Bertolt Brecht, in his exile from Germany began writing many play, poems, and stories thinking he would never see his country again. He returned to East Germany in 1949 to see Mother Courage and Her Children performed in Berlin, with his wife Helene Weigel in the title role. In 2006, the Public Theater of New York cast Meryl Streep for the lead and she performed it in Central Park. The Theater of War, a documentary made on the performance and a link to the documentary is provided, as well as a 35 question viewing guide with answer key.
The literature students will be studying in this resource is a persuasive review of Meryl Streep’s performance of the play from The New Yorker. Also, students will work with two different scenes from the play, as a link is provided to the text. Students will review important theatrical strategies such as Brecht’s alienation, close read and annotate the text, view supporting video clips, view a TED TALK on the real harm of the global arms trade, and view the writing prompt for the 1987 AP Literature essay Question #3 on social and political change. This unit can be done to add a conscience to any war novel being taught such as The Things They Carried or All Quiet on the Western Front, to a study of Mother Courage and her Children for students before, during and or after the reading of the play—or independent by itself.
There is also an opportunity to write a Rhetorical Précis, as well as supporting material for teaching this to your students. These four lessons prepares students for AP Language and Literature exams, Common Core extended response assessments, American and World Literature Course exams, the SAT and ACT essay and critical thinking activities
In this resource there is a unique detailed rubric that can be used to score Socratic Seminars in a way that encourages organic fluid discussions. In the guide there is a step by step explanation on how to conduct a fish-bowl discussion with the rubric. The packet includes complete lessons, common core standards, essential and key questions.
Tags: World Literature, Socratic Seminar, writing, argument, AP Language, Pre-AP, critical thinking, exile, war profiteering