Saturday, October 25, 2008

Teacher Trio

After viewing an excerpt from the movie Sophie's Choice, our group discussion focused on questions such as:
- Why was Sophie's choice an impossible choice?
- Why did the officer say that she was privileged?
- What was the motivation for the choice Sophie was given?

The possible responses for the above questions that were discussed:
- No matter what choice Sophie made the guilt would have be unbearable
- That she was Christian
- The officer was mentally and emotionally torturing her.

What do YOU think?

The White Roses

Our discussion concerning Sophie's Choice led us first to talk about the mother. Specifically, we talked about making split-second decisions. In the clip, Sophie had to choose between sending her son or daughter away to an concentration camp. She doesn't have time to think through the decision because it's either one or both of them. She chose to send the girl away, which made us wonder, "How will she ever live with this decision? What could have been going through her mind as she made that decision? How will she ever forgive herself?"

We also discussed the biblical reference and its significance and linking to other texts in general. Specifically, we discussed text to text, text to world, and text to self.

In regards to age appropriateness, we decided that it would be best to use this with older high school students. They would be more ready to look at things through the eyes of a parent than a freshman or sophomore. The idea of split-second decisions would also be important at that age because they are just getting ready to go on their own and have full accountablity for the first time. They will get a better understanding of the ramifications even seemingly small decisions can have on their lives years later.

The Destroyers

After watching the clip, we were most concerned about the historical accuracy of the film clip and the presence of enough context clues to accurately understand Sophie's decision. Why exactly did she choose her younger daughter (whom she could have stayed with for a longer period of time) over her older son? Other questions that came up in the discussion was the exact destination of her daughter and why they were being separated as possible residents of the ghetto? Also, a final issue is whether or not the clip (and the entire film itself) is even appropriate for middle school students.

Saturday Seminar Assignment

Now that all of you have had the opportunity to watch Sophie's Choice, reflected on the movie clip, and generated some questions you have, you will get into a small group and do the following:

1. Discuss your questions with your small group.
2. Some additional questions you might discuss if you haven't already are: At what age is it appropriate to show this scene? How can Sophie, who survived the Holocaust ever forgive the SS officer?
3. After fifteen minutes of discussion, choose one person to write as other group members summarize the discussion and post it here on the blog.
4. After each group has their posts completed, each of you will go to a computer, read other groups' posts and comment on each.