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 and verbal 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 demonization 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, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Never Let Me Go. Many supplemental short stories and films will also make up the rest of the content. Students will read fiction and watch films that are part of the genre of horror, the content of this genre may be frightening for some. 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. Students will write one longer literary analysis paper exploring the monstrous nature of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Students will also practice and develop common core speaking and listening skills through Socratic seminars with each novel.
Strategies: This course will utilize inquiry-based approaches (research projects), large and small group discussion, 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 fiction 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