Throughout the year we've been reminded by Shakespeare, Dickens, Plato, Sartre, and many others that some literature never gets old. The passage of time makes it all the more poignant or insightful. Dickens' London is Occupy's Wall Street. "To be or not to be" will forever be the question. The hero always embarks on the journey and fights for the forces of love and goodness and light. And no matter when they were written, or by whom, or even for what purposes, certain texts flip a switch and SPEAK to us in a way that makes us certain that we are no longer alone in our thoughts.
Here is a powerful example. Last month it was reported that 13 year-old author Jada Williams wrote an essay in response to The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and entered it in a contest. According to this account, "the schools' teachers and administrators were so offended by Williams' essay that they began a campaign of harassment—kicking her out of class and trying to suspend her—that ultimately forced her parents to withdraw her from the school."
Literature may be timeless but technology isn't. We have an opportunity to learn from this moment in ways our predecessors couldn't. Let's begin a conversation about this online (we'll extend it in class). After you have carefully considered both the coverage of this situation and Ms. Williams' essay, please comment to this post and include the following information:
1. Given what you've learned about the AP Lit/Comp rubric and the evaluative standards we have established in class this year, please analyze Ms. Williams' essay as a response to literature. Begin with what Ms. Williams does well (which, I think you'll agree, is easy to do!) and then note where/how you think her work might be improved. (NOTE: if you find this difficult to do on video, pause it frequently or watch it once to take general thematic notes and go back a second time for details such as diction, syntax etc.)
2. Critique Ms. Williams' arguments. Are her premises true? Are her inferences valid? Does she accurately identify logical fallacies and/or use them herself?
3. Given your own experiences in K-12 education, to what extent does Ms. Williams have a point? Is her perspective unique to a particular race or demographic, or is it valid for students of all backgrounds in schools around the country/world? How would you advise policy leaders, teachers and parents to help young people get the best education possible? What lessons can you take away from Ms. Williams' work that will help you and others on the path to discovery?
Good Education link here