Appreciating Literary Perspectives Quarter 2
Teacher: Dr. Miriam Gyimah
This course continues from Quarter 1 but new students are welcome. It will expose students to an array of writers from the U.S. and other countries and cultures.
Students will experience the different voices of literary artists and explore their varying subject matter. Not only will the course enhance students’ knowledge of historic, cultural and social issues relative to the works examined, but also, it will prompt students to look closely at the creative and artistic renderings of the authors, thereby connecting and evaluating styles, themes and motivations.
Students will engage in small and large group discussions, multiple freewriting exercises, essay writing, oral presentations and a final project. The class will require the purchase/library loan of some course materials.
A PARTIAL LIST OF OUR TEXTS
Medea by Euripides
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
“The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka
“The Road to Salvation” by Munshi Premchand
“The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
This course will be taught as one of my college-level courses. The materials for this course come from two of my previous college courses, World Literature and Perspectives in Literature. Students should expect to be challenged in reading, critical thinking, writing and in oral presentations. We will begin with the Greek tragedy Medea by Euripedes. The play was not well received originally, but it later gained appreciation and became one of the most performed plays of the 20th century, gaining even greater prominence in the 70’s. Students will grapple with the relevant themes of matrimony, faithfulness, vengeance, independence and more. A major work of study will be the great novel, Things Fall Apart, by Nigerian novelist, Chinua Achebe, a writer, critic and professor noted as one of the most influential persons of the 20th century. This novel has been translated in 100 languages and is used at the college level for history, philosophy, anthropology, religion and literature courses. Students will come to appreciate the import and relevance of this novel and will not only be impacted by the characters, but also begin to understand the history and effects of colonialism on colonized people and our world. We shall also examine The Bluest Eye, the seminal work of Nobel Prize winner of literature, Toni Morrison. While Things Fall Apart exposes us to the advent of colonialism and its disruption of traditional systems and culture of Africa and African people, The Bluest Eye brings us to the Midwest of the United States of America revealing how racism, sexism and violence impact the psyche and actions of characters, most significantly the young protagonist. Through Morrison’s brilliant portrayal of events and characters, students will begin to advance in examining how social and historical factors largely define the fabric of American lives. We will also read Frank Kafka’s brilliant short story “The Metamorphosis” and examine how Kafka uses the plight of the protagonist and his relationship with his family to make keen observations about the human condition. Students will be introduced to the Hindi-Urdu writer Munshi Premchand, a giant and celebrated literary figure of the Indian subcontinent. This “Emperor amongst Novelists,” as he has been referred to, is also a profound short story writer and we will share one or more of his works, most notably, “The Road to Salvation.” In addition to these, we shall also examine “The Birthmark,” by the great American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, and with this story, explore issues of beauty, obsession, control, madness, in addition to other topics. We shall move on to explore additional modern writers making an impact with their voices and stories, contributing to the complexity of perspectives with their literary presentations.
The works of our writers can be borrowed from the libraries, purchased from bookstores or downloaded from the web. I will provide a link and/or copies of our short stories and plays as needed. Students should attempt to borrow from the library or purchase our two main novels, Things Fall Apart and The Bluest Eye.
Grades 9 – 12