Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Somebody -- let's call him X for short -- has book #39...

Three of you have still not claimed any text for your commentary.

Here is my suggestion for your introduction:

The beginning should contain the title, the author, the genre, and general comments about setting and subject. It should contain the specific context of the passage you choose: This passage comes from a middle scene when Boy Willie brings a girl home from a night out and Berniece sends her out. It should contain the significance of the scene you have chosen: The extract serves to introduce the need the characters have for love and physical comfort and contrasts Boy Willie’s lively desires with Berniece’s rule-bound, self-restricted behavior. Finally, it should introduce the principles of division you intend to employ: First, this passage employs disruptive sound effects and actions in the stage directions to intrude on the peace of the house. Second, the language of Boy Willie contrasts with the language of Berniece, emphasizing the difference in their views of their own selves and their culture. Finally, the stage’s physical arrangement provides further information about Boy Willie, Berniece, and their relationships to each other and their history.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Hardly anyone from A-day has chosen a passage for commentary. If you simply show up on Friday with a passage, do NOT expect credit. Your parts must be run through an approval process to be sure there are not endless repetitions. Part of the reason for this assignment is to teach each other about various sections of the play. Not everyone can have the first page.

Friday, September 14, 2012

First deadline

First draft of written commentary is due on Thursday 27/Friday 28. Pick your passages and some backups.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Preliminary notice of quarter assignments:
      A. Choose 30-60 lines on which to do a written commentary of 4-6 pages in length (MLA format, Times New Roman 12 point font). No more than two people may do a single extract.
B. Choose one of the following (or devise one of your own) to present in teams of two or four (four people per team simply means you prepare both sides with two "lawyers" per team):

1. Make a case for or against
Boy Willie's rights to the piano
Berniece's rights to the piano
Present with an opposing team in the form of a trial
  • Introductory arguments (generalities that you intend to prove)
  • Presentation of evidence
  • Visual aid to enhance arguments (not to replace or substitute for them)
  • Cross examination of the opposing team
  • Closing arguments

2. Make a case for or against
The piano as blessing
The piano as curse (you may change the dichotomy if you like)
Follow form of trial as above.

3. With a partner, present an argument detailing the roles of dreams, visions, and mysterious monologues in the play. You must present with a visual aid that enhances your argument but does not replace or substitute for it. You must build a case for a purposeful role.

4. With a partner or not, present an argument detailing the role of songs in the play. You must use a visual or audio-visual aid. You must build a case for a purposeful role.

5. With a partner or not, present an argument detailing Berniece's role in the play with regard to her various relationships. You must use a visual or audio-visual aid.You must build a case for a purposeful role.

6. Develop a case on a topic of your own device. You must use a visual or audio-visual aid. You must build a case for a purposeful role. (ghosts, trains, money, burdens, or  others).

Presentation of trials should last for 20-30 minutes. Presentations of roles should last for 10-15 minutes.

If you have wishes or desires to contribute to the rubrics and timelines, think of them for next class (Thursday/Friday). You may also choose parts and teams on those days. These will be the major grades of the nine weeks.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

for Thursday/Friday

Revise this passage, an exchange between Lymon and Avery, into correct Standard English. After doing so, think about the difference the change in language would make in the scene.

LYMON:  How you know the rope ain’t gonna break? Ain’t you scared the rope’s gonna break?

AVERY:   That’s steel. They got steel cables hold it up. It take a whole lot of breaking to break that steel. Naw, I ain’t worried about nothing like that. It ain’t nothing but a little old elevator. Now, I wouldn’t get in none of them airplanes. You couldn’t pay me to do nothing like that.

Here are the classwork guiding questions for note-taking:

Act I, Scene 1 (continued)
3. Classify the characters who have appeared so far with a brief description and some evidence of their character cited from the text. (Boy Willie, Lymon, Doaker, Berniece, Maretha, Avery, Wining Boy)

4. What or who are the "Ghosts of the Yellow Dog"?

5. Compare and contrast Boy Willie's attitude toward the piano with Berniece's.

6. How does the allusion at the end of the scene influence your evaluation of Boy Willie's attitude toward the piano?