Keeping up with the Confucians
Hey teacher pals! So, if you’re reading this, you are more than likely getting ready to delve into the world of Chinese Literature and looking for ideas to really bring this topic to life!
Never fear, I got you covered! Let’s get this theme started!
Confucius was the basis for much of Chinese traditions and lifestyle. He was the guy that everyone wanted to be, to live like and live by. It wasn’t the Jones’s or the Kardashian’s, everyone wanted to live like, it was the Confucians.
The rein of Confucian principles laid a large foundation for traditional Chinese society and its people/families.
This week, we studied Sealed Off, The Man from La Mancha, and Diary of a MadMan. The theme from all of these stories are kind of a clear divergence from Confucian principles.
The theme that I would use in the ELA classroom in conjunction with these readings would be individuality/identity. Trying to help students find a point of reference is always key and it really helps if it is a personal one. Using individuality/identity as the theme is definitely an idea that all young adult students can identify with, so it is sure to be a success!
As we see in Sealed Off, Cuiyuan and Zongzhen, are both victims of a forced Confucian lifestyle. Cuiyuan, wants to be accepted for being more of a scholarly woman, rather than being a domestic goddess in an arranged marriage. Zongzhen, wanted a wife who believed he was greater than just a provider. He wanted to matter, to be in love. Both are clearly struggling with their own individuality and existing outside of a traditional expectation.
In The Man from La Mancha, we see a man so obsessed with his legacy and social identity that he clears out everything from his wallet that in one way or another defines him; because he is so obsessed with this notion, he forgets who he really is.
It’s POP CULTURE time!
Ok, so… I like literally have Disney in my veins, so in this instance, I would love to incorporate the movie Mulan into this lesson plan! Although this is very much through the American Lens… Mulan is certainly a story of a young woman wanting to be appreciated for her willpower, loyalty and her fierce abilities as a woman warrior, rather than the traditional roles of Chinese women.
And besides, who doesn’t like Disney?
I would definitely have the students do a literary analysis after watching Mulan and ask them how they viewed this weeks’ literary pieces now in light of a more American approach to a Confucian dominated culture.
Okay guys, that’s all I have this week for you but be sure to check by next week; and remember, in a world where you can be anything, just be yourself, everyone else is taken!