Quotations by Rod Serling

Standard

rod-serling-399777_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

“All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes -all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the earth into a graveyard, into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance. Then we become the grave diggers.”

 

“It has forever been thus: So long as men write what they think, then all of the other freedoms – all of them – may remain intact. And it is then that writing becomes a weapon of truth, an article of faith, an act of courage.”

 

“The writer’s role is to menace the public’s conscience. He must have a position, a point of view. He must see the arts as a vehicle of social criticism and he must focus on the issues of his time.”

 

 

Classroom Trials!

Standard

law-1063249_960_720

https://pixabay.com

I frequently end some of my college classes with courtroom trials, and this semester I was able to incorporate this activity into both a traditional day and an evening non-traditional First Year Writing class.  In both classes, held at different schools–Lehigh University and the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College, the students conducted criminal trials of characters from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

220px-Frankenstein.1831.inside-cover

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horror-literatur

From having my students perform this exercise over many years of teaching, I have found that it gives the students a dynamic path into understanding the text. By having them produce, what I name a living paper, they gain a very deep comprehension of many aspects of the book; among them are theme, motif, character development, and social critique.

I serve as the judge, while students are prosecutors, defense, characters, and, in the traditional class, jurors.  Because the class size is smaller in the non-traditional class, I had various people from the Wescoe School act as jurors.  To the guest jurors–thank you! You did an excellent job in judging the charges.

frankenstein-394281_640

https://pixabay.com

The traditional class was conducting their trial against the Creature, while the non-traditional class was trying Victor Frankenstein.

Frankenstein_Alternate_Book_Cover

http://eng10frankenwiki.wikispaces.com/franken+pics

Both classes performed lively and informed events.  In both, the prosecutors presented a list of potential criminal charges, and the defense challenged them.  I made the final decision and eliminated some so that we would have a manageable number of charges to handle in a short time. These are not law classes, so the jury judged on who did the better job of making and supporting arguments not on issues of jurisprudence.  I was deeply impressed with both classes and the effort they invested in their respective projects. They did excellent work, and they all seemed to enjoy the project. I am convinced that adding a creative component to a class almost always adds to students’ comprehension of the material being learned.

In both classes, the decisions on the charges were split.  Both defendants were found guilty on some charges and not guilty on others.  I find it interesting that in all the years I have done similar trials, there has never been one with a unanimous sweep either for the prosecution or the defense.  While the verdicts were split, my opinion on my students’ work is definitive–they did an excellent job!

analysis-1010888_960_720

https://pixabay.com

 

Walt Whitman Teaches Us to Question Everything

Standard

Walt_Whitman_-_NARA_-_525875

(commons.wikimedia.org)

I have taught Walt Whitman in several classes, and this excerpt is from his introduction to the 1855 First Edition of Leaves of Grass.

leavesofgrass

(http://www.whitmanarchive.org)

Whitman was one of the greatest American poets and has been called the Bard of Democracy. He challenged the existing views of normalcy in the United States across a wide range of topics. We live in a time, perhaps even more than in the 1800s, when great pressure exists to conform to what society defines normalcy to be. I believe it is crucial for individuals to find out who they are, for what they have passions, and what they believe. With this thought in mind, I want to share this small excerpt:

“re-examine all you have been told at church or school or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem”

walt-whitman-391107__180

(https://pixabay.com)

Whitman shattered the conventions of his time, and his admonition to us to question everything is as important today as it was in the mid-1800s.

meadow-63987_640

(https://pixabay.com)

Please, keep Whitman’s idea in mind, and question everything.