We have been discussing the relationship between Billie-Jo and her father in our novel. Students will read this poem about manhood and farming (and larger ideas) and then contrast the poem (and its couplets and rhyme) with the current song about the dust bowl and the desperation of one man. Students will be reminded of the page in the novel where Billie-Jo says that trees aren’t meant to be on the plains, and wonders if the people are likewise in a place they cannot survive.

“Good Timber” by Douglas Malloch


The tree that never had to fight

For sun and sky and air and light,

But stood out in the open plain

And always got its share of rain,

Never became a forest king

But lived and died a scrubby thing.


The man who never had to toil

To gain and farm his patch of soil,

Who never had to win his share

Of sun and sky and light and air,

Never became a manly man

But lived and died as he began.


Good timber does not grow with ease:

The stronger wind, the stronger trees;

The further sky, the greater length;

The more the storm, the more the strength.

By sun and cold, by rain and snow,

In trees and men good timbers grow.


Where thickest lies the forest growth,

We find the patriarchs of both.

And they hold counsel with the stars

Whose broken branches show the scars

Of many winds and much of strife.

This is the common law of life.



“A jarring and emotional song that demonstrates Mumford & Sons’s storytelling ability. We are told the story of a young man who has lost his plains property in the dustbowl of the Dirty Thirties.

The song is told with theatrical flair that belies Mumford’s affinity for the theatre. It’s a Disney villain’s explanatory number; that song in the musical that really knocks it out of the park. As such it’s been the band’s live closer for years. ”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hBkeX3k48M


Students will interpret the lyrics and write a more detailed story that retells or reinterprets the song. This story should be at least one page long, in 12-point, Times New Roman font. Students should type the story in the computer lab. If finished, they can print the paper and pass it in to me. If not done in the time allotted, they should finish this assignment at home, for homework.


Students may answer a series of “What If” questions about the novel. These will be provided in class. Again, if these are not answered in class, they should be done as homework.

<br />
"A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper."</p>
<p>E. B. White, echoing Tchaikovsky and adding to our running archive of famous advice on writing.

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” E.B.White




Posted by on October 8th, 2013


eli story said

October 14, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

i need to re-do this please


October 15, 2013 @ 4:08 am

I am after school with NAL almost every afternoon. You can come make it up anytime before the 23rd of October. :) MI

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