Making the Wright Connection

An Online Community for the Study of Richard Wright

Illinois AP students make Wright Connections

Posted on February 4, 2011 | No Comments

Pat Marshall,veteran Illinois English teacher, taught Wright to her AP classes this year. PORTA High School benefitted from  its Richard Wright Connection as the AP English Literature and AP English Language classes had not only new material added to their curricula, but  forged new connections between writers and artists as well.

The AP Lit classes have studied Wright’s Native Son since the inception of the class, but as a result of their teacher’s work at Kansas University, their study of Wright was significantly expanded this year.  Focusing on Native Son as a novel of conflicts rather than a protest novel, AP students explored Bigger Thomas’ conflicts as a character and as a paradox.   They connected the issue of the social culpability they saw with Bigger–that the very structure of society creates Bigger as a crinimal, at least when he murders Mary–with James Joyce’s portrayal of the city in Dubliners.  They began asking difficult questions of themselves:  when society comes into conflict with either the indiviudal or with whole classes of people, how is that conflict resolved?  Is it always at the expense of the individual or class?  How is this conflict created?  Is it created deliberately?  The class generated heated discussions of these issues, based on the literature they were reading.

The conversations continued when the class studied August Wilson’s Fences to the mix, an addition that wouldn’t have occured without the rich interactions at HBW Richard Wrght.  As they read the play in class, they found parallels between and amongst the characters in Native Son, Dubliners, Hamlet, and Fences.  They were struck  by the anger exhibited by many characters in the texts and theorized that the very real sense of powerlessness was likely the primary root of the anger.  Using excerpts from the works, the AP students benefitted from close readings of passages as they practiced their timed writing skills.

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Upcoming Virtual Seminars

Posted on February 1, 2011 | No Comments

The virtual seminar series is intended as an extension of the on-campus summer institute. The series provides a forum for Wright scholars from around the world to share their work and to engage in dialogue with one another. The seminars are hosted through the Adobe Connect platform and thus you need only a computer with an internet connection to participate.

Toru Kiuchi, Professor of English
Nihon University
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. CST

Jennifer Wallach, Assistant Professor of History
University of North Texas
Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. CST

Amritjit Singh, Langston Hughes Professor of English
Ohio University
Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. CST

Abdul JanMohamed, Professor of English
University of California (Berkeley)
Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. CST

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