Sample Research Paper
Overall Rationale: The overall rationale for this unit is to provide a chance for students to come to a deeper understanding of and be able to analyze their own feelings toward the groups of which they are members (including their sense of patriotism or their rejection of patriotism) to their concepts of self-identity and how the relationship between group and individual identity in their own lives matches the experiences of the characters in the texts. The overall rationale meshes with the primary goal of this state standard.
The content of this unit is linked to the previous unit in this course, which dealt more generally with themes of conflict in literature. This unit identifies strategies that authors use to develop and differentiate a personal sense of identity for their characters. This unit revisits the role that conflict has in shaping characters and examining how one particular type of identity (the patriotic or humanistic self) is developed in a work of literature. This unit is also linked to the next unit, which examines connections among history, biography, literature. Each of these book touches on how literature, biography, and history can be blended to create more powerful stories, and each of these books will be examined again in the following unit.
The content of this unit is linked to the student’s own lives as conceptions of patriotism have taken center stage in American public life since 9/11. The three authors for this unit (which extends for six weeks altogether, this exercise includes lessons for one week focusing on the O’Brien book) present very different conceptions of the relationship between the individual and the state and how ideas of loyalty, nationalism, and patriotism change during times of war and peace.
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