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Poem Summary and Character Declaration As you know, good readers make textual connections. These textual connections are text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world. We’ll be reviewing each of these textual connections throughout the course. For this assignment, you’ll be making a text-to-text connection. Text-to-text connections are more than superficially comparing characters from one book to another. I often hear students try to pawn off a text-to-text connection such as, “A character in Book A answered the telephone, and so did the character in Book B. That’s a connection.” Well . . . not quite. Let’s try to go a little deeper. One way to make text-to-text connections is when you have a primary text like The Crucible, then after reading another text, you evaluate the primary text in a different way. For this assignment, you will be given a poem and then asked to apply and compare the primary text, which, in your case, is The Crucible. But first, read and understand the poem below. Disillusionment of Ten O’clock1 The houses are haunted by white night-gowns none are green, or purple with green rings, or yellow with blue rings. None of them are strange, with socks of lace and beaded ceintures. People are not going to dream of baboons and periwinkles. Only, here and there, an old sailor, drunk and asleep in his boots, catches Tigers, in red weather. Wallace Stevens Right away, one of the first questions students ask me when reading this poem is, “What’s a ‘ceinture’?” A ceinture is a beaded belt. When reading poems, imagine the action. We have two areas of action in this poem: the houses haunted by people in their nightgowns getting ready for bed and the drunken sailor probably down at the docks. Once you have the center of action, you can begin to visualize the meaning of the poem. First, let’s discuss the nightgown people. What are these people like? First of all, they’re going to bed at ten o’clock in plain, white night gowns. What image strikes you with the verb “haunted”? Are these people drifting through their own homes? Are they full of life? Why so much description of what their nightgowns are not? Second, the sailor who falls asleep in his boots, what is he like? Is he full of life, or is he drifting through his life in plain night clothes? Third, why is the bedtime, ten o’clock, such a disillusionment? The speaker of the poem (not the same as the poet) is making an observation about how to live life. What do you think it is? Part 1: Poem Summary On your own piece of paper, summarize what you think the meaning of this poem is. Also, I want you to include who you think the speaker might be, what the speaker’s tone or general attitude is, and what you think the speaker’s observation about life is. This is the first part of this assignment. This summary needs to be approximately a half-page in length. Part 2: Character Declaration Depending on how you complete the first part of this assignment, you are going to create a character declaration using this poem. Choose a character from The Crucible and, using lines from the poem, write a speech that is three-fourths to one-page in length as if you are the character speaking to a group of people of your choice. You can use the lines in consecutive order, split them up, or use a few here or there, but all the lines must be used. Both the poem summary and speech will be turned in with portfolio 1. Example Character Declaration An example of a character declaration may help you get the text–to–text connections flowing. I have written a character declaration using the same poem, “Disillusionment of Ten O’clock“ and the character Boo Radley from the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. This is just an example to help you create your character declaration using a character from The Crucible. Boo Radley Speaks to Maycomb I am your phantom who watches your streets, a figment of your own creation. But really it’s not me who does the spooking, the houses of Maycomb are haunted by white night-gowns. You have made me disappear into a world of your own creation. A world of sameness or a world of malevolence. And maybe it is better that way. Here I sit at the window, in my home, watching Maycomb’s world go by. Each day is much like the next. There is no difference; I can never remember if it is Monday or Thursday. There is only one difference to Maycomb’s ways, in the shape of a boy and girl, who create worlds of their own… worlds of excitement and pretend. These worlds–none of them are strange, just full of imagination. I can picture them with socks of lace and beaded ceintures, playing in one of their games. These kids, this boy and this girl, they have the spirit of difference. They embrace it and they have the courage to walk out their door each morning and challenge the world. You see, none of you people are green, or purple with green rings, or yellow with blue rings. And it is sad, your insistence on conforming, on staying the same. Why do I stay inside my house? Why do I never go outside? Why should I? The world out there is either black or white – or Black and White, and the people are not going to dream of wild things, exciting things, things like baboons and periwinkles. Inside my house, I can be anyone except me. Only, here and there, I am reminded I’m called Boo Radley. I am Maycomb’s ghost. But who do I want to be? An old sailor, drunk and asleep in his boots, who catches Tigers, in red weather. And maybe I can be, in my Maycomb dreams. This kind of text-to-text application will help you bridge literature together in a way that all readers should. Textual connections are more than shallow observations; they are tools to create an avenue for characters and literature to come alive. It is the first step to making text-to-self connections, which we will cover in another lesson. I will do record just need poem analysis and speech written


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