Objects of Our Quest

Essential Questions for the Unit

1.  What makes me who I am?

2. In what ways do our experiences inform and shape our identity?

3.  How do writers use the journey archetype to explore ideas about sense of self?

4.  How does literature help us understand ourselves?

5.  How do different people confront change, discomfort, traumatic, and/or challenging events?

Final Assignment

Writing portfolio


Mon 3/16
from How to Read Literature Like a Professor: “Every Trip Is A Quest (Except When It’s Not)

  • How do the books you have read fit this structure?
  • What self-knowledge was gained by the characters in the end?

Starting Everything Is Illuminated and taking notes on details about characters for google classroom response

HW: Response on google classroom

Tues 3/17
Discussion:  What shapes our identity?   Are we born with a sense of self (nature) or does our environment and experiences (nurture) have a greater impact?

  • Reviewing characters in Everything Is Illuminated
  • Cont. film

Wed 3/18
Applying the journey archetype to Everything Is Illuminated

According to Jonathan Safran Foer: “As for the autobiographical content, I did make a trip to the Ukraine when I was 19 and I was looking for the woman who saved my grandfather from the Nazis. But the trip in the book didn’t at all resemble the trip that I made. I never met anyone like Alex and never had the encounters that Jonathan had in the book. My novel is much more a response to my trip than a recounting of it.” (The Washington Post)

  • Who is our Quester?
  • His place to go and stated reason to go there?
  • What are his challenges along the way?
  • What is his real reason to go there?  What self knowledge does he gain?

Return to Everything Is Illuminated

HW:  response on google classroom

  • Considering Jonathan, what do his objects seem to “give him”?  What seems to be missing?
  • For Alex, what does Jonathan “have” that he does not?

Thurs 3/19

Bring in three objects or pictures of objects that are important to you

Writing about our objects:

  • Start by describing your object using sensory details
  • Write down as many memories about your object you can remember
    • When did you get it?
    • How did you get it?  Was it given to you?  Found?
    • What are the details of those memories?
    • How does that object represent who you were when you got it and how does it represent who you are now?

Where I Am From Poem

  • Using the template, create your poem

“Subtotals” poem

  • Using “Subtotals” we will brainstorm about objects, events, and experiences that we have had and have not had in our lives

HW:  “Where I Am Not From” poem template and poem

Fri 3/20
Fictionalizing the personal narrative quest

Mon 3/23

Reading “Life Without Go-Go Boots” and annotate details for the following questions:

  • How do she struggle against others to define herself?  
  • Where does she notice the absence of the Go-Go boots?
  • What fills the void?

Tues 3/24
Answering questions about “Life Without Go-Go Boots”

Writing about an object you have not had

Thurs 3/26
Overview of assignment

Discussing “Life Without Go-Go Boots” and identifying effective language

Drafting writing workshop & conference time

  • Poem and personal essay

Fri 3/27
Drafting writing workshop & conference time

  • Poem and personal essay

Mon 3/30
Drafting writing workshop & conference time

  • Poem and personal essay

HW:  Printing out copies and outlining for the writer’s reflection

Tues 3/31
Writing the Writer’s Reflection and printing out

HW:  Reading background information on Elie Wiesel and the Holocaust