Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekly Agenda Dec. 5 - Dec. 9

Billy Budd, Sailor

Continue Review of Argumentation Packet
-add new terms into rings
Review Chapters 20-23
Record the persuasive elements of Vere's speech, Ch 21, pp 96-99:
1)  When does he shift styles (change in tone), or how does he adjust his speech for his audience?
2)  Identify and outline Vere's thesis, supporting evidence and conclusion?
3)  What is his most persuasive point and why?
4)  Are you convinced by the end of his speech?  What decision would you make and why?

Book Check
Review book ending
Review homework
Generate thesis
HW Complete thesis and outline, make sure you follow structure.

Publish thesis and outline on post-it
-student review and edit (in groups we will respond to each and every thesis/outline)
Review more of Argumentation Packet
Answer questions following H. Bruce Franklin's essay excerpt:
Billy Budd is not, however, a mere treatise against capital punishment. Melville is using contemporaneous awareness about the issue to explore the larger ethical, philosophic, and political questions it so dramatically focuses. Undoubtedly New York Assemblyman Hitt was overstating the case when he claimed in early 1890, "at present there are only two classes of the community who yet favor capital punishment and these are clergymen and prosecuting attorneys."(60) Nevertheless, Melville could safely assume that almost all potential readers in 1891 would regard public execution and hanging as relics of a barbarous past, would be sensitized to the larger issues surrounding capital punishment, and would already either oppose the death penalty outright or consider it warranted only for first-degree murder and treason. Even the most ardent proponents of the death penalty in late nineteenth-century America would be embarrassed by positions such as these: "Vere justifiably condemns Billy to death" (Peter Shaw); Billy Budd is a "murderer and a cause of his own death" and Melville "is to be identified" with Captain Vere (Milton Stern); "the virtuous man, Captain Vere," must "punish the violence of absolute innocence"--that is, must kill Billy Budd--since "absolute, natural innocence" is "at war with the peace of the world and the true welfare of mankind" (Hannah Arendt).(61) Readers in 1891 would be far more likely to wonder, like the surgeon (235) and the narrator (236-37), whether Vere is insane.

1)  Is there any evidence that Captain Vere is insane?  How might this impact his decision to ask for Billy's death?
2)  Is Melville a "murderer?"  Why might people consider him thus?
3)  Is our new system of putting individuals to death (by lethal injection) humane?  Are they still public spectacles?
4)  Recall that slavery is a hot topic back then.  How does Melville weave his condemnation of it into his text?
5)  Consider the ending of the book, how might citizens back then respond compared to now?  List all elements of the modern versus the older arguments.

Group Glossary Entries
HW 1st draft due MONDAY for credit.

Review Signal Phrases
-establish context
-establish credentials
-establish authority
-good verbs
Review Syntax and Rhetorical analysis handout
-how do we word sentences for emphasis
--rhetorical questions

NEXT The Last Hangman and drafting, writing, revising, editing essay.