Ray Bradbury: A Life in Metaphors [S-12-45]

Presenter: Frank Palumbo
Location: SUNY: Kellas 217
Classes: 3 Sessions 1.5 hours
Dates: Wed 12:30 PM 03/14, 03/21, 03/28
Status: CLOSED

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This seminar-style course will help you understand the genius of one of the most prolific writers in American literature, Ray Bradbury. This course includes an overview of the author’s works (novels, short stories, essays, and poetry) and a discussion of his style; viewing short videos based on Bradbury and his works; and the reading and class discussion of several of Bradbury’s short stories. In addition, the presenter will talk about his collection of Bradbury memorabilia, and about the letters, cards, artwork, and articles Bradbury has sent to the presenter’s family and students. He also will share some personal anecdotes and reflections.

As a high school English teacher and, in recent years, as a presenter for Canton Free Library’s “Banned Books Week,” Frank Palumbo has taught nearly 200 of Bradbury’s works. He has been in communication with Bradbury for over fifteen years, and in 2009 Frank and his family traveled to California to join in celebrating Ray Bradbury’s 89th birthday.

Cap: 24

READING LIST: (.pdf version of the reading list)

Suggested titles assigned as personal reading. Choose any of the following novels:
Dandelion Wine
Fahrenheit 451
Martian Chronicles
Something Wicked this Way Comes

Short Stories to be read outside of class and discussed as a group (instructor will provide a collection of Bradbury stories at the first class session on March 14th ):
"The Great Wide World Over There," "The Big Black and White Game," "All Summer in a Day," "The Murderer," "The Pedestrian," "To the Chicago Abyss," "The Veldt," "There Will come Soft Rains," "The Exiles," "The Sound of Thunder," "The Foghorn," "The Anthem Sprinters," "The Drummer Boy of Shiloh"

LINKS (Visit these sites for some additional background on the works of Ray Bradbury):

DAILY SYLLABUS:

SESSION 1 (3/14):

  • Introductory discussion related to Mr. Bradbury's many exchanges with class instructor Frank Palumbo
  • Review of materials from personal library of items received over the years (books, photos, letters, etc.)
  • Reading of the story "Drummer Boy of Shiloh" so as to familiarize participants with the author's style, images, and poetic narration
  • Video of an RB short story, "To the Chicago Abyss"
  • Discussion, handout of an outline related to assigned readings for week #2

Session 2: (3/21) (assignment updated 3/20)

  • Open discussion on any of the extra readings from suggested titles
  • Review of the assigned short stories from session one BE SURE AND LOOK AT THESE:
    - "All Summer in a Day" (bullying at its worst);
    - "The Big Black and White Game" (Pre-Harper Lee story of racial segragation) Some links:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darktown_Strutters%27_Ball (background details) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP0SEXvhTDU (song in the story)
    - "The Leave Taking"
  • Also read:
    - "The Great Wide World Over There" (the magic of reading and writing brings conflict, then the kindest twist).
    - "The Exiles" (Escape of famous fantasy authors from Earthly book burners).
    - "Usher II" (an Edgar Allan Poe ironic revisit).
    - "The Veldt" (the ultimate virtual reality story)
  • Biographic texts will be passed around and discussed related to Mr. Bradbury's development as a writer
  • SHORT VIDEO of Academy Award winning video related to the Fantastic Power and Lasting Meaning of Books.
  • Reading aloud of the short work by Ray Bradbury: "The Leave Taking"
  • Video of  "The Veldt" (23 min.)
  • Discussion, handout of an outline related to assigned readings for week #3

SESSION 3: (3/28)

  • Open discussion on any of the extra readings from suggested titles
  • Review of the assigned short stories from session two.
  • You'll have a chance to view items from RB over the years 1996-2012.
  • Ray Bradbury's influence on American Literature, Hollywood movies, Music, and NASA
  • Video of an RB short story, either "The Veldt" and/or "Anthem Sprinters" (time permitting!)
  • Please birng in a note or small metaphor for Mr. Bradbury. Presenter will forward the notes/cards to him this week and share with him some of the fine exchanges you have all brought the class. (BE PREPARED FOR A GROUP PHOTO THAT PRESENTER WILL INCLUDE WITH HIS MAILING TO RAY BRADBURY.

Tell the presenter or send him a ntoe if you would liek to like a compiled list of "introductions" for several of Ray Bradbury's classic titles. These will give you some insight into his inspiration and how he captures life's daily metaphors, as he calls them. He has been in tune with tese "Musings" since childhood and has shared them all of his life via his story telling.



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