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Tuesday, March 31st  Good morning,  We are switching over to google classroom today.  scroll down for the codes if you need them.  This is the last quarter so make sure you make your best effort.  I'm sorry that everything going on is affecting what should be a fun and exciting end to high school.  I know it must be hard for all of you.  Hopefully we will get back even for a short time before the school year ends.  Until then, stay well.


Thursday, March 26th

Good morning.  I hope you are all doing well.

1.  As directed by Mr. McLaughlin, there will be no assignments given tomorrow or Monday.  Your assignment for today and Tuesday is to read a story called "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates. There is a link for the story under links.

2.  Starting Tuesday, which is the beginning of the 4th quarter, I will switch over to google classroom.  I am new at so if there is any problem, email me or check the notes page as a default place for information.

3.  Mr. McLaughlin wants teachers to accept late assignment from students that were given after we began distance learning.  There will be a late penalty of course.  This is the make up assignment for "Babylon Revisited"  Answer the following question in a paragraph of 5-7 sentences:  How are Marion and Lincoln being used as foil characters to develop Charlie and Helen.  What is Fitzgerald suggesting through these contrasts,

4.  Notes on "Sonny's Blues"

Setting:  The story takes place approximately late 1940's-early 1950's in Harlem NY.  The time period is established by both the narrator and Sonny being in the service, and the reference to the GI bill which was established after WW II to help veterans pay for school and to purchase affordable housing.  Harlem during this time was a harsh, drug infested environment that unfortunately, many young people, like Sonny, fell victim to.  Harlem was made up of mostly African Americans who were often the victims of segregation and prejudice.  Remember the Civil Rights Movement that helped to promote equality for blacks did not take place until the 1960's.

Characters: The narrator of the story (Sonny's older brother) is the protagonist of the story. Sonny is the younger brother by 7 years. Mama plays a critical role in the story even though she has already passed in the present time frame of the story. She explains to the narrator that there is always going to be suffering in the world and you need to be strong so it doesn't pull you under (like she was strong for the father after his brother was killed). She tells the narrator that she won't be around for ever and asks him to be there for Sonny. She's realistic in terms of knowing that the narrator cannot watch Sonny 24/7, but she asks the narrator to make sure that he is always there for Sonny no matter what. She also states that Sonny isn't a bad kid, but it's not just bad kids who make bad choices--which is what happens to Sonny.

The main conflict of the story is person vs self: the narrator's inability to understand Sonny's dreams and challenges and suffering cause the brothers to become estranged. The story begins with the narrator reading a news story about Sonny's arrest for using ang selling heroin. At that time, the brothers hadn't spoken for a year, The narrator is deeply upset about what has happened but does not reach out to Sonny, despite the promise he made his mother.  It's only after the narrator loses his two year old daughter Gracie, and the narrator experiences his own suffering that he begins to question what made Sonny start to use drugs; in what way was Sonny suffering.  He then writes to Sonny and upon Sonny's release he meets Sonny and takes him to stay at his apartment.

The resolution to the conflict is when the narrator agrees to go watch Sonny perform with some of his friends. As he listens to Sonny play the blues, he for the first time hears Sonny's pain which comes through his music. At that point, the narrator comes to a new understanding of Sonny, and also realizes that suffering is something universal and something all people share. As a side note, the last couple of pages of this story are to me, some of the most beautiful passages in fiction. There is an allusion at the end of the story to a beautiful psalm--relevant during this crisis that we are going through--from Isaiah 51"The Cup of the Lord",  




Wednesday, March 25th

Good morning.  I hope you and your families are well.

You need to finish the assignment that I gave you yesterday on "Sonny's Blues" and the two articles related to the story.

Make sure you submit your responses today by 3pm.

Have a good day.


Tuesday, March 24th

Good morning.  I hope you are all well and hanging in there.  

By now, you should have completed reading "Sonny's Blues" and the two articles I assigned yesterday.

Your assignment today is to answer the following 3 questions.  Answer the questions in complete sentences.  Make sure your answers are thorough.  Each response should be several sentences.  Email me your answers.  this assignment is worth 50 points.

This assignment is for today and tomorrow.  The assignment is due by 3pm tomorrow, March 25th.

1.  What does James Baldwin suggest is the reason that so many people, including Sonny, started to use heroin?  Your response should include info about the setting of the story.  Use one quote from Zenga Longmore's article that helps to support Baldwin's assertions in the story.

2.  The story is really about the relationship between two brothers.  When the story begins the brothers have not spoken for a year.  What caused them to become estranged?  What causes their relationship to change in a positive way?

3.  In what way are the demographics involving heroin use on Long Island (based on the second article) different than those presented in "Sonny's Blues"?  What do you personally think accounts for this?


Monday, March 23rd

Good morning.  I hope you and your families are well.

1.  The following students need to join google classroom by the end of the day:

Sierra Vadala

Ryan Chan

Michael Feehan

Xavier Jefferson

Nicholas Lobosco

Kevin Marcelin

2.  Moving forward, I will not accept assignments after notes/answers to the assignments have been posted.  You must adhere to deadlines.

3.  You should have finished reading "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin on Friday.  Today you need to read the following two articles on heroin addiction:

       Google: The Social Affairs Unit-Web Review Zenga Longmore on Post-War America, Jazz and Heroin"

                      The Battle Against Opiate Addiction on Long Island  (Long Island Business News 11/6/2017)


REMEMBER TO JOIN GOOGLE CLASSROOM BY THE END OF THE DAY TODAY USING THE CODES BELOW. KEEP CONSULTING THIS PAGE UNTIL I TELL YOU TO SWITCH OVER.


Friday, March 20th

Good morning.  I hope you're hanging in there and are all well. Today you are going to finish reading the story "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin which I assigned yesterday.  You will receive an assignment on the story on Monday.  


Thursday, March 19th

Good morning.  I hope you and your families are well.

1.  Yesterday you were asked to submit 3 details from "Babylon Revisited" that supported that Charlie's change is sincere although Marion ultimately doesn't believe him and won't give up custody of Honoria at that time.  Three key details to support this are:

            a.  Charlie sticks to his one drink policy even after not getting custody of Honoria which is a moment when he easily could

                  have relapsed.

            b.  Charlie tries to distance himself from Lorraine and Duncan--his old drinking buddies and keep Honoria away from 

                 them when he realizes they are still partying.  The story suggests that Charlie and Lorraine had an affair, and while 

                 he was attracted to her in the past, he no longer feels that way about her.

            c.  The tone of the story is regret.  Throughout the story, Charlie is filled with regret about his past behavior, especially 

                 regarding Honoria.  Charlie doesn't care about what he lost in the crash (his money); he realizes that he lost everything

                 in the "boom" (when the market was strong).  He realizes he lost the  things that mattered most to him when he was

                 at his worst--his marriage, his daughter, and his reputation (which is why he has to start over in Prague).

 Charlie's mistake is that he naively believes all of his past associates (like Lorraine and Duncan) have the same regrets--which they don't.  This is suggested by Charlie leaving Marion's address with Alix the bartender to give to Duncan.  When Lorraine and Duncan show up drunk  at Lincoln and Marion's, Marion right away believes that Charlie is back up to his old behaviors which is not the case.

2.  Your reading assignment for today and tomorrow is to read the short story "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin (pdf).

      Like "Babylon Revisited" the tone of the story is one of regret.  The story focuses on the relationship of two brothers 

      growing up in Harlem during the 1940's when Harlem was plagued with a heroin crisis. As you read the story, think 

      about how heroin is a crisis in current times (The Long Island Expressway is dubbed "heroin highway") and why that 

      be.  Look at what Baldwin establishes about Harlem during that time period which may have caused so many people

      to use heroin at that time.  You will have an assignment on the story on Monday.



On Monday I posted a reading assignment ("Babylon Revisited") and stated that you had "today and tomorrow"--Monday and Tuesday--to complete the assignment.  On Tuesday I  posted "please finish reading "Babylon Revisited".  There should have been no confusion about when the reading needed to be completed.  Today I posted a simple assignment that you had over 4 hours to complete.  You were told you were receiving a grade for it.  You were instructed to email me the assignment.  I told you that I will tell you when to switch over to goggle classroom--which I have not told you yet.  Again, there should have been no confusion.

You need to be vigilant about checking for the daily posting for this class.  It will usually be posted before 10:30.  You must read postings carefully,

For those of you who didn't submit the assignment, you have until 10pm tonight to so without penalty.  Moving forward late assignments will be penalized just as if we were in school.


Wednesday, March 18th


Good morning. By now you should have completed reading "Babylon Revisited".

Charlie is the 35 year old protagonist of the story.  The story takes place in  approximately 1930-1931.  Charlie made a lot of money from his investments in the stock market (until the crash in 1929), so he decided to stop working and live off of the interest he was making.  He, his wife Helen, and their daughter Honoria move to Paris where Charlie and Helen join the party scene.  Their excessive lifestyle takes its toll on both of them; Helen develops heart trouble that leads to her death, and Charlie winds up in rehab.  Before her death, Helen convinces Charlie to relinquish custody of Honoria to her sister Marion.

In the present time frame of the story, Charlie is back in Paris trying to regain custody of Honoria as well as trying to regain hi honor (the symbolism of Honoria's name).  Charlie is filled with regret about the past, and knows it will be difficult to convince Marion that he has changed.  Charlie is a dynamic character, and has changed.  However, Fitzgerald suggests that our past sometimes catches up with us (Lorraine and Duncan) and that we are accountable for our actions.

Your assignment is to give 3 specific details (or quotes) that are evidence of Charlie's change being sincere.  You can respond in a paragraph or in bullet points.  Email me your response by 3pm today.  This is worth 25 points.

I know distance learning is new for all of us and will initially cause us all anxiety.  Don't stress.  We will figure it out as we go along.  For now keep consulting this page for instruction and assignments.  Join google classroom if you have not done so.  I will let you know on this page when we will switch over.  Please do not submit work until I ask you to do so.

Stay well.


Note: Please use the following codes to join google classroom for the course.  Keep checking this page until I tell you I am switching over.

A Period  lomde2g

G Period  smp76tg

Stay well.


Tuesday, March 17th  Happy St. Patrick's Day

Good morning.  I hope you are all well.

Please finish reading the story "Babylon Revisited".  Pay attention to the end of the story.  What does the end of the story more definitively establish about Charlie?  What theme is developed through the end of the story?  (Think about the role of George Wilson in The Great Gatsby).  Consider the symbolism of Honoria's name.

Monday, March 16th

Hi everyone.  I hope you and your families are well.  This is all a little surreal.   Distance learning is something new for me.  So I hope to learn new methods as we move forward.  

For today and tomorrow, you need to read a longer story by F. Scott Fitzgerald called "Babylon Revisited" (available as a pdf).  As you read the story, I want you to try to remember the topics you discussed when you read The Great Gatsby last year.  That novel was a social commentary on society during the 1920's.  If you remember, Nick Carraway tried to be open-minded when he moved to New York in the spring of 1922.  The move was supposed to be permanent, but he returned home to the Mid-West in October of 1922 disgusted by his experiences.

The protagonist of "Babylon Revisited" is Charlie Wales.  The story paints a before and after scenario of Charlie.  There is Charlie at the height of the 1920's before the stock market crash, and then the post crash Charlie.

As you read the story, develop a  "before and after" list of Charlie.  Note specific quotes that are especially important in establishing the Charlie of the past and the "new" Charlie.




The test on Ethan Frome  is on Thursday, 3/12/20.

For Tuesday, 2/25/20, read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton.  It is available as a pdf or you can purchase the book.  There will be a quiz.

There will be a test on the short stories on Friday, 2/14/20.

Your assignment for Wednesday, 2/12/20, which was announced in class, was to read "My Old Man".  As always, there is a quiz.  The only students who do not have to take the quiz today are those students who were absent.

For Tuesday, 2/11/20, read "The Killers" by Ernest Hemingway (pdf).  There will be a quiz.

The epiphany essay is due on Wednesday, 2/5/20.

For Wednesday, 2/5/20, read "The Chrysanthemums" (pdf) by John Steinbeck.  There will be a quiz.

For Friday, 1/31/20, read "Bliss" (pdf) by Katherine Mansfield.  There will be a quiz.

For Wednesday, 1/29/20, read "Rules of the Game" by Amy Tan.  There will be a quiz.

There will be a quiz on the literary terms on Tuesday, 1/28/20.

A Period--for Friday, 1/24/20, read "A&P" by John Updike (pdf).  There will be a quiz.

Welcome to Fiction.  I hope you have a happy end to your senior year.


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