Before Viewing Questions
- Write George Eliot's name, dates (1819-1880), and nationality on the board. Ask students what they already know about the writer and the time and place in which she lived. Take notes on the board, creating categories as needed. Then print and distribute the George Eliot biography to students. Using information from the biography, add details to the list. Discuss what was a typical woman's life was like in Victorian England. How have women's roles changed since then? How was George Eliot's life unique for her time? What issues, questions, and ideas captivated her?
- Help students imagine daily life and technology in Victorian times. Discuss whether Victorians had any of the following: trains, bicycles, automobiles, airplanes, telephones, light bulbs, electricity, synthetic dye (for clothing), aluminum pots and pans, telegrams, daily newspapers, magazines, cartoons, antibiotics, telescopes, microscopes, pocket watches, bifocals, dentures, or shampoo. For a virtual tour of a Victorian House, visit the 1900 House Web site. You may also want to show students an episode or two of this PBS series, which explores not only everyday Victorian life but also the role of women in Victorian society.
- Find out what students already know about the history of Zionism. What are the goals of Zionism? When and where did Zionist ideas begin to grow? Have students research this often-controversial topic and its historical significance.
- Survey students to find out what other film or TV adaptations of Victorian novels students have seen, such as Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Wives and Daughters. Discuss why Victorian novels are still popular, as evidenced by the many film and TV adaptations. Besides George Eliot, have students research other famous writers of that period so they can better situate her in the literary landscape. See "Significant and Best-Selling Victorian Novels, 1837-1861."
- While viewing, list characters as they are introduced in the film. At the end of each episode or viewing segment, write three adjectives to describe each main character. After viewing the next episode, add one or two more descriptive words and strike out those that no longer apply as the plot progresses and characters develop.
Teaching Daniel Deronda:
Before Viewing Questions | After Viewing Questions
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Essays + Interviews | Who's Who/Cast + Credits
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