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All Happy Classes are Alike; Each Unhappy Class is Unhappy in their Own Way.
Topic Started: Jan 14 2012, 11:20 PM (3,177 Views)
Laurels
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Cause what you see isn't always the truth
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Rachael Langdon: Begin))

The first English class of the new year was something Rachael was always pleased about. English was her favorite subject, and although she enjoyed Christmas break, she spent most of her break anticipating the next class. She did all of her reading in the beginning of break, using the rest of her time reviewing the chapters to be sure she was ready.

Mr. Collins assigned a good portion of Anna Karenina to the students over break, in the hopes that they would take time from their break to read Tolstoy's epic of love affairs and agriculture. They were supposed to come to class prepared to discuss the characters in a Socratic Seminar, for which Rachael was sure that she might actually get the nerve to speak during.

Rachael entered Mr. Collins' class a few minutes before the bell rang. She sat in a desk towards the middle of class and took off her large peacoat. She placed the coat on the back of her chair and sat down. Opening her large mail courier bag, she began to take her supplies out.

First was her copy of Anna Karenina, then a notebook, a pen, and a cough drop. Seattle was pretty cold right now, and Rachael was still reeling from a sore throat she dealt with a few days ago. Still, she was excited for class and the reasonable discussion that would (hopefully) arise from today's Socratic Seminar.

"Okay," thought Rachael, brushing her bangs out of her face, "let's remember everything important. Horses, trains, black dresses, farming, and the issues women in the 19th century faced in relations to divorce and affairs. Alright, I think I got this. Now, I just have to speak when the moment arises."

Rachael put her hands on her desk and clasped them together. Just a few minutes until class began, and she would be ready to discuss 19th century Russian literature.
Edited by Laurels, Jan 15 2012, 10:07 PM.
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((Paulo Abbate: Begin))

Mr. Collins had told the class to read some book about a Russian chick over break. Paulo Abbate wasn't hearing that bullshit. Break was for chilling at the casa, not doing shit. Maybe get a few presents (his mamae had got him this sweet Affliction T-Shirt for Christmas) and revel in the sheer joy of not fucking being in school.

Break for sure wasn't about reading about some puta and her frosty vagina or whatever the fuck the book was about.

So when Paulo sauntered into the classroom, the brim of his TapOut Fifty-Fifty baseball cap cocked to one side and his face plastered with his traditional scowl, he was totally unprepared for class. Not as if this should have surprised everyone. He was a perpetual underachiever, and he wore that badge with pride, just like the "Hard Motherfucker" one he kept just above his heart.

Paulo shuffled into class, hips swinging low like the weight of his big brass balls (he liked to think) were giving him a limp, and slid into the seat behind a girl who looked like she'd been there a half hour before class had started. He didn't know much about her. She was quiet, and far as he knew she was one of the smart kids.

Perfect.

He didn't need to get a synopsis of the whole book. He just needed some important stuff, in case Collins put him on the spot.

Paulo leaned forward and rapped the girl on her shoulder.

"Hey, menina." He coughed, in case he didn't get her attention with the contact. "Menina, what was that book about? The one about the Russian chick?"
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((Owen Veveris: begin))

English class was the one thing that Owen was looking forward to that semester. It was also the only class that he would attend early. He had even read the entirety of Anna Karenina during the break; he didn't like it. He had to admit that it was well written but that kind of text just wasn't for him. Never the less he finished it dutifully, even if he considered it too dramatic for his taste.

Owen entered the class room, it was almost empty. He only carried a book and some pens that day; he tossed them on a desk toward the middle of the class.

He didn't know either of the students, Rachel and Paulo but he could hear the conversation that the guy was starting.

"Menina, what was that book about? The one about the Russian chick?"

Owen didn't like it when people got answers handed to them, so he thought he'd interject. He really couldn’t help himself.

"It's about a civil war in Russia. Anna is part of the rebellion. There are several awesome fight scenes and a romance with the duke of Italy. It ends with a battle on top of a train which ends tragically with death of Anna at the hands of the Germans." All blatant lies but the other guy didn't have to know until it was too late. He just hoped that Rachel wouldn't correct the obviously wrong summary he just gave.
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Rachael sat at her desk patiently as she saw two of her classmates enter the room. The first was Paulo Abbate. Rachael didn't know much about him, but she noticed how his hat was crooked and the disgruntled attitude he carried when he entered the room. Shortly behind him was Owen Veveris. Rachael heard he would steal from people, and he looked like a delinquent, but Rachael wasn't sure what she really thought of him.

Rachael continued facing the front of the class as Paulo sat right behind her. Suddenly, she felt a tap on her shoulder.

Hey, menina.

"Menina?" thought Rachael as she turned around to answer him. "What does that mean again? I know there's a painting with that name-"

Menina, what was that book about? The one about the Russian chick?

"He didn't read the book?" she thought. "But Mr. Collins made it clear we were going to discuss it. Well, I guess I-"

But before Rachael could answer, Owen moved in and spoke up

It's about a civil war in Russia. Anna is part of the rebellion.

"What?" thought Rachael, baffled at Owen's statement.

There are several awesome fight scenes and a romance with the duke of Italy. It ends with a battle on top of a train which ends tragically with death of Anna at the hands of the Germans.

"Did he also not read the book?" Rachael asked herself. "Well, I guess I should clear things up a bit."

"A-actually," Rachael muttered, "n-no."

Rachael sat quietly as Paulo and Owen simply looked at her.

"Uh-oh," she thought, "I said something wrong didn't I? Oh geez, what do I do now? Wait, just give him some clues."

"W-well," she continued, "there's existentialism, faith, agriculture, and sexism involved as well."

Rachael quickly turned back around and faced the front of the class. She grabbed the cough drop off her desk and quickly unwrapped it and put it in her mouth. She began to suck on the candy as she looked down at her desk.

"Okay, hopefully that works. Don't act like that in the Socratic Seminar Rache," she thought to herself as she stared at the copy of Anna Karenina on her desk. "You need to be able to speak if you are going to be a teacher. Mmm, I like the flavor of this cough drop."

Rachael continued to look down as she sucked on the cough drop. She began to rub her hands together and cross her feet as she sat quietly.
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[[Daniel Whitten : start]]

Daniel half walked, half stumbled into the classroom. He usually had trouble adjusting to the change of his sleep schedule at the end of breaks, and today was no exception. He sleepily nodded at Rachael, a friend from the book club, and collapsed into his seat. He set down the copy of Anna Karenina he was carrying on the desk, along with a pen. Daniel laid his head down on the desk, using the book as a pillow.

He'd devoured the sections assigned to him over the first couple days of break before returning to his own book, and so didn't remember exactly what had happened. When you're reading multiple books at a time, they occasionally start to mix together in your mind, and as a result Daniel had a vague recollection of the protagonist being a part of the French Revolution.

He wasn't planning on speaking much during this discussion, anyway. Daniel always enjoyed discussing literature, but in his current state of mind he'd likely just confuse everyone. He would have asked Michael for a refresher before class, but, unfortunately, he had the luck to catch a fever over Christmas break and was thus confined to his bed.

Oh well. Hopefully Mr. Collins wouldn't notice him.
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Damn, really?

The way the Owen kid had interjected and described it, that Anita..Kearning? book sounded pretty damn interesting. Maybe he should have read it.

But then quiet girl spoke up, saying stuff about Faith and existentialism and other shit like that. He got the feeling the nervous, quiet puta was right. So he threw the Owen fornicador a withering glare.

"Thanks, menina."

He took his hat off as another student ambled into classroom just before the bell. Paulo would be damned if Collins got on his case again about it. With as little as he knew about the book, he would be drawing as little attention as he could to himself.
Edited by Outfoxd, Jan 17 2012, 11:14 PM.
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Owen met Paulo's glare with smile, he was caught out. Oh well, he had hoped to teach him a lesson about relying on others.
He watched as Paulo thanked Rachel and left for his seat. Another student entered the room; he didn’t seem able to balance his steps. Beyond that Owen didn’t really acknowledge him.

Owen did turn to Rachel.

"Hey, "Menina." He emphasized the Menina bit to get Rachel's attention, his imitation of Paulo fell a bit short but he believed he got his point across. He was aware that his tone was probably a bit harsh, and to be truthful he was a little miffed.

"You shouldn't have told him. I think I was close to getting him to read it."

He lowered his voice a little now to talk to her, just leaning a little closer so she could hear.

"You know how they say not to feed the wild life? It's because they'll get too lazy and fat and won't fend for themselves."

He hoped that she would interpret his metaphor for what it really meant, to let them learn on their own. Owen returned to his seat, the bell would ring soon and he wanted to be ready before the teacher arrived.

Owen wondered if Paulo knew what existentialism meant.
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Rachael continued to stare at her desk. Her eyes caught the movement of someone near her, so she instinctively looked up. It was Daniel, a guy from Book Club. He looked really sleepy. He nodded at her, and she nodded back.

Hey, menina, you shouldn't have told him.

Rachael turned around and saw Owen looking at her. She stopped sucking on the cough drop in her mouth.

I think I was close to getting him to read it.

"Joyous," thought Rachael, "this guy seems upset that I ruined his joke. Maybe Paulo needed-"

You know how they say not to feed the wild life? It's because they'll get too lazy and fat and won't fend for themselves.

Owen began to walk towards his desk. Rachael turned back and tilted her head down, looking at the book on her desk. She moved her hands close together, forming a tight fist underneath her desk

"Right, this class is off to a great start," Rachael thought as she twiddled her thumbs. "Owen probably thinks I'm some sort of wet blanket. It's not my fault I was trying to help someone. Paulo seemed genuinely confused about the book. But then again, maybe Paulo was just trying to get some last minute information before the Seminar, and Owen was pranking his laziness. Wait, that's exactly what he told me. Holy cow Rachael, you are slow!"

"Besides, telling Paulo the main themes might not help him at all. If he didn't read the book, then he still probably will have trouble participating. I mean, he might not even know the significance of the scene where Anna and Vronsky were buying art. Okay Rache, stop, just stop! You are over analyzing a tiny detail in your day. Just put it behind you and focus on the Socratic Seminar. Enough of Owen, enough of Paulo. Just focus on Anna Arkadyevna Karenina and the events that led to her downfall."

Rachael suddenly froze. She had no idea how hot her face got from her internal ramblings. She quickly rubbed her eyes with her right hand to make it look like she was still reeling from the winter cold and the early morning wake up. She began sucking on her cough drop again and rested her chin on her left hand. She decided to simply put the exchange behind her and focus on the class.

There was a novel by Leo Tolstoy to discuss.
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The few minutes remaining before class passed without incident, with the rest of the class gradually filling in taking their seats. As the bell rang to signal the start of the period, Mr. Collins entered the class in his usual energetic fashion, dressed, as usual, in a dark blue button-down shirt and black dress pants. "Mornin', class!" He exclaimed, walking to his desk at the corner of the room. "I hope you all had a good Christmas break! Me, I had a wonderful time. You see..."

Daniel began to tune his teacher out as Mr. Collins' cheerful rambling continued. It was too early in the morning for happiness. The majority of the class seemed to share Daniel's opinion, though none of them looked as tired as he. He really had to start going to bed earlier on Sundays. Of course, that's easier said then done, and when you're in the middle of an exciting chapter it's easy to lose track of a time, and all of a sudden, SURPRISE! IT'S MIDNIGHT!

Daniel somewhat suspected that the very concept of time herself had a grudge against him. It was the only reasonable explanation for how hours flew by in what seemed like minutes. Maybe he'd have to make an effort to placate her. Would doing nothing for an hour, concentrating only on the passage of time, be enough? Maybe Time wasn't one who appreciated attention.

As Daniel's sleep-deprived mind kept itself busy, Mr. Collins was finishing up his greeting. "-Now, I'm hoping that all of you have read the chapters I assigned, over break! Let's have a little discussion about the material, shall we? Now, Daniel-" Daniel groaned. Mr. Collins usually did not pick on students, but he probably had faith that Daniel would know the answer to the question that would soon be asked. Sadly, he would be disappointed. "-What is the name of Anna's husband?"

Daniel panicked and uttered the first name that came to mind. "Would it be Jean ValJean?" Mr. Collins sighed.

"No, Daniel, the correct answer would be Alexei Karenin. At least you picked good source material for your error. For future reference, Les Miserables is French. This novel is Russian." Ah. That explained why the answer felt wrong the second he said it.
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((Harry Hanley continued from his profile))

Harry had strolled arrogantly into his English class. He had no reason to be arrogant, he sucked at English. The only good thing about English class was bulk buying the recommended texts and selling them to people for less than the local book store or school. Harry hated reading. It wasn't the act of reading he disliked, he could sort of see why other people liked reading, he just found that it always took so long to get anywhere with books. Pages and pages to record a single moment. Books that took longer to read than the time span they covered. It wasn't for him.

Also, he'dbeen busy over Christmas break. It was hard being the child of divorced parents, he had two lots of Christmasses to go to. And he'd spent some time helping people put lights up outside their house for five dollars an hour. And shovelled snow. And taken all the hours he could at the movie theatre. It had been a busy winter, and he just hadn't had time to read the book.

He sat in his seat over to one side, near the back, next to the window, trying to subtly read the wikipedia page about Anna Karenina before class started. He was barely past the first paragraph when Mr Collins strolled in looking cheerful as always and rambed for a bit about his Christmas. Taking the opportunity Harry read the next paragraph of the wikipedia page. He'd meant to read it before class but a group of freshmen had stopped him to buy chocolate and there were seven of them and he couldn't really say no. There was a hierarchy in Harry's life of how important things were, and sales came above class prep.

Mr Collins picked on Daniel then, and Harry frowned. If he'd known they were going to get picked on he might have read the article the night before. To Harry's relief it seemed that Daniel hadn't read the book either, and made a stab at Jean ValJean, a name that was all too familiar to him. He considered making some kind of smart ass comment, based on his upcoming role as Marius in the performance of Les Mis, but for once in his life he was trying to avoid the spotlight. Not that he cared particularly about getting called up on for not reading a book, he tended not to.

Don't pick on me. Don't pick on me.

He needed to maintain a decent reputation in front of his teachers, lest he get sent to the school counsellor and they investigate him or something and his side activities be found out. Harry looked around the class for a moment, hoping he wasn't the next person to be picked on. He still didn't know very much about Anna Karenina. Fortunately Mr Collins was too wrapped up in his love of English to notice Harry silently reading the page under his desk.

The book was in parts. How was he supposed to read all of this in the few minutes he probably had before he was noticed and asked a question? He really hadn't thought this through. Maybe he would be able to pick up on the general gist of things from the rest of the class discussion. Subtly, Harry cracked the spine on his book. At least now it looks like I've opened the damn thing!
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Collins came in, energetic like Angora Karen or whatever the book was called had just given him a blowjob, and Paulo shook his head, low so he was hidden by Rachael. This was going to be a long hour.

That hustler kid Harry walked in and sat down. With some satisfaction Paulo noted he was hiding deep and cracking open the book, trying to get some periphery information in his head before he might've gotten called.

As Collins pontificated about Annalisa Kandide, Paulo toyed unsuccessfully with the idea of skipping class. Unfortunately, he was just a shitty student. Not a delinquent. About the only distinguishing thing about his career was that he doggedly showed up for class all the time. Even if it was only to slouch in his chair and look like he'd rather be out Mata De Leon'ing someone.

Paulo muttered, although loud enough Rachael might've heard. "Hope you talk for a long time, menina."

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Owen noticed Harry Hanley's presence as he entered the class, nothing interesting as he just sat down near the window to go about his business. Mister Collins entered the class soon after, he seemed quite excited. Owen twirled his pen around his fingers, waiting for the teacher to get settled in and start. Somehow Owen doubted that he'd be taking too many notes that day. Collins looked like he was getting prepared to ask questions and Daniel first caught his attention; Owen wasn't surprised as teachers sometimes picked on students who don't appear to be prepared. Daniel certainly looked like he was caught off guard.

What is the name of Anna's husband?

Child's play, to get this wrong you'd have to be either very stupid or hadn't been bothered to read the text. Mr Collins must have been trying to figure out the slackers and Owen was pleased to say he was not one of them. He put on a smug grin; he was going to be ready.

Would it be Jean Val Jean?

Owen almost choked and wondered how he even got that answer in his head in the first place. What a shocker, for starters Jean Val Jean didn’t even sound remotely Russian. Owen was so intent on this that he didn't notice Harry Hanley cracking open his book either, nor did he care. Collins was done with Daniel and soon looking to ask another question. Owen waited for a question, choosing to cross his arms and settle comfortably into his seat. It was then that Collins noticed him.

"Owen. Tell us a little about Count Vronsky." It was a simple question, perhaps Owen's movement had caught Collins' attention.

"Vronsky is an army officer who arrives at the train station in order to meet his mother." The words were confident and he made sure everyone in the class could hear.

"When he encounters Anna for the first time a man dies at the train station, this is something that Anna sees negatively. In part one he falls for Anna. This is important as the story develops and he is essential to Anna's story." He decided to be brief; after all he did not want to hold up the class. When Collins seemed satisfied he moved on and Owen decided to draw within the borders of his exercise book. This was going to be a boring lesson.
Edited by Serpico, Jan 19 2012, 01:42 AM.
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Mr. Collins had entered the room and began the discussion, with Harry Hanley coming in shortly behind him. He began the discussion by asking Daniel who Anna's husband was.

"Well that's easy," thought Rachael, "he must be trying to break the ice."

Would it be Jean Valjean?

Rachael was baffled. She knew Daniel for some time, and she knew he had read the book. How could he confuse Anna Karenina with Les Miserables?

Mr. Collins corrected Daniel and continued on. At that moment, Rachael heard something from behind her.

Hope you talk for a long time, menina.

Was Paulo trying to intimidate her? She gave him clues to help him discuss the book, so why would he say something like that?

"Wait, maybe he's trying to get me to toughen up and get ready?" thought Rachael. "Why do you always have to assume someone is after you?"

Rachael then noticed that Owen had finished talking about Vronsky. Mr Collins moved to the front of the room.

"Alright class," he began, "now that we have everyone situated, we can begin the Socratic Seminar. Let's start by moving the desks aside and put our chairs in our circle.

Rachael got up and began to move her desk to one side of the room. She grabbed a few chairs and helped place them in a circle. Once everyone was situated, Mr. Collins explained the details of the Socratic Seminar.

"So, what's going to happen is that I am going to ask you all a question. Then, as a group, you will discuss it, coming up with your own answers. You can agree with others, or you could try to reason your point. I'll be grading you based on your answers and how you react to each other, so all of you who didn't read the book and are hoping to skate by, know that I might call on you."

"Let's get started. Here is your first discussion question: 'What is the significance of the trains in the novel?' Let's see..... Rachael, why don't you get it started?"

Everyone in the circle turned towards Rachael. Rachael immediately tensed up. She hoped that she would be able to join into the discussion, not start it off. She was certain Paulo was judging her already.

"W-well, the trains..." Rachael began, speaking softly "...are a sign of progress. The characters use them to connect the countryside and the city. It's about the progress of Russia in the late 19th century, where the story was set in the middle of. The events that occur at train stations, such as Anna's meeting with Vronsky and her eventual suicide, are to show how the world is changing around the characters, a-and the novel is about how the characters are having to face with the twists in their lives, whether they are able to grow from it like Levin and Kitty, or are hurt by it like Anna, Vronsky, or Koznyshev."

Rachael stopped talking and took a deep breath. She grasped her right wrist with her left hand and crossed her feet.

"Okay," thought Rachael, "that should put me in good graces with Mr. Collins. I sure hope others are able to build off my statement.
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Daniel mentally berated himself as he leaned back in his seat. French is not Russian. Russian is not French. Sleepwalking is not an excuse. Well, maybe it is one, but not one he should accept. Everyone probably figured that he hadn't actually read the book. This was unacceptable. He would prove that he still had the right to be called a bibliophile.

Daniel focused on trying to wake himself up. Alright, concentrate on the class. Search the depths of your mind for knowledge. Pay attention to others. Maybe if he heard others speak he could refresh his memory. After reaching this conclusion, he heard Mr. Collins asking someone(Owen, was it?) about Count Vronsky. Excellent. This might help.

Vronsky is an army officer who arrives at the train station in order to meet his mother...

Hm. This did help. A bit. Concentrate, Daniel, concentrate concentrate concentrate.
He was so concentrated on concentrating that he almost missed Mr. Collins' instruction to start the Socratic Seminar. Alliteration. Alliteration was always good. Daniel moved his desk and grabbed a chair, doing his best to avoid tripping over his own feet, something that happened distressingly often when sleepwalking.

Rachael had to start the conversation off, and she gave a customarily thorough answer. Time for redemption. Prove to the world that you are worthy. Join the conversation. Somehow.

...Crap. He wasn't any good at connecting themes and symbols and stuff. Maybe the subject will change to something he can actually talk about. Until then, nod your head in agreement and try to look like you know what it being talked about.

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Anna commits suicide?

Even though it was to be expected, coming to an English class to analyse a book he hadn't read, Harry still felt a little bit annoyed by the spoiler. For all he knew there might come a time in his life where he wanted to read the book, not that he could envisage a situation where he'd choose Anna Karenina admittedly, and now he knew something that happened in it. Still, he couldn't complain too much, the longer Rachael talked for, the less time anyone else would have to talk. And apparently this was a subject she was good at talking about.

He hadn't been amused by the whole pushing the tables to one side and putting the chairs in a circle exercise. For one thing, they were seniors, and this was the kind of over excitable activity usually reserved for middle school, drama lessons, and apparently Mr Collins' English class. Also it was much harder to subtly read the wikipedia page on his phone when there wasn't a desk to hide it. Harry was good at cheating by using his phone, but wasn't good enough to use it in this situation. Which meant that he was going to have to try and bullshit with what he knew, which was a fair bit of part one. And none of parts two through eight.

He felt momentarily annoyed that Rachael mentioned Anna meeting Vronsky at a train station. That was one of the few things he knew about the damn book. And then a railway worker dies and Anna thinks it's a bad omen. And apparently she later also commits suicide at a train station. Harry's eyes lit up briefly as he realised he had a spot to bullshit through. Hopefully, if he joined in the train discussion he might be able to spare himself from future questioning?

"Going back to the train station thing," Harry said, almost beginning to regret speaking. He was wading into a dark space with no idea where he was going, and only the dimmest of lights. "When Anna first meets Vronsky the railway worker falls dies and Anna calls it a 'bad omen'" damn he really hoped that was true and not in the 5% of wikipedia information that was dubious, "and then she later dies at a train station too" try not to sound too bitter about the spoilers for the book you were supposed to have read. "I can't remember anything good that happens at a train station," that was almost a 50/50 chance of there being something good. "So if the trains are progress," he nodded at Rachael, "and trains always lead to train stations, does that mean that all the progress just led to bad things happening?"

He paused, looking at his classmates and avoiding Mr Collin's eyes because he had no idea what he'd just said.

"I dunno, what do you guys think?" let's make this discussion a discussion, and the longer we spend on a single moot point about trains the less time for questions on the book that I'm pretty sure lots of other people haven't read either. His eyes briefly fell on Daniel.

((I haven't read the book, so I'm not going to RP at Mr Collins because for all I know Harry's talking crap and I don't know how the teacher should respond. I've literally read as much of the wiki page as he has.))
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