Teenagers often feel the need to hide their true identity deep inside, but the mask that gains them acceptance can also crush their spirit. This unit examines façade, personal repression, and societal oppression via the aptly titled book, Bottled Up by Jaye Murray. Bottled Up is the story of Pip, a teenage screw up, who represses everything he feels until a book assigned in English class tears away his mask. Reading Stevenson’s novel, Pip realizes he’s living out his own Jekyll and Hyde story. Eventually, he manages to shirk society’s restrictions, balance his impulses, and release the truth of his soul. Murray’s book provides an opportunity to delve into some of the many powerful adaptations of a classic story, while also serving as the foundation for a socially progressive unit. During this unit students will track the consequences of repression in various Jekyll and Hyde adaptations. They will explore socio-cultural influences on each version while building analytical skills to deal with written and filmed texts. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, students will question the repressions our current society demands, evaluate the consequences, and ask themselves what they can do as citizens to right some of the world’s injustices.
(Developed for English 1, grade 9; recommended for English Literature, grades 9-10, and Reading, grades 8-9)