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Writing Dead: Analysis and Writing Assignments Built around

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Melissa McFarland

on 9 June 2014

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Transcript of Writing Dead: Analysis and Writing Assignments Built around

Doppelganger
Small In Class Activities
Rick Grimes -- Complicated Symbol
Character Analysis
Themed Unit
Have students write and research real doomsday scenarios. Decide which is most realistic and the best way to prepare for it.

Gives students experience with research and argument.
It's the End of the World... and We Write about It
Zombies
SPOILER Warning for the entire presentation.
Why
The Walking Dead
?
Writing Dead:
Analysis and Writing Assignments Built around AMC's
The Walking Dead

Show is based on award winning comic series by Robert Kirkman
Nominated for numerous awards - including Golden Globes
Most watched drama series on cable TV
Developed by Frank Darabont
Students know it and love it. It's literature that they can connect with and with our help connect to a bigger body of literature. Really... it's gateway literature.
Dystopian / Utopian Society
literal translation: double walker

Michonne's doppelganger and her reaction can be used to discuss others -- like Hamlet and Laertes or Achilles and Hector.
Michonne kills her walker-twin and is able to re-connect with Carl and Rick.
The elementary struggle for survival in the zombie apocalypse isn't a struggle against evil; it's a struggle against an amoral horror. But it's also the context for another kind of struggle that determines all of the drama in The Walking Dead: the struggle among the survivors to remain human, to maintain their human identity.
~Goldberg, Gould and Meslow
Ask students to think of other doppelgangers in the show:
NONFICTION
S
eattle “My People”
King, Jr. “I Have a Dream”
Turkel “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dream”

SHORT FICTION
Vonnegut “Harrison Bergeron”
O’Brien “The Things They Carried”

POETRY
Robinson “Richard Cory”
Auden “The Unknown Citizen”
Piercy “To be of use”
Collins “The Names”
Brooks “The Bean Eaters”
Marquis “the lesson of the moth”

DRAMA
: The Walking Dead,
selected episodes
The Hunger Games
Favorite character and why?
Potential Reading List
Influence of George Romero
Original myth is North African and depended on a sorcerer reanimating a dead body.
"Symbols make us think. Symbols can change the world. And, sometimes, symbols are all we have to help us maintain our resolve, even on our darkest and our most tragic days." ~~From the documentary,
Paper Clips
.
Horror set in Middle America; becomes real, not mythic
Existential crisis becomes literal
Cultural interpretations
Duane Jones
Vietnam War
Walkers in The Walking Dead
All of us are already walkers
"Fight the dead, fear the living"
Heightens the conflict between the living -- scared of becoming a zombie, not of zombies
“The heroes never die in American movies. The jolt of that and the double jolt of the hero figure being black seemed like a double-barreled whammy.” -- Duane Jones
"Monsters are tools used to analyze a given society." ~~ Jacob Hughes, A Monstrous Pedagogy
Jacob Hughes -- A Monstrous Pedagogy
Semester long Monster Class
Five Papers
Why are monsters so prevalent in society and in pop culture?
Research a monster from a different culture
How are monsters related to "others" and "othering"?
How have you been "othered"
What can monsters tell us about ourselves and society?
Group Exercise
Have students write about their favorite character, explaining 5 reasons why that character is their favorite.
Group students by characters and compile a best list
Students then mix up and debate the best character on the show
Can follow up on social media, like Twitter
Alternate Assignment: Explain why certain characters are so hated ...
Write a response to
The Walking Dead
. How does the program present the American Dream? What elements are dystopian? Utopian?
In Class Response
Essay Assignment
Write an essay in which you explore how 3 of the works present a similar elements of a dystopian or utopian society. Examine what the authors may be asking us to re-think about ourselves, our society and our culture. Correlate this element to a present reality in your analysis.
No easy characterization for Rick
Have students discuss/write about his role in the series
Relate Rick to other protagonists in literature
Melissa McFarland, PhD
Central Carolina Technical College
Sumter, SC
mcfarlandml@cctech.edu


Jason Wester,PhD
Northwest Community College
Senatobia, MS
jason@jasonwester.com
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