Masks are Metaphors

Grandfather would prowl through the living room as though seeking a place of rest and not finding it, would stare fixedly without speaking, and would then descend the basement steps to the rocking chair which sat beside the furnace. — Margaret Laurence, “Mask of the Bear”(139)

… not selfishly–or not always selfishly, we are in search of our identity, the identity of our human condition.
– Malcolm Ross & John Stevens

The most profound discovery that we can make is our discovery of self. Our identity rests in the kind of people we are. To understand who we are and to develop fully as human beings, we must explore the nature of our humanness and the purpose of our lives. Who and what are we? What are the common human qualities and ideals we hold? What roles do other people (e.g., friends, family) play in our lives? What brings us joy, inspiration, and fulfillment? What doubts and fears do we have? By examining our lives and searching for answers to these and other questions, we can find meaning and fulfillment as human beings.

The life which is unexamined is not worth living.
– Plato

Read closely Margaret Laurence’s, “The Mask of the Bear.”

As the title suggests, masks are a significant literary device in the development of character in this story.

30-1 Write a five paragraph essay in which you discuss the ideas suggested by Laurence about the relationship between masks and the search for identity.

30-2 Write a five paragraph essay about masks. Research masks, psychological and cultural. How are masks significant in your life in 2009?

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I wish to dwell on Ophelia (Eng. 30)

Many scholars discuss the significance of Ophelia only as far as she impacts the development of the character of Hamlet. I hate that. Ophelia is far more important than the 5 scenes in which she appears. The tragedy of Ophelia deserves more considered attention. Write about the life and death of Ophelia. Write about the effect others have had on Ophelia. What makes her unique, distinctive? What ideals does she hold? What are her doubts and fears? What brings her joy, inspiration, fulfillment?

Hazlitt says, “Ophelia is a character almost too exquisitely touching to be dwelt upon.”

Dwell on her I say, dwell now.

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“These are Aliens, Dad!”

Some have noticed that some otherwise regular discussions in class eventually turn to a discussion of, um…, ahh… well …, poop.

The inspiration of such mudtimes no doubt erupt from experience with my three growing boys aged 6, 4, and 2. Several days may pass without reference to “it.” But when the subject rears its ugly head, we usually are moved by good humour.

Today I added a “Spelling Bee” widget. My efforts were sincere, scholarly, and academic. Here’s what I saw for my first word:

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I’m going to get a book and settle down to a good read.

Out.

Insert a New Scene into Macbeth

  1. Compose Act 5 Scene 5a: Lady Macbeth is reading letters while weeping. Enter Ross.
  2. Compose Act 6 Scene 1: Donalbain visits the Witches.
  3. Compose Act 5 Scene 9b: Malcolm’s speech in which he “accounts the loves” of his thanes and kinsmen.
  4. Write a new opening for the play. Emphasize action and quick dialogue. Use Act 5 Scene 8 as inspiration for parallels. Consider Act 1 Scene 2 and Act 1 Scene 3 lines 93-115.
  5. Insert a scene anywhere in the play that further develops the character of the “Gentlewoman.”