As the Advent eighth grade nears the quarter’s end, the class has established both a method and a plan for on-going vocabulary study, an organizational form for paragraph writing, begun training our writer’s eye both for close reading and the world around us, and reviewed numerous aspects of grammar as needed for writing. The students tell me English is a challenging class, and to that I say, “Hooray”! Our goal is thinking and making connections, and we seem to be on that path.

So far, we’ve read closely Steinbeck’s The Red Pony and noted recurring characteristics in his writing. As a class we have been intrigued by Edgar Allan Poe’s macabre writing. He has us riding with a conquistador seeking gold, mourning the untimely death of young Annabell Lee, hearing the rantings of a self-proclaimed madman whose own imaginings convict him, and attending a lethal Mardi Gras in a bizarre tale of revenge.

Next up, we will discuss poetry by Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Hardy, Wilfred Owen, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Langston Hughes, Robert Hayden, E.A. Robinson, and Ezra Pound.  We will discover how the poets address mutability, hope, perseverance, war, hubris, ambivalence, and other universal themes.

We have “miles to go before we sleep.” [Robert Frost]

Jacqueline Warfel


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