Seniors: we are reading excerpts from Beowulf and gaining and understanding of Anglo-Saxon culture and values. In my eyes, there are two primary reasons why analysis of Beowulf is critical for a student of English: 1. It provides us with a taste of Old English and a sense of history, thereby giving us a sense of ownership and depth of understanding. 2. Comparative analysis of Anglo-Saxon culture against our own modern American culture opens our eyes to both the virtues and pitfalls of our value system and moral sense.
Consider and respond to the prompt (in bold) and post your essay by no later than Sunday, September 23. You must also offer paragraph responses containing commendations and/or constructive criticism to at least 5 of your peers' essays.
Literature only matters if we can relate to it, if we can connect it to our lives- Beowulf is no exception.Anglo-Saxon values, as presented in Beowulf, are rooted in honor, respect, courage, and virtue (refer to your handout "The Beowulf Poet and his World"). Here in 21st century America, do we hold the same values in such high esteem? If so, where might one find sound evidence of this? If not, what other qualities does our society now promote and embrace? Does our culture promote a value system that is healthy and admirable, or flawed, even destructive? Who are our heroes? What makes them heroic? Be specific.
By Friday, October 5, your second assignment is due: Media Assignment: My Pop-Culture Consumption. Our value system, in many different forms, is reflected and possibly influenced by and through media. This assignment asks you to catalog and analyze your personal consumption of media over the course of a week (9/23-10/1). Look for polls on our blog which relate to this assignment.
Part A: For the week, catalog/chart your own consumption of pop-culture. Consider movies, television, music, advertisements, magazines, the Internet etc.
Part B: Choose at least 2 of your prominent popular culture items to consider through a formal response to the essential questions below.
1. Who is the target audience or recipient?
2. How do the characters/people interact and relate to one another?
3. What values are promoted and held in high esteem by the characters/people and the program in general?
4. If a foreign student were to analyze the source/program as you are, what conclusions might he or she draw about American culture?
5. What is the core appeal of the program? What does one gain from viewing or consuming it?
6. How do the values promoted compare and contrast with the Anglo-Saxon value system presented in Beowulf?
Post both your pop-culture logs and your responses to the questions above. Be sure to look for polls on our blog which relate to this assignment. I will provide you with additional explanation/clarification in class. Check your syllabus for due dates.
Happy thinking, happy writing,