Happy Hour of the Red Death.

That Frog Knight looks pretty freaked out.

That Frog Knight looks pretty freaked out.

The protagonist is right, however…for now, Standardized Test is defeated. Today will see my classes having the option to split…students who feel that they need more time, or wish to put more effort in, will be able to rendezvous with my co-teacher for a Final Testing Session. Students who are done can stay with me, where we will be delving into Edgar Allen Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death.”

If you haven’t read it, “The Masque of the Red Death”, is a short story, like much of Poe’s work. The story follows Prince Prospero’s attempts to avoid a dangerous plague, known as the Red Death, by hiding in his abbey. Maybe Prince Prospero is why I had Princes of different sorts on my mind. Anyway, he, along with many other wealthy nobles, hosts a masquerade ball within seven rooms of the abbey, each decorated with a different color. There’s HEAVY symbolism in that. During their revelry, a mysterious figure disguised as a Red Death victim enters and makes his way through each of the rooms. Prospero dies after confronting this stranger, whose “costume” proves to contain nothing tangible inside it; the guests also die in turn. As they start dying, they realize the figure was the Red Death itself, and all of the guests had in fact contracted the disease. The final line of the story sums it up… “And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all”.

It’s good stuff, and has some real quality material for class discussion and debate in it. For instance, shouldn’t Prospero and his rich cronies be doing something other than partying and avoiding danger? Is there no “noblesse oblige?” Or do people of means and power have no real obligation to other outside of their circles? What are the obligations of the wealthy? There’s good debate there for students, especially during an election year, when people far above their income rate vie for positions of American Nobility.

We will be dealing with “Red Death” for a couple of days, so I wanted the art to be more about the relief of NOT testing any longer. Having sent Standardized Test back to Snake Mountain (or Sacramento…I’m not sure where Skeletor got him from) our hero is happy to have an Adult Beverage and attempt to socialize.

Just the other day I was in a Rite Aid, getting some basic things like pencils and Oreo cookies, and I saw that the whole store was decked out pre-Valentine’s Day. I haven’t experienced a Valentine’s Day in a Los Angeles High School, and that thought crossed my mind. Middle School is a very different animal…I’m sure this will be New Ground for me at the Edu-Mountain. Certainly, a good number of my students are very romantically active…thankfully, at school, they keep it more or less tasteful.

Still, wandering the aisles I found a little plush frog sitting all alone, with a heart stitched to his chest, and holding a little bag of candy. Being a sucker, I gave him a home, but at the same time, you will note the Frog Knight has a heart motif on his uniform. That’s pretty much why the Frog Knight happened…on Tuesday, a little plush Froggo of some kind took up residence in my school bag.

I did a little research about Frog Princes, as a result of the art, and the little guy in my school bag. “The Frog Prince” is a fairy tale, best known through the Brothers Grimm’s written version. Traditionally it is the first story printed in their collection, which I did not know. In the story, a spoiled princess reluctantly befriends the Frog Prince, who magically transforms into a handsome prince. That’s the “Cliff’s Notes version, obviously. Although in modern versions the transformation is invariably triggered by the princess kissing the frog, in the original Grimm version of the story the frog’s spell was broken when the princess threw him against a wall in disgust. Rough…!

In other early versions it was enough for the frog to spend the night on the princess’ pillow…she didn’t need to make out with it.

So you see…the protagonist’s question is pretty on point…she might need to know specifically how to change him into a prince. Granted, there’s a subtext, but this is a Code Approved Internet Comic, people! I like the Frog Knight as a character, and really, I didn’t know all that much about the Frog Prince story, so the research was actually pretty cool. We may get more Frog Knight.

It was also useful, because I was talking the other day about needing more Animal Kingdom Diversity in the Edu-Mountain characters, which seem to have a preponderance of Super-Evolved Mammals. This week we got an evil Toad Man (a Toady…see what I did there?), a fish ninja, and a Frog Knight….so the cold blooded parts of the animal kingdom saw some representation.

At Lunch, the Vampires from last week will get another workout playing Magic: The Gathering, so we may see them make another appearance. I don’t know yet…I haven’t drawn the weekend art, but have ideas bubbling about. With Vampires and Edgar Allen Poe as content for class, you would think it was October, and that I was setting some cheesy Halloween theme.

Whatever you are doing, Gentle Readers, I hope that your day is set up to be as rewarding as mine.

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2 thoughts on “Happy Hour of the Red Death.

  1. Your diversity list left off the new Ms. Marvel. Not that I read comics very often these days, but I do watch the movies, and I heard that they are making a Black Panther feature film. To me, building on existing heros with diverse backgrounds seems less forced than the sort of subbing you describe above (although the new female Thor at least seems consistent with the underlying premise of the superhero). Of course, if there is not enough diversity among existing heros, the Big 2 could always come up with new titles; think Alpha Flight, but more diverse than just Canadians. 🙂

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