AMERICAN VALUES http://www.freeze.com/Content/Item.aspx?pid=14
We hold these truths to be self-evident , that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights , that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Declaration of Independence (Adopted in Congress 4th July,1776)
President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address Nov 19 1863 http://www.hms.harvard.edu/hmni/On_The_Brain/Volume04/Number4/Picts/linc.jpg http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/images/big/ Gettysburg-Address.jpg
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedication to the proposition that all men are created equal. That nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth. Transcript of the Nicolay Draft of the Gettysburg Address _45041493_lincoln_getty466
Barack Obama America’s 44th President used Lincoln's Bible at his Inauguration The extract below is taken from President Obama’s inauguration speech - January 20 2009 _45041493_lincoln_getty466 On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics. We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the tempest-tossed, to me: I lift a lamp beside the golden door.Emma Lazarus Her poem was written in 1903 to help raise funds for the pedestal of the Statue. The Statue of Liberty, a gift from the French Government was dedicated on the October 18, 1886 http://images.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://wirednewyork.com/landmarks/liberty/images/liberty.jpg
President Obama stated in his address to the nation at his inauguration that ‘We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents. So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.’ Many texts – novels, films, short stories, plays etc examine whether these ideals articulated by America’s founding documents are in fact a reality. SOME OLD AND … http://images.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://blogs.abc.net.au/articulate/images/2007/12/19/cuckoosnest.jpg http://images.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://www.life.arizona.edu/diversity/images/12-angry-men-old.jpg&img http://images.google.com.au/images?gbv=2&hl=en&safe=active&sa=1&q=to+kill+a+mockingbird
… SOME NEW – You might like to read / view some of them http://www.prometheusbooks. com/images/ images/ americandream.jpg http://keishaksp.files. wordpress.com/2009/0/ mysisterskeeper.jpg http://www.umass.edu/rso/dxp/images/crash.jpg
You are already quite familiar with the theme of American Values from your studies and assignments from Year 10. The concept of INTERTEXTUALITY is most important to your studies in Year 11. Here is a reminder of the reality of American values as presented in To Kill a Mockingbird. http://images.google.com.au/images?gbv=2&hl=en&safe=active&sa=1&q=to+kill+a+mockingbird
“One more thing, gentlemen, before I quit. Thomas Jefferson once said that all men are created equal . . . There is a tendency in this year of grace 1935 for certain people to use this phrase out of context, to satisfy all conditions. The most ridiculous example I can think of is that the people who run public education promote the stupid and idle along with the industrious – because all men are created equal, educators will gravely tell you, the children left behind suffer terrible feelings of inferiority. We know all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe – some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they’re born with it, some men make more money than others, some ladies make better cakes than others – some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of most men.
But there’s one way in this country in which all men are created equal – there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court. It can be the Supreme Court of the United States or the humblest J.P. court in the land, or this honourable court which you serve. Our courts have their faults, as does any human institution, but in this country our courts are the great levellers, and in our courts all men are created equal.”
This extract links directly to the American ideals expressed by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, 4th July 1776. In the light of what happens following Atticus’s appeal, the harsh reality of all men being equal is revealed. http://images.google.com.au/images?hl=en&q=To%20Kill%20a%20Mockingbird%20film&safe=active&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi
Some of you may well be familiar with the movie Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks, as a young lawyer who was unfairly dismissed by his firm because he contracted AIDS, and Denzel Washington as his lawyer. Initially his character refused to take the case because he too was prejudiced against gay men. Here is what he had to say in his defence summation. http://www.impawards.com/1993/posters/philadelphia.jpg
We are standing here in the city of Philadelphia, a city of brotherly love, birthplace of freedom where the founding fathers offered a declaration of independence. And I don’t recall that glorious document saying anything about all straight men are created equal, I believe it says that all men are created equal. [Lawyer defending – Andrew Beckett, Tom Hanks in the movie version, of Philadelphia.] http://www.impawards.com/1993/posters/philadelphia.jpg
In this unit we will be looking at what values, attitudes and beliefs are foregrounded in a variety of American texts. Many will illustrate that prejudice, stereotyping and misconceptions can affect judgment and wrongly determine whether all men are created equal. One primary text, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, published in 1939, clearly establishes the value of friendship as a means of coping with a very hostile outside world that provides no comfort for those who are weaker, or need special treatment, or for those who are different by race, age, gender, class etc. http://omam.wikispaces.com/file/view/0140177396.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg
Short stories are particularly effective in exploring themes and issues and relationships between different groups and/or individuals within a particular social context. Unfettered by the need to explain everything, the story shaper can focus on essentials. Two short stories included in the unit are:- ‘The Test’:- a short story by Angelica Gibbs which illustrates the issue of power abuse, where actions all originate from personal prejudices and ignorance. The characters; Marion, the Inspector and Mrs. Ericson represent three different societies which collide and are caught in a situation where there is a victim, a perpetrator, and a denying, yet guilty onlooker. This story was first published in The New Yorker on 15 June 1940http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=angelica+gibbs+the+test&meta=&aq=0&oq=Angelica+Gibbs ‘ Protestants Cry Too’– with a focus on religious stereotyping
Novel extracts, poetry, song lyrics and movies will all be part of the unit leading to your assessment – SHAPING STORIES. • TASK: Following your reading and deconstruction of: • John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and the Sinise film interpretation • various well known American documents / speeches • various professional short stories • modelled student responses • various American poems • and any other related texts of your own choosing • you are required to • 1. Intervene in the selected text and write your own short story which makes use of the time period and dominant and / or marginal characters from the novel or other selected text. • OR 2.Develop your story prompted by a theme, discourse or character situation within a published text.
Ideasyou might like to consider:- • Fill in textual gaps. • Introduce additional characters or events which • do more than fill gaps. • Add another character who takes the story in a • different direction. • Introduce alternative views / values. • Give marginal characters more voice • women,Negroes,the elderly, the infirm / • physically handicapped,the working class etc. • Reminder:- You must derive your stimulus from a published text and explain your concept in your justification.