Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup
Search
Follow The Annenberg Learner on LinkedIn Follow The Annenberg Learner on Facebook Follow Annenberg Learner on Twitter
MENU

In Search of the Novel:Teacher-TalkNovel

Subject: Re: Frankenstein--for what ability?

From: gcor (gcor@jersey.net)
Date: Tue Mar 28 2000 - 09:15:17 EST


Denee,

I think the original text written in the language of Mary Shelley's time was worth
the effort. Even though I had to listen carefully to what my students were telling
me about how difficult it was for them to understand the language and the shifting
point of view, I know that they learned a great deal about how language changes.
They also learned about a technique in fiction writing. Language reflects the
culture; language shapes the culture. Novels do not necessarily have a unified
point of view.

When I taught English to high school students in the 70s, I remember that I had a
wide range of preparations. For the students not going on to college, I always
tried to introduce them to full-length works in the original text. I also had
available comic book classics, but I taught them some of the works on our list.
Having film versions of the classics really helps. Also, finding all of the
references in the media helps. Frankenstein seemed to leap out in advertising,
headlines, films....

"Gods and Monsters" is a film about White, the director of the original
Frankenstein horror classic. While I did not show this film during class, I
mentioned it several times in case the students had seen it in the theatres, or
rented it for home viewing.

I would not show the students the three film versions of the novel until after we
had read and discussed the entire novel. It was well worth it to hear them
identify distortions in the original film classic, to hear them sympathize with the
Creature in the Mary Shelley version, to laugh at Mel Brooks's comic version.

When the students found out that Mary Shelley was younger than they when she wrote
the novel, they were amazed. It led to even more interesting discussions about the
influence of family on language development. When several students realized how
"scandalous" Mary Shelley's life was, too, and how outcast she had been, they
started to think about how the Creature was symbolic of all who are outcast,
perhaps even the author.

The classic in its original text is well worth teaching, but I warn you, it takes a
great deal of effort and preparation. On the high school level, you might get a
copy of a screenplay, or have students write a scene and act it out. There are
many ways to get them involved to connect them to the power of words.

Truly,
Gail

___________________________________________________________________

Dr. Gail S. Corso
Associate Professor of Communication Arts
Coordinator or Writing
Neumann College
Aston, PA 19014-1298
gcorso@neumann.edu
610-558-5515

Denee Stevenson wrote:

> Dear Gail,
>
> Thank you so much for your response. Despite your students' frustrations,
> it appears
> that they benefited from the experience of reading and exploring the issues
> both of
> language and related topics.
>
> As a college professor, what is your opinion of the classics "made easy" by
> changes
> in language and editing as some publishers offer. I recently found a
> version of
> Frankenstein, but I haven't looked at the copy. Up until this point, I've
> eschewed
> those versions myself. What do you think?
>
> Denee
> ----------
> >From: gcor <gcor@jersey.net>
> >To: Multiple recipients of list <Teacher-TalkNovel@learner.org>
> >Subject: Re: Frankenstein--for what ability?
> >Date: Thu, Mar 23, 2000, 10:22 AM
> >
>
> >
> >--------------B23B547BFE6A566A4FD0BF6C
> >Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> >Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
> >
> >Hi Dennee,
> >
> >I have taught the novel recently to a small group of readers in a college
> >developmental reading course. The language in the novel is very difficult. I
> >found that I had to discuss each chapter of the book, and read aloud whole
> >passages to help students decipher meaning. For each section I developed
> >study guide questions.
> >
> >Students did "I-Search" type research papers related to an aspect of the book
> >that interested each of them. I started this process by sharing with them
> >Internet sites about Frankenstein, and we had a book in our library about
> >genetic engineering. The students were fascinated by Mary Shelley's life,
> >too, and several of them began to think that the monster was symbolic of her
> >existence.
> >
> >We viewed three versions of the film after we completed discussing each
> >chapter of the novel.
> >
> >If you add this novel, the students will experience a degree of frustration
> >with language, but it then becomes an occasion for discussing how language
> >changes with the time, how literature reflects the author's identity, how
> >literature reflects philosophy, religion, history, and science.
> >
> >I have not yet viewed the videoconference about this novel,but I look forward
> >to receiving a copy soon.
> >
> >Truly,
> >
> >Gail Corso
> >
> >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> >
> >Dr. Gail S. Corso
> >Associate Professor of Comunication Arts
> >Neumann College
> >Aston, PA 19014-1298
> >gcorso@neumann.edu
> >
> >Denee Stevenson wrote:
> >
> >> Although I have not read the novel Frankenstein, I've been impressed with
> >> the depth of issues the 11th grade teacher has his students explore in the
> >> video
> >> we see for the course. I have juniors in class who, I feel, would relish
> >> discussing
> >> these issues of science, creation, creator, etc. My concern is that they
> >> have low
> >> reading levels and low interest in reading.
> >>
> >> How difficult is the text of the book? Has anyone used this novel with
> >> students
> >> who have below-grade level reading abilities and interests?
> >>
> >> Denee Stevenson
> >>
> >> stevenson@basd.k12.pa.us
> >
> >--------------B23B547BFE6A566A4FD0BF6C
> >Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii
> >Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
> >
> ><!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en">
> ><html>
> >Hi Dennee,
> ><p>I have taught the novel recently to a small group of readers in a college
> >developmental reading course.&nbsp; The language in the novel is very
> >difficult.&nbsp;
> >I found that I had to discuss each chapter of the book, and read aloud
> >whole passages to help students decipher meaning.&nbsp; For each section
> >I developed study guide questions.
> ><p>Students did "I-Search" type research papers related to an aspect of
> >the book that interested each of them.&nbsp; I started this process by
> >sharing with them Internet sites about <i>Frankenstein</i>, and we had
> >a book in our library about genetic engineering.&nbsp; The students were
> >fascinated by Mary Shelley's life, too, and several of them began to think
> >that the monster was symbolic of her existence.
> ><p>We viewed three versions of the film after we completed discussing each
> >chapter of the novel.
> ><p>If you add this novel, the students will experience a degree of frustration
> >with language, but it then becomes an occasion for discussing how language
> >changes with the time, how literature reflects the author's identity, how
> >literature reflects philosophy, religion, history, and science.
> ><p>I have not yet viewed the videoconference about this novel,but I look
> >forward to receiving a copy soon.
> ><p>Truly,
> ><p>Gail Corso
> ><p>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> ><p>Dr. Gail S. Corso
> ><br>Associate Professor of Comunication Arts
> ><br>Neumann College
> ><br>Aston, PA 19014-1298
> ><br>gcorso@neumann.edu
> ><p>Denee Stevenson wrote:
> ><blockquote TYPE=CITE>Although I have not read the novel Frankenstein,
> >I've been impressed with
> ><br>the depth of issues the 11th grade teacher has his students explore
> >in the
> ><br>video
> ><br>we see for the course.&nbsp; I have juniors in class who, I feel, would
> >relish
> ><br>discussing
> ><br>these issues of science, creation, creator, etc.&nbsp; My concern is
> >that they
> ><br>have low
> ><br>reading levels and low interest in reading.
> ><p>How difficult is the text of the book?&nbsp;&nbsp; Has anyone used this
> >novel with
> ><br>students
> ><br>who have below-grade level reading abilities and interests?
> ><p>Denee Stevenson
> ><p>stevenson@basd.k12.pa.us</blockquote>
> ></html>
> >
> >--------------B23B547BFE6A566A4FD0BF6C--
> >


 

© Annenberg Foundation 2014. All rights reserved. Legal Policy