JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Listen to the Music" by The Doobie Brothers; "Upside Down" by Jack Johnson]
My favorite elementary school announcement: "Free Play!" Little did I know then that "Free Play"is also a philosophical concept
created by Jacques Derrida. Derrida argues that when there is no
"center" or structure, that all ideas/actions are relative and "play"
off of each other. Does your head hurt yet? No? Then let's apply this
to Shakespeare: when Harry gives the St. Crispian's Day pre-game speech at the Battle of
Agincourt, he depends on established rules ("Obey your king") and mutual/shared
understandings of abstract concepts (honor, e.g.). These shared
structures are the reasons why none of the soldiers say, "Oh man, who
cares? Who died and made you king? What's the point of existence
anyway?" It's clear that everyone understands the rules of engagement
and the central purpose for the fight, and the only question is whether
they can rise to the occasion. If they were in a state of "free play"
the soldiers would be free to invent roles, use their organization for
an altogether different purpose, or strike off on their own for any
reason real or imagined (or absolutely no reason at all).
summarize/simplify through gross over-generalization: To a child on a playground, "free play" means a fun
opportunity for independent decision-making. To a philosopher, "free
play" means that everything is relative and lacks structure.
do you think structure is important, and when do you think lack of
structure is important? You may consider this in the context of
literature, learning, or life outside the classroom.
2. Derrida's concept of Free Play
Study & Reflect. For tomorrow (Friday, 2.1) you should have a solid handle on
the two Dickensian lectures, this week's lit terms, your lit analysis
book, and Derrida's concept of structure/free play (so please at least read the Wikipedia entry and skim the Stanford Philosophy entry).
2. Reminder: finish your lit terms for tomorrow (Friday)
3. Reminder: finish literature analysis #1 for tomorrow (Friday)