Module Introduction

This module was implemented across an academic year in an 11th grade class. It focuses on the themes of gender and power, both relevant to the lives of older adolescents. The curriculum focused on two novels, A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Handmaid’s Tale, both of which afford analysis of power and control in relations among characters and between the people and greater social and institutional forces. The power dynamics in both novels are explicitly governed by gender roles in the respective social and cultural contexts, the first in Afghanistan across 40 years and the second in a future dystopian society.

The instruction prior to A Thousand Splendid Suns included a series of activities and texts to develop criteria for gender and power and to practice analyzing shorter texts for these themes before tackling a whole novel. The work during the novel was primarily focused on gender and power relations among characters inside the world of the novel. The instruction prior to The Handmaid’s Tale focused on developing an understanding of the genre of dystopian fiction, its characteristics and purpose. The work during the novel focused on¬†relating the text to the world¬†outside the novel and larger messages about that world.