Learning Recommendations: Students need to be prepared to read three novels as well as other supplemental writings throughout each unit. They must be prepared to do research on topical content. There is also an emphasis on written expression.
General Description: Literature is a reflection of the desires, fears, and values of the cultures from which it is produced. This course is designed to explore who and what societies determine to be monsters, and why. We will explore various monsters written about throughout history, and study the cultures that created them. Monsters tend to be marginalized populations that we further demonize in order to maintain the status quo. How can/does literature use our forbidden desires (i.e. monsters) in order to draw attention to these problems/ideas? The goal of this class is to try and determine what our preoccupation with, and demonetization of, the traits of monsters says about our own societal fears and insecurities.
Content: The content of this course will include three novels including The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Many supplemental short stories, source documents, and films will also make up the rest of the content. The writing element of this course will include short written responses exploring the taboos associated with the monsters we discuss in class and the novels we find them in. In addition, students will also be creating pieces of short horror fiction. Students will write one longer comparison paper exploring the similarities and differences of two monsters in literature and what that says about the societies that have created them.
Strategies: This course will utilize inquiry-based approaches (research projects) and critical reading to engage students in monsters or other horrific themes that interest them. It will also ask students to think critically, focusing on not only cultural elements, but on elements of suspense, horror, and creative writing. Finally, students will apply the skills they learn to analyze our own culture and the monsters that haunt us today.
Equipment to be provided by student: USB memory stick (thumb drive) recommended