Tuesday, February 01, 2005

"American" Historical Literature

Have you noticed that in recent years, we seem to be slinging a lot of mud at prominent historical figures? For example, it seems to me that we are trying very hard to find things wrong with the founding fathers of the U.S., important explorers across the world, and even (or maybe especially) religious figures throughout history. What makes us think that we can go back and rewrite history? How are we more qualified or knowledgeable now than those who originally recorded historical events? Are we smarter than them?

You need to do two things today.

First of all, you have a conference with me and revision (for the final portfolio) to do on your letter to sibling. Remember, the key with the letter is to use vivid imagery to convince your reader, not lots of convincing words and arguments. Paint a picture of the consequences of the readers action. Even if you concocted your sibling's "problem," you need to do a great job of illustrating the consequences.

Second, I want you to find out as much as you can today about Christopher Columbus by researching on the Internet. Was he the explorer we have always heard about? Was he nice to the native cultures/societies he discovered? Write a summary of today's research, including your opinions of the sources you got your information from. That is, are they reputable sources? Are they just slinging mud? Do they portray Columbus as a figure to look up to, admire, and learn from, or is he not worth our time? Explain yourself. You will eventually share at least a portion of what you've written aloud with the class, so be articulate.

Mr. Baxter