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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   



12. Migrant
Struggle


•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
Activities
- Author
Activities
- Context
Activities
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Creative Response

  1. Poet's Corner: Describe what "being an American" means to you. What makes Americans distinctive? Make a list of American characteristics. Now write a free-verse poem that explains why you do or do not see yourself as "American." Use Langston Hughes's "Theme for English B" as a model for your poem.

  2. Creative Writing: Write a creative story about one day in the life of a person in a small midwestern town on the eastern edge of the state on a major East-West interstate highway. A highly contagious disease has broken out on the East Coast, and people are fleeing that part of the country and coming west in great numbers. No one knows who might be carrying the disease. How would you react to these travelers? What do the officials of your town and state do to protect residents from this disease? Include a scene of confrontation. Use Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath as a model.

  3. Journal: Have you ever entered an environment in which you felt like an outsider? Perhaps you left home to go to college or moved to a new town or visited another country? Did you at times feel powerless, voiceless? Did you feel like you had little control over your own life? Describe the situation and what it felt like. How did you handle it? Now interview others using these questions, including students, relatives, or your parents. Write down your observations in a journal.

  4. Letter Writing: Assume the role of Helena Maria Viramontes. Have Viramontes write a letter to John Steinbeck, explaining to Steinbeck what he left out or got wrong about migrant workers in The Grapes of Wrath. Then, write a reply from Steinbeck to Viramontes.

  5. Letter Writing: Write a letter to a local, state, or national politician explaining a situation that you would like to see changed. Use an activist's voice, and list the reasons why the present situation is unfair and the changes you'd like to see take place. Justify the expenditure of money it would take to enact your changes.

  6. Presentation: Tackle a project on any of the themes associated with this unit, such as migrant workers, labor unions, environmentalism, the Great Depression, or the Dust Bowl. Create a poster, put together a videotape, do a PowerPoint presentation, write and produce a radio play, make a map, or anything else that inspires you to explore your theme in more depth.



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