Today, Ms. P's honors students started The Chosen, a fictional book that recounts the friendship of two young boys in New York City during WWII. This is a significant book for the class because it deals with Jewish culture, as did Night, but allows for a closer look at the different types of Jewish religion and the varying levels that may be found within. Unlike with Night, which I read in class with the students but did not keep up with in my own time, I am going to read and teach a lesson on The Chosen.
I believe that relating texts to one another encourages students to look for links throughout their own lives and also shows them that what they have learned previously or discussed in another book can also be applied elsewhere. Though I have never read Chaim Potok's novel, Ms. P gave me quick overview and I can already see some wonderful places for discussion between the two texts. One of the main focuses in Night was of silence, loss of faith, and relationships. In The Chosen, silence is also a theme and the friendship between two of the main characters drives the novel.
Each text is also an example of a genre of writing. Night is a personal memoir and The Chosen is a fictional novel; however, both have much in common. My goal, thus far in my planning, is to focus on these commonalities, but also examine how the differences in the stories (i.e. setting, type of Judaism, relationships, etc.) allow for a change in perspective on WWII, the Holocaust, and the Jewish faith. We will discuss how the differences create an opportunity for us, as readers, to build a more complete picture, but also how we might apply these principals to our own lives.
For example, what is the difference between choosing for oneself and having your fate chosen by someone else? How do we do view each text based on their differences? What is the significance of the similarities and differences? Do the books give different messages about friendship, tradition, faith? These are things that I want to examine as I develop my lesson plan.
Ms. P was open and excited about my ideas and I am going to work on a rough draft for a week from today so that we can go over any possible glitches and/or expand on my initial plan. My hope is that students will think about the connections between the books and read between the lines as to the significance that can be found in both the similarities and differences.