Monday, September 30, 2013

Hollywood and Literature: Beowulf

For homework, visit the following links:

NY Times Film Review (2007) by Manohla Dargis

NY Times Mulitmedia - Check out the Video and Commentary

Roger Ebert's Review

USA Today's Review by Claudia Puig

Suggested Reading:

Transcript of the film

Article: "Beowulf: Tenuous Relationship between Movie and Poem"

Watch these clips:

If we are going to watch the film...we will be astute, articulate critics!

For Friday, you will submit your own 3-4 page film review. 

You must make mention of at least 2 other reviews: in essence, compare and contrast the film reviews to inform your own point of view on the film.

Feel free to research other reviews. Helpful article from Duke on writing about film.

A works cited of reviews will be required (More info regarding this requirement - talk more soon).

Here are some hints to the quiz Wednesday:

1. Manohla Dargis references Steve Reeves in his NY Times article:

Who said the following:

2. "We are not looking at flesh-and-blood actors but special effects that look uncannily convincing, even though I am reasonably certain that Angelina Jolie does not have spike-heeled feet. That's right: feet, not shoes."

3. "Perhaps this breathtaking spectacle will inspire kids to read the original epic poem (or the 2000 version translated by Seamus Heaney). Maybe it will just pack them into theaters. Either way, having Beowulf become a household name can certainly do no harm."

4. "Ms. Jolie plays the bad girl in “Beowulf,” a wicked demon, the mother of all monsters — here, Grendel, played by Crispin Glover — who can switch from hag to fab in the wink of a serpentine eye. If you don’t remember this evil babe from the poem, it’s because she’s almost entirely the invention of the screenwriters Roger Avary and Neil Gaiman and the director Robert Zemeckis, "

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What's so great about Heaney's version anyway?

Have you read the other versions?

That's a rhetorical question.

Note the difference in tone in the first three lines:

Raffel's Translation
HEAR ME! We've heard of Danish heroes,
Ancient kings and the glory they cut
For themselves, swinging mighty swords!

Kennedy's Translation
Lo! we have listened to many a lay
Of the Spear-Danes' fame, their splendor of old,
Their mighty princes, and martial deeds!

Gummere's Translation
Lo, praise of the Prowess of people-kings
of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,
we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!

Donaldson's Translation
Yes, we have heard of the glory of the Spear-Danes' kings in
the old days—how the princes of that people did brave deeds.

Heaney's Translation
So. the Spear-Danes in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness.
We have heard of those princes' heroic campaigns.

Here's a longer passage:

Note how the diction influences the tone and meter of the translations.

Beowulf: an excerpt
Raffel's Translation

285 Out from the marsh, from thefoot of misty
Hills and bogs, bearing God's hatred,
Grendelcame, hoping to kill
Anyone hecould trap on this trip to high Herot.
He moved quickly through thecloudy night,
290 Up from his swampland, sliding silently
Toward that gold-shining hall. He had visited Hrothgar's
Home before, knew the way—
But never, before nor after that night,
Found Herot defended so firmly, his reception
295 So harsh. Hejourneyed, forever joyless,
Straight to the door, then snapped it open,
Toreits iron fasteners with a touch
And rushed angrily over thethreshold.
Hestrode quickly across theinlaid
300 Floor, snarling and fierce: hiseyes
Gleamed in the darkness, burned with a gruesome
Light. Then hestopped, seeing the hall
Crowded with sleeping warriors, stuffed
With rows of young soldiers resting together,
305 And his heart laughted, herelished thesight,
Intended to tear thelifefrom those bodies
By morning: the monster's mind was hot
With thethought of food and thefeasting his belly
Would soon know. But fate, that night, intended
310 Grendel to gnaw the broken bones
Of his last human supper.

Heaney's Translation

710 In off the moors, down through the mist brands,
God-cursed Grendelcame greedily loping.
The bane of therace of men roamed forth,
hunting for a prey in the high hall.
Under thecloud-murk he moved towards it
until it shone above him, a sheer keep
of fortified gold. Nor was that thefirst time
he had scouted the grounds of Hrothgar's dwelling—
although never in his life, before or since,
did hefind harder fortune or hall-defenders.
720 Spurned and joyless, hejourneyed on ahead
and arrived at the bawn. Theiron-braced door
turned on its hinge when his hands touched it.
Then his rage boiled over, heripped open
the mouth of the building, maddening for blood,
pacing thelength of the patterned floor
with his loathsometread, while a baleful light,
flame morethan light, flared from hiseyes.
Hesaw many men in the mansion, sleeping,
a ranked company of kinsmen and warriors
730 quartered together. And his glee was demonic,
picturing the mayhem: before morning
he would rip lifefrom limb and devour them,
feed on their flesh; but his fatethat night
was dueto change, his days of ravening
had come to an end.

Here's a prose version (rather than verse):

Donaldson's Translation

(XI.) Then from the moor under the mist hills Grendel came walking,
wearing God's anger. The foul ravager thought to catch some one of
mankind there in the high hall. Under the clouds he moved until he could
see mostclearly the wine-hall, treasure house of men, shining with gold. That
was not the first time that he had sought Hrothgar's home. Never before or
sincein his life-days did hefind harder luck, hardier hall-thanes. Thecreature
deprived of joy came walking to the hall. Quickly the door gave way, fastened
with fire-forged bands, when he touched it with his hands. Driven by evil
desire, swollen with rage, hetoreit open, the hall's mouth. After that thefoe
at oncestepped onto theshining floor, advanced angrily. From hiseyescame
a light not fair, most like a flame. He saw many men in the hall, a band of
kinsmen all asleep together, a company of war-men. Then his heart laughed:
dreadful monster, he thought that before the day came he would divide the
lifefrom the body ofevery one of them, for there had cometo him a hope of
full-feasting. It was not his fatethat when that night was over heshould feast
on more of mankind.

Check out this passage in twelve different translations, including Heaney's.


Feel free to cite this blog or the Heaney intro in your essay DUE FRIDAY.

Don't forget your Top 10 post to the Showcase

Hope you enjoyed your last A-V Day!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Great example of what I am looking for....

D Block will not meet tomorrow - nor will E Block because of Aurora-Vesper.
Make good use of your time!

Post your List of 10 A.S.A.P. (Be sure to include line numbers.)

Great example from Natalie Stuart - D Block:

(Also for the record: D Block gets compliments for everyone figuring out how to accept my Blogger invites - and updating blogger profiles.)

Ten Commandments of the Pagan Germanic Tribes

  1. “It is always better to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning” (1384-1385)
  2. Always pile your leaders’ funeral pyres with as much gold and treasure as possible, for “gold under gravel, gone to earth, as useless to men now as it ever was” (3167-3168)
  3. “Do not give way to pride” (1760), for “your piercing eye will dim and darken; and death will arrive, dear warrior, to sweep you away” (1766-1768)
  4. Be wary of the mothers of the monsters you kill
  5. Always keep troves of treasure handy as payment for helpful traveling monster-slayers
  6. Don’t steal any treasure from dragons, not even one “gem-studded goblet” (2217) from a dragon, because sometimes they can become irritable
  7. Giant blood can melt swords
  8. Even accidents can be punishable by death- no fratricide
  9. Stand by your leaders-even when facing a dragon.
  10. “Every man should act, be at hand when needed” (2708-2709)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Next time we meet...

Bring your laptop - or use one from the laptop cart that I have reserved.

1. Create a list of 10 tips related to Beowulf in someway. 
Be creative with the name of your list.

Check these out for inspiration...

2. Start your essay...

Essay Due: FRIDAY, September 27th. (Originally, it was due Thursday.)

Write a persuasive argumentative essay, answering the following question:

Why read the epic poem, Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney?

Your introduction should outline the major points of your essay. The thesis should be the last sentence of your intro.

Body paragraphs: A. Epic Poem B. Beowulf C. Heaney translation

Conclusion: In answering the question, ultimately, what personal meaning did you find?

Multi-paragraph essay: 3-4 pages.
MLA Format.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Quest Tomorrow!


I. Geography - word bank - fill in the blank. Study the map.

II. Who's who? Family Trees

III. Literary Devices: Identify the Examples

IV. Passage Analysis: Speaker, Audience, Context, Significance (Literary Devices and Themes).
Select 2 of the 3 passages.

V. Short Essay: TBA on the end of the poem.

We will discuss this more next week, bur for now, so you may think ahead:

Essay Due: Next Thursday, September 26th.

Write a persuasive argumentative essay, answering the following question:

Why read the epic poem, Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney?

Your introduction should outline the major points of your essay. The thesis should be the last sentence of your intro.

Body paragraphs: A. Epic Poem B. Beowulf C. Heaney translation

Conclusion: In answering the question, ultimately, what personal meaning did you find?

Multi-paragraph essay: 3-4 pages.
MLA Format.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

An Epic Fail of a Quiz

"If at first you don't succeed, try and try again." Let's revisit yesterday's quiz.

Short answer (12points)

1.     “Whale-road” is an example of a: 


ex. "sky-borne foe" - 2528

2.     A term describing an ironic understatement:

3.     What are two examples of epithets from the epic poem?

"the terror-monger" - line 2137
"overseer of men" - line 2527

4.     What is a euphemism?

Ex. for death - "in a place beyond" - line 2590

A poetic way (or nice way) of saying something impolite (or bad). 

5.     What is alliteration?

A repetition of the beginning sounds of words - usually consonants. 

6.     What is caesura in the epic poem?

A pause or break in the middle of line, usually indicated with punctuation. 

II. Short essay (5points): What makes Beowulf an Epic Hero? Make at least three points.

Characteristics of the Epic Hero:
·               Larger-than-life leader or warrior

·               Strongly identified with a particular people or society

·               Performs great deeds in battle or undertakes extraordinary journey

·               Sometimes possesses supernatural ability or has gods or other supernatural beings to help him or her

·               Sometimes of noble birth (aristocrat or royalty)

·               Possesses a sense of honor or code of ethics that rule his/her destiny

·               Shows loyalty to his people

·               Has various motivations (personal quest, revenge, helping people, glory)

·               Almost always wins battles, but one monster may be his or her downfall

·               May receive help from friends or guides, sometimes has a “sidekick”

Examples:  Odysseus, Beowulf, Gilgamesh, King Arthur, Batman, Luke Skywalker

Joseph Cambell's Hero's Journey:

Or is it?

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."