Faith, Trust, but No Pixie Dust

faith“Focus on your potential instead of your limitations.”
~ A.L. McGinnis

I literally just got home from surgery today… it went well, but my faith has been questionable for the last few weeks, so let me pedal back to yesterday.

Sundays I go to church to play piano for church services at a Methodist Church. Growing up I was baptized, went through communion classes and everything else through the Lutheran church all the way until I graduated high school. When I came back from college my mother was playing organ and piano for the church next door. The Presbyterian church. The first Sunday I attended, I was actually appalled and shocked that it was so noisy during the prelude, and I know for a fact, my facial expressions delivered the disgust spot on as I glanced (we’ll say “glanced” because I’m sure it was more like shooting daggers) around the congregation and majority of them fell quiet when they saw me “looking” at them with high disapproval. I was 19 at the time and yes, feeling a bit “holier than thou” because I behaved better in church than these folks. Now mind you, my mom quickly schooled me right after church. Anyhow, I digress. As I got older, I kept my faith of God intact, but the more I went to church (yes the Presbyterian Church) I noticed that some (not all) people were actually quite hypocritical. So, we know I’m no saint, but I have always fessed that I’m a sinner and yes, I say bad words a lot and God knows what’s what because I talk to him daily. I know he’s not too impressed, but also knows I’m trying my best. Especially as of lately.

Leading up to yesterday… 

Last week after a union convention and meetings, I was able to take a 2-day vacation. An actual, real,vacation! I literally hadn’t had a real vacation since 1994 – although we did a camping stint in 2017, it just didn’t “feel” like a vacation. My 2-day vacation with my youngest daughter was the best. We soaked in the Oregon Coast as much as we could and really didn’t want to leave, but needed to because my oldest daughter was getting ready to leave for her 2nd year at university so I wanted to see her too before she left.

So yesterday, there I was, sitting at the piano with 20 minutes until church started, in tears, total meltdown. Not just any meltdown, but a major full-blown meltdown. I couldn’t play the first hymn from hell which was in 12/8 time signature. I look over at my mom (a professional pianist) and she sees me and gives me a “holy sh**” look” and rushes up to me. I try to calm down, she then asks, “What is the matter?” Yep, another melt-down. Trying to keep my voice quiet (which didn’t work), I unload everything, and I mean everything from work, divorce, school, surgery , the oldest and how I regret taking time off because now I can’t play all the music for church. My mom, definitely used her “mom voice” and said very loudly, “Do NOT EVER regret taking time off!” The congregation went silent. She ended up playing the first hymn (from hell) and after that I was fine,  but kept thinking about all the crap and everything that I have to get done, that needs to get done, that I want done. Is it all going to get done?

It’s all about faith…

The sermon yesterday was about “Faith”. Can we say, “Perfect timing?”. Yes indeed, it was perfect timing. I have been worrying about so much in the last few months, even though I talk with God daily, I wasn’t focused on my faith. Faith, according to the sermon, is something that you believe in without seeing it and the outcome of faith is seeing it when you believe it.

During the sermon, I asked God for his forgiveness for not letting my worries go, because I know he’s watching out for me. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of worries because I do feel like I need to control the situations. I know that I can only control how I see situations and how I react to situations.

I got through the major hurdle of yesterday and now through the surgery hurdle, only a few more hurdles to go.  In the face of adversity, the good, the bad and the ugly, I’m doing my best to keep my chin up and think positive. Life will get better not just for me but everyone around me, and the future is looking a lot brighter.

Never lose faith, or you will lose yourself.

 

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Identity

Main Theme: Identity

This final week of readings have various themes such as post-colonialism, mythology, symbolism & imagery, irony, hypocrisy, boundaries/borders, racism & sexism (female sexuality), domesticity, class & social structure… however the main theme that sticks out amongst all the readings is identity.

Identity is the fact of being who or what a person is.

In The Perforated Sheet, the majority of names in the novel allude to the archetype that the character resembles. Kincaid uses semicolons to separate the admonishments and words of wisdom in order to show what the mother is telling the daughter – how to act and behave as a young lady should. Thiong’o’s Wedding at the Cross is ultimately about religion, but takes a twist on how Miriamu’s family is so religious but they are very judgmental and look down upon everyone. Omeros weaves multiple narratives together using a lot of historical and literary references.

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The Perforated Sheet (Salman Rushdie)
RushdieI found Sinai prolific right at the beginning when he stated his birth date and time which coincides with India gaining independence from Britain. Also in this story, there is a great significance in what the name of the characters resemble, such as Aadam, Saleem’s grandfather, is related to “Biblical Adam”, and his grandmother is given the name of “Reverend Mother” as this is her religious identity. 


Girl
(Jamaica Kincaid)
Girl.jpgThis short story is essentially a single sentence of a mother giving advice to a daughter to help and scold her at the same time. Kincaid uses semicolons to separate the admonishments and words of wisdom but often repeats herself. The mother is trying to shape the identity of her daughter. This story, I feel, resonates with all moms in all cultures as we try to steer our children in the direction that we feel is best for them.

Wedding at the Cross (Ngugi Wa Thiong’o)
Ngugi.jpgAlthough this story is ultimately about religion, it also shows the “true” identity of Miriamu’s family. Her family is wealthy and Christians but look down upon everyone. This story ties everything together including Miriamu telling herself that it’s ok to wear a veil to her (second) wedding.  The hypocrisy really got to me in this story because growing up in church, I saw a lot of “Christians” with double standards.

Omeros
(Derek Walcott)
omeros.jpgWalcott has written three stories in one brilliantly. In the beginning of this, men at some point trying to kill each other over a woman, with another part in the mix where a man loses his wife, and in the end Walcott makes himself the narrator, in first person, bringing in his personal baggage into the story, including a couple meetings of his father’s ghost. With this Walcott is set out to “find” himself, his true identity.

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To get students engaged with this week’s readings, I would incorporate the video Lost in Transition – Identity in a changing world. This can be accompanied with reading My Name by Sandra Cisernos. The purpose of reading My Name is to help students with critical thinking skils. They can reflect about all factors that shape our identities. The text also discusses other themes: stereotypes and prejudice.

Teaching students of this week’s themes:
After having students read My Name, as a class go to the chapter “House on Mango Street. The main character, Esperanza, thinks about her name and actually reveals information about her identity as well as how she sees herself, what she values, and things about her family. Ask a couple volunteers to read a paragraph and as it’s being read aloud students can underline words and/or phrases that show information about how Esperanza answers the question, “Who am I?”.

http://facingtoday.facinghistory.org/engaging-students-in-a-study-of-identity-a-flipped-classroom-exercise

https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/identity-and-community/who-am-i
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Reference
Puchner, M. (Ed.). (2014). The Norton Anthology of World Literature (3rd ed., Vol. 2). New York:   W.W. Norton & Company. Retrieved from    https://digital.wwnorton.com/3461/r/goto/cfi/760!/4

 

Grief and Sorrow

Main Theme: Grief and Sorrow

This week’s readings have the most significant themes were sorrow and grief. I have to add that I really did not enjoy this week’s readings. I think it’s because majority of these were first-hand accounts of what people had to endure during the wars including the Holocaust. The authors wrote in first-person so the short stories and poems were a lot more descriptive and intimate. With this it made me “feel” like I was actually there because I was able, in my mind, actually picture what it must have been like, the smells, the tastes, the pain, sorrow, and grief.

Grief is deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death.

Sorrow is a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others.

In “This way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen” as it is stated by the narrator “sleep among comrades who are not going to the gas tonight” Although he was a prisoner, he was in a better position. Celan grief as prisoners were digging graves for other prisoners. Amichai shows sorrow which seems more like envy. This can be seen in “God has Pity for Kindergarten” when it says God shows mercy but it is depicted in an discriminatory manner, “only to those who are regarded as totally pure”. “The Daydream of a Drunk Woman” shows this sorrow and grief through the women’s discontent in her life.

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This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen (Taduesz Borowski)
BorowskiBorowski was not Jewish, but was still in the Auschwitz and Dachau camps. He detailed what life and death was like when he was in a German concentration camp. Not all people in the camps were Jewish, but somehow was tied to some type of resistance either by a family member who was part of a resistance or victim of circumstance. He included his revelations about the toxic relationships between the prisoners.

The narrator, Tadek, is a survivalist while Borowski himself, was described as a man who knew his values and who helped others, not worrying about himself.


Deathfugue, Aspen Tree, and Shibboleth (Paul Celan)
CelanThese poems were chilling. The way that Celan wrote these poems in a songlike way were gut wrenching. Celan himself was forced into a concentration camps, losing both of his parents. Despite the tragic losses he continued to write poetry which in these poems described the horrors that everyone suffered.

Just the connection Celan gives the reader makes it so much more personal, more intimate.

 

 

God Has Pity on Kindergarten Children, Tourists, Jerusalem, and An Arab Shepherd Is Searching for His Goat on Mount Zion (Yehuda Amichai)
Amichai.jpg
These poems are more towards the Israeli/Palestinian conflict – same time as the Holocaust. In God Has Pity on Kindergarten Children the poem metaphorically states that only those who are absolutely pure (innocent, true loves and those who show mercy like God himself, will receive pity from him. Tourists portray the lack of sincerity of those who visit places such as the Wailing Wall and Holocaust Memorial. Jerusalem is describing what life is now like in the Old City of Jerusalem, with different religions integrating where there never used to be. “Enemies are now neighbors.” In An Arab Shepherd is Searching for His Goat on Mount Zion being in search of something is for everyone.

The Daydreams of a Drunk Woman (Clarice Lispector)
Clarice.pngThis short story was so descriptive especially when she describes Maria’s eyes never leaving the three mirrors. With that the three mirrors are metaphoric, they represent Maria’s three selves: generic, beautiful/desirable, and self-destructing.
To get students engaged with this week’s readings, I would use the video, The Five Stages of Grief, What to Expect… which can go with the article, The Five Stages of Grief. This will help students identify the stages easily and then have them think of a situation where they experienced grief and if they recognize the stages and possibly have them describe how they handled each stage. The websites below show different situations that cause grief and how to aid in them.

https://www.griefrecoverymethod.com/blog/2013/03/over-40-life-experiences-you-might-have-cause-grief

https://time.com/5118994/advice-for-helping-grieving-friend/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/death-and-dying_b_4329830

Teaching students of this week’s themes:
Grief and sorrow are well known and familiar to students and teaching the meaning of both is equally important. The Five Stages of Grief shows students each stage of grief and will help them to identify the various stages of grief within this week’s readings. Ask of them to write where each stage is found in each text.

For an additional assignment have students write a one-page (or longer) paper describing their own feelings and understanding about death and loss. This can include a personal experience with death, sorrow and grief, or their observations about how others close to them have experienced these. Students should focus on personal understanding.

Resources used

https://www.sun.ac.za/english/entities/welgevallen-community-psychology-clinic/PublishingImages/Pages/Articles/Reflections%20Grief%20workbook.pdf

https://canvas.santarosa.edu/courses/25225/pages/module-assignment-number-7-understanding-grief-and-loss

Reference

Puchner, M. (Ed.). (2014). The Norton Anthology of World Literature (3rd ed., Vol. 2). New York:      W.W. Norton & Company. Retrieved from https://digital.wwnorton.com/3461/r/goto/cfi/760!/4

Decision Making and Perception

Main Theme: Decision Making and Perception

The themes in this week’s readings are combinations of realism, magical realism, isolation, memories, pain, morals, life, death, symbolism, past and present. But the two main themes that stuck out for me the most each story was decision making and perception. Whether it was a decision on how to relate to your home town right down to a life and death decision.

Decision Making is the process of making decisions, especially important ones. The decision making in the following stories are essentially of “life and death” scenarios. 

Perception is a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something

In I Speak of the City, by Octavio Paz uses imagery as well as simile to describe his home town. He doesn’t leave any parts out, the good and bad. Paz is very objective reminding the reader there is a dark side to each virtue of the city. Paz’s Central Park, also shows the reader that with good there is evil. The Garden of Forking Paths has the main character making several life choices, including that of life and death. Neruda’s Walking Around shows that if you have a negative outlook on the world around you, everything will seem negative.

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I Speak of the City and Central Park  (Octavio Paz)

octaviopazThe main takeaways that I personally received from both readings is that something that is beautiful can also have an ugly side and how you look at something is the way you will perceive it (good or bad).

To incorporate pop culture, I would have students find songs similar to these to stories and compare how Paz describes the towns with how the singer/band describes a town/city.

https://spinditty.com/playlists/Songs-About-Home-and-Hometowns

https://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2011/03/50-best-hometown-anthems/

 The Garden of Forking Paths (Jorge Luis Borges)

The-Garden-of-Forking-Paths1In this story we learn that every decision has a consequence and sometimes outcomes are not always what you think they will be.

Incorporating pop culture, I would have students look up movie/TV stars and see if they can figure out what decisions that person made in life and how it affected them as a person, before they were actors/actresses.

https://www.grunge.com/30657/actors-ruined-career-matter-seconds/

https://people.com/celebrity/actors-who-quit-hollywood/

https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0912/actors-who-got-a-share-of-film-profits.aspx

Walking Around (Pablo Neruda)

1The takeaway here is if you have a bad attitude and outlook on life, the world will seem to be against you; instead of being bitter, become better.

Have students compare various music/songs that is about man/woman vs. society music to this poem. What do the songs and this poem have similar in them? Are there similar words used in the songs compared to the poem? If so, what are they and what do you (the student) think the word (or words) a metaphor about?

http://blog.mediate2go.com/2015/01/top-10-songs-about-conflict-2014.html

https://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2012/07/songs-for-sticking-it-to-the-man.html

 Death Constant Beyond Love (Gabriel Garcia-Marquez)

2The result of this story is even the most important things to someone or something they have put so much effort into can be erased by one simple decision. In this case the Senator lost his focus of how society views him and gave into lust, which made this one decision he disgraced his family and name with the scandal after living his life on the straight and narrow. The moral of the story is, do not lose sight of your path by giving in to immorality.

I would have students research similar stories to this this one and do a summary of and cite contrast(s) and similarities to Death Constant Beyond Love, clearly citing passages that are the same and different and how the two relate.

https://medium.com/the-h-diary/a-portrait-of-loneliness-f1694a6bad2e

https://possibilitychange.com/loneliness/

https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=8337&context=etd_theses

http://www.native-languages.org/legends-carelessness.htm

https://www.marcandangel.com/2018/08/12/7-short-stories-that-will-change-your-attitude-and-spare-some-pain/

 And of Clay Are We Created (Isabel Allende)

3Humanity is something originated from people, but sometimes humanity can ruin people as well. For example in And of Clay Are We Created Carle, one of the main characters is unable to maintain his objectivity of being a reporter as he joins in the unsuccessful rescue attempt of a girl who is trapped in clay and stays with the girl until she dies. As he talks with the girl he remembers and begins to address his own youthful suffering, which he has repressed for many years.

Because this short story is similar to the volcanic eruption and mudslides in Columbia in 1985, I would have students research this event, and compare their research to the short story outlining in a short summary the similarities between the two.

https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/omayra-sanchez-colombia-1985/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omayra_S%C3%A1nchez

https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/and-clay-are-we-created

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Teaching students of this week’s topics:  I would have an open discussion with students on what they learned in the readings, including the themes they think represented all the stories and how those themes apply (or does not apply) to their daily lives. Have them think on places that have meaning to them and possibly what they might mean to another person. Students then should talk about a situation where they were able to make a variety of choices that were immediate. Have students write a summary of a time in their life where they may have felt time was standing still, going really slow or moving way too fast.

 

Another great assignment would be to have students think of a decision they made, it can be a personal decision or a school-related decision. They should outline their decision process: 1) identify the problem, 2) establish decision process, 3) think about alternate decisions (could be 2-3 directions to go in – which needs to be described in detail), 4) evaluate the alternatives (decisions) – think about how one decision is different than the other and what they think the outcomes would be and then, 5) they should select what they think the best decision would be, why they think it is the best and what they think the outcome will be – or if it’s something they actually went through, to describe the decision they made and if the outcome was what they thought it would be. They may want to add what their perception of the decision was and how it made them feel at that time.

 

Resources for assignments:

https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-principlesmanagement/chapter/assignment-decision-making/

https://usu.instructure.com/courses/425883/assignments/2089830

https://www.assignmentpoint.com/science/psychology/perception.html

 

Reference

Puchner, M. (Ed.). (2014). The Norton Anthology of World Literature (3rd ed., Vol. 2). New York: W.W. Norton & Company. Retrieved from https://digital.wwnorton.com/3461/r/goto/cfi/760!/4

Identity

Main Theme: Identity

The readings for week 5 are of African and African American literature. The readings were heavily describing the loss of identity, hanging onto identity and making a new identity – whether it was as a group or individually. Notes of a Native Son, Chike’s School Days, The Deep River, and poems from Senghor, all beautifully describe the loss and gain of identity and fighting to keep identity.

Identity is the characteristics determining who a person is. In Notes of a Native Son, the narrator talks about when his father was alive, they grew up with him reiterating to not trust any “white” person. Achebe’s Chike’s School Days, Chike is given three names including American and African names, how his father made his family learn the “ways of the white man”. The Deep River the people of Monemapee had forgotten their origins and original language, essentially losing their identity. Senghor’s To New YorkNight in Sine, Prayer to the Masks and Letter to a Poet he describes how people have clung to their identity, their roots, their culture in one form.

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Notes of a Native Son  (James Baldwin)

NotesTakeaways from the reading:

  • The theme of this is about identity
  • Even the closest family members can be toxic
  • You can evolve from past experiences
  • Choose to be kind, even in the face of adversity
  • There were series of historical events when Baldwin was growing up including the “social protest” novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • …lies are “more palatable than the truth”

Using pop culture to engage students:  I would have students look up music that can relate to the theme(s) of this book and find the correlation between them as well as differences.

http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/arts/race_songs.html

https://songselect.ccli.com/search/results?List=theme_Identity&CurrentPage=2

Chike’s School Days (Chinua Achebe)

ChikeTakeaways from the reading:

  • You can still maintain your origin and ethnicity while “assimilating” to another culture
  • Although you’re born into one culture doesn’t mean you cannot be brought up in another
  • Education is everything – even when one is trying to be just as good as another

Using pop culture to engage students: Because this story discusses a lot about rituals, I would discuss the difference between traditional culture and modern culture and have students research on how pop culture changes traditional culture and/or what impact pop culture has on society.

https://www.csub.edu/~bruff/Pop%20Culture%20Articles.pdf

https://medium.com/@thenewswell/impact-of-pop-culture-on-society-fde92ae986f0

The Deep River (Besse Head)

Deep RiverTakeaways from the reading:

  • Head’s story is about individuality and identity
  • Even though the birth of an illegitimate child, the parents are willing to brave society’s disapproval
  • Because a body of people agree with their leader, they follow which in turn breaks the unity of the others

Using pop culture to engage students: Have students look up tribes and compare disbanding to displaced people.

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/apr/09/indigenous-people-are-being-displaced-again-by-gentrification-aboriginal-redfern-west-end-fitzroy

To New YorkNight in Sine, Prayer to the Masks and Letter to a Poet (Leopold Sedar Senghor)

SenghorTakeaways from the readings:

  • How you look at life, whether it is positive or negative, will depend on your attitude
  • Keep in touch with your roots (culture/ethnicity)
  • Society itself tries to have cultures assimilate to their proximities

Using pop culture to engage students: I would use music and art to engage students; with these four poems I would have students look up the roots of African music and art

https://www.si.edu/spotlight/african-american-music/roots-of-african-american-music

https://www.pablopicasso.org/africanperiod.jsp

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Teaching the topic of “identity” from this week’s readings

I would talk to my students about the difference between culture and cultural identity. Explaining to them that culture, shared by a group of people is a set of values and belief systems. Cultural identity, more individualized, where a person puts together multiple aspects of the culture (or cultures) to which they belong to. After discussion, I would then have students write 2-3 paragraphs about their culture(s): the beliefs, values, traditions/rituals and compare them to this week’s readings by stating what is similar and what differences there are.

Reference

Puchner, M. (Ed.). (2014). The Norton Anthology of World Literature (3rd ed., Vol. 2). New York: W.W. Norton & Company. Retrieved from https://digital.wwnorton.com/3461/r/goto/cfi/760!/4

 

Spirituality & Symbolism

Main Themes: Spirituality Symbolism

Week 4 readings bring up the theme of spirituality and symbolism in The Conquest of MexicoThe Night Chant, and Yellow Woman. These readings, though different, are still similar due to the nature of the literature being Native American being that the Native American culture has deep history of using spirituality and symbolism in their stories.

Spirituality includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves – usually involves the search for meaning in life. In The Conquest of Mexico the indigenous people saw signs and omens before Spain even arrived – precognitive insight? The Night Chant from the Navajo Ceremony displays a picture that everything has beauty and the mantra continues throughout the chant. Yellow Woman, Silko uses compares nature to tie in the spiritual qualities of the story. The example Silko uses is when the narrator describes how she got to where she is, “Silva had come for me; he said he ahd. I did not decide to go. I just went. Moonflowers blossom in the sand hills before dawn, just as I followed him.”

Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. In the case of this week’s readings, symbolism is a little bit more than that. Symbolism is an artistic and poetic movement or style using symbolic images and indirect suggestion to express mystical ideas, emotions, and states of mind.

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The Conquest of Mexico  (from Book 12 of the Florentine Codex)

Florentine CodexTakeaways from the reading:

  • The Codex itself talks about the Nahua culture, beliefs and history
  • Spain did not think highly of Mexico
  • The Codex had a total of 12 “books” starting with Gods as the 1st book and The Conquest being the 12th
  • The Nahuatl narrative begins with an evocation of the “signs and omens” that were said to have appeared before the arrival of the Spanish. I find that part fascinating (and eerie) because there has been a few times where I had dreams and a few months later those dreams became reality.

Using pop culture to engage students:  Have students research indigenous people similar to those in Mexico including comparing/contrasting cultures, religions and beliefs.

https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Indigenous_peoples_of_the_Americas

The Night Chant (from Navajo Ceremony)

Takeaways from the reading:Night Chant

  • The repetitive nature of the poem/chant is always telling a precise lesson/story
  • There is beauty in everything once we look at life differently
  • One has to be self-aware in order to heal and “be one” with the Universe

Using pop culture to engage students: Have students work poem of their own, making it at least a page. It could be about something fictional, a chant, a song or a happy or sad memory.

https://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/poetry-writing-tips-how-to-write-a-poem/

https://ourpastimes.com/how-to-write-a-chant-poem-12286132.html

Yellow Woman (Leslie Marmon Silko)
Yellow Woman
Takeaways from the reading:

  • The narrator represents all women
  • The story tells of almost a dreamlike state before returning to “reality” – the merger of spirituality and reality can be murky at times if we’re not thinking straight

Using pop culture to engage students: Students can look up songs that have the theme of spirituality and compare to the story of Yellow Woman and discuss the similarities of the lyrics between the two.

https://aleteia.org/2018/04/06/6-timeless-pop-songs-with-spiritual-themes/

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-43547436

https://spinditty.com/playlists/Pop-Rock-and-Country-Songs-About-God-Faith-and-Church

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Teaching the topic of “spirituality” from this week’s readings

Teaching spirituality to high school students would be a touchy subject, but since we would discuss these three books and the theme of spirituality, it will be met with open minds and being respectful to students and teacher. First have a class discussion about the difference between spirituality and religion. Once the discussion has been concluded, define each to the students. Next have students write a summary of a time that they dreamed of, or “saw” signs and omens before something (a specific event) happened and answer the following questions: What did they dream/see? Was the sign/omen/dream similar to what happened? Were they afraid? Happy? Sad? Was it life changing? If so, how?

https://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/precognitive-dreams.html

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/can-dreams-reveal-potenti_b_642775

Another interesting assignment would be talking about “Spirituality Healthy Habits”. Ask students to contemplate their meaning and purpose in life by writing a Mission Statement

http://www.projectschoolwellness.com/wellness-basics-spiritual-health/

Reference

Puchner, M. (Ed.). (2014). The Norton Anthology of World Literature (3rd ed., Vol. 1 & Vol. 2). New York: W.W. Norton & Company. Retrieved from https://digital.wwnorton.com/3461/r/goto/cfi/760!/4

Stereotyping

Main Theme: Stereotyping

Week 3 readings were very straight forward with the theme of stereotyping. In Diary of a Madman the mane was obsessed on how others looked at him as he called them animals and assumed they were going to eat him. Sealed Off had two strangers on a tram, the Zongzhen made an assumption by stereotyping Cuiyuan, while Man of La Mancha the man stereotypes himself by what he carries in his pockets.

There are many stereotypes which is also considered as profiling a person.

  • Racial profiling which is very common in every day society
  • Gender profiling such as:
    • “men are stronger than women”
    • “men do more work than women”
    • “women aren’t as smart (or successful) as men”
  • Cultural profiling:
    • “all white Americans are obese, lazy, and dim-witted”
    • “all people who live in England have bad teeth”
    • “all Jewish people are greedy”
  • Groups of Individuals:
    • “Goths wear black clothes”
    • “Girls are only concerned about physical appearance”
    • “All blonds are unintelligent”

In Diary of a Madman, the Chinese society is stereotypically referred to as the hyena society, as seen through the madman’s “visions”. Sealed Off begins with Wu Cuiyuan making assumptions about everyone on the tramcar, including Lu Zongzhen. Man of La Mancha, the main character is worried about what people will think with the “junk” he has in his pockets.

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Diary of a Madman (Lu Xun)

MadmanTakeaways from the reading:

  • Social appearances are common in Chinese culture
  • The madman understands “the truth” while everyone else in the tale is blind
  • The madman actually is afflicted with a dreaded disease
  • The madman is highly paranoid, even of his own brother

Using pop culture to engage students:  Have students compare a similar book to Diary of a Madman and point out the similarities and differences, noting if it’s modern or pre-modern era.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/similar/122353-ku-ngr-n-r-j

Teaching the topic of “stereotyping”: Diary of a Madman: Have students write a summary of a time that they felt like the world was “against them” and to describe in detail on how this made them feel and what the outcome was. Did the outcome turn out different than what they thought? If so, what was that difference? If not, would they have preferred to have a different outcome?

Sealed Off  (Zhang Ailing)

Sealed OffTakeaways from the reading:

  • Zongzhen and Cuiyuan are forced to think honestly about their family and relationships
  • Cuiyuan is reacting to the boredom of life, the routine of going through life without an emotional reaction.
  • Zongzhen is motivated to get away from his wife’s cousin’s son by sitting with Cuiyuan.
  • Not all first impressions of a person is “real”

Teaching the topic of “stereotyping”: Sealed Off: Students can write a brief sequel to the story where Zongzhen and Cuiyuan meet again in the future, either near future or 10 years later or whatever the student chooses. You could also add guidelines such as 1) the sequel has to be believable and based on the existing story, 2) they must include the values, behavior and personality of Wu and Lu and 3) they need to have dialogue between the two characters. You could also have them put it in a 2-4 page story form.

Using pop culture to engage students: Have students do a compare and contrast between this reading (Sealed Off) and another book about stereotyping.

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/stereotypes

Man of La Mancha (Chu T’Ien-Hsin)

Man of La ManchaTakeaways from the reading:

  • The man was worried how he would be perceived when he died: boring and shabby
  • The man shows he is comfortable with his identity but uncomfortable with how it would be perceived
  • Don’t be so obsessed with making sure you are impressive to others after you die because you’ll miss out living your life

Teaching the topic of “stereotyping”: Man of La Mancha: Make sure students have a piece of college ruled notebook paper, then assign each student a number and have them write their number at the top of the paper, then have the students list every item they have in their wallets or backpacks the paper. Once the students are done listing their items, have them give you their papers, then make sure to pass out all the papers, but to other students and have those students write a brief summary on the back of the paper about the list they are looking at, describing what perception they have of the person according to their list. 

Using pop culture to engage students: Have students research movie stars or singers use their status – and describe what that actor/actress or singer is being perceived at.

https://www.gobankingrates.com/net-worth/celebrities/celebrities-who-pay-it-forward/

https://rodriqueslaw.com/blog/where-stars-matter-most-and-where-they-dont

http://aplatformforgood.org/5-celebs-used-status-change-world-better/

Reference

Puchner, M. (Ed.). (2014). The Norton Anthology of World Literature (3rd ed., Vol. 2). New York: W.W. Norton & Company. Retrieved from https://digital.wwnorton.com/3461/r/goto/cfi/760!/4