Obviously, the topic of slavery and the effects of the Civil War will be prevalent in our analysis and discussions of Huck Finn. Lincoln’s second inaugural address expresses our wartime president’s feelings on the end of the civil war (his speech was given only days before the war was declared over) and with a mind towards reconstruction and the future of the south. Our class will compare Lincoln’s speech and his desired outcomes for post-war reconstruction and social climate to Twain’s interpretation of those events in Huck Finn.
Lincoln, Abraham (1865). Second Inaugural Address.
The Negro Speaks Of Rivers - by Langston Hughes. I've known rivers: I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
We will be dissecting and analyzing this poem with a mind towards slavery and, in particular, what the character Jim in Huck Finn says about slavery and his recently gained freedom. Incidentally, Hughes speaks of the many “rivers” that his ancestors have traveled in the same way that Jim now travels down the Mississippi in hopes of escaping slavery. We may begin the book by looking at this poem, spurring a discussion on slavery, and them circle back to the poem throughout the unit.
We often consider Benjamin Franklin’s work ethic, ingenuity, and independence to exemplify the ideal American. By just glancing at his rigorous and meticulously planned daily work schedule one can see that Franklin left no time for rest or relaxation; rather, his studies and time set aside for independent work pursuits took up nearly eight hours every day. We often model the concept of the “American Dream”—work hard and you will achieve—on Benjamin Franklin’s lifestyle, but was his success in achieving the “American Dream” wholly due to his own work ethic? This is a great place to enter into a conversation about the American dream and whether America has always offered an equal opportunity for all men to achieve greatness.
Franklin, Benjamin (1996). The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Dover.
Though students have almost certainly encountered passages from the Declaration of Independence before, our class will be reading the text in it's entirety towards the beginning of our Huck Finn unit. Not only is the Declaration an exemplary piece of writing, but it also outlines the oppression and grievences faced by the colonists shortyly before entereing into the Revolutionary War. We will be analyzing certain aspects of Huck Finn, especially the topic of slavery, to see if we had enacted a similar oppression on United States citizens prior to the civil war (and, perhaps, even still today).
Directed by Stephen Sommers. With Elijah Wood, Courtney B. Vance, Robbie Coltrane, Jason Robards. Huckleberry Finn is a young boy in the 1840's, who runs away from home, and floats down the Mississippi River.
Ryan Pirro's insight:
To aid students in their understanding of the text we will be watching the Disney movie version of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. We will be analyzing the video for how closely it follows the text, differences between the text and the movie, dramatic features added by the director of the movie, and characterization of important people from the book. Many students have trouble following the complex plot and difficult dialogue in the novel; this movie will bolster their understanding of the particular dialect and fast-paced plot in the novel.
BDA: Before watching this movie, we will begin a short discussion on how directors and produces have permission to make artistic and plot changes to the movie. I will ask if the students think that this will be easier if the author of the original work is present for the making of the movie. I will lead students to the conclusion that Disney had a lot of leeway to make changes to every aspect of the original piece because they owned the rights to it and the author of the original text was no longer alive.
During the movie I will ask the students to keep in mind the original text and any differences they can spot between the original text and the movie version. They will jot these differences down with a short description on how the two were different and why they think the director might have chosen to change the original text in this way.
After the movie clip, we will come back together as a class and have a whole class discussion on what similarities and differences they picked up. We will refer back to the original text for every part of the movie that we discuss in length and make in-depth analysis of how the scenes were different and, more importantly, why the director might have made those changes. For homework, I will assign small groups to look at different passages in the book and discuss how they might portray that passage in a film version, what changes they might make for their movie, and why they would make those changes.
Stephen Somers (Director). (1993). The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. United States: Disney.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [Mark Twain] on Amazon.com. *FREE* super saver shipping on qualifying offers.
Ryan Pirro's insight:
This is the main text that I will be teaching this semester for an academic junior level American Literature English class at Brookfield High school. Huck Finn is a novel that grabs attention from many students for many different reasons: some love the feeling of adventure and freedom they get when following Huck’s journey down the river, others dwell on the rich characters and subtle humor of the text, while some students will focus on the social, economic and political strife buried deep within the text. The class that I will be teaching will focus on the latter—my cooperating teacher has expressed the desire to align instruction with the junior’s American History class and focus on the deeper social and political meaning within the text
Twain, Mark (1994). Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Dover.
In Self Reliance, Emerson details the importance of a critical mind, non-conformity, and a sprit of freedom of rebelliousness to the continuance of a just and democratic society. We will be exploring the ideas of many free and rebellious thinkers in this unit including Emerson, Franklin, the framers of our constitution, and Twain himself. Huck Finn is still considered to be a highly controverisial text, and was no less debated when it was published in the late 1800's. Emerson's essay will lead to a discussion on the importance of free ideas and speech to democracy and the ways in which Twain's novel exemplified Emerson's democratic and philosophical ideals, as well as the continued debate in schools about the text's merit and appropriateness.
I would argue that most people (including myself before beginning this unit) have not read the constitution. This year, we are assigning key parts of the constitution to our students to keep in mind as they read Huck Finn, especially those in regards to slavery, the unity of the nation, the operation of local, state, and federal governments, and the idea of equality in treatment of all men. We will be mediating debates on what parts of the constitution were upheld or not upheld in Huck Finn, why, and what Mark Twain’s opinion on these various political dilemmas might be.
Though this document predates the publication of Huck Finn by several centuries, its argument for the separation of church and state influenced our founding fathers as constructed the political framework of our country. The Bloudy Tenet of Slavery argues that religious ideology should not sway the political sphere either way; rather, all arguments for or against slavery must be justified in a non-religious manner. We will be analyzing Huck Finn for both religious and non-religious arguments on the institution of slavery in America.
Sharing your scoops to your social media accounts is a must to distribute your curated content. Not only will it drive traffic and leads through your content, but it will help show your expertise with your followers.
How to integrate my topics' content to my website?
Integrating your curated content to your website or blog will allow you to increase your website visitors’ engagement, boost SEO and acquire new visitors. By redirecting your social media traffic to your website, Scoop.it will also help you generate more qualified traffic and leads from your curation work.
Distributing your curated content through a newsletter is a great way to nurture and engage your email subscribers will developing your traffic and visibility.
Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.