Gran Torino is a film released in 2008 that features Clint Eastwood as the main character as well as him being the director. Today’s subject day will be dedicated to watching and working with this film. It provides a range of topics to discuss, from multiculturalism and cultural differences, to various socioeconomic challenges, and shows a number of approaches to the value of human life.
We will primarily work in groups: before we watch the film by studying and discussing the film poster, and after the film we will delve into discussions around possible themes that come to mind while watching it. The end result will be an individual blog post that you publish on your own blog at the end of the day, based on questions handed out in class and the group discussions during the day.
“My Son the Fanatic” is a short story written in 1997 by Hanif Kureishi about a father and a son living in London, and struggling to adapt. The father left Pakistan and loves England, he wants to become as English as possible, because “you can do almost anything here.” The son has never been outside England, but still struggles to find his place in the English society, and is looking for something else, going back to the culture and faith of his ancestors, and becoming more and more angry with the society he sees around himself – the society his father is so in love with.
“Free for All” is a short story written by Moin Ashraf in 1999. This story too depicts a father and a son, this time in the US, the father doing everything “right” to become an upright and successful man in his new country, and being frustrated at seeing his son leaving the ideals of his own country and tradition. It is a culture clash, between a son who has grown up American, and a father who still looks back to and values of his Pakistani homeland.
Write a blog post where you EITHER compare these two stories in terms of father-son relationships and the question of identity and belonging, OR discuss what these two stories say about being an immigrant, and raising a family in a different culture. What are these two stories saying about multiculturalism?
Write a blog post of your impressions so far of the main character(s) in the novel you are reading. What do you know about this person and how do you know this – through dialogue, descriptions or in other ways? What about their relationship to other characters you have been introduced to? Write 2-3 paragraphs by Monday, January 28.
Comedians Trevor Noah and Hasan Minhaj use their own experiences and background in their stand-up shows «Homecoming King» and «Son of Patricia».
Write a blog post in which you discuss how they use examples from their own lives to illustrate their experience as immigrants in the USA.
Choose one or two of the sub topics they include in their shows and comment on the questions below:
Do you think other immigrants can recognise the challenges the two talk about being an immigrant or part of an immigrant family? Why? Why not?
Can we learn something about being an immigrant watching these shows? Explain.
Elin and Hanna
Ever since it became an independent country, the dream of a free America “for all” has been present. America had much “empty” land, and people could seek refuge and new opportunities there.
It has always been a country of many cultures, more and more as time went on.
Today we read about the “Disunited Peoples of America” – how people are divided in their views on multiculturalism and how inequality and racism continue to cause problems in the US.
Here you will find letters written between Eddie Glaude and his son Langston in 2016, after a brutal incident of police violence in Louisiana.
Read the letter and write a blog post where you comment on the following:
- what are the events Eddie and Langston are referring to?
- What is the message in each of these letters?
- What kind of impression do you get from the unity, or disunity of the American society from reading these letters?
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.
Are multicultural societies doomed to end in conflict? Watch this documentary by Deejah Khan to learn about right wing extremism in the USA.