The Global Bildungsroman: A Film Study of Individual Identity and Integration into Society

byElouise E. White-Beck
This four-week unit will address three short stories in the tenth grade English classroom whose themes will be extended through the additional study of three films from different cultures. The stories and corresponding films are: Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" and Michael Cuesta's 12 and Holding (USA), Doris Lessing's "No Witchcraft for Sale" and Mike Newell's Into the West (Ireland), and Sylvia Plath's "Initiation" and Fredi M. Murer's Vitus (Switzerland). The stories are all under the heading of The Individual and Society in the Pittsburgh Public Schools tenth grade curriculum and each story and film pair represents one of three prongs of that theme: identity, fidelity, or conformity. Methodology and activities can be adapted to other stories and films. Filmography including other choices is included for extended study or application to other grade levels and literature choices. All films are readily available through Netflix or online at very reasonable prices.

(Developed for English II, grade 10; recommended for English, grade 10)

Comments (1)

    L McDonald (Dover Bay Secondary, Nanaimo, BC)
    Subject taught: Senior English, Film and Television, Grade: 12
    Reading Complete
    An excellent and well thought out unit. Your worksheet for viewing definitely pulls out some of the filmmaking devices(colours, soundtracks, etc) no differently than novelists will use their literary devices. Society communicates in several ways and this unit effectively shows that. Great job!

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