» Additional Lesson Ideas:
Examining Race through Poetry
Through irony and understatement, Langston Hughes's poem, "Dinner Guest: Me," invites an examination of the relationship between blacks and whites in America. A series of questions on the Student Handout : "Dinner Guest: Me" by Langston Hughes, will guide teachers and students through a reading of the poem. The poem is available at: [http://www.poemhunter.com/p/m/poem.asp?poet=6691&poem=31566]
Creative Responses to Invisible Man
This lesson invites imaginative responses (poems, spoken word, music, art) to quotations from Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, a novel that traces, through its main character, the choices open to African Americans during the 20th century.
- "I am an invisible man. No. I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you sometimes see in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination—indeed, everything and anything except me." (Prologue, page 3).
- "I am not ashamed of my grandparents for having been slaves. I am only ashamed at myself for having one time been ashamed." (Chapter 1, page 15).
- "America is woven of many strands; I would recognize them and let it so remain. It's 'winner take nothing' that is the great truth of our country or of any country. Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat. Our fate is to become one, and yet many-- This in not prophecy, but description." (Epilogue, page. 577).
Parallels and Differences: Exploring the Rodney King Trial
Students interested in law and legal history can explore the 1992 Rodney King trial for parallels and differences to the issues of the O. J. trial: