Laurian – cercetare științifică: prezentare și rezumat lucrare de gr. I, prof. Lavinia Ghineț
Stim foarte bine ca literatura nu-si mai gaseste locul in manualele de limba engleza decat sporadic si cred ca suntem totii de acord ca este o mare pierdere pentru elevii nostri. In ultimii ani,in ceea ce priveste limba engleza, accentul s-a pus pe gramatica si functii comunicative, textul literar fiind privit, chiar si de catre autorii de manuale, ca un produs de care ne putem dispensa. Insa achizitia unei limbi straine nu presupune doar cunoasterea regulilor gramaticale si fluenta in vorbire, ci si intelegerea nuantelor si subtilitatilor limbajului,ceea ce nu se poate invata decat citind texte literare. Literatura nu trebuie privita ca un scop in sine ci ca o modalitate de achizitie a unor informatii,ca un instrument util ce vizeaza informarea si sensibilizarea elevilor in ceea ce priveste setul de valori morale,culturale si spirituale pe care acestia le primesc in momentul familiarizarii lor cu textul literar.
Hotararea de a scrie despre o epoca atat de indepartata si plina de controverse a fost luata dupa ce am recitit,acum 5 ani, Litera Stacojie. Este un roman fascinant care imbina obiectivitatea istorica cu subiectivitatea unui scriitor ce a incercat prin cuvinte sa inteleaga si, de cele mai multe ori, sa condamne o religie ce, in momentul in care a luat fiinta, parea perfecta pentru o societate framantata de razboaie si conflicte. Aceasta motivatie a lucrarii se gaseste in Introducere, alaturi de motivele care m-au facut sa aleg si „The Minister’s Black Veil” si „Young Goodman Brown”, doua povestiri pline de simbolism,doua povestiri care ofera profesorului de limba engleza posibilitatea de a explora un text literar complet, putandu-se apleca cu usurinta asupra personajelor, actiunii,atmosferei si simbolurilor.
In urmatoarele 6 capitole, am analizat influenta gandirii puritane asupra temelor si stilului lui Nathaniel Hawthorne, scriitor care s-a nascut in 1804, in Salem ,Massachusetts. Chiar daca a trait in secolul al 19-lea, faptul ca stramosii sai au fost oameni influenti in societatea puritana a secolului al 17-lea (ca de ex. John Hathorne care a prezidat procesul impotriva vrajitoarelor din Salem)si-a pus puternic amprenta asupra felului sau de a gandi si de a scrie.
Capitolul 7 contine partea aplicativa, si anume ce, de ce si cum utilizam literatura,precum si activitati practice menite sa ajute profesorii care doresc, din cand in cand, sa aduca textul literar in atentia elevilor. Exercitiile pornesc de la analiza titlului operei literare in relatie cu imaginile care se gasesc pe copertele cartilor. Deoarece incercam sa ne convingem mereu elevii ca lectura reprezinta un pas important in dezvoltarea lor spirituala, impactul vizual( si anume coperata cartii respective)are un rol important. Alte exercitii ce pot fi utilizate includ completarea de spatii libere, scrierea unui jurnal in care elevii isi imagineaza ca sunt personaje in cartea respectiva si, pe masura ce citesc, isi scriu impresiile in acel jurnal, dezbateri pornind de la citate sau jocuri de rol.
Oricare ar fi modalitatea aleasa de un profesor pentru a trezi interesul elevilor pentru lectura (scopul scuza mijloacele), cred ca cel mai important este sa vedem ca elevii nostri sunt interesati nu numai sa vorbeasca o limba straina ci si sa cunoasca cultura acelei tari. Mesajul acestei lucrari este, de fapt,ideea ca,atata timp cat o opera este citita si inteleasa,castigul este enorm din punct de vedere spiritual.
My paper is entitled „Puritanism – fiction and reality in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novels – a practical approach to using literature. It has 8 chapters,an appedix and the bibliography I used in order to be able to make some judgements on a period which is neither easy to understand nor pleasant to everyone.
In the Introduction I underlined the main aim of my paper, namely to emphasize the role of literature in the English class. There are three reasons for teaching literature: the need for a cultural model, the desire to have a language model and personal development.
The choice of Nathaniel Hawthorne is due to several reasons amongst which the fact that he uses concepts and insights relevant to contemporary readers, the themes of alienation and breaking society’s rules are ones to which many teenagers can readily relate and the short story is a teaching tool which offers a complete work of literature with all the elements of plot, character, setting, action, motive and message intact.
The second chapter begins with a short presentation of who the Puritans were and their beliefsThey wanted a “pure” church :no candles, no images, no stained glass windows
– They rejected the “showy” Church of England
– They led very somber lives governed solely by a strict interpretation of the Bible
– They thought that:
1. Personal salvation was entirely from God.
2. The Bible provided the indispensable guide to life
3. The church should reflect the express teaching of Scripture
4. Society was one unified whole
5. Jesus Christ is the Son of God – died on the cross for all everyone’s sins
6. The whole Bible is the word of God and it is to be followed to the letter.
7. Faith is what is necessary to get into heaven.
8. If you don’t go to heaven you go to hell.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, having a Puritan background. He had a strong connection with this period through his ancestors, one of whom, John Hathorne, was a judge in the Salem Witch Trials. He mainly wrote moral allegories, the major themes of his novels and short stories emphasizing the sinful nature of humankind. He dealt with hypocrisy and the Dark side of human nature in a Puritan society which was strict and merciless. His most known works include novels such as “The House of the Seven Gables” and “The Scarlet Letter” and short stories “ The Minister’s Black Veil” and “Young Goodman Brown”.
“Young Goodman Brown” is a perfect example of a short story that teaches the readers the rigors of a Puritan society within the context of Romanticism, trend which influenced Hawthorne’s perception of social realities of an era he wanted so much to understand and come to terms with. Some characteristics of Romanticism that are to be found in this short story are: – the stress laid on faith and emotion over reason and logic, the mixture of religion and nature with the supernatural and the journey which leads to discovery and truth. The entire short story is an allegory, full of symbols – the characters’ names are emblematic for the period they live in and for the idea they stand for; the journey that leads to the discovery of a dark secret and during which Young Goodman Brown undergoes a total change and the snake, the evil that corrupts everybody, no matter their faith and strength of character.
The second short story I wrote about is “The Minister’s Black Veil”. It is a parable, as Hawthorne himself intended it as such and even gave the story the subtitle “a parable”. It is set in Puritan New England, focusing on the particular ideology and theology of the time period (all humans sin continuously and even the most church-attending Christians would not enter heaven). It is the story of a minister so consumed with human sin and duplicity that he dons a veil to hide his face. Hawthorne makes it clear that evil lies within everyone, no matter who you are or what is around you. The chapter contains some general considerations on the story, it discusses the major themes and symbols, it analyzes the Puritan Community and stresses the importance of the veil, which becomes a character in itself.
5.1 The Minister’s Black Veil – general considerations
5.2 Major themes and symbols
5.3 The Puritan Community in The Minister’s Black Veil
5.4 The veil – a central character
“The Scarlet Letter” is Hawthorne’s masterpiece in which he gives a detailed representation of the Puritan New England world of a hundred years before the date of its writing that is the scene of the story. It is a tale of adultery, or, more accurately, of its consequences. Still, Hawthorne did not write an American Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary – his main interest was in the Puritan reaction to sin. Hathorne, after finishing the novel, said that“The Scarlet Letter is powerfully written but my writings do not, nor ever will, appeal to the broadest class of sympathies, and therefore will not obtain a very wide popularity.” It is obvious that he wasn’t right and his novel is still read and appreciated by a lot of people.
I began my journey into “The Scarlet Letter” by presenting the plot and analyzing the characters. The Scarlet Letter tells the story of Hester Prynne who has committed adultery and must wear a scarlet „A” publicly as punishment. When her husband, whom she believed to be dead, suddenly reappears, he determines to discover the identity of the father of Hester’s child, although Hester steadfastly refuses to reveal his identity. Through the use of rich symbolism and supernatural events, Hawthorne shows the destructive effects of guilt and revenge.
There are four main characters, each of them representing a certain type of sinner in the Puritan society.
Hester Prynne – the publicly known, partially penitent sinner.
Arthur Dimmesdale – the secret sinner, the two-faced man who covers up his sin under his social status as a Puritan clergyman.
Roger Chillingworth – the unpardonable sinner.
Pearl – the child of the two guilty lovers.
The striking characteristic of this novel lies within the use of silence as a means of communication symbolizing:
Hester Prynne epitomizes silence as a source of strength – a noble silence is the best defense against evil and the repression of a narrow-minded society.
Arthur Dimmesdale epitomizes silence as a deceptive escape from society – it destroys his identity as a human being.
Roger Chillingworth epitomizes silence as a form of evil – the dark silence which destroys not only the victim but also the perpetrator himself.
The 7th chapter begins with some general considerations regarding the teaching of literature which involve three main models (that overlap)
▪ The cultural model
▪ The language model
▪ The personal growth model
The 3 questions that generally arise are: What is literature?
Why use literature?
How to use literature?
WHAT? (stories, poems and plays, especially those that are considered to have value as art and not just entertainment.)
WHY? (offers authentic and motivating material encourages interaction and language acquisition expands language awareness develops interpretative ability / abstract thinking educates the whole person)
HOW? (The Story Grammar, The Reader Response)
THE STORY GRAMMAR approach takes into account the cognitive aspect of learning while the Reader Response aims at the affective aspect of learning. In the Story Grammar the
– readers should be consciously aware of the text structure, interacting with it and relating ideas from the text to prior experiences in order to construct meaning.
– learners are taught how to recognize the elements of a narrative text and encouraged to use these elements in order to improve their comprehension of the story.
In READER RESPONSE APPROACH
– the readers study literature for literature’s sake, being independent makers of meaning.
– the story is not read as literature but as a piece of information.
– the teaching of literature is seen as an information-gathering exercise rather than an aesthetic experience in which the reader has a response to the event.
Due to the fact that some students might find Hawthorne too gloomy, too dense and too complex, few of them understanding the Puritan beliefs about self and sin, the teacher
– should approach Hawthorne as a riddler and joker who challenged all authority
– the teacher should introduce recurrent patterns of character, theme, image and then invite students to identify variations on those patterns, making them discover the hidden meaning within the text.
In order to attract students’ attention and make them focus on the literary text, it is a good idea to make use of visual techniques that might arouse their interest. The teacher sets the scene and tries to kindle students’ curiosity by showing them the pictures and asking them to speculate on. Then, the students are told the titles of the short stories and of the novel and asked to ask suppositions about the connection between the pictures and the titles.
In order to discuss the theme of the texts it is compulsory for students to read the book and the short stories. Other ways to explore the texts is by Key words / sentences (brainstorming for narrative links)
Snowball activities (retelling the story, decision points, writing ongoing diaries)
The major aims of this paper are:
To suggest that literature, in general, and a literary text, in particular, can prove to be quite an appropriate medium for students to work with.
To point out the fact that a literary piece in class can, and will, offer some clue in terms of life lessons, role models, attitudes and mentalities.
To underline the very fact that, while aiming at the above, working with a piece of literature will also provide plenty of opportunities for language work in class.
prof. Lavinia Ghineț