My X week students finished Brave New World and Animal Farm respectively. The Honor students seem to understand the plotlines and character development within Brave New World and saw the protagonist extension that John the Savage adds to the plotlines. In both classes, we discussed the need for free will in all societies and losing free choice and will at the expense of a stable and productive society was not a choice that many in my classes wanted. I asked for a show of hands for all 18 plus years old and most had their hand raised.
When I asked how many have taken the time to register to vote, hands quickly went down. I gave them my pat rant about a voting electorate and to always exercise this right; remember what the government gives, it can swiftly take it away.
Some of the conversations led to a discussion about the Supreme Court and its role within the government. During the week, the Court had issued the ruling lifting the individual donation cap. I explained that with this ruling, a California business person may want to fund the campaign for a Massachusetts state legislator to influence their decisions.
Many in the class reflected on this thought and realized the ramification for this significant ruling. We also discussed the appointment process for Supreme Court Justices. No one knew how these justices are appointed; many thought that it was an elective office. This school recently elected to change the academic curriculum and has now added four years of history. I hope civic lessons are included.
I showed the film I am Legend and we had a chance to discuss the role of science in creating dystopias, as it is influenced within Brave New World. Unfortunately, I may not be able to continue this conversation with my A week students; we only have 9 class days left and 3 will be dedicated to oral presentations (book talk and project reviews) whilst one will be dedicated to their quarterly final.
I did have a chance to spend some time with the X week students and reminded them that research is underway within biomedical labs(funded by private research) for bio-engineered cures, much like the virus that is manipulated and presented within I am Legend. I left the discussion with the reminder that their generation may be the ones who find cures for cancer and other chronic diseases, but to be careful with this knowledge. O Brave New World, that has such students in it- indeed!