Judy Bridgewater

Did you google Judy Bridgewater, “Never Let Me Go” when you finished reading Chapter 6 of Never Let Me Go? I did. It turns out that she is a fictitious artist created by Ishiguro for the novel, but when they made the movie of Never Let Me Go, they recorded a song by the same title. There is even more background to the story of the song here, if you are interested.


More of Faron’s Story

Here is Lucy Walker’s (director of Devil’s Playground) website.  She gives you a little information about what happened to Faron Yoder after they wrapped filming of Devil’s Playground.
Faron was also interviewed for an episode of This American Life. You can listen to the episode here (his interview is in Act Two).

End of Semester Writing

  1. Traditional Portfolio: Revisit all the writing you’ve done for the semester (in-class quick writes, reaction papers, and longer essays). Choose two pieces of writing to revise to the level of your best work. If you’d like to work on something new, you can choose a quick write that seemed to have potential and add material to get it to the level of a reaction paper. If you did a creative response to 1984, that is not eligible for this revision.

    Write a substantial, reflective cover letter to submit with your revisions. The cover letter should address not just the two pieces of writing that you submitted, but also a larger self-assessment of yourself as a writer: What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses as a writer? What challenges do you face when writing? How do you address those challenges? How do you assess your mini-portfolio – what you are proud of and what do you think still doesn’t work? What thematic connections do you see in the writing you’ve done this semester? Has your understanding of the thought experiment of utopias and dystopias grown? What do you wish you had done differently? Where do you see growth in yourself as a writer over the course of the semester and where do you still need to grow?


  1. Writers Autobiography: rather than writing a traditional portfolio reflection, read back over your writing for this semester, and any other historical writing you have a copy of (your Sophomore English writing, perhaps?) and reflect on how you have developed as a writer over the course of your education. Think, in particular, about the role that your education has played in your development and identity as a writer (it may not always be entirely positive).

    Your final artifact may take whatever form you would like—a personal essay, a video, a radio documentary—as long as you approach the assignment as a composition and use words to tell your story. You may include images in your autobiography, but it should consist primarily of words.

    Your goal is to find a story to tell about yourself as a writer, but you should not feel the need to tell your entire story as a writer. You may focus on a particular chunk of your schooling (pre-school, elementary, middle, or high school) or a particular relationship (sibling, aunt, father, teacher, friends, etc.) or a particular writing experience that tells a larger story about your development as a writer.


I expect your reaction papers to be 2-3 pages in length (typed, double-spaced) and for you to pick a topic that you find thought provoking and that you can say something about.

While a reaction paper does not need to be as formal as a multi-draft essay, it should have a point / make an argument / have a thesis / show evidence of thought and evaluation and that point / argument / thesis / thought should be supported with evidence from the book (in the form of quotations) and that evidence should be properly formatted, punctuated, and cited (MLA format).

Your reaction paper is due via Google docs on Monday, April 14.

Here are some possible topics, but feel free to write on others:

  1. Imagine a conversation with the Commander about the structure of society, and how it views and esteems women. What do you imagine their rhetoric to be? Do you hear parallels with contemporary discussions on valuing or protecting women?
  1. Language functions as a tool for control in Offred’s society, as women are not allowed read or write, and the Bible is interpreted in a way that promotes the Republic of Gilead’s agenda. How does control of language contribute to the ideology of this society? Or, how does Offred use language to regain some sense of self?
  1. What effect does the inclusion of the Historical Notes have on the narrative, or on Offred’s attempts at storytelling? Think about the shift in style, and how the Notes provide an additional perspective on Offred’s story and her society.
  1. Choose one of the scholarly articles we read in class as your starting point. Identify their argument and decide if you agree or disagree with the argument they are making. Write a reaction paper that analyzes the novel in light of the argument made in the scholarly article. Choose an article that you can complicate or use to expand your understanding of the novel, do not simply write an essay that says you agree with the article.
  1. Compare Handmaid’s Tale to 1984 or Herland. In this short of a paper, you will need to choose one aspect of the novel (control of language, revision of history, gender segregation, treatment of sexuality) to examine in both texts and use your comparison to draw a conclusion about the treatment of that aspect in both texts. Your essay should illuminate something about the comparison of the two texts that you would not have understood simply looking at one text alone.

Mid-Semester Revision

Due: April 8

Choose either you Herland reaction essay or your Young Adult essay to revise.

Revisit your submitted draft and reread twice, once without my comments (to view your document without comments, start from My Drive and toggle the checkbox next to the file, then click the eyeball on the tool bar, this will show you your document in preview mode) and once with my comments. Answer the following questions in a reflective paragraph:

First reading: What strikes you about the draft, having had some space from it, and what might you want to address in your revision? Where do you think you want to go with this essay?

Second reading: Turn the comments back on and review my feedback. Based on my feedback, what do you want to address in your revision?

Spend at least one hour (in class or outside of class) working on revising the essay you choose and then write me a cover letter that lets me know where you are with the essay.

Questions to address in your cover letter:

  • Are you done with the revision, if so, what did you identify as wanting to address in your revision and how did you do?
  • If you aren’t done, what have you accomplished and what do you still want to do? What are you struggling with? Do you know where you want to go, but haven’t had the time to do the work or are you stuck? If you are stuck, what do you think you are stuck on?
  • Whether you are done with the revision or not, where do you feel like you’ve been successful (where does your argument / essay work) and what are you still uncertain about?

Please create a new googledoc that you share with me that contains your pre-revision paragraph reflection and your post-revision cover letter. This should be completed by 8PM on April 8.







1984 Final Projects

bb_smAs we wrap up our discussion of 1984, you will complete a final project that captures themes and concepts we have covered in our study of this dystopian novel. You will have an opportunity to present your project as either a creative representation of the novel, or in a more traditional written format (options 1, 2, and 4). Throughout the novel, we have discussed themes including privacy, censorship, freedom of expression, humanity and basic human rights. Additionally, we have analyzed government control, specifically in the fields of history and language, and how this regulation affects the thoughts and actions of those living under this control. This project asks you to engage with these ideas and present an analysis that addresses issues both in Orwell’s novel and our society.

Your final project will be due on Thursday, March 20.


1. George Orwell and Aldus Huxley offer similar predictions of totalitarian rule, but differ significantly in their beliefs about how we might get there and what we, as engaged citizens, should be concerned about. In a letter to Orwell after reading 1984, Huxley said the future will discover that:

infant-conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience … the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblances to that which I imagined in Brave New World. The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency.

Which author’s dire predictions do you find to be more compelling? Who do you think was right? Revisit the first few chapters of Brave New World and refamiliarize yourself with Huxley’s world. Formulate an argument that argues whose predictions were more accurate, given the current state of the world, and if we should still be concerned about the issues that the novels raise. In your essay, you will need to summarize the central argument of both novels and then construct your own argument that evaluates the two options and argues for which warning we should be more concerned about and why.

2. Find an example of art/media/pop-culture that explicitly or implicitly references 1984. Compose a written analysis of the messages and themes conveyed in your chosen piece.

Your analysis should address the following questions:

  • How is 1984 referenced? This should include direct quotes or references from both your chosen piece and the original text.
  • What is the general theme or message of your piece? This part will vary greatly based on what form your chosen piece is. A song, for example, might have a message that you can pinpoint. If you were to choose a piece of architecture             for your piece, the theme of the work would be interpretative in terms of the mood conveyed by the design and aesthetics of the structure.
  • Based on your interpretation of 1984, does the reference/allusion that you are analyzing interpret 1984 correctly? Does the piece oversimplify the ideas that it is referencing? Perhaps it misinterprets them? Or maybe it is an incredibly effective use of 1984? What do you think?

Please attach a sample of what you are analyzing. This could be in the form of a photocopy, URL, CD, sketch, etc. depending on your topic.

3. Compose an original work of art that utilizes 1984 in some way. It could reference it explicitly or it could incorporate one of the fundamental ideas from the text. If you choose this option, you still must have a written analysis that explains your intention for the piece, how it employs and interprets ideas from 1984, and how successful you feel you are with the final product. The written analysis can be written as an informal assessment of your intentions and final product.

4. Read Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language” and then find a recent news article, speech, political advertisement, or other source that comments on a current event and demonstrates what Orwell would call “political language,” or intentionally vague or euphemistic language. Compose a written analysis evaluating how the use of language affects the meaning of the report, noting how this source manipulates language or breaks any of Orwell’s rules, using “Politics and the English Language” as support. Your analysis should explain what you think Orwell’s argument is and how your source violates what he proposes in his essay, and also address the consequences of such language on public thought.
Please attach a sample of (or link to) what you are analyzing.
Project Timeline:

Thursday 3/6 In-class work time

Tuesday 3/11 In-class work time

Thursday 3/13 Rough draft due / in-class work time

Thursday 3/20 Project due

The Snowden Index


Ema and Ailin found this very cool interactive graphic of opinion about Edward Snowden. Check it out as you prepare for our discussion on Monday.