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Example Journal for English 122 Online

Example Journal for English 122

This page explains how to complete your journal assignments

Why are journals important?

You will be reading many different pieces of literature and taking notes on each piece will help you remember what you read, help you get higher grades on quizzes and exams, and assist you in writing your final paper. AND you get points for writing your journal!!

The goal ultimately is to help you get a better grade in this class - so make this journal work for you!

Directions: You should write about each of your textbook or novel readings for the week. For example, if you read a folktale, a poem, and a play, you should submit an individual entry for each piece you read. [You DO NOT need to journal on readings from your handbook]

Journal entries for plays will be longer as you read much more material. Entries for short stories should be shorter than entries for plays and entries for poems will be the shortest.

Journals are a minimum of 3 pages double spaced and are usually not longer than 5 pages. If you go over 5 pages, there is no penalty. Remember - that 3-5 pages should include ALL of that week's readings.

Please make sure you put your name and journal number at the top of your journal entry.

A journal entry should contain 5 items about each piece of literature you read in the textbook:

1] Name and author of piece
2] A brief synopsis of what the piece was about [think characters, conflict, resolution]
3] Any lines or phrases that have particular significance [think important themes, climactic moments]
4] A short explanation why you liked/disliked the piece [to help you remember your impressions]
5] Any questions you have about the piece. [Then ask those questions in your group to ensure you understand the piece better]

If your assignment were the readings listed below, you should make 3 entries for your journal, answer all 5 of the above question for each piece you read, and submit them as a single Word, PDF, or HTML document to Blackboard Assignments Upload.


Do the readings for week one, write a journal on each piece you read, upload your Journal to Blackboard by Monday of week two - this is Journal #1.

Then do the readings for week two, write a journal on each piece you read, upload your Journal to Blackboard by Monday of week three - this is Journal #2.

Repeat each week!


Below is a sample of what a journal should look like - imagine your reading assignments for the week were: Textbook Readings: Snow White 16-21, The Portrait 111, Oedipus the King 1153-1190


Journal Entry #1 by Ima Student

1] Snow White by Brothers Grimm

2] This folk tale is about a beautiful queen and step-mother of Snow White asked the magic mirror who was the prettiest and when Snow White was seven, the mirror said Snow White was prettier than the queen, so the queen had Snow White taken to the woods by a hunter to be put to death, but he couldn’t do it. So she met up with the seven dwarves who took care of her and the magic mirror told the queen Snow White lived.

First the queen tried to kill her by pretending to be a lace seller who laced Snow White so tight she stopped breathing. Then she tried to kill her with a poison comb, and the dwarves once again saved her. She got her with the white and red apple. Queen bit the white and Snow white the red half and fell as if dead.

King’s son sees Snow White in the glass coffin and begs them for it. As his servants carry it, they stumble and the poison apple falls out of her throat and she awakes. They marry and queen is invited. She realizes it is Snow White, but it is too late for her and she is tortured with red hot iron shoes which she had to dance in until dead.

3] It’s interesting that the line “Looking glass upon the wall, who is fairest of us all?” is similar to the Disney “Mirror, mirror in the wall”, but not exactly the same.

4] I liked it – it was different from the Disney version where the queen becomes a dragon and is killed by the prince. This version seems more likely, if a little more violent with the fiery dancing shoes.

5] No questions

1] The Portrait by Stanley Kuntz

2] This poem is like a story – the speaker’s father committed suicide while the speaker was in the mother’s womb. The mother never forgave the father and when the speaker found a picture of his father and brought it down from the attic, the mother tore it up and slapped him. The speaker can still feel his cheek burning at age 64.

3] I like the line “she locked his name in her deepest cabinet and would not let him out”. It’s like she has locked all her emotions about her husband away and never wanted to deal with them. That’s probably why she slaps her son for bringing the picture. She wanted those things locked away and forgotten, but we know she didn’t forget because the speaker says “I could hear him thumping”

4] I don’t know if I like this poem – it is an interesting story, but it makes me sad a mother would act this way to her son even if very hurt.

5] The poem says “pastel portrait” does that mean a painting or photograph? Does it matter?

1] Oedipus the King by Sophocles

2] This play is about Oedipus the king, his wife/mother Jocasta, Creon his uncle/brother-in-law, and his father whom he killed Laius. A priest enters with children. There is a plague upon the land and they ask the king (Oedipus) to help. He once saved the city of Thebes from the Sphinx (Oedipus answered her riddle) and ask for his help again. Oedipus says he has already sent Creon (Jocasta - his wife’s brother) to the temple of Apollo to discover a remedy.

Creon returns saying that the man who killed the previous king, Laius, must be found and punished. Oedipus wants information on the murder. Creon says only one slave survived and he fled. Oedipus also wanted to know why they didn’t search for the murderer, but they said the sphinx prevented them.

Oedipus then proclaims that anyone who knows the murderer must speak. None must hide the guilty party, but drive him from the city. He says he will find the murderer. The Chorus recommends Teiresas the seer. They say the rumor is that Laius was killed by wayfarers.

Teiresas comes but will say nothing. Oedipus cajoles and threatens. Finally Tireisas speaks saying that:”you are the land’s pollution” “You are the murderer of the king whose murderer you seek” Oedipus doesn’t believe and thinks Creon (who rules 1/3 of the kingdom) made the seer say this so Oedipus could be deposed. Teiresas says no. He also says the murderer shall be “proved father and brother to his children”

Creon enters angry that the king thinks him false and Oedipus tries to decide whether to banish or kill him. Creon makes a good argument for not wanting the throne;”Who would choose to rule and fear rather than rule and sleep untroubled by fear if power were equal in both cases.” Jocasta pleads Creon’s case and Oedipus releases him, but thinks him an enemy.

Jocasta says that Lauis was approached by an oracle who said he would be killed by his son, but the king was killed by robbers at the crossroads, and the son after three days birth was pierced at the ankles and left on a hillside to die. Therefore the prophecy was false for him as it will be false for Oedipus. Oedipus is concerned to hear crossroads. Jocasta says the one servant who escaped is now a shepherd.

Oedipus then tells his story: Polybus was his father, king of Corinth. He heard a drunkard say Oedipus was a bastard but parents denied it. Oedipus went to the seer and learned he was doomed to sleep with his mother and murder his father. So he fled. He met a man at the crossroads who threatened him. He was with a herald in a carriage. The man struck Oedipus and he killed them all. Oedipus says he was just one man, so if a band of robbers killed the old king, he is innocent.

Messenger comes and says Polybus is dead and they want Oedipus for king. Oedipus is relieved he didn’t kill his father. Now he still fears his mother’s bed, but Jocasta says many men dream of such, but it isn’t important. Messenger says there is nothing to fear for he isn’t truly Polybus son, but was found, another shepherd gave Oedipus as a baby to him. The messenger says his legs were pierced. The chorus believes it is the same shepherd who was at Laius’ murder scene.

Jocasta begs him to inquire no further. Oedipus thinks she fears he is of low birth, a son to this shepherd.

Enter the shepherd who at first refuses to speak but finally after they twist his arm he says: He gave a child to the messenger. The child was of Lauis, who had his legs pierced because he was ordained to kill his parents. Oedipus begins to lament and exit.

Message comes that the queen has hung herself. Oedipus upon finding her blinds himself with her brooches. Oedipus wishes to be driven out or killed just as he had proclaimed. Oedipus curses the day he was saved from the hill. The Chorus agrees he would be better dead.

Creon comes and tries to help. He brings Oedipus’ two daughters (Antigone and Ismene) Oedipus touches them and he leaves them.

3] I find it interesting that all through the play Apollo is called upon to save them “We pray Lord Apollo: draw thy bow In our defense” Apollo never appears, but they ask the oracle which doesn’t seem to give any real help either.

4] UGH! Difficult to read, but now I understand what my psychology instructor meant by the Oedipus complex or at least where Freud got the idea from. It was interesting in the end, but kind of difficult to read through.

5] Who is Teiresias? He’s like an oracle, but I don’t really understand what kind of power or position he holds.



Last Updated: 01/26/2015
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