room on the page as is.
Page 15 Annotations Guidelines and Rubric: The Guide will help you through the process of actively reading the texts (required for the novel Pride and Prejudice as well as the Literary Critique “Time and the Women of Pride and Prejudice”.
Page 17 THE PROMPT: Answer this synthesis prompt thoroughly in a 2-3page/4-7 paragraph essay. Due to Google Classroom OR printed out and handed in by the first day of school: 9/3/15. MUST use quotations from the novel, the film, the literary critique, AND the letters from Austen. Will be graded using the PARCC Rubric (included).
Page 18 PARCC Rubric: Used to grade your synthesis essay. The Grade Equivalent system is included on the rubric.
British Literature and the Rise of the Female Figure in Post-Elizabethan and Regency England
Throughout most of British history and culture, strong female characters were marginalized and reduced to the equivalent of “background noise” in British society. Most of the time, upper class women’s roles were reduced to knowing “pretty” manners, sewing decorative items (pillows and such), pouring tea, and instructing the servants; all while dressing fashionably enough to catch the eye (and hopefully proposal) of society’s most eligible and rich bachelors. Of course, this could not be accomplished if a woman were too forceful, strong, outspoken, or overtly intellectual. At the time, women’s conversations in front of a man were basically limited to the weather, a previous social gathering, and the pretty dress she was wearing.
Prior to an upstanding (and usually wealthy) woman becoming the property of her husband, she was under the rule of her father. Once married, a woman was expected to have children and assist the servants in raising them. Among the upper classes and landed gentry (people of good social position; the class of people next below the nobility in position and birth) of England, it was considered “low class” to have too much involvement in raising children; that’s what servants were for! Therefore, beyond birthing the baby and visiting it occasionally during the day, a gentrified woman did not generally have too much to do with her children. Where does this leave a woman in the 1600s – 1800s?
Gender roles and expectations were quite specific in England, both during Shakespeare’s time (Elizabethan Era) and Austen’s time (The Regency Period *see note*). Women, however, were slowly and quietly beginning to rebel against these expectation; Jane Austen was a forerunner in this line of thinking. In her article for Style Magazine, author Claire Harman has this to say about the strengthening female voice available in Austen’s writing:
[The following is an excerpt taken directly from Style.co.uk]
…Significantly, Austen’s books have endless sly wit and cynicism, also unusual for her time. She was one of the first women to deliver humour (sic) and intelligence to subject matter previously thought frivolous and sub-intellectual. Harold Bloom, literary critic and Sterling Professor of the Humanities and English at Yale University, believes that Austen’s acerbic comic vision has been so influential that it has helped determine who we are both as readers and as human beings. Williams says, “She has affected our sense of humour (sic) historically and nationally, defining these incredibly English arts of understatement, irony, a beautifully caustic compassion.” Her wit has also had a huge influence on modern culture. “Austen had a profound effect on our sense of humour (sic). Authors from Zadie Smith, to Jilly Cooper and even comedians like Miranda owe a huge debt to the Austen approach to life,” says School Of Life’s bibliotherapist (sic), Ella Berthoud.
A Female Voice
The earliest readers of Pride And Prejudice were surprised that such a clever book could have been written by a woman. It is, of course, the book from which Austen’s most famous line comes: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Playwright Richard Sheridan advised a friend to “buy it immediately” as it “was one of the cleverest things” he had ever read – high praise from a man of the Regency period. Austen seemed to know too much about everyone’s follies and was so worldly that nothing shocked her. It’s a form of knowing satire that has become a national trait: deliver your cynicism with a polite smile, keeping the tone ‘light, bright and sparkling’, as Austen herself aimed to do.
That her characters were strong, witty women might have surprised those who knew Austen – she didn’t openly sympathise (sic) with radical contemporaries such as Mary Wollstonecraft, the British writer and advocate of women’s rights. Austen’s feminism is more subtle, but she was still one of the first authors to suggest that women should marry for love, and not increased social standing or money. She gave her female characters the right to be happy too – a right we now take for granted, but certainly was not a given in Regency England. Persuasion, her last finished novel, is so bold as to suggest that happiness lies in a woman’s courage to act upon her passion.
In fact, her novels all deal with the choices involved in being a woman – although she refuses to discriminate between characters on grounds of gender, and serves up fools on a plate, regardless of their sex. She saved her most searing critique not for male idiocy, but the forces behind it – morals, property, money. And it worked. She has always been widely read by men and been praised for her rationality. This was also her approach to the political and class system of the time, which was rigid and very biased towards men – using her romantic novels as a mouthpiece for social commentary.
She also highlighted that women couldn’t inherit wealth – leaving many destitute on their husbands’ deaths. It’s a very dark subject, and one which many female novelists of the time shied away from. And her female characters are always reading, always educated, always well-versed in literature.
Criticised (sic) for being ‘small scale’ and parochial, Austen famously kept to what she knew about. She can certainly be credited for lifting the mundane to the literary – she could write a love quarrel, she could write a proposal, she could write endless scenes of domestic aggression because they were what she knew. She elevated the trivial to an art. She would never attempt to guess how men spoke or behaved among themselves. Look through her entire oeuvre and you won’t find a single Austen scene in which there isn’t a woman present. The genius of keeping exactly to what she knew is how she stayed in complete control of her material. Everyone recognises (sic) the situations she deals with: as Lord David Cecil commented in 1948, “Emma is universal just because it is narrow.” She showed that a writer doesn’t have to go to big, topical or his