access to blog site for Macbeth blog project : click http://macbethreadingblog.blogspot.com/
The essential or core question for the course: why don’t we all just get along?
· If we know why, might we be able to solve the problems and get along?
· Are there societies in which getting along is a goal or a value, and, if so, how might these inform our understanding of the core question?
· If getting along is impossible, what makes it impossible?
· Are there societies where there is not even an attempt at cooperation and mutual respect, and, if so, how might these inform our understanding of the core question?
- Unit One --- Neighborhoods
Who am I? What part of me is unique and individual? What part of me is shaped or determined by the collective identities of those around me? What part of me is received, what part chosen? What is home? To what degree can my home or my neighborhood nurture me and keep me safe? To what degree is safety helpful or harmful?
Antitheses – We are the product of our environment. We choose (and
can change) who we are.
“Harrison Bergeron” Kurt Vonnegut
“What Means Switch” Gish Jen
“Sonny’s Blues” James Baldwin
“The Washing” Reshma Memon Yaqub
“Dishing Dirt” Emily White
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird Robert Mulligan
Brighton Beach Memoirs Neil Simon
II. Unit Two --- Into the Woods
When I leave my neighborhood where am I? To what degree does my identity change? What is lost when I lose my innocence? What do I gain through experience?
Antitheses: We learn everything we need to know in kindergarten. We
can learn what we need to know only in the woods.
“Greasy Lake” T. C. Boyle
“Gimpel The Fool” Isaac Bashevis Singer
“The Ones Who Walk Away
from Omelas” Ursula LeGuin
“The Third and Final Continent” Jhumpa Lahiri
Lord of the Flies William Golding
Waltz With Bashir Ari Folman
Macbeth William Shakespeare
III. Unit Three --- Heroism and Martyrdom
What’s right? What’s fair? Is there a law that is higher than governmental or societal law? How do I determine which to follow if my conscience is in conflict with the expectations of my society?
Antitheses: The rights of the individual take precedence over the needs of the community. The needs of the community take precedence over the rights of the individual. When communities with differing ideas about morality come into conflict, how does the individual decide which community makes the more legitimate moral claim?
Black Boy Richard Wright
“Zoo Story” Edward Albee
Half the Sky Cheryl Wu Dunn and Nicholas Kristof
Mountains Beyond Mountains Tracy Kidder
Note: The class will also complete a three week study of poetry, ideally in April, which will culminate in a group project. Please share this syllabus with your parents. I welcome student and parent comments on the syllabus.