Global and Multicultural… Oh my!
This is the final week of multicultural literature review. This is the grand finale of multicultural literature reviews. Though the journey has been long, and road is never ending, there is still so many sights to see and so many stops along the way. Each of this week’s selection of stories were not from one type of multicultural literature genre such as African-American, Jewish, Latino, or even Chinese culture. These authors each are, themselves, multicultural. Each of the stories however, still do share a common theme: in some way shape or form they each blur national boundaries. What does that mean you wonder? Well, the theme of blurring the national boundaries, which is a great way of saying each of the stories exercise the influence of multiple cultures. Now this… Is where we get really multicultural. After my review of the four stories for this final week I will find the best method for teaching this theme to a Secondary Education classroom. Carry on!
It all starts with Salman Rushdie’s story The Perforated Sheet a story about a 31-year-old man named Saleem who seems to be dying. Even though the character is dying, this is not the main purpose of the story. The reason the theme of blurred national boundaries is important here is because of the things Saleem discovers. For example, his grandfather Adam Aziss who is either Muslim or Indian and seems to fall out of touch with his religion, and after living in Germany for five years, he returns home and finds that things are not as he once thought them to be. The valley that he once loved seemed smaller and somehow unimpressive to him. It was the experiences he had in Germany, the mixture of what he was used to at home and his life in Germany portraying the theme.
Next up is Girl by Jamaica Kincaid which is my favorite of the four stories. This story is perhaps the piece of literature that does best at bringing an understanding of what blurring of the national lines is like. I initially thought that the next story was best, but now I see differently. When you read Kincaid’s story it seems as though it is simply a nagging mother doing her best to guide her seemingly rebellious daughter. You understand that this story is more than that though, it’s about how a mother and daughter relationship like the one in this story is not bound simply by just one culture. It is something that all cultures can share a commonality in. I see clearly now how this story best fits the theme chosen. The excerpt I chose as example is this one: “on Sundays try to walk like a lady and not like the slut you are so bent on becoming.” This is the something that the mother said to her daughter in the story and the daughter is just recalling it. Throughout the story a version of this excerpt was mentioned repeatedly. This really clears up how the theme fits best in this story.
Now we move onto the story Wedding at the Cross by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o which is an interesting story. As previously mentioned, I thought this was the story that portrayed the theme the best. After having reread both Kincaid’s story Girl and this story I realize this story portrays the theme the least, though it is still there. The best example of where the theme is strongest in this story is this: “Theirs then was a good Christian home and hence their objected to their daughter marrying into sin, misery and poverty: what could she possibly see in that Murebi, Murebi bii-u? They told her not to attend those heathen Sunday scenes of idleness and idol worship. But Miriamu had an independent spirit, though it had since childhood been schooled into inactivity by Sunday sermons-thou shalt obey thy father and mother and those that rule over us- and a proper upbringing with rules straight out of the Rt. Reverend Clive Schomberg’s classic: British Manners for Africans.” This long excerpt I really feel blurs the national boundaries because of how relatable the female characters family is to that of families now.
Finally, we end with Book One of Derek Walcott’s story Omeros which is a story about a man named Achille who seems to be making a canoe. This particular story was perhaps the hardest to relate to and understand. In the story the author Walcott equates the trees that Achille is chopping down for his canoe to some gods that used to rule the island that Achille is on. “Like barbarians striding columns they have brought down, the fishermen shouted. The gods were down at last.” The plural ‘gods’ to me makes me think of Greek mythology and I see now that this is where the theme applies. Achille names his boat In God We Troust which is his version of the phrase on American money In God We Trust. Even though I feel like I was grasping at straws, this is where I see a blur of the national boundaries in this story. It all started with a tree.
After the analysis of the theme: blurring of national boundaries I feel I have found a great method for teaching this outlandish theme to that of Secondary Education (high school) students! First and foremost, as part of the lesson plan you need to work with your students to swiftly and painlessly as possible define theme: the central idea or message in a work of literature. After having done that we get down to the crazy fun stuff! OnlineUniversities.com (2013) suggests creative things like incorporate the identified theme in a popular song by rewriting the lyrics for it and replacing them with different aspects and events of a story that contain the theme. One great example this website mentions is the movie Zombieland where Clay Morgan explained post-WWII double tapping through this film. It was an interesting way to explain something historical through a very funny and creative outlet. This is the purpose of lesson plans for modern teaching. Taking an unorthodox, but yet out of the box method and flipping it around for the purpose of teaching can work wonders. I personally suggest that students should take your lyrical mash-up of a popular song incorporating the identified theme and choose a different song where they can do their own version of the lesson. It is a fun and intricate way to teach students and allow for them to remember key points about a story and understand the theme better. Let me know what you think in the comments!
I am attending college online with Grand Canyon University (GCU) for an English Teaching degree for Secondary Education. The first question I was asked when I made the decision to embark on this journey to be a teacher was, "Why do you want to be a teacher?" My response: "It is not for the money." Regardless, I am looking forward to being a teacher and am on this blog as part of a college course. I have written (never published) books and poetry of all kinds and have a love for writing in general. I have never done a blog before so we will see how this goes. Let's do this!