Language & Composition

Mr. Eure | Brewster High School

Monthly Archives: July 2012

Funes the Memorious

The next leg of this summer assignment presents us with “Funes the Memorious,” a short fictional narrative by Jorge Luis Borges. Narratives are all around us; in many ways, they are our most fundamental way of creating meaning—and we are collectively desperate to find meaning in everything from celebrity divorces to tragic shootings. The latter link offers this explanation for our narrative fixation: “Narrative often feels like all we’ve got, because it gives us the illusion of resolution. Stories, after all, have endings. The entrenched reality… does not.”

When you are given fictional narratives in a course like ours, the task is not to dissect them for authorial choice. You are looking for a story’s ramiform resonance: First, how it resonates with you; second, how it resonates with your peers, who will read the same story with you; finally, how it seems to resonate within our shared culture. If you are moved by the construction of the narrative or the prose itself, that’s wonderful, and it’s a kind of resonance. But you are old enough and ostensibly well-read enough to stop “tearing the petals off and grinding them up and running the goo through a spectrometer to explain why a rose smells so pretty,” to use David Foster Wallace’s metaphor for literary analysis.

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Remember This

Our second summer text is “Remember This,” by Joshua Foer. As you begin reading, annotating, and reacting to this article, keep the original summer assignment and all formative posts in mind. You might also be interested in these links:

Those are supplemental  articles. Read them and make reference to them as much or as little as you want to; they expand on and deepen “Remember This,” but they are not required. All of these pieces are informational, where our first discussion is built around a personal essay (and note the verb is in that clause; you should continue to discuss Didion as necessary, even as you fold in other authors and texts). Foer offers exploration and exposition, which you will probably experience differently from Didion’s writing. Continue, as you did with Didion, to orbit the text, and realize the purpose of “Remember This”: to connect these remarkable and rare individuals’ memories to our common experience of the world.

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On Keeping a Notebook

We’ve had introductions and overviews, and you’ve been given a quick tour of the place; now we start our work in earnest.

If you are intrigued, you can learn about our first author by reading this profile; you also always have our dear friend Wikipedia to give you context. You should also revisit your summer assignment so that what you are being asked to do is fresh in your mind:

Pay careful attention to the sections on taking notes and the use and usefulness of a compendium. You might be interested in the term’s definition and etymology; this is formative work, built around cataloging reactions and insights as you read, and it will lend weight to your online discussion.

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