Sunday, July 19, 2009

A current draft for IB English IV

(All works were chosen from IB's rather restrictive List for Parts II and III of the curriculum.)

1st semester:

Notes of a Native Son (James Baldwin)

Richard III (Shakespeare)

Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare)

East of Eden (Steinbeck)

2nd semester: [Theme: Class Rebellion]

The White Tiger (Aravind Adiga)

Native Son (Wright)

Song of Solomon (Morrison)

Oryx and Crake (Atwood)

Only two women, and very U.S.-centric, which might be issues. I feel a little like my hands are tied by a rather restrictive list (which is only about 20% women). The non-fiction and the Atwood are the two that are most wobbly right now. I'm required to do a non-fiction, and I really like James Baldwin, but that gives me three African-American authors in the curriculum, which might be overkill. I've ordered a few others from the non-out-of-print authors on the really disappointing list (Jung Chang's Wild Swans, which would be perfect if it weren't nearly 600 pages; Michael Ondaatje's Running in the Family, which might ultimately work; I have a Wole Soyinka book here as well).

And, as for the Atwood, I liked the Atwood book quite a bit, but its connection to the theme of the second semester is wobbly. I like that it's not about race, but there's little rebellion in it, unlike the other three works. I'm reading Andre Brink's A Dry White Season, a South African novel, right now. It's alright. It's a possibility, but that gives me another male author and I just couldn't do a semester with just one woman. Earlier suggestions for God of Small Things would work, except for a technicality that you're only allowed to have one country represented by the book from which you pull your WL text, which for me will be The White Tiger, another novel out of India.

Also, the two Shakespeares (instead of a poetry collection, as we did a poetry collection Junior year) was inspired by a probable field trip to the Folger to see Much Ado this November. I love the idea of studying a Shakespeare with scholarly kids and then being able to go see it live.


smoneil said...

The Folger production of Much Ado looks fascinating. It will be interesting to see how they bring in the island theme/culture. Book tickets early, though. I looked into taking my kids to The Winters Tale this spring, and they were sold out weeks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Haven't read Oryx and Crate, but what about The Handmaid's Tale? Goes over well with students and gives a different example of oppression.

Lauren said...

Does your HS drama ever do Shakespeare? The best part of my HS was doing Shakespeare in theater, taking a Shakespeare class and going to see community college productions of Shakespeare. (No city productions as I grew up out in Western MD.)

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