Category Archives: AP Literature

Lord of the Flies Analysis


“Like any orthodox moralist Golding insists that Man is
fallen creature, but he refuses to hypostatize Evil or
locate it in a dimension of its own.
On the contrary 
Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies,
is Roger and Jack and you and I,
ready to declare himself as soon as we permit him to.”
—from “The Fables of William Golding” by John Peter, 1957

piggy“Lord of the Flies is a very serious book which has to be introduced seriously. The danger of such an introduction is that it may suggest that the book is stodgy. It is not. It is written with taste and liveliness, the talk is natural, the descriptions of scenery enchanting. It is certainly not a comforting book. But it may help a few grownups to be less complacent and more compassionate, to support Ralph, to respect Piggy, control Jack, and lighten a little the darkness of man’s heart. At the present moment (if I may speak personally), it is respect for Piggythat seems needed most. I do not find it in our leaders.”

—E. M. Forster, introduction to Howard-McCann edition of
Lord of the Flies, 1962

lordflies“The South-Sea island setting suggests everyone’s fantasy of lotus-eating escape or refuge from troubles and care. But for Golding this is the sheerest fantasy: there is no escape from the agony of being human, no possibility of erecting utopian political systems where all will go well. Man’s inescapable depravity makes sure “it’s no-go” on Golding’s island just as it does on the various islands visited by Gulliver in Swift’s excoriating examination of the realities of the human condition.”

—from The Novels of William Golding by S. J. Boyd, 1988


Golding himself had this to say about Lord of the Flies in his essay collection A Moving Target (1985):

More than a quarter of a century ago I sat on one side of the fireplace and my wife on the other. We had just put the children to bed after reading to the elder some adventure story or another—Coral Island, Treasure Island, Pirate Island, Magic Island. God knows what island. Islands have always and for good reason bulked large in the British consciousness. But I was tired of these islands with their paper-cutout goodies and baddies and everything for the best in the best of all possible worlds. I said to my wife, “Wouldn’t it be a good idea if I wrote a story about boys on an island and let them behave the way they really would?” She replied at once, “That’s a first class idea. You write it.” So I sat down and wrote it.

golding2A story about boys, about people who behave as they really would! What sheer hubris! What an assumption of the divine right of authors! How people really behave—whole chapters in that row of books behind my chair do little in the last analysis but agree to or dissent from that first casual remark. How then did I choose a theme? Even then, did I know what I was about? It had taken me more than half a lifetime, two world wars and many years among children before I could make that casual remark because to me the job was so plainly possible.

Yet there is something more. In a way the book was to be and did become a distillation from that life. Before the Second World War my generation did on the whole have a liberal and naïve belief in the perfectibility of man. In the war we became if not physically hardened at least morally and inevitably coarsened. After it we saw, little by little, what man could do to man, what the Animal could to do his own species. The years of my life that went into the book were not years of thinking but years of feeling, years of wordless brooding that brought me not so much to an opinion as a stance. It was like lamenting the lost childhood of the world. The theme defeats structuralism for it is an emotion.

The theme of Lord of the Flies is
grief, sheer grief, grief, grief, grief.

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Survival and The Coral Island

Survival stories have been a popular mainstay of literature stemming back to the oral tradition. The British and American branches of literature are full of them. Daniel Defoe’s 1719 tale Robinson Crusoe exemplifies many of the hallmarks of these tales we find familiar: a stranded hero, a deserted island, meetings and clashes with various native cultures, and eventual rescue, where the hero returns home a changed man for his experience. The book’s popularity spawned an entire subgenre of literature called Robinsonade, all of which contain a stranded hero, a new beginning, encounters with natives, and commentary on society. These influences can be seen in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726), a particularly biting piece of satire that uses the castaway motif to savage various aspects of English society, and the modern film Cast Away (2000), in which Tom Hanks plays a stranded Federal Express executive who survives alone on an island in the South Pacific for four years with the help of the contents of FedEx packages that washed up on the island with him, including a personified volleyball named Wilson.

In the Victorian era, one book of Robinsonade rose above all others in popularity, The Coral Island, published in 1858 by the Scottish author R. M. Ballantyne. The Amazon summary for this book reads, “When the three sailor lads, Ralph, Jack and Peterkin are cast ashore after the storm, their first task is to find out whether the island is inhabited. Their next task is to find a way of staying alive. They go hunting and learn to fish, explore underwater caves and build boats – but then their island paradise is rudely disturbed by the arrival of pirates.” 

Clearly, Golding is in familiar territory, which is unsurprising. The Coral Island, one of the first adventure books written for boys and employing a boy as the central character, became wildly popular in Great Britain. The Coral Island has been required reading for British schoolchildren since the Victorian era (Golding will most certainly have read it in school), and the characters of Lord of the Flies reference it in Chapter 3 when Jack, Ralph, and Simon return from their fact-finding mission and confirm they have all been stranded.

Part of The Coral Island‘s popularity was its clear messages about morality and choices. Ralph, Jack, and Peterkin of the story are tested by their isolation, their encounters with pirates, and their interactions with the cannibalistic inhabitants of nearby islands. Through a series of adventures, the boys’ friendship and loyalty are tested and proved, and at the end the three friends, older and wiser, sail back to England together. Ballantyne included them in a sequel, The Gorilla Hunters, in 1861.

Victorian audiences ate it up. In a time when virtue was valued above all else, the purifying adventures of the novel revealed English boyhood at its very best, a trait embodied in Jack’s confident assertion in Lord of the Flies that their group would survive triumphant simply because they were English and therefore the best at everything. However, the book also contains the Victorian fault of viewing its English central characters as superior in breeding and morality to the “savage” native inhabitants of the region, who are dismissed as evil or praised as good based on whether those people have submitted to English values or have adopted Christianity. Golding, as you will see, explores these moral ideas with his characters in quite a different way.

A clear and rather extensive analysis of the literary influences and history of The Coral Island may be found at its Wikipedia entry. And since Golding clearly borrowed many elements of The Coral Island for Lord of the Flies, perhaps that helps us get close to solving one of the little, yet provocative, mysteries of the book: What is Piggy’s real name? (Hint: Who are the three main characters in The Coral Island?)




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William Golding Intro

The British novelist William Gerald Golding was born in St. Columb Minor, a village in Cornwall, on September 19, 1911. Golding greatly admired his father, Alec Golding, a distinguished school master who “inhabited a world of sanity and logic and fascination.” His mother, Mildred Golding, was active in the suffragette movement.

Golding entered Oxford University, and to please his parents, he began to study science. After two years, however, he switched to English. He graduated in 1935 with a B.A. degree and diploma in education.

Golding moved to London, where he became a social worker. During this time, he began writing, acting, and producing for a small London theater, bu eventually deferred to family tradition and became a teacher. When World War II began in 1939, he was teaching at Bishop Wordsworth’s school, a boys’ school in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

In 1940, Golding joined the Royal Navy and served on a cruiser. Eventually he became a lieutenant, ending his career in command of a rocket launching craft. During his naval career, Golding saw action against battleships, submarines, and aircraft. He was present at the sinking of the Bismarck and took his rocket-launching craft to Normandy for the D-Day invasion.

golding1In 1945, Golding resumed his teaching post at Bishop Wordsworth’s School and began writing again. Some of his reviews and essays were published, but he found no publisher for the novels he had written. In spite of this, Golding persisted. He concluded that since he would probably never be published, he would simply write for his own satisfaction. One night after reading a bedtime story to his children, he spoke with his wife about his true desire, to write a book about what people are really like. Boys’ adventure books such as Coral Island and Treasure Island weren’t believable, and he wanted to trace the darkness that he witnessed as being part of every human being. The result was Lord of the Flies, published in 1954 when Golding was 43. Lord of the Flies sold well when first published;however, it sold fewer than 3,000 copies in the United States and soon went out of print. Later, the novel found and retained an influential audience and eventually became a favorite of college students, rivaled only by J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Later Golding published The Inheritors (1955), Pincher Martin (1956), and Free Fall (1959).

In 1961, largely due to the success of Lord of the Flies, Golding was able to leave his teaching post at Bishop Wordsworth’s School to become writer-in-residence at Hollins College in Virginia. Thereafter, he became a full-time writer. His later novels include The Spire, The Pyramid, The Scorpion God, Darkness Visible, Rites of Passage, The Paper Men, and Fire Down Below, published four years before his death at 81 years old.


In 1983, Golding received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Of his works in general, he was quoted as saying,

In all books I have suggested a shape in the universe that may, as it were, account for things. The greatest pleasure is…just understanding. And if you can get people to understand their own humanity–well, that’s the job of the writer.

His Nobel lecture discusses various topics and focuses not only on writers, their creations, and the impact that writing has on humanity, but also the mutual responsibility we have for the Earth. He ruminates on the interplay between pessimism (which people assume he has based on the dark focus of his works) and optimism, which he challenges us to embrace and recognize in the power of the written word. Golding says,

Words may, through the devotion, the skill, the passion, and the luck of writers prove to be the most powerful thing in the world. They may move men to speak to each other because some of those words somewhere express not just what the writer is thinking but what a huge segment of the world is thinking. They may allow man to speak to man, the man in the street to speak to his fellow until a ripple becomes a tide running through every nation – of commonsense, of simple healthy caution, a tide that rulers and negotiators cannot ignore so that nation does truly speak unto nation. Then there is hope that we may learn to be temperate, provident, taking no more from nature’s treasury than is our due. It may be by books, stories, poetry, lectures we who have the ear of mankind can move man a little nearer the perilous safety of a warless and provident world.

You may listen to a recording of Golding’s Nobel lecture here.

In the year before his death in 1993, Golding reflected with melancholy on the body of his literary career. Comparing his few works to other writers whose works number in the hundreds, Golding said,

The list makes me more aware of wasted time, the years the locusts have eaten, than of achievement. Seeing them in my mind’s eye I feel a little depressed, like a tourist catching sight of Stonehenge from a distance and for the first time: “not a very impressive scatter of a few stones heaped in a plain without much feature and under a gloomy sky.”

Of course when the tourist (if he can) gets inside the stone circle he will find things much different, and I hope against hope that the same thing can be said of my books.

golding3When looking at Golding’s philosophical attitude about Lord of the Flies, one interpretation is that each individual must acknowledge his connection to all people. Humanity’s problems stem from lack of awareness of this truth. People remain trapped inside themselves, too self-absorbed to look at the world around them. Only if people are able to see themselves as part of the whole, not as islands, will they find salvation. Humans must somehow find a way to connect with outer reality. Golding believes that humans’ intelligence will help them to make this necessary connection: one cannot change basic human nature, but can recognize and understand it. In so doing, individuals can willfully choose to suppress the savagery beneath their humanity.

For a commentary on Golding’s reputation in literary circles, check out William Boyd’s “Man as an Island,” published in the New York Times Book Review in 2010.

adapted from material by Jane Gutherman, DPHS English Department

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Esperanza Onstage

In 2009, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago produced a stage version of The House on Mango Street as part of its Steppenwolf for Young Adults series. Written by Tanya Saracho, the play dramatizes many of the vignettes of the novel, with music and performances bringing the characters and neighborhood to life. The production was directed by Hallie Gordon and featured Belinda Cervantes, Gina Cornejo, Sandra Delgado, Liza Fernandez, Ricardo Gutierrez, Christina Nieves, Tony Sancho and Mari Stratton. Here are three scenes from the production, taken from “Our Good Day,” “The Family of Little Feet,” and “My Name.”

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Sandra Cisneros Introduction

Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1954 to a Mexican father and Mexican-American mother, the only girl in a house with six brothers. Her work “deals with the formation of Chicana identity, exploring the challenges of being caught between Mexican and Anglo-American cultures, facing the misogynist attitudes present in both these cultures, and experiencing poverty.” The family moved often between Illinois and Mexico. These travels informed much of her early life and helped plant the seed of restlessness that has endured throughout her career. Today, she is widely hailed as one of the most successful Chicana writers, someone whose “sense of ethnic identity or chicanismo animates their work manifestly and fundamentally, often through the presentation of Chicano characters, cultural situations, and speech patterns.” (Paredes)

The Cisneros family lived in many different places in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, which was well-known as a neighborhood of immigrants, first from Europe and Eastern Europe, then transforming into a primarily Puerto Rican neighborhood in the 1950s. They settled into a small brick house on Campbell Street which later became one of the most famous fictional addresses in the country. Her father worked as an upholsterer while her mother, moody and unfulfilled as the mother of seven, sought escape through trips to libraries and museums.

Cisneros as a child in front of the Chicago residence that informed  The House on Mango Street
Cisneros as a child in Chicago

Cisneros noted during an interview with Chicago Reader that “My memories when I was living in Chicago were struggling with getting to and from school or work and just writing on the side.” She wrote constantly, gaining the nickname “the poet” from her high school classmates. After graduating, Cisneros attended Loyola University of Chicago, graduating with a degree in English, and then the famous University of Iowa Writers Workshop, where she earned her master’s degree in poetry in 1978. In 1980, her first chapbook of poetry, Bad Boys, was published. After graduation, she returned to Chicago, where she worked as a teacher and counselor at the Latino Youth Alternative High School and later as an administrative assistant at her college alma mater.

Biography — Sandra Cisneros
Cisneros around the time The House on Mango Street was published.

Her best-known work, The House on Mango Street, made its debut in 1984. The central character, Esperanza Cordero, shares many of the experiences and thoughts that Cisneros did growing up in Humboldt Park. It was most readers’ first exposure to Cisneros’s poetic voice. The House on Mango Street has sold more than six million copies and been translated into more than twenty languages. It was selected as the One Book One Chicago read in 2009.

The same year The House on Mango Street was published, Cisneros moved to San Antonio, Texas, to take a job as the Literature Director at the Guadalupe Arts Center. During her years in Texas, Cisneros expanded her voice–she honors her migrant roots by writing in both Spanish and English–and began earning the awards that have marked her exceptional career. Her works written during that time encompass poetry (My Wicked Wicked Ways, 1987, Loose Woman, 1994), short stories (Woman Hollering Creek, 1991), novels (Caramelo, 2002, and the illustrated fable Have You Seen Marie?, 2012), and children’s books (Hairs/Pelitos, 1994, and Bravo Bruno!, 2011).

Cisneros’s numerous awards are listed in the biography on her official website. She has earned fellowships in both poetry and fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts and was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, commonly known as the “genius grant,” in 1995. Cisneros is also well-known for her community activism and her work in social justice. She is the founder of both the Macondo Foundation and the Alfredo Cisneros de Moral Foundation for emerging writers. She is the organizer of Los Macarturos, a group of Latino MacArthur Fellows who are also community activists. For her activism, she earned the Ford Foundation’s Art of Change Fellowship and was recognized among The Frederick Douglass 200. Cisneros has been awarded multiple literary prizes including the Texas Medal of the Arts, Chicago’s Fifth Star Award, the PEN Center USA Literary Award, the Fairfax Prize, and the PEN/Nabokov Award for international literature.

Cisneros was interviewed for the PBS News Hour in 2015 after the publication of A House of My Own: Stories from My Life, a collection of early writings. Listen to her talk about making her place as an immigrant writer and her lifelong search for home.

After nearly thirty years in San Antonio, Cisneros moved to San Miguel de Allende, a small town in Mexico, where she still lives as “nobody’s mother and nobody’s wife.” She holds dual American and Mexican citizenship and continues to teach and lead workshops and write. Her most recent book, Puro Amor (2018) is another series of poetic vignettes, this time about the fictional Mr. and Mrs. Rivera’s “la casa azul” full of interesting animals, written in both English and Spanish and illustrated by the author.

In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded Cisneros the National Medal of Arts “…for enriching the American narrative. Through her novels, short stories, and poetry, she explores issues of race, class, and gender through the lives of ordinary people straddling multiple cultures. As an educator, she has deepened our understanding of American identity.”

Obama to present two local artists with National Medals of Art | WOAI


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Sketchnotes: Process Your Thinking Visually

An option you have as you complete your Six Pack Sheets is to use sketchnotes, or visual notes, instead of the written details requested for pages 3 (important scenes) and 4 (character information) of each Six Pack Sheet. Your sketchnotes must include the same details outlined on the instructions for each page, but you may opt to present this information in visual instead of written form. Sketchnotes will be graded for content and presentation, but remember—their purpose is to help you recall important details about the text, not to fulfill requirements for an art class. “Stick dude”-level art skills are perfectly acceptable. If you’re an artist, feel free to knock yourself out.

Below are some introductory videos that explain how sketchnotes are created. I encourage you to search for sketchnote examples (both video and images) to decide if they will be a more helpful way for you to process the characters, themes, and ideas of the major works we will be studying this year.

The Basics of Visual Notetaking

The Power of Sketchnotes

Basic Sketchnote Tips

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Short Story Bootcamp: Writing Assignment

Now that you and your cohort have had an opportunity to read and discuss your selected short story, it is time to move to the final skill of the bootcamp: writing a literary analysis paper. Using a retired AP prompt as a guide, you will will select and analyze specific textual evidence from your story in order to support a coherent thesis.
  1. Choose a character and write an essay in which you (a) briefly describe the standards of the fictional society in which the character exists and (b) show how the character is affected by and responds to those standards.
  2. Identify a specific inanimate object (e.g., a seashell, a handkerchief, a painting) that is important in your story, and write an essay in which you show how two or three of the purposes the object serves are related to one another.
  3. The significance of a title such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is so easy to discover. However, in other works (for example, Measure for Measure) the full significance of the title becomes apparent to the reader only gradually. Show how the significance of the title of your story is developed through the author’s use of devices such as contrast, repetition, allusion, and point of view.
  4. An effective literary work does not merely stop or cease; it concludes. In the view of some critics, a work that does not provide the pleasure of significant closure has terminated with an artistic fault. A satisfactory ending is not, however, always conclusive in every sense; significant closure may require the reader to abide with or adjust to ambiguity and uncertainty. In an essay, explain precisely how and why the ending of your story appropriately or inappropriately concludes the work.
  5. Choose an implausible or strikingly unrealistic incident or character in your story. Write an essay that explains how the incident or character is related to the more realistic or plausible elements in the rest of the work.
  6. Select a moment or scene in your story that you find especially memorable. Write an essay in which you identify the line or the passage, explain its relationship to the work, and analyze the reasons for its effectiveness.
While you can analyze the nonfiction pieces in AP Language and Composition using the rhetorical triangle (Purpose/Audience/Speaker), literary works require a different approach. A literary work rarely has a stated or implied purpose the way an essay or editorial will; instead, a literary work will more likely explore a universal theme or idea of some kind, like coming of age, sacrifice, epiphany, etc. Your essay should focus on what the author is employing (point of view, setting, specific diction, etc.), how that tool is being used (look for patterns of words/phrases, how the story structure reveals information, where in the narrative or dialogue the technique is being employed, etc.), and why (what point about love/honor/growth or what have you is the author intending to make).
Here’s an example of the what—>how—>why relationship applied to Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron”:


Vonnegut’s fantastic imagery (what) reaches its climax when Harrison and his chosen empress abandon “Not only…the laws of the land…, but the law of gravity and the laws of motion as well” and “leap like deer on the moon.” (how – examples from text) These improbable actions underscore the absurdity of their situation and the lengths people are willing to go to overcome it. (why)

Because your paper should be limited to two pages, choose your evidence carefully. Remember, you are not expected to comment on every aspect of your selected story. Focus on selecting multiple examples from the text that support your thesis. Avoid the “drive-by” reference (Hey, look! A symbol! On to the next paragraph…). Your goal should be to create a persuasive case for your answer to the prompt, revealed through your reading/interpretation of the story and its construction.


  1. Your cohort is encouraged to mark your story text and comment using a Google Doc through Collaborations in Canvas. 
  2. Cohort members should assist each other in the writing process by providing feedback, answering questions, and suggesting evidence to support an individual writer’s chosen prompt.
  3. Final papers must follow standard rules for formal paper submission. The first page of the document should list your name, name of course and instructor, and the date. Your last name and page number go in the document header. The whole paper should be in 12 pt., left-justified, and double-spaced. You don’t have to use TNR, but you do need to choose a professional-looking, readable typeface–this is a paper, not a party invitation. If you do not know how to format documents properly, ASK. A title is not required, but an appropriate and thoughtful one is welcome. Name your file Bootcamp QuestionNumber LastName: Bootcamp Q3 Smith, for example.
  4. Papers will be scored using the AP 6-point scale.
  5. Papers are due Wednesday, September 16 to Canvas by 11:59 pm. At midnight, your grade turns into a pumpkin.

As always, if you have questions, see me. Happy writing!

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Short Story Bootcamp: Writing Prep

bootsWe’re in the home stretch of our short story boot camp, and now it’s time for you to put your knowledge to work. You will work with a cohort to discuss and analyze a story from an assigned group. The ultimate objective is to write a paper about the story which uses specific examples from the selected text to answer an AP-style prompt.

Your cohort will complete the following tasks:

  • Read and discuss your story – you may mark your electronic copy either with notes/highlighting in Google Docs or through a PDF markup tool like Acrobat or Kami
  • Select an AP prompt from a provided list
  • Collaborate to plan and write a formal paper – all members of the cohort should assist each other in gathering evidence and refining the paper draft

You and your cohort should confer to select ONE story from your assigned group. You may access/download a copy of your story from the following links:


Gina Berriault, “The Stone Boy

Ha Jin, “Saboteur

Tillie Olson, “I Stand Here Ironing

Alice Walker, “Everyday Use


Sherman Alexie, “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

William Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily

Frank O’Connor, “First Confession

Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, “The Medicine Bag


Arthur C. Clarke, “The Nine Billion Names of God

Nadine Gordimer, “Once Upon a Time

Ursula K. LeGuin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

Gabriel García Márquez, “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World


In your cohort, you will first discuss and expand your knowledge and understanding of your selected story. Use the Literary Elements diagram to guide your analysis and discussion. Consider which of the tools are being employed in a way that reveals the author’s overall meaning in the story. For example, John Updike’s “A&P” is successful because of his choice of the first person point of view, which helps to create the indelible character of Sammy the checkout clerk. You can discuss strong characterization, the success of the use of dialogue, diction and syntax choices that reveal tone, how symbols in the story convey meaning—your choices are open. You could also refer to the Exploring and Identifying Theme handout to begin crafting a MOWAW for your story. Remember, a statement of meaning cannot be a single word; it must be expressed in a phrase.

Your discussion and analysis will be used to select a prompt for your final 500-word paper, which will be due next week. Prompts will be made available tomorrow.

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The Pied Piper and Bob Dylan – Context for “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

In May of 1964, a young woman named Alleen Rowe disappeared from her home in Tucson, Arizona. Her mother was convinced that a popular young man known as “Smitty” by the kids in town was connected to Alleen’s death. He was questioned, but never charged.

A year later in August, sisters Gretchen and Wendy Fritz disappeared. Gretchen, the volatile daughter of rich parents, had been dating Smitty for some time. By October, a friend of Smitty’s finally confessed his knowledge of the double murder and led police to the bodies he’d helped Smitty bury in the desert outside of town. Once Smitty and his friends were rounded up, the truth about Alleen Rowe’s death emerged. Charles Schmid, known to the teenagers as “Smitty,” is now one of America’s best known serial killers, the infamous “The Pied Piper of Tucson.”

Schmid was an interesting combination of characteristics. He was short, only 5’3″ or so, but an excellent athlete and gymmast. He was smart but never graduated from high school. He was handsome but created a look for himself of dark pancake makeup, jet black dyed hair, white lips, and a false beauty mark. He stuffed the boots he wore with flattened cans and newspapers to make himself appear taller.


Charles Schmid, the Pied Piper of Tucson.
Photo from the Tucson Citizen, 1965

Writer Don Moser’s profile of Schmid in Life magazine, entitled “The Pied Piper of Tucson,” provided in-depth information about Schmid and the murders he’d committed. Moser’s story and the Bob Dylan song “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” were the impetus for author Joyce Carol Oates to create the story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” The ambiguous tale of Connie and her doomed relationship with Arnold Friend hails back to the events in Tucson in the ’60s and introduces a number of questions that Oates herself has not fully answered. It makes for a disturbing and intriguing read.

A recording of Bob Dylan singing “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” from a concert at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England.

In San Francisco in 2004, author Joyce Carol Oates was asked about the connection between the Bob Dylan song and her eventual story. Here is her response:

Student Spencer Mead’s short film “Arnold Friend,” which dramatizes “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

Finally, this is the trailer for the 1985 movie Smooth Talk starring Treat Williams and Laura Dern, which is an adaptation of the story. The movie has a definitive ending–whether it matches what you think happens, well…

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Congratulations, Graduates!

Well done, Class of 2020! It was a pleasure to be your teacher both in person and online. You should be very proud of yourself for persevering during this highly unusual year!

This video is old, but awesome. Seniors at Kahuku High and Intermediate School of Honolulu, Hawaii, celebrated their graduation in 2015 with this haka incorporating traditional chants and some more contemporary music and dance. It basically sums up how many of you are probably feeling today. Congratulations on your graduation, and enjoy!

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