The Need for Government—A Cinematic and
Literary Perspective Class Length: 2-4 Class Meetings Objectives: Students will be able to: [if !supportLists]>1. Relate the philosophy of politics and
[if !supportLists]>2. Critically analyze the different forms and
services of government.[endif]>
[if !supportLists]>3. Imagine and describe a statue of nature, and
identify its advantages and disadvantages.[endif]> Materials: [if !supportLists]>- Movie clips from Cast Away (2000)(cited reference #1)[endif]>
[if !supportLists]>- Excerpt from Mark Twain’s Roughing It (cited reference #2)[endif]>
[if !supportLists]>- Copies
of texts from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden (cited reference #3)[endif]>
[if !supportLists]>- William
Golding’s The Lord of the Flies (cited reference #4)[endif]>
[if !supportLists]>- Art supplies[endif]>
[if !supportLists]>- Poster board[endif]>
[if !supportLists]>- TV and DVD/VHS player [endif]> Procedures: Students will begin the class with a quick write: [if !supportLists]>- Think of all the rules you follow every day.
Think about all the people who enforce these rules. Are there too many
rules? Too many enforcers? What would
happen if there were no rules and no people in authority? Think about emergency situations, crimes,
important tasks that need to get done.
How would things get resolved? How would it be determined who is in charge? How would you get what you need and protect your rights? Your family’s rights?[endif]> After students have completed these quick writes ask them to
form groups of three or four. Within
these groups students should read their entries to one another. In groups students should consider whether or
not they would like to live in this kind of society. Challenge them to explain their rationales.
Now ask students if they’ve ever read any literature or seen
any movies about lawless societies. Make
a list of these titles. Inform students that in this lesson they will have the
opportunity to consider several well known literary texts that describe lawless
societies. In groups of two or three,
ask students to complete the questions on the worksheet entitled, “Literary
Texts and Lawlessness”. Literary Texts and
Lawlessness Roughing It The devil seems to have again
broken loose in our town. Pistols and guns explode and knives gleam in our
streets as in early times. When there has been a long season of quiet, people
are slow to wet their hands in blood; but once blood is spilled, cutting and
shooting come easy. Night
before last Jack Williams was assassinated, and yesterday forenoon we had more
bloody work, growing out of the killing of Williams, and on the same street in
which he met his death. It appears that Tom Reeder, a friend of Williams, and
George Gumbert were talking, at the meat market of the latter, about the
killing of Williams the previous night, when Reeder said it was a most cowardly
act to shoot a man in such a way, giving him "no show." [After some
more arguing,] Gumbert drew a knife and stabbed Reeder, cutting him in two
places in the back. Reeder
[was] taken into the office of Dr. Owens, where his wounds were properly
dressed. [Being] considerably under the influence of liquor, Reeder did not
feel his wounds as he otherwise would, and he got up and went into the street. He
went to the meat market and renewed his quarrel with Gumbert, threatening his
life. After these threats Gumbert went off and procured a double-barreled shot
gun. [He came back, and shot Reeder twice. The doctors examined him and said it
was almost impossible for him to recover.] At
the time that this occurred, there were a great many persons on the street in
the vicinity, and a number of them called out to Gumbert when they saw him
raise his gun, to "hold on," and "don't shoot!" After
the shooting, the street was instantly crowded with inhabitants of that part of
the town, some appearing much excited and laughing; declaring that it looked
like the "good old times of '60."...It was whispered around that it
was not all over yet; five or six more were to be killed before night.
What problems arose in the town because there was no effective
How might authority be used to resolve these problems?
William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies, and watch a clip
of Cast Away (2000): Scenes of the stranded man trying to
break coconuts and make fire. Students will analyze these passages and answer
the following questions:
How is “nature” described in
the texts and movie clip?
2. What are the advantages and
disadvantages of being in a state of nature? Students will be
asked to describe their ideal world. Consider the following: [if !supportLists]>1. What rules would you make/break[endif]>
[if !supportLists]>2. Who would lead?[endif]>
[if !supportLists]>3. How would tasks/jobs be distributed?[endif]>
Where would food come from?
Relations with countries abroad?
Name for society?
Documents of laws or rules?
Students will draft,
organize, and present their ideal society to the class, with illustrations,
charts, and other visual aides. Students will
compare and contrast each other’s ideal societies with the society the American
Colonists wished for and built in the face of an oppressing British rule,
critically connecting Locke’s ideas of natural rights in their description. References: Broyles Jr., W.,
Zemeckis, R. Dir. (2000) Cast away. DreamWorks SKG Productions. Queck, J. (2007).
Quotes: Lord of the flies. Generation
Terrorists. Retrieved October 20th, 2007 from http://www.generationterrorists.com/quotes/lord_of_the_flies.shtml Resources. 2008. Center for Civic Education. 26 February 2008 <http://www.civiced.org/index.php?page=fod_ms_auth02_sb>.