A Preview of the Spring Semester

After a month-long break, Free Minds students and faculty jumped into the new semester with a dynamic interdisciplinary class on Maxine Hong Kingston’s short story, “No Name Woman.” Each professor interpreted the story from his or her particular field of study, encouraging students to think like historians, literary scholars, rhetoricians, and creative writers.

After that, students turned to the humanities unit and began to read one of the weightiest books on the syllabus: The Arabian Nights. Through the tales, they explored and analyzed different cultural beliefs and values.

Later, students will tackle Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street and Gregory Burke’s Black Watch, a Scottish play about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The play raises questions about the thin line between fiction and reality and the responsibility of art to push social and political buttons.

In March, students will continue to explore these questions when they read Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and welcome special classroom guest Lawrence Wright, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction for The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.

April showers bring poetry to Free Minds. At the start of the month, students will begin playing with form, rhyme, rhythm and imagery as they learn how to tell their own stories in verse.

The semester ends with the American history unit, prompting students to consider how various groups have agitated for their rights through the centuries. They will consider questions about what it means to be an American: What is freedom? What is the relationship between education and equality? Whose stories get told and why is that important?

Over the course of the semester, students will continue to explore the question of how and why we tell our stories.

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