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ARCHIVE: OLD SENIOR ENGLISH LESSONS

  • HOW TO USE THIS SITE: On this webpage, you will find archived ("old") Senior English distance learning lessons. Again, these are NOT "new lessons." All new Senior English lessons can be found by clicking here.

    Until we return to Bartlett High School, older Senior English lessons and assignments will be moved to this page to conserve space and make it easier to navigate the "main page."

    SHE'S COME UNDONE READING AND WORKSHEETS

    To read the first part of the story, click here.

    To read the second part of the story, click here.

    To complete the first worksheet, click here.

    To complete the second worksheet, click here.

    To complete the final essay prompt, click here.

    PSYCHO WORKSHEETS

    To complete the first worksheet, click here.

    To complete the second worksheet, click here.

    To complete the third worksheet, click here.

    To complete the fourth worksheet, click here.

    To complete the fifth worksheet, click here.

    To complete the sixth worksheet, click here.

    LESSON FROM APRIL 6, 2020

    To review the reading assignment, click here.

    The lesson concludes with a worksheet, which you can open and complete by clicking here.

    LESSON FROM APRIL 7, 2020

    To review the reading assignment, click here.

    The lesson concludes with a worksheet, which you can open and complete by clicking here.

    LESSON FROM APRIL 8, 2020

    To review the reading assignment, click here.

    The lesson concludes with a worksheet, which you can open and complete by clicking here.

    LESSON FROM APRIL 9, 2020

    To review the reading assignment, click here.

    The lesson concludes with a worksheet, which requires that you watch four movie clips. To access the worksheet, click here.

    LESSONS FROM MARCH 31, 2020 THROUGH APRIL 3, 2020

    This series of lessons closedout our unit on Marxist Literary Criticism (or "Marxist Theory"). Recall that Karl Marx and his “Manifesto of The Communist Party” provided us with an “economic understanding” of the world. Marxist Literary Criticism provides us with “lenses” through which we can see economic disparities (“rich versus poor,” “the haves and have nots”) and the role they play in the conflicts of fictional stories and the claims (“arguments”) made in nonfiction texts. In class, we used Marx to analyze short fiction, poems, music, and film clips. Throughout our first four distance learning lessons, through "Marxist lenses," we read and analyzed excerpts from the memoir NICKEL AND DIMED.

    All of the work listed below can be completed and emailed (anthonyzoubek@u-46.org) to Mr. Zoubek. Please make sure that your first and last name are typed at the top of each assignment. Please also type the name of the assignment in the "Subject" line of your email.

    To review the concept of literary theories, please click here.

    To read the first excerpt from Nickel and Dimed, please click here.

    To complete the worksheet that accompanied the first excerpt, please click here.

    To read the second excerpt from Nickel and Dimed, please click here.

    To complete the worksheet that accompanied the second excerpt, please click here.

    To complete the third workweet from the Nickel and Dimed lesson (which asks questions that combine information from both excerpts), please click here.

    To complete the timed, unit-ending Nickel and Dimed writing prompt, please click here.

     

    OTHER OLDER LESSONS...

    MONDAYMAY 11, 2020:

    PARODY? HOMAGE? PASTICHE? OH MY! (PART TWO)

    After finishing our examination of Psycho, and a discussion regarding intertextuality (among them parody, homage, and pastiche), you watched several introductory clips from Les Diaboliques, a black-and-white psychological thriller known in the United States as The Devils.

    It was released in 1955, and it made filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock jealous. Hitchock had not yet made Psycho. (In fact, the book Psycho had yet to be written.)  Diabolique was based on a French novel. Before Hitchcock could purchase the copyrights, a European director, Henri-Georges Clouzot, snapped them up. Clouzot made the movie, which Hitchcock sat and stewed. The plot and success of Diabolique deeply influenced Robert Bloch, author of the book Psycho. Diabolique also influenced Hitchcock. Some believe that Hitchcock made Psycho in small part to “top” or “outdo” Diabolique’s many plot twists.

    Diabolique blends elements of thriller and horror. It involves two women—a wife and her husband’s mistress—who conspire to murder the man they “share.” After the crime is committed, chaos ensues. Today, you will finish viewing clips from Diabolique (including its shocking climax). Diabolique is the movie Hitchcock wanted to make. When he couldn't, he set out to make something better... scarier... In doing so, he had to "borrow" certain elements from Diabolique... " imitate" them...

    Does Psycho parody Diabolique? Is Psycho an homage? Is it pastiche? 

    History has yet to decide... (But by tomorrow, you will!)

    Please note: The clips below will be removed by midnight tonight. The clips from Friday, May 8, will also be removed. Tomorrow (Tuesday), you will receive an essay writing prompt that will require you to have working knowledge of what you saw. It is highly suggested, though not required, that you keep notes on the specifics of each of today's scenes and that you also revisit (and take notes on) the clips that were posted on Friday.

    CLIPS: Recall that the setting is the Delassale Boarding School. It’s owner, Cricri (Christina) Delasalle, is in poor health. Specifically, she has a bad heart. For a time, the school's principal was Cricri's adulterous, abusive husband, Michel (Michael). He only married Cricri because he knows the school is worth quite a bit of money. Thickening the plot, Michel had an affair with a blonde bombshell named Nicole. Cricri and Nicole should hate each other. Yet they become acquainted. They realize that they are both being manipulated by Michel (especially after it becomes evident that Michel physically abused Nicole to the same extent that he emotionally abused Cricri).

    Michel went on a business trip. Upon his return, he falls into a trap set by Cricri and Nicole. Late at night, they poison Michel's drink with a sedative and drown him in a bathtub. To ensure that he is, in fact, dead, they weigh his body down underwater until the following evening. In the middle of the night, they dump his body into th dirty, swamp-like pool on campus (click here). Not long after, boarding school administrators notice Michel's absence and pity Cricri (click here).

    Once the pool is drained, Cricri and Nicole believe Miche's body will be found, an autopsy will reveal the alcohol in his system, and authorities will assume that Michel drunkenly stumbled into the pool and died. However, when the pool is drained... well... click here to find out what actually happens...

    Cricri and Nicole meet to discuss the situation. They have a visitor, making a delivery. It's someone who claims to have "seen" Michel, after his "death"... Click here.

    Did Michel die? Did he not die? Cricri and Nicole may have a falling out. Click here.

    Apparently, despite his disappearance, some of the students are still being punished by Principal Michel! Click here.

    The stress is catching up with Crici. On the day of the boarding school's class photo, a doctor tells Cricri that she must relax or her heart may give out. Click here.

    The class photo is developed on-site. A disturbing image convinces Cricri and Nicole that Michel is haunting them both, and they must go their separate ways. Click here.

    In the dead of night, Cricri hears distant noises. They're coming from Michel's office... and... from... the bathroom... Click here and watch the twist that made Alfred Hitchcock envious.

    And just when you thought you'd already seen the biggest plot twist... click here

    There is no formal assessment today. However, as mentioned, the clips above and below will be removed by midnight tonight. As a result, you will not have access to clips from Diabolique by tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, at which time you will receive an essay writing prompt that will require you to have working knowledge of the clips. It is highly suggested, though not required, that you keep notes on the specifics of each of today's scenes and that you also revisit (and take notes on) the clips that were posted Friday.

    FRIDAYMAY 8, 2020:

    PARODY? HOMAGE? PASTICHE? OH MY! (PART ONE)

    Let's take a temporary break from Psycho to discuss Les Diaboliques, a black-and-white psychological thriller known in the United States as The Devils.

    It was released in 1955. (Recall that Psycho came out in 1960.) Diabolique is based on the novel Celle qui n'était plus (She Who Was No More) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. Alfred Hitchcock desperately wanted to turn that book into a film. However, a French  horror-suspense director, Henri-Georges Clouzot, purchased the moviemaking rights but a few hours before Hitchcock had his chance.

    The plot and success of Diabolique deeply influenced Robert Bloch, author of the book Psycho. Diabolique also influenced Hitchcock. Some believe that Hitchcock made Psycho in small part to “top” or “outdo” Diabolique’s many plot twists.

    Diabolique blends elements of thriller and horror. It involves two women—a wife and her husband’s mistress—who conspire to murder the man they “share.” After the crime is committed, chaos ensues. (Now considered a classic, Diabolique’s ending is often ranked among the scariest moments in contemporary film and literature.)

    You will watch a series of clips from Diabolique starting today and then again on Monday. Here is what you need to ponder...

    Diabolique is the movie Hitchcock wanted to make. When he couldn't, he set out to make something better... scarier... In doing so, he had to "borrow" certain elements from Diabolique... " imitate" them...

    Does Psycho parody Diabolique? Is Psycho an homage? Is it pastiche? 

    History has yet to decide... (But by the end of our "virtual class" on Monday, you will!)

    CLIPS: As Diabolique opens, we enter the Delassale Boarding School. With so many people living there, the place is falling apart. It’s owned by Cricri (Christina) Delasalle. By virtue of the fact that she owns the school, she is very rich… and very homely. The school is operated by her adulterous, abusive husband, Michel (Michael) who only married Cricri for her power (as owner of the school) and money (that the school itself is worth). Thickening the plot, Michel is the school's principal, and he is having an affair with a blonde bombshell named Nicole.

    Cricri and Nicole should hate each other. Yet they become acquainted. They realize that they are both being manipulated by Michel. Click here to watch several edited introductory scenes from Diabolique.

    That last shot, as Cricri and Nicole looking down into the school's dirty pool, is an inspiration. Cricri and Nicole are going to "do something about Michel," to get rid of him for good. Click here to watch as they plan how to get rid of Michel for good.

    Michel comes home and falls into Cricri and Nicole's trap (click here). Once Michel is down and defenseless, Cricri and Nicole must ensure that he'll be gone for good (click here.)

    There is no formal assignment today. Next Monday, you will watch several additional clips from Diabolique (including the famous ending that made Hitchcock jealous). From today's clips and Monday's clips, you will be asked to define what exactly Hitchcock "borrowed" from Diabolique and what types of intertextuality are being illustrated.

    THURSDAY, MAY 7, 2020:

    PASTICHE

    REVIEW: PLEASE READ IN FULL…

    Using Psycho as a basis, we have spent this week studying the concept of intertextuality—the relationship that exists between different texts, particularly in literature, as “new” works “borrow from” or “imitate” older, significant, influential works. There are three distinctive forms of intertextuality. So far, we have learned only two

    Parody: A humorous imitation, intended to make fun of or mock a popular or influential text. (The “punchline” of “the joke” is our familiarity with the older text. We laugh out of recognition.) To review an example, click here.

    Homage: Any reference to an older text that’s made as aspecial honor” or “sign of respect.” An homage (pronounced “Oh-Maj”) is like a tribute. It may be blatant or inferred. When we create something new, an homage is a special acknowledgement by “the new storyteller” that “old storytellers” and their stories provided inspiration.

    The concept of homage proved to be somewhat difficult for students who submitted yesterday’s assignment. Before we go any further, we need to have a grasp on what exactly an homage is. So let’s review "homage" like this… How many of you are familiar with The Addams Family?

    The Addams Family was a cartoon movie that came out last year. It became a musical a few years ago. Before that, it was a series of live-action movies in the 1990s. Before that, it was a television show in the mid-1960s. But before all of that, The Addams Family was a comic strip. Created by a man named Charles Addams, the comic strip was published in New Yorker magazine starting in 1938. Strips ran in New Yorker over the course of the next several decades. Filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock was one of the comic strip’s biggest fans.

    The Addams Family comics contain some very “dark humor.” So do many of Hitchcock’s movies. (Even Psycho has some “darkly humorous” moments. When Norman tells Marion that his hobby is, “Stuffing things,” and later, we find out that Mother was, in fact, “stuffed,” the effect is darkly humorous. Think about one of Norman’s most famous lines; Mother “is as harmless as one of these stuffed birds!” Again, that’s an example of dark humor.)

    When Psycho was in preproduction—that is, when they were writing the script and designing sets and costumes—Hitchcock wanted Norman’s house, behind the motel, to have a specific look. Click here to see what Hitchcock was thinking.

    In short, Norman’s house—the way it looks—was, in fact, Hitchcock himself, paying homage (“giving tribute to”) the Addams Family’s house. Since the “dark humor” in Psycho wouldn’t be funny without The Addams Family cartoon making dark humor funny in the first place, Hitchcock uses this imitation—this subtle reference—to demonstrate his reverence for the original cartoon. Few people noticed it. But the people who did notice also recognized that Hitchcock’s homage was a way of showing The Addams Family his respect.

    If you are still having issues with defining and identifying an homage, email Mr. Zoubek.

    Once you "get it," then you are ready to learn about the third form of intertextuality… the pastiche.

    NEW MATERIAL: Students tend to have the most difficult time understanding the concept of pastiche. However, in terms of the types of stories you’ve engaged in—the books, movies, television show, and even music you’ve experienced over the course of your lifetime—the pastiche (pronounced “Pass-Teesh”) is the most prevalent. Because it is a challenging concept to grasp, we will take things slow on purpose.

    When Mr. Zoubek was a sophomore in high school, one of the most popular songs on the radio was “Gangsta’s Paradise” by an artist named Coolio. You can hear it by clicking here The song is incredibly well-recognized decades later; you cannot deny its cultural influence. There was even a popular parody of the song that became a hug hit. You can hear that parody, “Amish Paradise” by an artist named “Weird” Al Yankovic, by clicking here.

    Flashforward to about five years ago. Mr. Zoubek was driving to school, listening to the radio… and a song by Stevie Wonder—something called “Pastime Paradise,” released in 1976 (several years before Mr. Zoubek was even born!) came on… Click here to hear it... Mr. Zoubek pulled over, shocked.

    This wasn’t an example of plagiarism—Stevie Wonder gave Coolio permission to use that hook. If you want to use the “legal terminology,” Coolio actually “sampled” the hook from Stevie Wonder’s song. But since we are talking in language arts terms, Coolio’s song is an example of a pastiche. Coolio’s song is not a parody; it doesn’t mock or make fun of Stevie Wonder. It’s not an homage either; Coolio is not “celebrating” or “paying tribute” to Stevie Wonder. (In fact, if you listen to the lyrics of both songs, Coolio is actually criticizing Stevie Wonder’s words. “Pastime Paradise” is about how people need to look beyond their past and “live for the future.” Meanwhile, in Coolio’s world, you can’t look beyond the past; everything that’s ever happened to you is what brought you to where you are now.)

    So what is it, then? Coolio’s song uses a riff created by Stevie Wonder and the themes (meanings, messages, morals) from countless other gangsta rap songs, and throws them into a blender. The song—the text—that results is a mishmash, hotchpotch, jumble of ideas, all taken from a wide variety of inspirations. But Coolio’s intent is not to “pay respect” to Stevie Wonder—that’s why this is not an example of an homage. “Gangsta’s Paradise” is “its own thing,” and appreciating it doesn’t “require” that you know or understand all the references (and there quite a few scattered all over that song). However, once you do know the references, it makes your appreciation deeper and richer as a result.

    It’s okay if you don’t “completely get it” yet. Let’s keep working at it.

    The word pastiche actually comes from a French term with two meanings: “finger-painting” and “making a mess.” Think about your childhood experiences with finger-painting. At your disposal, you had a bunch of different colors and your own creativity. The colors “aren’t yours.” You didn’t “create” those colors. But through your creativity, you smear them together, in any way you see fit. The result is your own original work… but you can’t deny that you started with materials that you did not create.

    Now apply that concept to literary texts. When is a storyteller or artist taking “someone elses colors”  to make something completely unique and new?

    Here’s another example. In 2004, an artist named D.J. Danger Mouse took rock music by The Beatles and “mashed their music” with rap music by Jay-Z. His reasoning: The Beatles put out a record called The White Album in 1968; Jay-Z put out a completely unrelated album called The Black Album. Truth be told, those were just names; there was no literal connection between The Beatles and Jay-Z. Nonetheless, D.J. Danger Mouse wondered, What would happen if I took the music from The Beatles and put Jay-Z’s lyrics over it? The result was something he called The Grey Album. D.J. Danger Mouse posted his mixes to the internet for anyone to download for free. It was quickly pulled offline for copyright infringement. (He did not have permission from The Beatles, nor from Jay-Z.) But it was downloaded so many times from when it was first posted until it was pulled that, if one free download was the equivalent of “buying one record,” The Grey Album would be the bestselling record of all-time. It was THAT popular! 

    Think back to the concept of “finger-painting.” The Grey Album is a pastiche; its "author," D.J. Danger Mouse, used music from two different artists (The Beatles and Jay-Z) to create something new. Yes, it’s “an imitation.” But it wasn’t meant to be funny, so it’s not a parody. Nor is it meant to be reverent or “a tribute.” Instead, what we get is something unique unto itself—an artist taking the influential texts of other people and smashing them together.

    Over the years, artists have incorporated “imitations” of Psycho into their own work. We will call them “quiet references” to Psycho. The references aren’t obvious; they’re not meant to be funny; they’re not meant to be “a tribute.” Rather, they represent a “new” artist taking elements of Psycho and using them, along with other bits and pieces of other stories, to make something brand new.

    Consider, for instance, a clip from the movie Pulp Fiction, which came out in 1994. (Click here.) It’s writer-director, Quinten Tarantino, is infamous for grabbing bits and pieces of other movies and television shows, “throwing them into a blender,” and making something completely new. Pulp Fiction is a perfect example. It’s a movie about hit-men and boxers—it has nothing to do with, say, Psycho. Yet, in one of its most famous scenes, a man on the run bumps into a mob boss from whom he stole some money... and the way it all looks seems somehow familiar. (If you don’t recognize it yet, don’t worry. We will get there!) 

    At the time Pulp Fiction came out, there was a show on television called Siskel and Ebert. It featured two critics, Gene Siskel (from the Chicago Tribune) and Roger Ebert (from the Chicago Sun-Times), talking about movies that were in theatres. They did a special episode about Pulp Fiction. Click here to watch a clip from that show—and pay close attention to what Siskel says…

    Now, click here to watch a “re-edit” of the scene from Pulp Fiction—this time, with Mr. Zoubek's special “inserts” to show you connections between the sequence and Psycho. It’s not “an homage” (a tribute or a reference made to show respect). Nor is it “a parody.” (The intention isn’t “to be funny.”) So what is it then? What do we call it? We know there’s a reference to Psycho being made. But what is it doing there?

    The answer: Pulp Fiction is an example of a pastiche. Its maker is taking scenes from dozens of different influences (Psycho being one of them) and smearing them around like finger-paints, to make “a new thing.”

    Here’s another example, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (click here). Based on a classic children’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has nothing to do with Psycho. And yet, in this scene, the character Mike Tee-Vee finds himself running around “inside” the famous shower scene. It’s not an homage—there’s no respectful “tribute” taking place. It’s not a parody, either. It is, if you watch the scene closely, one of a number of different references to popular culture, used by the storyteller to create something unique and new.

    If you are familiar with the movie-musical Sweeney Todd, perhaps you remember this scene... click here... But you probably didn't realize that it's a pastiche... click here...

    "Parody" equals "mocking humor."

    "Homage" equals "respectful tribute."

    "Pastiche" equals "mishmosh, mixed-up, messy jumble of random references." 

    You need to know and understand the differences between a parody, an homage, and a pastiche, or future lessons will make little-to-no sense. Instead of a formal assignment, email Mr. Zoubek (anthonyzoubek@u-46.org). If you “get it,” then in your email, provide your own definitions of the terms “parody,” “homage,” and “pastiche,” citing examples that you know and thoroughly explaining what they are and how they illustrate any of the three concepts. If you “don’t get it,” email Mr. Zoubek your questions. Do NOT write “I don’t get it” and just leave it at that. Instead, point to things that you think represent each of the terms and ask for clarification.

    WEDNESDAY, MAY 6, 2020:

    HOMAGE

    REVIEWYesterday, using Psycho as a basis, we began our discussion of intertextuality. Reading a book, watching a movie, or television show, or listening to a song, you might find yourself saying, “I think that I’ve seen or heard this somewhere before—it seems so familiar.” Chances are, your “recognition of familiarity” is evidence of the relationship that exists between different texts, particularly in literature; the nature of references made in one text to a broad range of ideas, icons or themes from other text.

    As literary critic Julia Kristeva once wrote, “All texts participate with each other in the space of our culture.” This is similar to the old adage “What’s old is new again.” Both statements tie into our early semester discussions regarding Narrative Theory: Storytelling is often an act of imitation. When a text—a book, a movie, a television show, a song, a poem, a play—has a significant culture impact, other texts that “share its space” cannot help but be derivative. Intertextuality is “the network of relationships” between texts.

    There are three distinctive forms of intertextuality. Yesterday, we discussed one of them: Parody. A parody is a humorous, blatant imitation of an iconic literature or text. “To parody” something is the act of imitating, so as to make fun of, something in popular culture. The point of a parody or parodying something is to mock it. The imitation is the setup for a joke; the punchline of that joke is your recognition of the clever connections between “the old and the new.” Humor—or imitating in an attempt to “be funny”—is key to parodying something.

    Psycho has been parodied countless times; it’s a testament to the influence of a 60-year-old black-and-white horror movie that we are still making jokes about it. But there are two other ways that a “new” text can reference an older, influential text like Psycho. Those two other ways are through an homage (pronounced “Oh-Maj”) and pastiche (pronounced “Pass-Teesh”).

    Today, we will discuss homage.

    NEW MATERIAL: The word homage is not exclusively a literary term. Consider its dictionary definition…

    HOMAGE (Noun): A special honor or respect shown publicly; a formal public acknowledgment of allegiance; an expression of high regard.

    In some religions, praying for the wellbeing of deceased loved ones is an act of paying homage to their spirits. On Memorial Day, we pay homage to veterans who fought for our freedom. On Mother’s Day, Norman Bates pays homage to his matriarch… Okay, that was a stupid joke.

    Maybe you have heard the idiom “to tip one’s cap.” When you “tip your cap” to someone or something, you are showing it recognition, respect, gratitude, and acknowledgement—a salute, so to speak. In literature, a homage takes place when a storyteller “tips her or his cap” to stories (or types of stories) that are of significant influence or importance. An homage can be humorous, or it can be serious. What separates an homage from a parody is that a parody intends to be funny; an homage can be funny, but the intention is to pay respect or acknowledge influence.

    A homage is like a tribute. It may be blatant or inferred. When we create something new, an homage is an acknowledgement by “the new storyteller” that “old storytellers” and their stories provided inspiration in some capacity; a single person or work of literature can be of great influence to other storytellers and therefore storytelling as a whole. In fact, sometimes homages can become great works themselves.

    Homages to Psycho provide us with some examples.

    Sometimes, homages are quick. For example, in the horror movie Carrie, consider this clip (click here). Carrie, the story of a disturbed teenager, owes some debt to Psycho’s influence; the storytellers “pay tribute” using just a second or so of the Psycho soundtrack. (Listen very carefully for the only piece of “music.”)

    One of the most groundbreaking, influential television programs in history, The Sopranos, told the tale of a gangster named Tony. He’s ruthless. He’s bloodthirsty. But he’s also a father, and a husband. He wants to be “a family man” despite the fact that he is a brutal “mafioso.” Tony starts to see a psychiatrist and it turns out—surprise, surprise—some of his issues stem back to his relationship with his mother. He starts dreaming about her. In his dreams, Tony mishmashes different attributes of his internal conflicts: his therapy sessions (and attraction to his therapist); memories of the men he’s killed; and of course, his mother. Click here to watch a famous clip (one of Tony the mobster’s dreams) from The Sopranos.

    To be clear: Psycho is about a skinny, squirrely “man-child” running a creepy motel, while The Sopranos is about a heavyset gangster running the mob. However, the themes of The Sopranos—a murderous man with “mommy issues” who yearns to be “normal”—owe a great debt to Psycho. The clip you watched—a “quiet imitation” of the sequence from Psycho in which Lila discovers Mother in the fruit cellar—is one of many homages that the writers of The Sopranos paid to Psycho in the time that the television show aired.

    The Sopranos is considered a masterpiece of television. Critics called it “wholly original.” To a point, it was; audiences were accustomed to watching mobsters murder each other, not sitting down to talk with therapists about how murder makes them feel. Nonetheless, as demonstrated in the clip, the writers of The Sopranos were clearly influenced by Psycho (among other stories). Hence, the quick homage—or tribute—to Psycho was built into that sequence from The Sopranos television show.

    Here is another example—click here to watch a series of scenes from one of the films in the Halloween horror series. Watch them in full; Mr. Zoubek edited title cards into the clips to point out the various homages (tributes, acknowledgments of influence) as you watch. Psycho is often considered the first “slasher story,” without which similar “slashers,” like Michael Meyers from the Halloween movies, would not exist. Hence, the storytellers behind this Halloween movie use homages to give Psycho recognition, respect, gratitude, and acknowledgement—a series of salutes.

    PLEASE NOTE: The television show Bates Motel is NOT an homage to Psycho. It's actually a prequel to Psycho. It tells you the story of Norman as a young adult, before the events in Psycho take place. This observation was referenced in a document you read before you even watched Psycho. Because it is a part of Norman's story, it's not a "new" or unique story. It is a component of Psycho itself.

    Pay CLOSE attention to the definition of "homage." It involves a new, "original," UNIQUE story where the teller admits how much an older story was of significant influence. It is UNRELATED to the older work. The homage "pays tribute" to the old. 

    ASSESSMENT: Find a contemporary ("modern day") homage of Psycho. You must find an homage made in some movie, television show, short story, book, song, or piece of artwork produced in the last five years. With that in mind, email Mr. Zoubek (anthonyzoubek@u-46.org) with your discovery. You must include your “artifact” as either an attachment or a weblink. Then, in the body of your email, write a short essay. In a paragraph or more, you must address each of the following topics. (Incomplete or plagiarized work will not receive credit.)

    * Explain why your artifact is a homage and NOT a parody;

    * Write about the artifact itself—not the fact that it pays homage to Psycho, but rather the artifact alone, what it is about, and to whom it is meant to entertain or appeal. (Use Mr. Zoubek’s examples, notably The Sopranos.)

    * Describe what specific scene, event, dialogue, or attribute from or of Psycho is being paid homage by your artifact;

    * Explain what an audience needs to know about Psycho in order to “get the reference” being paid homage. * Explain what this homage demonstrates about the impact Psycho on popular culture today.

    * How does this instance of homage demonstrate that "all texts participate with each other in the space of our culture."

    Be prepared to engage in an “email dialogue” with Mr. Zoubek about your artifact. (This to say that, if you just Google “Psycho” and “homage” and send Mr. Zoubek random ideas without a thorough, thoughtful explanation of your find, you will not receive credit.) If asked, be prepared to revise and resubmit your work.

    TUESDAY, MAY 5, 2020:

    PARODY

    INTRODUCTIONWatching Psycho—a 60-year-old black-and-white suspense-horror film—at some point, any of the following observations likely to cross your mind…

    “I’ve seen this somewhere… references… in some other movie or television show… the scenes… the music… that dialogue… I’ve heard some of it elsewhere… ‘we all go a little mad sometimes’… ‘a boy’s best friend is his mother’… I’ve never watched PSYCHO before… so why does some of this seem so familiar?”

    Your awareness—that “recognition of familiarity”—provides us with enough groundwork for today’s lesson. We are going to explore a concept called intertextuality.

    INTERTEXTUALITY (Noun): The relationship that exists between different texts, particularly in literature; the nature of references made in one text to a broad range of ideas, icons or themes from other texts.

    The concept of intertextuality was first observed by Bulgarian literary critic, philosopher, feminist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, and novelist Julia Kristeva, who wrote:

    “The meaning of any text—any novel, short story, film, photograph, painting, stage drama—is based on a network of prior texts. Every image, every narrative, every musical note: these are mosaics of references to other texts; collages of other genres. Whatever meaning we discover within a new text can only occur when we understand the web of prior texts referenced within… All texts participate with each other in the space of our culture.”

    That last observation—that stories “participate with each other” in our culture—is key to understanding intertextuality. According to Kristeva, no text can be autonomous, or entirely original. As such, intertextuality helps us in our search for themes in texts. You engage in a story; you are asked to determine that story’s message or moral; understanding intertextuality—how this “new” story has “connections” to older stories—in one of the many ways we can search for meaning (especially when the story you’re looking at has “cultural significance”).

    BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER, LET'S SWITCH GEARS: Recall Narrative Theory, which we discussed at length in late January and early February. The language we speak is learned through imitation; we utter our first works as imitations of the people who “create language” around us. Our “mom” or “dad” become “mumma” and “dada” as we try to imitate the sounds of those who insist that we use them. (Imagine a parent holding an infant, repeating, “Say ‘mumma.’ Say ‘dada.’” Eventually, the infant will. Language acquisition is an act of imitation.)

    As we discussed during our Narrative Theory unit, storytelling also starts as act of imitation. Think about it: We learn a language through imitation… we use that language when we read, hear, or watch a story… we have the stories we read, hear, or see when we decide to create our own. The first stories we tell show the influence of the stories told to us.

    Whether you realize it or not, whenever you tell a story, you’re imitating the style, rhythm, characters, motivations, mood, tone, and plotting devices of the most compelling or entertaining stories that were once told to you. When an “old” story makes an impact on people within a culture, we cannot help but imitate “the old” when we create something “new.” All narratives, in some capacity, “borrow” from other narratives.

    We can, and will, prove it using Psycho as an example. 

    But first…

    LET'S REVIEW

    "Intertextuality" is “making meaning” out of the ways in which texts relate to ("reference" or "imitate") each other. (There is a “network of relationships” between texts.

    Learning how to tell a story starts as “an act of imitation.” We read, hear, or watch stories and decide which ones “to make our own.” (The first stories we tell demonstrate the influence of the stories once told to us.)

    In our own stories, we imitate the style and rhythm, the characters and the plotting devices, the moods and tones—of:

    1. Stories told to us;
    2. Stories with which we have made personal connections; and
    3. Narratives that “validate” (“prove”) our opinions, values, beliefs and worldviews. (“I like this story because I see myself in it.”)

    Now for the fun stuff!

    There are three distinctive forms of intertextuality that we will discuss this week: parodyhomage, and pastiche.

    Today, we will focus entirely on parody.

    PARODY (Noun): A humorous, blatant imitation of an iconic literature or text. (Verb): The act of imitating, so as to make fun of, something in popular culture.

    Parody is a form of intertextuality; a storyteller “imitates” or “borrows from” other stories so as to "make fun" of their influence. “Getting” the joke relies exclusively on the audience’s memory or understanding not only of the source material but also its significance.

    Consider, for example, the shower scene in Psycho. It was extremely influential. Nobody had ever seen such “graphic” violence before. When audiences saw Psycho for the first time, the impact of seeing the shower scene was one of the biggest reasons that the movie as a whole resonated with audiences. That impact on our culture is one of the reasons why you have likely seen parodies (humorous imitations of) the shower scene. Here are some great examples…

    Click here to watch a Psycho parody from The Simpsons. The writers of this Simpsons' episode rely upon the audience's appreciation of Psycho and the audience's understanding of the movie's influence. If you don't "get" the Psycho reference, then it's hard to "get" the point of the scene. By making this Psycho reference ("imitating" the shower scene, the writers demonstrate the extent to which they believe Psycho is historically and culturally significant. (If Psycho wasn't impactful enough for the majority of Simpsons viewers to recognize the reference, then the writers wouldn't have made the reference in the first place.)

    You might remember comedian Mel Brooks from Life Stinks. Before making that movie, Brooks produced a memorable parody of the shower scene. Click here to watch a humorous clip from the Mel Brooks comedy High Anxiety. As you watch, consider the extent to which Mel Brooks assumes that his audience has the specific knowledge necessary to laugh at this ridiculous series of events. Without that knowledge, the scene makes no sense whatsoever.

    Finally, watch a clip from That ‘70s Show by clicking here. taken from a special Halloween episode during which the cast parodied famous scenes from various horror and suspense stories, notably Psycho.

    ASSESSMENT: Find a contemporary ("modern day") parody of Psycho. It can be anything, from a film or television show clip to a song, short story, work of art, or comic strip. The parody must be recent, produced within the last five or so years. (Sorry, guys. No Looney Tunes.) Make sure you find something that parodies (“imitates” so as “to make fun of") something from Psycho, and doesn't just "reference" it. With that in mind, email Mr. Zoubek (anthonyzoubek@u-46.org) with your discovery. Send it as either as an attachment, or just forward Mr. Zoubek a weblink to the source. Then, in the body of your email, write a short essay that illustrates your understanding of parody: 

    * Write about the parody you found and where you found it;

    * Describe what specific scene, event, dialogue, or attribute from or of Psycho is being parodied by your artifact;

    * Explain what an audience needs to know about Psycho in order to “get the joke or jokes” in the parody you uncovered;

    * Explain what this parody demonstrates about the impact Psycho continues to make on our culture some 60 years after the movie was made; and

    * How does your arifact demonstrate that "all texts participate with each other in the space of our culture."

    Be prepared to engage in an “email dialogue” with Mr. Zoubek about your artifact. (This to say that, if you just Google “Psycho parody” and send Mr. Zoubek a weblink without a thorough, thoughtful explanation of your find—why it is a parody and what it tells us about Psycho and its cultural impact—you will not receive credit.)

     

     The Graduate

    Clip 1: Click here

    Clip 2:

    Clip 3: Click here.

    Clip 4: Click here.

    Clip 6: Click here.

    Clip 7:

    Clip 8: Click here.

    Clip 9: Click here.

    Clip 10: Click here.

    Clip 11: Click here.

    Clip 12: 

    Clip 13: Click here.

    Clip 14: Click here.

     

    "Who Are You?" Click here.

     

    Roger and Me. Click here.

    Bowling for Columbine. Click here.

    Family Guy, Clip 1: Click here.

    Family Guy, Clip 2: Click here.

    Jaws: Exposition. Click here.

    Jaws: Rising Actions and Complications. Click here.

    Caddyshack: Danny Noonan. Click here.

    Life Stinks. Click here.

    Metropolis. Click here.

    Dreamcatcher (Memory Warehouse). Click here.

    Psycho 1. Click here.

    Psycho 2. Click here.

    Psycho 3. Click here.

    Psycho Parody (The Simpsons). Click here.

    Psycho Homage (Halloween). Click here.

    Psycho Pastice (Pulp). Click here.