We started out this unit talking about Absurd theatre and comedy. I hadn’t heard of these topic before in a school setting, especially not Theatre of the Absurd. The definition of comedy was very interesting as well. I hadn’t thought about humor following a defined set of rules.
Our main focus was The American Dream. I learned so much about Albee, and the time period surrounding that literature. I always feel like literature is a reflection of a time period, and this piece was no exception. This was also the first time I had seen an author critique their time period. I was used to praise of the time they lived in, not outright attack of the era.
This was the first Absurdist play I had read, and it was a good introduction. Based on what I have seen so far, this play had absurdist elements, but it wasn’t the best example. The play was non-circular, because the Young Man replaces Grandma at the end. This play has had so many different interpretations as well. We read one interpretation that Grandma represented the old American Dream, while the Young Man represented consumerism and what society was moving towards. While I agreed with this interpretation, I also felt that being given an interpretation was bound to influence the rest of our discussion, which I saw in our theme statements. Most of them seemed to take for granted what the Young Man and Grandma represented.
The vocabulary we learned through vocabulary.com was useful in describing the themes from The American Dream. I knew some of the words already, but a few were new to me. Learning new words that can be used to describe is always a good thing. The terms we learned, on the other hand, is only useful to literature. Some of the terms, such as poetry, blank verse, and foot, I will use throughout my life, but words such as epizeuxis I am likely to forget once I get to college. Still, learning all of these terms was an interesting challenge, and recognizing them will be another challenge.
Learning about how to tackle the MC AP Lit questions was difficult. Literature is inherently open ended; asking students to narrow choices down between two options was tough. The questions are written so that most of the viewpoints are defensible, but only one is correct. I personally hated that, but I can think of no other way of incorporating MC questions into a literature based class. That is why I enjoyed the writing assessments we had more, because they asked us about our thoughts, and we were free to pick from whatever we wanted to.
We covered many different topics over the course of this last month. Most of them can be related to each other, especially the essay writing and the American Dream. I look forward to reading more great literature!