This morning, more of the cozy indoorness as it's still raging out there. Before I got back to the pile of marking I have to finish, I caught up on my bloglines and over at Café Mode, where there's a tribute to Jacques Helleu, Artistic Director at Chanel (who died Friday), I found this fabulous Chanel ad by Luc Besson. What can I say? My husband keeps his French going by following politics; I read about fashion! (Not that I don't follow politics, but that I generally do in English) It's worth clicking on the adlink -- less than a minute, but a brilliant little subversion of the RedRidingHood tale.
You might be interested to know that I actually went over to YouTube and almost signed up so that I could embed the Chanel ad right here, saving you from an extra click-- but they want so much information -- birthdate, postal code, etc. -- I'm just not ready to give that up yet, sorry! Have some of you jumped that hurdle already? Did it bother you?
Now back to the marking -- it's actually fairly interesting work, an assignment I haven't tried before. Since I'm having 1st-year students read Toni Morrison's Jazz, a rather difficult and challenging novel, I decided to have them write their first in-class essay on what they'd discovered about the novel after reading it on their own, before we began discussing it together. I gave them a list of possible topics -- trace a character's progress through the novel; trace the changes in a relationship through the novel; discuss the importance of the City as setting for the novel; set out your impressions of the narrator, particularly considering identity and reliability -- and reassured them that they didn't need to "get" anything, just to observe and begin to analyse, and that they could address their frustrations and difficulties in the essay if they wanted to. I thought that the assignment would ensure that everyone does the reading before we begin the discussion and would also get them to start making the observations and connections which will fuel our discussions over the next several weeks. So far, so good -- I'm reading some thoughtful responses to the novel and seeing some sincere grappling with, rather than frustrated dismissal of, its difficulties.