This unit will focus on understanding various representations of democracy using different genres and authors. These will include excerpts from Thomas Paine’s
The Rights of Man
, excerpts from Alexis de Tocqueville’s
Democracy in America
, John Steinbeck’s
Grapes of Wrath
, Langston Hughes’ “Let America be America Again”, and John Ford’s film “Grapes of Wrath”. Students will use this range of texts to analyze and synthesize the original idea of American democracy and how it has changed over the course of American history.
In order to begin analyzing and interpreting democracy, students will identify what democracy is. As students begin to realize that the idea of democracy is more complicated than a mere definition, students will read different interpretations of what American democracy is and where and why it originated.
Then students will begin to evaluate how these original ideals of what democracy was changed over the course of American history. They will be expected to analyze the process of the change and its effects on the American people. I will ask students to include past and current events along with any experiences of their own. The main text of the unit will be
The Grapes of Wrath
. Students will analyze, evaluate and discuss the failures of democracy throughout the novel.