Lesson Plan--Literary elements and devices or focus points within 11/22/63

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jrsamericanlit

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Nov 20, 2015
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I teach this novel (by my choice) in an American Literature course during our contemporary authors unit. It coincides well with our US History course and we schedule this so that the 1950s and 1960s are the main topic in their history classroom.
Beyond the historical significance, what do you feel is most teachable in this novel? Character development? Repetition and aphorisms? ("Dancing is life" or "Life turns on a dime") Relationships between characters? Theme?
I did not anticipate the relationship my students (15-18 year olds) would feel toward Sadie. I loved Sadie as a character, but I identified more with Jake/George. After Part 5, students are inevitably very upset with King. (No spoiler here).
Thoughts?

Thanks!
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
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Cambridge, Ohio
I teach this novel (by my choice) in an American Literature course during our contemporary authors unit. It coincides well with our US History course and we schedule this so that the 1950s and 1960s are the main topic in their history classroom.
Beyond the historical significance, what do you feel is most teachable in this novel? Character development? Repetition and aphorisms? ("Dancing is life" or "Life turns on a dime") Relationships between characters? Theme?
I did not anticipate the relationship my students (15-18 year olds) would feel toward Sadie. I loved Sadie as a character, but I identified more with Jake/George. After Part 5, students are inevitably very upset with King. (No spoiler here).
Thoughts?

Thanks!
...comparisons/contrasts between lifestyles then and now?...a more "innocent" vs "technological" age.....
 

Lockdain

I wrestled a bear once!
Jan 19, 2016
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City of Voronezh, Russian Federation
I teach this novel (by my choice) in an American Literature course during our contemporary authors unit. It coincides well with our US History course and we schedule this so that the 1950s and 1960s are the main topic in their history classroom.
Beyond the historical significance, what do you feel is most teachable in this novel? Character development? Repetition and aphorisms? ("Dancing is life" or "Life turns on a dime") Relationships between characters? Theme?
I did not anticipate the relationship my students (15-18 year olds) would feel toward Sadie. I loved Sadie as a character, but I identified more with Jake/George. After Part 5, students are inevitably very upset with King. (No spoiler here).
Thoughts?

Thanks!
I think it depends on your personality, your age and your gender. Why do i think so? Let's take a little journey!
*Minor spoilers under*
Me, as example: I'm 25 years old male, not from US, my work is a kind of creative - i'm an engineer. So. As for me, the most interesting - is detailed description of gone time period. I tried to feel the zeitgeist of US in 60's and i did it. In fact, i imagined it due to accurate era's portrait, made by Stephen King. It satisfied my interest, because i literally touched the US history through this window.
In terms of morals, the most teachable conclusion for me is that it's not always possible to balance between personal interests (Jake and Sadie storyline) and interests of society (reality corruption due to Jake's time travelling, "butterfly effect"). Sometimes it's important to think about other people, not about yourself.
Besides, i'm not indifferent to Sadie, she seems to be the most suffering character in this novel, despite she doesn't know that fact in reality. And Jake, he will carry this affliction through his life, because he, unlike Sadie, remember all that happenned in other timestring, while Sadie only touches it through her dreams...
 
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Robert Gray

Well-Known Member
I teach this novel (by my choice) in an American Literature course during our contemporary authors unit. It coincides well with our US History course and we schedule this so that the 1950s and 1960s are the main topic in their history classroom.
Beyond the historical significance, what do you feel is most teachable in this novel? Character development? Repetition and aphorisms? ("Dancing is life" or "Life turns on a dime") Relationships between characters? Theme?
I did not anticipate the relationship my students (15-18 year olds) would feel toward Sadie. I loved Sadie as a character, but I identified more with Jake/George. After Part 5, students are inevitably very upset with King. (No spoiler here).
Thoughts?

Thanks!
Ethics. While I realize that is the purview of a Philosophy course, I think American Literature has a strong undercurrent of ethics going all the way back. I believe this novel, in particular, deals with a series of important philosophical and ethical questions. The primary, internal conflict itself is created by an ethical dilemma. It is an interesting illustration of the changing notions of ethics in America that many people who read it are either oblivious to the primary conflict, or simply cannot comprehend it. We live, sadly, in a world where preemptive action is slowly but surely becoming the byword. The protagonist of this novel, by contrast, is torn because he (better than anyone) can apply preemptive action but has a set of morals which do not sit well with such actions.

Younger students will always be upset with King because the young still believe (and it isn't such a bad thing) that everything turns out right, and happy endings are the only correct ones. They live in a world of black and white. Shades of gray are the purview of adults. I expect most of them will reread it later and forgive Mr. King. When it comes to character motivation and development, the tale is a feast. Younger readers will have problems because it is realistic development clothed in a fantastical situation. Hollywood (and sadly many other books) treat character development as a "watershed moment" to use a term from the book. Characters in lesser fiction always have this epiphany where they change their stripes. We all know that isn't how it really works. Mr. King's novel does character development and growth in the subtle real time (ironically) in which it takes place. There is never single moment. There are thousands and the weight of them builds up like water behind a dam. For those raised on a diet of instant gratification, this feels strange. For those still young and raised on instant gratification in their fiction, it feels alien. Time and wisdom will show them otherwise, but it isn't awful for those lessons to come later.
 
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