No, they weren't all liberals!
(From the first page of notes in the 7-page unit:)
For many years, I have found it useful to place authors' names upon a graphic organizer portraying a continuum of political and philosophical thinking. I usually begin by oversimplifying Socrates' question about whether humankind is good or evil. (I apologize for doing so if it offends anyone.) I simply say that he claimed that "evil" was not an appropriate label for human behavior or human nature; that in fact, people do wrong out of ignorance, not from a purposeful intention to harm one another.
Down through history, that and related issues have been argued many thousands of times. By means of this graphic organizer, a teacher can present students with a mental image of the conversations going on among the authors about human nature.
This colorful graphic organizer places authors into two dimensions: 1. liberal v. conservative, and 2. optimistic v. pessimistic. A third dimension is provided on a separate page: 3. Transcendentalism v. Entrenchment.
Seeing literature as an expression of history helps to set kids straight. The visuals also make it clear why I believe the instruction of close reading is essential.
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Were the Great Authors All LIberals? A Graphic Organizer Tells the Story
by Gene Wohlsdorf
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License