Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Considering Fundamentalism (created by Beth Day, Furman University)

Considering Fundamentalism

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Supplemented by:

Excerpts from: Surfacing (Atwood)

Excerpts from: Writing with Intent: Essays, Reviews, Personal Prose (Atwood)

Reading Lolita in Tehran (Nafisi)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Essential Question: What effect do extremist ideologies have on people? What effect do extremist governments have on their citizens?


· Religious extremism

· Political extremism

· Ideological (Ie- feminist) extremism


· The teacher is familiar with Atwood and Satrapi's own statements about their work. Surfacing and Writing with Intent are good resources for insight into Atwood's background and ideas, as well as this interview: http://www.randomhouse.com/resources/bookgroup/handmaidstale_bgc.html.

· Atwood's discussion of her influences and motivations will likely make clear the connection between these two texts.

· The teacher uses present-day Iran as the springboard from where other research and discussion can move from.

· The teacher joins students in locating Iran on GoogleEarth as well as exploring the country via the internet through this tool and other web-searches. (GoogleEarth provides extremely recent photos of the countryside, the people, and the country as a whole.)

· The teacher provides excerpts from Reading Lolita in Tehran (a book that provides additional insight into Iran during the revolution interspersed with literary criticism of novels students may be familiar with.)

· The teacher prepares quotes from extreme leaders through history, as well as the impact these extremists had on history.

Student Products:

· Students could be responsible for research on:

· Present-day extremist states

· Present-day extremist ideological movements

· Past extremist states

· Past extremist ideological movements

· Students could choose to work in groups and present their findings on a more extensive topic to the class.

· Or, students could opt to write a more in-depth research paper on a specific aspect or person.

· Students might respond to the quotes their teacher provides from extremists with a letter to the person either warning them of the possible consequences of their ideology or encouraging them to continue on, depending on the historical consequences.

· Students could also do this exercise by writing letters to people they perceive to be present-day leaders, warning or encouraging them, backing their concerns or support with references to Persepolis, The Handmaid's Tale, and the research they have done on real-world extremists.

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