#1 “Ideology is broadly understood as referring to the worldview a person has that is the sum total of their culture, values, beliefs, assumptions, common sense, and expectations for themselves and of others.” -N. Cole
Now that we have finished reading and glossing O’Sullivan’s “The Great Nation of Futurity,” let’s begin to “unpack” or deconstruct the text, by honing in on the ideology it expresses. In order to explain O’Sullivan’s ideology, please respond to the following prompts. Make sure you are looking at your glossed version of O’Sullivan’s essay so that you can reference specific passages in his text in relation to each of your responses.
1) What are some specific beliefs concerning human nature and the nature of the universe that underlie and structure O’Sullivan’s thinking?
2) Identify some of O’Sullivan’s values (the ideas or principles he considers to be good or bad).
3) What does progress consists of, according to O’Sullivan? In other words, by what benchmarks should Americans measure their progress? What are the forces, policies, and/or attitudes that contribute to progress? Try to be as specific as possible.
#2 Thoreau, in his essay “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” employs the extended metaphor of a “machine” to advance his thesis. Looking closely at specific sections of the text where the metaphor is used (pages 3, 5, 8, etc.), try to “un-pack” (analyze the various parts of) this metaphor. Explain what the machine is and how this idea connects to and informs Thoreau’s thesis. While explaining these points, make sure to clarify what Thoreau means by “friction” and “counter-friction.” Provide examples of “friction” and “counter-friction.” Be prepared to share your Journal Entry and reference specific passages from the text. We will have an in-depth discussion in class.
#3 Spend a couple minutes brainstorming ideas for your First Formal paper. Which two texts do you think it might be interesting and fruitful to write about? When you’ve decided on which texts you think you might want to write about, in one well-developed paragraph, address the following questions:
● Which two class texts are you considering writing about?
● Why have you chosen these two texts? In what ways do these text’s ideologies seem to overlap and/or contrast with each other?
● How might a discussion of these texts’ ideologies allow you to hone in on a current issue or set of issues that you care about?
#4 We have now read Dillard’s essay “Teaching a Stone to Speak.” In addition, we have begun to think about the palo santo trees, asking ourselves “what is the significance of these trees? What issue is Dillard exploring through them?” Now that we have begun to enter into conversation with this text, to feel our way through some of its key ideas, consider the passage by Martin Buber quoted by Dillard to advance her point about “pan-atheism”: The Crisis of all primitive mankind comes with the discovery of that which is fundamentally not-holy, the a-sacramental, which withstands the methods, and which has no ‘hour,’ a province which steadily enlarges itself. Keeping in mind the context of Dillard’s essay (key ideas, recurring themes, questions, etc.) spend some time reflecting on Buber’s quote. Look back at your notes from class and your glosses (the commentary and markings) you made on “Teaching a Stone to Talk.” Then, compose a journal entry in which you wrestle with the meaning of Buber’s quote. What is “the a-sacramental”? Why is this “province…steadily enlarg(ing) itself”? What are “the methods” referred to? Without reference to Buber’s original text you only have Dillard’s use of Buber to go on, so return to her text as you interpret the meaning of Buber’s passage. Support your interpretation of Buber’s quote with evidence from Dillard’s text. Provide an example of this “enlargement” of the “a-sacramental” in order to connect the meaning of the quote to the world that you know. Your journal entry should be approximately three paragraphs in length.