America burning

The brutal killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis has led to days of unrest and riots. While most demonstrations are peaceful, some are also out of control and resulting in looting and violent behavior. What is going on in America? What is president Trump doing to deal with the situation? Read up or watch recent news stories to get an update. Look at the following article for a discussion on how this would have been portrayed in the news had it happened somewhere else:

Langston Hughes was a Black American poet who lived from 1901 to 1967. Read his poem “Let America be America again” from 1936 (in the midst of the Great Depression) and discuss its relevance today.

George Floyd 'riots,' 'violence,' 'looting': Words matter, experts say

After reading The Hate U Give

Write a blog post where you share your impressions of the book. What did you like the most about it? Why?

Were there any parts of the book that were disturbing to you? Can you see how it has also been accused of representing black people as victims?

“We encourage Black audiences, all those who reject narratives that make Black victims of police violence responsible for their own deaths, and Tupac fans, to invest their dollars in Black film that uplifts and empowers Black communities. “The Hate U Give” is not that.” (film criticism in the Los Angeles Sentinel, October 18, 2018

You can also use the discussion questions on the last chapters of the book posted on itslearning to find inspiration for your blog post.

Bilderesultater for The Hate U Give reviews


From M.L. King Jr.’s I have a Dream to Theresa May’s British Dream- a slight difference in content, country and decade. One from 1963, the other from 2017. Today’s task:

Compare and contrast the two speeches in terms of content (message) and identify the literary/linguistic devices May uses to enhance her message to the participants at the Conservative Party’s conference.

For background information, see,

Black history

Today we will refreshen our memory about US black history, in addition to be working with two pieces of literature: The poem “Strange Fruit” (1937) by Abel Meeropol and ML King, Jr’s “I have a Dream” speech from 1963. Both texts contain imagery and are filled with literary devices, which we should be familiar with by now.

Task 1: Explain what the poem “Strange Fruit” (written by a white man) is about. Identify the literary devices such as metaphors and contrasts. Explain their effect on the message of the poem. What, in your opinion, makes this such a powerful poem? What impact does this poem have on its audience?

Task 2: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech contains a lot of imagery as well. But before you start identifying the literary devices and their effect, what is:

a. The message of the speech?

b What do you learn about African Americans’ history, and what are King’s dreams for the future?

c. Do you think the speech is relevant for African Americans today? Or for people outside the USA?

d. Identify the literary devices and their effect on the message of the speech.

Of Mice and Men

Homework for December 13: Finish reading the novel and be ready to discuss the ending. What do you think is the theme (s)?  and what is the message of the book?  Why do you think the book is called “Of Mice and Men”? In class, write a blogpost about the novel – whether you liked it or not and why, discuss the characters, the setting, the narrative technique, and the themes. This blogpost will be graded. Deadline: Before class on Tuesday, Dec 18. 

On Tuesday, December 18, in class:

Make a podcast in groups of three or four discussing the novel’s setting (where, when, social environment), characters (flat, round, change), themes, title of the novel, resolution, narrative technique and its effect. Discuss: Is it ever right to kill someone?

 Length:5 (min), 10 (max) minutes. See the criteria for oral presentations/talks.

Deadline: Tuesday, December 18.

Characterization, setting and language

Dec 11: Read Pages 50-75.

Learn about literary analysis here.

In groups of 3, answer these questions/discuss:

  1. Give a brief summary of what happens, the plot.
  2. Describe the setting- where does the story take place in these pages?
  3. Are there any hints/foreshadowing as to what might happen later in the book?
  4. Who is Susy?
  5. Describe Whit- what kind of person is he?
  6. What is George and Lennie’s dream all about? And how does George describe it?
  7. Do you think this dream will come true for George and Lennie?
  8. DescribeCrooks.
  9. How would you describe the language used in the book? Give one example of the kind of language used.
  10. Comment on what happens to Curley.
  11. Discuss how Steinbeck presents the various characters. What literary “technique” isused?

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937)

George and Lennie

John Steinbeck’s acclaimed novel is our main focus in December and we will mainly focus on setting, characters, plot/structure,  tone, conflict, narrator and theme. To read about these literary features, see Ndla’s resources. 

Dec 6: Finish reading pages 1-50. On your blog, you should write about a. your first impression of the novel in general and of the two main characters in particular, George and Lennie.  

In addition,  b. Write a paragraph or two about the time the book is set in (setting). Make 5-8 questions to this first part. The questions will be used in class on Thursday, Dec 6.

Immigration and multiculturalism

Between 1948 and 1962 Britain had an open door policy in terms of immigration. After WWII, Britain turned to the colonies for workforce and people from the Caribbean were invited to come and work in Britain in exchange for British citizenship. The arrival of the Empire Windrush has been considered the beginning of immigration and contemporary multiculturalism. Many immigrants faced challenges, which you can read about here.

The British poet John Agard has written a poem called “Remember the Ship”. Write a blog post where you comment on:

-the speaker of the poem

-the references to ships and journeys

– why we must “remember the ship”

-locate references to race and discuss how this term is used in the poem

-why do you think this poem is relevant today?

the windrush