Plan a panel discussion of five or six students and/or parents who have migrated to the United States, particularly from Puerto Rico. Have the class choose a moderator and help the moderator think of questions to ask.
Examples of questions
1. Where were you living when you decided to come to the mainland?
2. What type of community was it? How did most people make their living?
3. Did everyone in your family agree about moving?
4. Did you have relatives or friends already living in the mainland city you had chosen?
5. How did you choose the particular city in which to live?
6. How did you get your first place to stay?
7. How did you get your first job?
8. What do you miss most about Puerto Rico?
9. Do you know people who have moved back to Puerto Rico?
10. What do you like most about mainland U.S.A.?
11. Do you think you would ever move back to Puerto Rico?
1. Play the excerpt from
West Side Story
“I Like To Be In America”. Discuss the words and ideas about like in America expressed in the song. Is this the America seen by anyone in
2. Make a chart comparing the advantages and disadvantages of living in a slum and a poor village.
3. Ask the class if there are any social agencies in New Haven which could help a family like that in
. Students could look through blue pages of the phone book and make calls to various agencies to discover their functions; they could go to a large agency like Junta to find out what other agencies might provide assistance. The teacher could remind the class about resources such as school social workers and Infoline.
In addition to studying and enjoying each play separately, students should be able to make comparisons between characters in different plays. For example why is Luis the man of the house when he is not even Dona Gariela’s natural child? Compare his position to Walter Lee, who feels he is treated like another child in the household and has to earn and prove his manhood. Does this difference have anything to do with the difference between Hispanic and black cultures. Or does it have something to do with the characters of the two mothers: Dona Gabriela and Lena Younger? Is it a combination of the two factors? Lena and Amanda are both strong figures, but it seems that Lena does finally yield and give Walter Lee a chance to be a man. Except on the subject of God, Beneatha certainly has no trouble expressing herself. In Amanda’s house Laura can only express herself through her glass figures and is painfully shy standing in the shadow of her mother. Even Tom usually gives in to his mother and lives for most of the play in the fantasyland of the movie theatre. Linda and Ruth are protective of their husbands though Ruth does show some independence when she decides to get an abortion. The women seem to be the major figures in the plays, except for Willy Loman. Of course, the father is never seen in
as he is just the source of the insurance and in
The Glass Menagerie
where his enormous photograph or portrait emphasizes his absence.
As a sociology teacher I think it is essential that my students learn about relationships in other ways than reading graphs, charts, and short synopses of famous studies conducted by leading sociologists. It is important they they see that they can study roles and relationships and made discoveries themselves about how people live and relate to one another.