As we are finishing The Kite Runner, the main character has spent many years both in his homeland and as an immigrant in the US. Through Amir we are introduced to both an Afghanistan before and under Soviet rule, and then finally, we get a glimpse of a devastated country under the Taliban.
How did the descriptions of Afghanistan agree with or differ with the ideas and impressions you already had of this country?
What cultural differences become evident in the parts set in the US?
How easy is it for Afghans to settle and find their place in the US?
Write a ONE paragraph blog post answering these questions.
Having read the first seven chapters of The Kite Runner (2003), you have probably started to get to know some of the important characters. Who is the protagonist? Who is the antagonist? Who is your favorite character and so forth…
A character sketch is a short description of a character based on what the book has told you so far. Remember that you get to know a character not just from descriptions the book makes of him/her, but also through actions, thoughts and conversations this character is shown to have.
Choose a character from The Kite Runner: Amir, Hassan, Baba, Ali, Rahim Khan, Assef, or someone else, and write a character sketch. Find quotations from the book to emphasize your points.
Example of the beginning of a character sketch. Amir is the narrator of the story. He lives in San Fransisco, but grew up in Kabul in the 1970s with his father, Baba, and servants Ali and Hassan. He has a complicated relationship with his father, “He’d close the door, leave me to wonder why it was always grown-ups’ time with him” (p.4). Amir seems lonely, and it seems like his father wants very little to do with him, or takes little interest in him.” … and then it continues
Recommended reading – although it is mostly pictures – a very interesting piece from the New York Times about 18 girls around the world turning 18. What are their lives like – differences, similarities, hopes, dreams etc. Take a few minutes and look at the photos and read the few captions here.
Yesterday, this article was posted in the New York Times. It relates directly to the topics we are working with, quality education and gender equality. It is about an incident in Pakistan where 14 schools, most of them for girls, where burned down during one night, in a district where only 11% of the girls know how to read and write.
“One girl with courage is a revolution”
As an introduction to the topic Global Challenges you are going to watch the film Girl Rising.
Girl Rising is a film about the benefits of educating girls. It introduces nine girls from around the world in their struggle to get an education and achieve their dreams.
The film was released in 2013 and is part of the Girl Rising campaign.
As we watch the film, take notes, as you are to to discuss the film in your groups afterwards. Also, note down all the global challenges that are dealt with in the film and see if you can group them together in a logical order.
- Which girls’ stories made the greatest impression on you? Why?
- “One girl with courage is a revolution”. After watching the film, what does that phrase imply – do you agree or can you think of a better catchphrase?
- Girl Rising is neither pure journalism, nor fiction. The filmmakers have tried to go beyond the facts into the human experience. Did you find yourself getting lost in the stories in a way that was interesting or effective? Why or why not?
- The girls of Girl Rising live in very difficult circumstances. Yet they do not consider themselves as victims. Are you able, through the storytelling, to relate to their lives in a way that lets you empathize rather than sympathize? Why or why not?
- What are the messages from the film that you think will resonate most strongly with people who are not already familiar with this issue?
Ingunn and Hanna
As agreed from your last blog posts, we will start working with the global goals of quality education and gender equality. These two goals are often intertwined, which is why I put them together.
Start with reading about the goals here and here.
Write a summary in your own words about what you learn from the two different sites. What is the actual problem? Why is Quality Education and Gender Equality so important that they take up two of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals?
And how are these two goals, 4 and 5, so intertwined? Explain and discuss.
Also include how you would like to work with these goals. Post this on your blog.
When you finish, read the short story “Chinasa” by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adicie. You will find the story on It’s Learning and get it as a handout. Note down difficult words and look them up. Comment on how, if at all, this short story relates to UN Goals 4 and 5.
Hanna & Ingunn
As mentioned last week, we are going to move on from studying abroad and volunteering to working abroad.
Today we will look at migrant workers, mostly through listening to accounts found on E2 – which is Gyldendal’s resource for international English.
You will work with some questions based on these accounts, before moving on to reading an excerpt from Zadie Smith’s short story “The Embassy of Cambodia.” You will get the excerpt as a handout, but if you are interesting in reading the entire story, you can find it here.
After having read the excerpt, I want you to write a blog post discussing Fatou’s story and comparing it to the statistical information you will also be given in class.
Publish your blog post at the end of class today.
Outsourcing of companies is a common phenomenon in our globalized world. Todd, the main character of “Oursourced”, faces numerous challenges as he experiences a new culture with different traditions and ways of communicating.
After having watched the film, write a text in which you discuss what cultural differences Todd has learned about and must overcome in his encounter with the Indian culture. Discuss some of the scenes where this is visible and discuss the change Todd goes through.
Write a blog post where you compare the book and the film. Watch the trailer to the film and an interview with the author, Mohsin Hamid and the director, Mira Nair linked to in this blog post
In your blog post, comment on differences in plot, character descriptions and relationships, as well as focus and message in the film vs the book. To what extent do you think that these changes are justified or even improve the story? Or do you think they contribute to the film losing all the subtlety and complex ambiguity of the novel, as argued in this review ?
Former Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Cameron, held a famous speech on multiculturalism in 2012 at the Munich Security Conference. Current Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, held a famous speech in 2015 at the Assembly of First Nations, where he announced that Canada was going to renew its relationship with its native groups.
After having seen Cameron’s speech, write a blog post of about 400 words where you present the basic ideas of the speech, comment on the speaker’s attitude and way of presenting his ideas to the audience. Also, choose one of the following statements and discuss them in writing on your blog.
- Non-violent extremists are just as dangerous as violent ones.
- Universities are bastions of freedom of speech and democracy; therefore, all ideologies no matter how extreme should be allowed to be taught.
- Multiculturalism separates groups of people from each other, assimilation should be encouraged.
On Wednesday, January 10th, we are going to watch Trudeau’s speech and blog the assignment handed out to you in class about how the Prime Minister and Canadian politicians have followed through on the promises made in this 2015 speech.