Friday, June 19, 2009


My fourth grade ESL class has read an abridged version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the past two weeks. For each book we read, there are some discussion questions and an activity to be done in class. This is what they gave me:
Many critics describe Captain Nemo as one of the greatest villains in literature. Do you see him as only a villain? Why or why not? Use incidents from the book to back up your opinion.

Choose and analyze three or four episodes from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in which Aronnax behaves as a man of intellect and Ned Land behaves as a man of action.

Some writers have seen Captain Nemo as a man who defies God. Did you take any theological implications out of this book? Explain your answer.

What is the meaning of Captain Nemo's final words, "Almighty God, enough! Enough!"?

Discuss the environmental concerns expressed in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Have you read any other science fiction that had valid predictions for man's future? Discuss the inventions first appearing in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and other science fiction that later became realities.

Is the contradictory Nemo believable? Was Verne right in defending his creation against suggestions of playing down or rationalizing his character?
Beyond the fact that the abridged version doesn't een contain Captain Nemo's final words, seriously folks? My students will not understand 75% of the words in the question, much less be able to come up with an answer. In fact, the only one I can answer using only this abridged book is the last one and the only deep insight I came up with while reading it was that the difference between Ned and Aronnax's response to being in captivity is that since the mind itself can't be imprisoned, Aronnax doesn't feel as captive as Ned as long as the scientific discoveries, exploration and studies keep him busy.

This is going to be an interesting class and to top it all off, I have so many books to read for all my classes I was up until 3 A.M. reading and then had to set the alarm for 7:30. Granted, I'm getting paid to hang out with five hilarious fifth grade boys and basically shoot the shit and to read great books with two smarth tenth grade girls, so I guess I can't complain too much.

*Chinca: Korean for really?

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