Thursday, September 8, 2011

Literature and Composition

The Literature and Composition class has just finished exploring South African folktales, and we are starting to read The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay -this is our first novel of the semester. This coming of age tale tells the story of Peekay, a young South African boy of British descent growing up in World War II-era South Africa. Various characters come into Peekay's life who teach him valuable lessons about race, society, family, love, and the human condition. As the students are traveling through many of the places mentioned in this book and immersing themselves in South Africa, the story takes on a kind of immediacy for them. Already, they are passionately voicing their own observations of South African society and how these observations differ or align with Peekay's experiences. I have been so impressed with each student's enthusiasm, passion, and creativity as we take on various forms of the written word including short-story, poetry, and folktales. Their poems about who raised them were lovely to read; many wrote it was their families,their friends, and the books they read that have influenced who they are today. When the girls were asked to write original folktales about the animals they observed in Kruger National Park, they demonstrated great creativity, humor, and a solid understanding of the elements of traditional storytelling.

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