Saturday, December 3, 2016

AP Lit: Bieber to Barbara Allen -- Exploring the Ballad

We opened today with a listen to the Beeb's masterpiece,  "Sorry."

We took a look at the lyrics as we listened to this cover  by Ben Rector.

This led to a discussion of tone, of voicing, of speaker, of aesthetics and presentation and its influence upon interpretation.  Rector's rendition lends an authenticity we felt missing from the original -- which we also discovered was written by The Beebs and a team of hundreds (or maybe like three or four other people.)

From here we shifted about a decade back to The Avett Brothers "Ballad of Love and Hate."

We started making a few connections here, seeing a couple of possible patterns, but it really didn't kick in until we dove a generation or two back.

And we discovered it's an emotional song for many of us.  We also discovered a great deal interesting about its structure and form, about Dylan's use of internal rhyme and alliteration, and about the effect of the song being in two voices -- the father and the son.   We dove briefly into the biblical allusions evident in the text and then turned our attention to a female balladeer.

Dolly Parton has become synonymous with 1980s country-pop and become more known for her personal style  than anything else.  But here's the thing: for people in the know?  Dolly Parton is one of the greatest songwriters that has ever lived.  Period.   "Jolene" is one of her many masterpieces.  We had a brief discussion of this song and made some interesting points about whether or not Jolene actually exists or is just the manifestation of the speaker's insecurity.  I'm looking forward to returning to this song when we are talking about different lens through which to read and view literature -- a feminist lens on the poem I think could reveal some new insights.

We ran short on time though we did talk even more more about what we could uncover about the ballad form from these selections.  We noted that they tell stories, that they are often quite straight forward even if they make use of figurative language and metaphor, that there is often a dialogue or two characters at the very least.  The stories are usually sad and involve love or romance of some sort.

Before we ended the class we took a look at a few of the traditional ballads of Great Britain's past.

Barbara Allen was the first.  

Barbara Allen

Related Poem Content Details

In Scarlet town, where I was born, 
   There was a fair maid dwellin’, 
Made every youth cry Well-a-way! 
   Her name was Barbara Allen. 

All in the merry month of May, 
   When green buds they were swellin’, 
Young Jemmy Grove on his death-bed lay, 
   For love of Barbara Allen. 

He sent his man in to her then, 
   To the town where she was dwellin’; 
“O haste and come to my master dear, 
   If your name be Barbara Allen.” 

So slowly, slowly rase she up, 
   And slowly she came nigh him, 
And when she drew the curtain by— 
   “Young man, I think you’re dyin’.” 

“O it’s I am sick and very very sick, 
   And it’s all for Barbara Allen.”— 
O the better for me ye’se never be, 
   Tho’ your heart’s blood were a-spillin’! 

“O dinna ye mind, young man,” says she, 
   “When the red wine ye were fillin’, 
That ye made the healths go round and round, 
   And slighted Barbara Allen?” 

He turned his face unto the wall, 
   And death was with him dealin’: 
“Adieu, adieu, my dear friends all, 
   And be kind to Barbara Allen!” 

As she was walking o’er the fields, 
   She heard the dead-bell knellin’; 
And every jow the dead-bell gave 
   Cried “Woe to Barbara Allen.” 

“O mother, mother, make my bed, 
   O make it saft and narrow: 
My love has died for me today, 
   I’ll die for him tomorrow.” 

“Farewell,” she said, “ye virgins all, 
   And shun the fault I fell in: 
Henceforth take warning by the fall 
   Of cruel Barbara Allen.” 

And "Lord Randall" the second.
We will be looking at more ballads in the week to come, but first we must take a look at epics and get our 2nd synthesis essays in good order.

This weekend read these openings of ancient, classical,  medieval and English Renaissance epics.

READ the 1st 20 lines of The Odyssey by Homer.

READ  the 1st 20 lines of Beowulf, the ancient poem of northern European origins.

Those two above are to give you some context for the epic form in its origins.

READ, NOTE & CREATE. For the next two, take the time to annotate, take notes, and/or sketchnote.  Bring LITERARY  3x3s of these selections by Dante and Milton to class on Tuesday, 12.6.16

READ.  the 1st Canto I of Dante's Inferno, a medieval story of descending into the underworld.

And finally READ.  Book 1 of Milton's Paradise Lost, the opening scenes depicting the beginning of the world according to Milton's take on Christian dogma.

UPDATE the Q2 BLOG TRACKER with your best evidence from November, as well as anything current.

WRITE to TURN IT.  Be prepared with 1st SUBMISSION DRAFT of your 2nd Synthesis Essay for THURSDAY'S class, 12.8.16. I want these back to you with plenty of time BEFORE the break.

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