The following curriculum design is centered on the theme of the human need to be accepted. I have chosen both fictional and non-fictional works to disabuse students of the erroneous belief that literature is always imaginary, a fantastical creation far removed from their lives. If students are to reap any rewards from the things that they read, it is imperative to connect the themes in the works that they read with contemporary issues. Students will read poetry, short stories, a book (Alex Haley's Roots) and articles pertaining to the struggles that people have establishing solidarity with others, the reasons that they cannot establish connectivity, the repercussions that they suffer because of their isolation, and the measures that they take to survive despite the odds. The works they will read range from Beowulf, which was written in the West Saxon Dialect of Old English between the eighth and tenth centuries, to Death of a Salesman, first performed on Broadway in 1949.
The plight of the characters in these stories will be compared to one another, and also to articles about such things as the prostitution of women and young girls in Bombay, India, drug abuse in the inner-cities, age discrimination in America, and the de facto bondage of minorities in today's society.
The goals of this project are, certainly, to encourage critical thinking skills, improve facility with language, both reading and writing, draw comparisons and contrasts between cultures, improve oratorical and interpersonal communication skills, encourage logical reasoning, analysis, and synthesis, increase student awareness of the problems that surround them, help them identify with people of various ethnicities, socio-economic standing, and ages, and, most importantly, to learn about themselves and their relation to the world and the people around them. The chosen activities incorporate whole class discussion, group work, theatrical performances,