Students are reading Ernest Hemmingway’s classic The Old Man and the Sea and have been introduced to writers active in the time period they are studying in Global Studies, such as Upton Sinclair and Mark Twain. There is much crossover between these two subjects given that Mark Twain, in particular, can be studied both for his extraordinary literary achievements and his bold opposition to American imperialism.
The class has not only learned to recognize naturalistic elements within the stories they read, but they have also begun to use these elements in their own writing. Introduced to such nautical terms as “bow,” “stern,” “mast,” and “fathom,” students recently described their own ideal “skiff” that they would sail as imaginary fishermen/women, battling the tides of the sea and the denizens below like the Old Man..
Finally, preparatory lessons in creating characters, plot, setting, dialogue, and central conflict, using The Old Man and the Sea as a guide and discoveries in nature as inspiration, have laid the foundation for an exciting and productive National Novel Writing Month (November).