From Paul Bäumer in the trenches of WWI to Jack Merridew on an uninhabited island to Scout Finch in Maycomb, Alabama, all characters experience change. We will study the complexity of identity to understand the nuances of how characters develop. Many literary analysis prompts, whether multiple choice on the STAAR exam or prompts on the AP Literature exam, challenge you to decode the significance of physical and psychological shifts.
Rhetorical analysis also requires us to study the identity of the speaker and the identity of the audience. Contextualizing identity can help illuminate strategies a specific the speaker uses to persuade a specific audience. The language groups use, the words we choose to label ourselves and other, the appeals we make to our fellow humans: these are all examples of the power of rhetoric.
Denotations and Connotations of Identity:
Gender: girls growing up Who is the audience? Who are the speakers? What the purpose of the message?
In her documentary, A Girl Like Me, teen filmmaker Kiri Davis conducts interviews with her peers to explore the impact and consequences of these messages. She then reconducts Dr. Kenneth Clark's "doll test" with young African American children with sobering results.
How does Mrs. Elliot convince the class of her claim?
Aristotelian Appeals: Logos: Pathos: Ethos:
What did her experiment prove?
From Facing History: "A Class Divided is an expanded version of Eye of the Storm. In this documentary, Jane Elliott meets with her class to talk about the classroom experiment focused on discrimination she performed 15 years earlier and the effects it had on their lives. In addition, Jane Elliott is seen giving this lesson to employees of the Iowa prison system."
Our class will only watch the first two days.
Everyone like us is "we" and everyone else is "they"
Consequences of Connotation, Choices, and Conformity