In order to help students to gain an understanding of their own aesthetic dispositions, I have chosen four main analytical strategies for students to experiment with as they examine "Circe's Palace." Students will "try-on" these different structures and experience viewing the story through a given lens. Students will also be required to write a response from that given perspective. At the conclusion of the activity, students will reflect on the experience of viewing the story through the given lens's structure. Students will note what if anything within that approach might parallel or contradict their own personal aesthetic. In this exercise students build a meta-awareness of their own epistemologies, as well as a working vocabulary and skill set to defend their assertions.
While a number of established analytical strategies were examined, the following four analytical strategies were chosen to include as strategies in this unit.
Reader Response is an essential form of critical analysis used in the district's curriculum. This approach allows students to build interpretations and make connections to a text based on their own lived experiences. Not only is this approach developmentally appropriate for ego-centric grade 9 students, it is also a necessary skill for success on the CAPT. Students have lots of practice in Reader Response throughout the curriculum and I am anticipating that this section of the unit will be the easiest for students to master. Students will continue to practice this strategy in daily "Do-Now" activities and when responding in exit slips.
This approach was adopted to help students to understand and examine the cultural underpinnings of the context and audience for whom the text was originally intended. By embracing this approach to examining a text, students will be able to uncover the cultural attitudes regarding sex, seduction, and gender roles inherent in the text. This approach will also activate prior knowledge students will have learned in World History regarding Greek culture. This analytical literary strategy will allow students the opportunity to use what they already know to understand themes and cultural values presented in The Odyssey. My hope is that through the cognitive exercise of compare and contrast students will learn more about their own cultural view point by juxtaposing it to those viewpoints shared in the text.
Students will compare and contrast their own emerging sense of personal aesthetic with those of their peers. In doing so, they may or may not find similarities between them-selves and their peers. By taking this approach to analysis of a text, students are also making text-to-world connections. Successfully making these connections is essential to reaching mastery on the CAPT. Because students are so focused on themselves and their world, they should be able to easily draw connections between the lives of the characters and their own lives. My students are consumed by both romantic and platonic relation-ships with their peers. This is not atypical for students developmentally. This analytical strategy will add a dimension to students' understandings regarding what constitutes a healthy and balanced relationship or friendship. Through applying this strategy, students may find friends among their peers they did not expect who share common points of view and life experiences. My hope is that this strategy will challenge students to go beyond superficial appearances and interests to make high quality connections with their peers. Therefore, this analytical strategy will be especially helpful in building class community and empathy among students.
The class text deals specifically with issues of male/female attraction and seduction. Dissecting the sexuality of the character of Circe, a "famous enchantress who turned men into beasts"
is of central importance in the story. With regard to grade 9 students, who are currently discovering their own sexuality, this approach to analysis seems particularly relevant. This approach to analysis will challenge both male and female students to examine the role of gender in our classroom, school and even within their individual families. Looking at Circe through a feminist lens will allow students to focus on and examine her role in the story. By applying this analytical strategy, Circe will be the central focus. In following the criteria for feminist analysis, understanding Circe's role in the story and her character will be the only appropriate viewpoint for students to take. This will not only help to focus students, but it will present a clear and focused set of style guidelines to follow when writing.