Politics and the English Language

E4B, Due 11/3
E1A and E2A, Due 11/6

1. Politics and the English Language–Be sure it is read and annotated. During class I expect you to display control of Orwell’s argument and the points raised in development of that argument.

Due 11/1: Welcome

1. Course website: Blackboarddreams.com (I will tell you more about that name later). My email: sleon@lusherschool.org

You should register for the class website, Blackboarddreams.com, by midnight Tuesday. To do this, you must scroll to the bottom of the right column of the homepage and click “Register.” Your username should be your Full Name (First and Last). Leave A SPACE between your first and last name. Do not use nicknames! Failure to register properly will lead to your account being deleted, so do it properly. Your password will be emailed to you at which point you can change it if you would like. I also suggest you take a moment to familiarize yourself with the website! Here, you and your family can access the following: homework assignments, class forums, updates on the happenings and direction of the class, complementary materials, writing and research resources, Essay and Creative Project exemplars, a link back to the Lusher homepage, and so much more! Don’t forget to bookmark your course page! So, if you are in my English II class, bookmark the English II page. Please keep in mind that I am transitioning this site from Beacon to Lusher.

2. Politics and the English Language(PEL)–So, we will take a step back to take many steps forward.   I assume you have explored the historical context of 1984. Keep that in mind as you read PEL. In many ways (1984 and PEL), both texts serve as a response to the socio-economic-political situation of WWII Europe–a situation wherein people by the millions were disenfranchised, impoverished, and killed. Accordingly, Orwell is considered to be one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century because of his response(s) to that situation.  In this essay it is critical that we UNDERSTAND Orwell’s position. So, read not to contradict and confute, but to weigh and consider. ANNOTATE THOROUGHLY.

3. (Coming Soon) Art as Social/Political/Economic/Environmental Commentary

George Orwell uses the novel as a means to communicate his critical view of political and social paradigms of the mid 20th Century. As I am sure you are aware, he felt strongly about his critique of totalitarianism in general and Stalin’s Soviet Union in particular.

Now it is your turn to use art as a form of commentary.  First things first, choose a subject that you feel strongly about, something in which you can invest your time, thought, emotion, and creative juices. Your only limit here is your imagination! Your art should have consciousness and purpose as you create awareness.  It should be genuine. Ultimately, I expect that you will elevate and catalyze a dialogue relevant to your subject.

After selecting your subject, you must Research! You are expected to research your subject accumulating 3 sources further informing your understanding of the subject.  Understanding that the sources and précis are to work in concert solidifying your knowledge on the subject, thoughtfully choose your sources and choose sources from legitimate web sites (avoid wiki links, joe schmoe’s blog, joe schmoe and his cronie’s website, etc.).  You are then expected to write a precis for each source. Print out and read the precis expectations. You should have the precis printout in your binder as with all printouts. Let me stress, read the precis guidelines very closely. Further, the sources should ultimately help to give form to your creative project.  At the end, you will submit your research with the creative project. As I stressed in class, choose a subject you genuinely care about.

Folks, this is not some casual art assignment that can be done in your journal consisting of a couple of stick figures. If you do this you will receive no credit for the assignment. In grading the visual bit I am expecting to see the product of deep thought (thematic understanding), extraordinary effort, and creative effort.

The following will be considered when assessing these:

  1. Project’s visual impact (The visual should be aesthetically pleasing…more simply, it should look amazing)
  2. The project should be informed by your research. It should reflect knowledge and understanding.
  3. Project is thoughtful (The visual should be so thoughtfully and carefully created so as to carry your commentary/message.)
  4. Project is well-designed/executed
  5. Project reflects exceptional effort.

VERY IMPORTANT: The visual alone should communicate the commentary/message. You should not have to rely on words! This is not to say that you cannot have language woven into the visual.

I expect your very best creative work here.  Know your creative strengths and weaknesses. If you are not a “natural” artist, improvise… Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. No excuses for mediocrity on this assignment. Peace.

Due Dates to come.

Due 9/27: Albert Camus


Here’s what you should have completed thus far:

  1. Read the course syllabus
  2. All supplies should be in place
  3. Registered for class website
  4. Posted a response to the Welcome and Existentialism is a Humanism threads on the class forum
  5. Completed in-class essay on Man’s Search for Meaning
  6. Read and annotated Existentialism is a Humanism
  7. Read the guidelines for precis and annotating
  8. Critical discussion of Frankl
  9. Read and Discussed Kierkegaard

You should have the following handouts printed and in your binder:

  1. Course syllabus
  2. Existentialism is a Humanism
  3. Precis Handout
  4. Annotating Guidelines
  5. Kierkegaard, Ethics and Religion
  6. Kierkegaard, That Individual

Completed Last Class Period:

That Individual

Spend the first half of class outlining Kierkegaard’s argument in this essay. Start with his thesis and then outline how he develops the thesis.

Conclude class with a small group discussion. Practice intellectual accountability by ensuring that everyone in the group understands his argument. Then, move into a critical discussion.

9/26: To be completed in class today. One of the keys to success in this class is to make connections between the philosophers read. In this case we have read Frankl, Sartre, and Kierkegaard. Working in pairs, identify points of agreement and disagreement between and among them. The most intriguing discussions are the ones born out of nuanced philosophical observations. Write out your thoughts. Spend the last half of class discussing in small groups.


  1. Print out, read and annotate the following sections on Albert Camus:
  • Suicide, Absurdity, and Happiness: The Myth of Sisyphus
  • The Limits of Reason
  • Criticism of Existentialists
  • Happiness in Accepting One’s Fate
  1. The Stranger–If you would like to buy your own copy, buy this one!

My Apologies, One More Delay

Hello folks,

First off, let me apologize for the added delay. I love my job and am desperate to begin the year with you, but I must see to it that my family is ok first. So, hang in there. I will do my best to make it worth your wait. In the meantime, here is the plan for the next two days:

9/19: Frankl, A Critical Discussion

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl

Open class by thinking (independently) about Frankl’s point here. Then, write a critical response (20 minutes of writing) to Frankl. What do you think of his argument? Keep in mind Frankl’s points in development of his argument. Your response should be in paragraph format.

Close class with a small group discussion. Listen intently to one another. Please do not just go around and share your response. Talk to one another. Have a conversation.


  • Kierkegaard–Print and read this handout on Kierkegaard. Read the sections on Ethics and Religion!
  • Soren Kierkegaard–Print, Read, and annotate That Individual.

9/20: That Individual

Spend the first half of class outlining Kierkegaard’s argument in this essay. Start with his thesis and then outline how he develops the thesis.

Conclude class with a small group discussion. Practice intellectual accountability by ensuring that everyone in the group understands his argument. Then, move into a critical discussion.

So, if you have taken all assigned work seriously and completed it meaningfully, we will be good to go on 9/25! Can’t wait to meet you!

Due 9/14: Class Forum

Hello folks! The first week is almost in the books. If all goes as planned, I will see you on Monday and this class really begins! It is imperative that you have taken care of all responsibilities by then. This includes:

  • Registered for the website
  • Posted a response in the Welcome thread on the class forum
  • Completed the in-class essay
  • Read the course syllabus
  • You should have supplies for the class

Tomorrow, you will do the following:

Day 5: Existentialism is a Humanism Discussion

Please be sure to have a printed copy of your forum response in front of you. During this period, discuss each of the four reproaches and Sartre’s response to those reproaches. DO NOT get into a critical discussion until you think you have great control of his argument. Leave your printed response with the Sub at the end of class.

HW: Class Forum–Remember you must post by midnight before the next class period (in preparation for Thursday’s class)! AND REMEMBER TO BRING A PRINTED COPY OF YOUR RESPONSE IN TO CLASS. The responses should be added to the reading response section of your binder. Be sure to include the heading and title each printed response.