The Psalms portray an image of an individual whose life is blessed by God: “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers” (Psalm 1:3, New International Version).
In Oklahoma, there is a region known as “Tornado Alley.” Tornadoes rumble through the area each storm season, sending families scurrying down into their storm cellars. Invariably, when the twisters touch down, they leave battered buildings and gnarled trees in their wake.
However, one type of tree always remains standing—the humble, homely mesquite. Certainly not the stateliest of all trees, the mesquite compensates for its lack of height by extending its roots deep into the sunbaked earth to wrap around rocks and to draw moisture from the deepest sources. Thus, the mesquite remains undaunted, green, and prosperous.
God challenges us to build our lives upon the “rootedness” of faith in the unchanging Word of God and upon the relationships we form with other children of God. May we, much like the mesquite, remain fruitful through fellowship with Christ, the source of our strength?
- Read and reflect on Psalm 1:3, quoted above.
- For this extra credit discussion, navigate to the threaded discussion and respond to the following:
- In whom or what do the characters in the text this week “root” themselves? In other words, in whom/what do they put their trust? Whom/what do they value? What are the fruits (or results) of that trust?
- Can you find a literary device in Psalm 1:3? If so, name the device and identify where it is in the verse.
- Read Active Reading of Literature on page 1 of the Pearson Custom textbook.
- Read the Biographical Headnote on John Donne on page 23 of the Pearson Custom textbook.
- Read John Donne’s “Batter my heart, three person’d God” on page 24 of the Pearson Custom textbook.
- Next, read the Close Reading of Holy Sonnet XIV.
- Next, read John Donne’s sonnet again. This time, read the poem out loud.
- Navigate to the threaded discussion and post your response to the questions below:
- Review the definition of the following terms in the 1.2 Literary Glossary: English sonnet, Italian sonnet, octave, sestet, iamb, and iambic pentameter. Then, answer these questions:
- 1. Is Donne’s sonnet an Italian sonnet or an English sonnet? What evidence can you give to support your answer?
- 2. If you were to look at the first eight lines of Donne’s poem as an “octave,” what is the problem he is presenting?
- 3. If you were to look at the last six lines of Donne’s poem as a “sestet,” what solution does he suggest for the problem of the octave?
- 4. Review the definition of “paradox” in the Literary Glossary. Find an example of a paradox in the poem, and explain theopposites that make up the paradox.
- 5. Review the definition of “Metaphysical Conceit” and explain which two extremely unlike things are being compared in the final line of the poem, and suggest what you think he means in this line.
- 6. Review the definition of “pun” and usedictionary.com to look up the word “ravish.” It has been suggested that Donne is using the word “ravish” as a pun in the final line of this poem. Explain how each definition of the word could apply to the poem.
- 7. Sonnets are traditionally love poems. Do you think this poem can be considered a love poem? Explain your answer with specific reference to the poem.
- 8. In one sentence, identify a specific position Donne takes in the poem on either the nature of the sinner, the nature of God, or the relationship between the sinner and God.
- 9. Choose one of the literary devices discussed in previous questions (paradox, metaphysical conceit, pun) or another literary device you can identify in the poem, and explain how Donne’s use of the literary device supports your answer to the previous question.
- 10. A literary analysis essay must include a thesis statement, which typically includes the author’s full name, the title of the work, the genre (or type) of work, along with the specific literary device(s) the author uses, and a theme. The theme is a universal truth that applies to real life, often about human nature. Using your answers to questions 7-9, compose a thesis statement for this poem in the following format: In John Donne’s poem, “”Batter my heart, three person’d God,” he uses (specific literary device) to show that (universal theme).
- 11. Using the following website, find a scripture that agrees or disagrees with Donne’s position (on the sinner, God, or their relationship), and cut and paste that scripture into your post: www.biblegateway.com. Explain in a sentence or two how you see the scripture agreeing or disagreeing with Donne’s position. (Be sure to explicitly use key words from the quotation and key words from Donne’s position in your explanation.)
Read the Biographical Headnote on Gwendolyn Brooks on page 25 of the
Pearson Custom textbook. Then read Gwendolyn Brooks “We Real Cool” on page 31 of the
Pearson Custom textbook. Read the poem aloud. Do not pause at the end of each line. Instead, follow the punctuation of the poem, pausing only when punctuation indicates a pause.
Navigate to the threaded discussion and post your response to the questions below:
- Review the definition of an “open form”/”free verse” poem in the 1.3 Literary Glossary for this assignment. Donne used a “closed,” sonnet form in the poem you just studied. However, Brooks’ poem is open form. Give one example of how this poem if “free” of form.
- This poem is “spoken” by fictional characters. What can the reader infer about them? What kind of people do they represent? Support your answer with specific reference to the poem.
- What do you think the line “We strike straight” in the third stanza means?
- What do you think the metaphor “We sing sin” in the fourth stanza means?
- What do you think the metaphor “We Jazz June” in the fifth stanza means?
- The repetition of the word “We” in this poem is intentional. What might this repetition suggest about the characters in the poem and about the focus of their worldview?
- Review the definition of “caesura” in the glossary for this unit. In which line of the poem does Brooks not employ a caesura? Why do you think Brooks structures the poem in this way? (Why does it make sense that one line is noticeably shorter than the rest? Think about the relationship between form and content.)
- Poetry is usually associated with elevated language, but in this poem Brooks employs simplistic sentence structure and limited vocabulary. Why do you think she does this?
- Does the poet (Brooks) seem to agree or disagree with the worldview and/or values of the characters in the poem? How can you tell? Support your answer with specific reference to the poem.
- Compose a thesis statement for this poem in the following format: In Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “We Real Cool,” she uses (specific literary device) and (specific literary device) to show that (universal truth).
- Whom do you believe the intended audience is? Think of a setting and/or audience in which you think this poem could be used for instruction, mentoring, or some other purpose. Explain why the poem’s message would be appropriate for this audience/setting.