Our planet provides billions of years of grounded historical narratives in contention with the lofty assumptions of man. No longer the center of the Universe, Earth continues on, but with a shifting sense of purpose. With the scientific revolution, the natural and unnatural orders collide, unveiling new truths about our common story. From the 16th century to present day, advances in science and technology have profoundly influenced literature. The implications and consequences of stringent belief, be they rooted in science or faith, are elaborated through the selected novels, dramas, films and various poetry. Careful examination of power divination will take into account both the visible and invisible strategies implemented throughout each work.  We will follow the reaction to, interaction with and application of scientific discovery and conjecture as it is correspondingly fictionalized. Differentiating the actual knowledge man has of these topics from the queries yet to be satisfied will be at the forefront of discussion. The course also emphasizes thematic elements, critical response, tonal significance and ongoing debates. The intellectual concerns emerged from the text, the distinct characteristics found within the text, and the techniques used in interpreting the works of each period will be our general focus.

Over the course of the year, five units will focus on a different branch of science as it appears in fiction. Biology/ecology, artificial intelligence, the human mind, space and time are specifically arranged. We begin by looking around our world at the biologic and ecologic implications in unit I. Then, in unit II, our role in the world, and as a creator, comes into play as we design artificial intelligence. Once wrangling what sets humans apart, unit III looks inward to memory and consciousness. Unit IV pushes us outward to the abyss of space, shifting perspective on our place in the cosmos. And, of course, how we submit to and dream of harnessing time will finish our literary travels in unit V. The connections between the five units will be pointed at along the way. It is the student's responsibility to harvest overlapping ideas to be used in the mid-term and final. Individual presentations throughout 

Course Schedule:

Unit I – Bio/Eco/Geo:

Week 1: (Day 1-5) William Shakespeare’s The Tempest

Week 2: (Day 6) William Shakespeare’s The Tempest

            : (Day 7) Lost – “pilot”

: (Day 8-10) Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Week 3: (Day 11-15) Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Week 4: (Day 16-17) Lucky McKee’s May

         : (Day 18-20) Lord George Byron’s Cain

Week 5: (Day 21-22) Lord George Byron’s Cain

            : (Day 23-25) Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park

Week 6: (Day 26-30) Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park

Unit II – Artificial Intelligence Week 7: (Day 31-35) Samuel Butler Erehwon

Week 8: (Day 36-39) Samuel Butler Erehwon

         : (Day 40) Wall-E

Week 9: (Day 41) Wall-E

            : (Day 42-44) Karel Capek’s Rossum Universal Robots

         : (Day 45) Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Ted”

Week 10: (Day 46-50) Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Week 11: (Day 51-55) Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Week 12: (Day 56-58) Ted Hughes The Iron Giant

      : (Day 59-60) David Cronenberg’s Existenz 

Unit III – Human Mind Week 13: (Day 61-65) William Gibson’s Neuromancer

Week 14: (Day 66-70) William Gibson’s Neuromancer

Week 15: (Day 71-73) Various Poetry about the mind 

  : (Day 74-75) Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Week 16: (Day 76-80) Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange

Week 17: (Day 81-85) Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange

Week 18: (Day 86-90) Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris

Unit IV – Space Week 19: (Day 91-93) Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris

  : (Day 94-95) Julia Britton’s Space Travel Unlimited

Week 20: (Day 96-100) Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness

Week 21: (Day 101-105) Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness

Week 22: (Day 106-108) Selections from H.G. Welles’ War of the Worlds

  : (Day 109-110) Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds

Week 23: (Day 111-115) C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet

Week 24: (Day 116-118) C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet

           : (Day 119-120) Ridley Scott’s Alien

Unit V - Time Week 25: (Day 121-122) Tolkien’s The Lost Road

  : (Day 123-124) Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys

  : (Day 125) Chris Marker’s short film La Jetée

Week 26: (Day 126-130) Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five

Week 27: (Day 127-135) Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five

Week 28: (Day 136-140) Various poetry concerning time

Week 29-30: (Day 141-150) Chuck Palahniuk’s Rant 

Unit One Assignments, Essays, Activities

Unit I Daily Implementation WEEK ONE

Day 1: Introduction & Syllabus

Binary Bout – Gods vs. Monsters

Day 2: The Tempest Act I

Close Reader Quiz #1 – The Storm

Lyric Linker – The Cardigans “You’re the Storm”

                                                 i. Why must Prospero “heal”?

                                               ii. Who is Prospero’s “angel”?

                                             iii. Who is Prospero’s “devil”?

                                             iv. What do the characters “believe in”?

Cultural Connections

 - Read selections from Stephen Greenblatt’s cultural analysis of The Tempest and discuss how the culture of the day is reflected in the content.

Aural Analysis

a.  Identify the stage direction or dialogue eliciting sound in Act I.

b. Discuss how the sounds might be created in performance.

c.  Recall moments in other films or literature where sound was effectively used.

Binary Bout: Nature vs. Nurture

10 Spot Essay: Is a magician more like a playwright or a scientist?

Day 3: The Tempest Act II

Close Reader Quiz # 2 – Magic

a.  What kind of spell does Ariel cast on the shipwrecked men?

b. What does Ariel overhear Sebastian and Antonio discussing?

c.  Who does Caliban decide to worship instead of Prospero?

Intertextual Inspection - Project Utopia

a.  Read Michel de Montaigne excerpt from “Of the Cannibals” comparing it to Gonzalos’s speech(2.1 147-54)

b. In 8 lines of your own, describe your ideal island. Who would you let in? What kind of people live there, if any? What kind of food would the land produce? How is time spent?

c.  Share your visions with the class.

Real Time Relevance

a.  This Land is My Land - Discuss instances of imperialism in present day– Specifically America’s occupation of Iraq and recent Russian military moves.

b. Savage Storms – Implications of global warming and Katrina aftermath.

c.  Spirits – Alcoholism and the Native American population in contemporary America

  Binary Bout: White Magic vs. Black Magic

  10 Spot Essay: Compare Prospero and his brother Antonio. Where do their

 characteristics, motives and actions align and diverge?

Day 4: The Tempest Act III

Close Reader Quiz #3 – Slavery

a.  Who are slaves of love?

b. Who are slaves of obedience and to whom?

c.  Who realizes Ariel’s link to Prospero first?

Cultural Connections

a.  John Dee, renowned 17th century magus, was victimized when his substantial private book collection was burned.

b. Shakespeare’s unification of time and space having it set on one island in the course of one day.

Bringing it Home – Romance Sears

a.  Dissect Act 3 Scene 1 for adjectives and expressions Miranda and Ferdinand use to define their love for one another.

b. Think on your cumulative experiences with love. In a paragraph or two, write about what love is to you and how it differs from others. If you’re not comfortable writing about your own experience, write about how you think your parents or friends view love; or how film, literature and television predominantly depict love. Do you believe in love at first sight? Do you believe love is a myth? How is love found or lost? What’s the quickest you have ever fallen for someone? Is there a one true love or can many different matches find happiness? What are the benefits and downfalls of being in or out of love?

c.  Without putting your names on them, pass forward the writings. The papers will be redistributed randomly. We will read aloud the paragraphs anonymously.

Desperately Seeking…

a.  Find and list descriptions of Caliban throughout the first three acts.

b. Help Caliban get a date by writing him a personal ad. In only 3 short sentences, take your knowledge of Caliban and “spin” it in whatever light you think will get him a response. Take turns reading personal ads.

c.  Discuss what kind of companion Caliban might find, if any.

   Binary Bout: Knowledge and Power

   10 Spot Essay: How is Gonzalo’s attitude toward Caliban distinct from the


Day 5: The Tempest Act IV

Close Reader Quiz #4 – Illusion

a.  What does Prospero agree to?

b. What distracts Prospero from Caliban?

c.  What do Trinculo and Stephano fail to do?

Comic Corollary 

a.  In pairs, look through a MARVEL The Tempest comic.

b. Discuss what similarities and differences are noticeable in content and character depiction.

c.  Each pair picks a specific page. One member writes a paragraph on what is missing, while the other writes what is enhanced by the comic medium.

Choral Readings

a.  Split into groups of 5-6.

b. Together, compose a 50 line choral reading by cutting and rearranging lines from the play. Then begin to choreograph and rehearse your compilation. Structure your lines in a manner that engage students in thinking about the relationships among language, character, and theme.


Day 6: Act 5

Close Reader Quiz #5 – Justice

a.  Which two characters apologize to Prospero?

b. Who admits to having raised the dead?

c.  How is the boat fixed?

Choral Readings

a.  Continue to work on Choral reading presentation.

b. Turn in copy of the official 50 lines to be used by end of period.

Day 7: Choral Reading Presentations

10 Spot Essay: What does Prospero imply when referring to Caliban: “This thing of 

                 darkness/I acknowledge mine”? (5.1 278-79)

Day 8: Lost “Pilot”

Day 9: Frankenstein prologue and chapters 1-3

Close Reader Quiz #6 - The Fountain

a.  Who adopts young Elizabeth Lavenza?

b. Who is Victor’s school chum?

c.  Who gives the lecture that changes Victor’s thinking?


a.  At the computer lab, do an internet search on Mary Shelley.

b. Focus on her family, friends, places of residence, and any information surrounding the publication of Frankenstein.

c.  Have three interesting facts to share with the class.

  Binary Bout: Innocence vs. Experience

  10 Spot Essay: How is Elizabeth a replacement for Victor’s mother?

Day 10: Frankenstein chapters 4-6

Close Reader Quiz #7 - The Body

a.  Where does Victor harvest body parts from?

b. How does Victor react to his creation?

c.  Who distracts Victor with travel?

Bringing it Home – Making Friends

a.  Dissect chapters 4 and 5 for what Victor looks for when constructing his creature.

b. Reflect on your experience making, keeping and losing friends. In a paragraph or two, write about what you look for in a friend. Detail the personality traits and other requirements you find necessary in a friend. If you have a best friend, explain what differentiates them other friends. What aspects of your friends would you change? What about yourself makes you a good friend?

c.  Without putting your names on them, pass forward the writings. The papers will be redistributed randomly. We will read aloud the paragraphs anonymously.

  Binary Bout: Body vs. Mind

  10 Spot Essay: To what extent is Victor accountable for his creation?


Day 11: Frankenstein chapters 7-11

Close Reader Quiz #8 - Retribution

a.  What happens to Victor’s brother William?

b. Why is Justine suspected?

c.  Who narrates chapter 11?

Inference Initiative

a.  Read selections of John Pollidori’s The Vampyre aloud.

b. In pairs, infer

                                                           i. How Shelley and Pollidori’s style overlap.

                                                         ii. How Pollidori’s occupation affects his prose.

                                                       iii. What is appealing about death and darkness to the authors?

                                                       iv. How a murderer can be a sympathetic figure.

   Binary Bout: Vengeance vs. Justice

   10 Spot Essay: Why does the monster feel hopeless and alone in the world?

Day 12: Frankenstein chapters 12-14

Close Reader Quiz #9 - Empowerment

a.  What does the monster hope to learn from the family?

b. Name one the monsters treasured books.

c.  What is the surname of the family the monster watches?

Lyric Linker

a.  Watch Aimee Mann’s music video “Frankenstein”. http://tinyurl.com/crb3yk

b. Read lyrics aloud

c.  Compare the song to the first half of the novel

                                                           i. Is the creature a “real imitation”?

                                                         ii. Is the creature as unpredictable as Mann suggests?

                                                       iii. What is the “catch” for Victor?

                                                       iv. Do you think Victor’s accomplishment “fantastic” and undoable?

Real Time Relevance

a.  Designer Babies – Should parents be allowed to genetically modify their children before birth?

b. Big Brother – Is it alright for unseen forces, benevolent or not, to be monitoring the private lives of others?

c.  Body Swap – With stem cell research and technology capable of face transplants, how does our relationship to our bodies change?

  Binary Bout: Help vs. Hinder

  10 Spot Essay: What text has influenced your life the most and why?

Day 13: Frankenstein chapters 15-18

Close Reader Quiz #10 - Companionship

a.  How does Felix react to seeing the monster?

b. What does the monster ask Frankenstein to make him?

c.  What does Victor see in Henry that he can’t see in himself?

Intertextual Inspection

a.  Read myth of Prometheus as a class.

b. Decide what characters align in the myth and novel.

c.  How is knowledge both useful and destructive in each?

d. What do the myth and novel say about control?

e.  Discuss what it means to be original.

  Binary Bout: Escape vs. Freedom

10 Spot Essay: How are Victor and his monster alike? What do they both want from


Day 14: Frankenstein chapters 19-21

Close Reader Quiz #11 - Devotion

a.  What event does the monster threaten to be at?

b. Whose death is Victor blamed for?

c.  Whose visit reinvigorates Victor?

Monster Smash

a.  In pairs, design a monster:

                                                           i. Name and describe the monster physically.

                                                         ii. Write briefly about where the monster was born or came from.

                                                       iii. Describe the powers and abilities your monster has, if any.

                                                       iv. Describe the personality of your monster.

                                                         v. Write why it goes on living.

                                                       vi. Write what exactly classifies it as a monster.

b. As a class, we will compare and contrast the monsters. We will explain:

                                                           i. Which monster would win in a fight?

                                                         ii. Which monster would fit in the best in the real world?

                                                       iii. Which monster is scariest?

                                                       iv. Which monster is sweetest?

  Binary Bout: Creator vs. Master

  10 Spot Essay: What does the loss of Henry Clerval mean to Victor?

Day 15: Frankenstein chapters 22-24

Close Reader Quiz #12 - Disparity

a.  How has Elizabeth changed upon Victor’s return?

b. What happens to Elizabeth?

c.  Does Walton kill the monster after all?

   In Class Essay #1 – Compare and Contrast Victor and his creature’s upbringing and   

                                   relationship to the world.


Day 16: May – part one

Day 17: May

  10 Spot Essay: What do the film and movie suggest about objectifying people?

Day 18: Cain Act I


Close Reader Quiz #13 – Fate

a.  The seraphs ________ most; cherubim _________ most.

b. What is Adah’s relationship to Cain?

c.  What kind of work does Cain do?


a.  At the computer lab, do an internet search on Lord George Byron.

b. Write at least three interesting facts to share with the class. While you can investigate any part of his life, one of the three facts should be from the few years surrounding Cain’s publication.

c.  As a class, we will create a working timeline of his life.

   10 Spot Essay: Explain why Cain feels betrayed by his parents?

   Binary Bout: Love vs. Knowledge

Day 19: Cain Act II

Close Reader Quiz #14 - Ghosts

a.  Where does Lucifer bring Cain?

b. What does Lucifer show Cain when they are away?

c.  Who is Eve’s favorite child?

Cultural Connections

                                                 i. The preface credits Cuvier, who founds the Society of Geography in Paris on December 15. His theory of catastrophism and the newly discovered fossils being dug up by the society have grave implications on biblical flood theory.

                                               ii. Byron, like his character Cain, lives estranged from his family.

                                             iii. In Pisa, he lives with his lover and friends Mary and PB Shelley.

                                             iv. At this time, Byron believes his estate to be haunted by ghosts.

                                               v. Byron gets word of his friend, John Pollidori’s suicide. Pollidori wrote The Vampyre which Byron was first credited for.

                                             vi. Cain’s wife name is Adah, Byron’s daughter’s name is Ada.

                                           vii. Byron contends with religious injustice nearly riding to the rescue of a persecuted man.

Character Confessional

a.  Choose Cain, Lucifer or Adah to channel.

b. Through your character’s perspective, write a short paragraph about what you value most and least about life to share with the class.

  Binary Bout: Truth vs. Fiction

  10 Spot Essay: Lucifer reveals the truths the Earth hides about natural history. Why

                      are the words and visions of Lucifer threatening to Cain and his family?

Day 20: Cain Act III

Close Reader Quiz # 15– Loss

a.  How long does Adah say Cain was gone?

b. What does Cain wish of his son Enoch?

c.  How does Abel die?

Form and Function

a.  Define Satire and examine the different forms.

                                                           i. A literary technique of writing or art which principally ridicules its subject often as an intended means of provoking or preventing change

                                                         ii. Irony, sarcasm, exaggeration, parody, incongruity, reversal, and caricature.

b. Define Poetic Drama

                                                           i. Verse drama is any drama written as verse to be spoken; another possible general term is poetic drama

c.  Define Closet Drama

                                                           i. A play not intended for performance; such plays are usually read within a circle of acquaintances

d. Find evidence of satire in Cain. Compare 18th century satire to more   

contemporary examples: Show clips from SNL, The Simpsons, The Office, and

            Waiting for Guffman.

   Binary Bout: Destiny vs. Free Will

   10 Spot Essay: Why does Adah stay with Cain after he murders his brother?


Day 21: Cain Balanced or Biased Debates

Day 22: Cain Balanced or Biased Debates

Day 23: Jurassic Park Intro – p.51

Close Reader Quiz #16 - Probability

a.  How is Alice sure Tina’s drawing is a dinosaur?

b. Where are Dr. Grant and Sattler excavating?

c.  What has John Hammond been stock piling?

Bio-Thematic Feed

a.  At the computer lab, do an internet search on Michael Crichton’s work.

b. Read synopses of as many of Crichton’s novels as possible. Make a list of as many themes you can find that Crichton tackles. Also, write which of these themes you expect to surface in Jurassic Park. Be prepared to share with the class.

Character Confessionals

a.  Choose Paleontologist Dr. Grant or Paleobotanist Dr. Sattler to channel.

b. Through your characters perspective, explain why you dig up the past.

   10 Spot Essay: Why does Bob Morris ask a lot of questions about John Hammond?

Day 24: Jurassic Park pgs. 52-92

Close Reader Quiz #17 - Greed

a.  Who is older, Tim or Alexis?

b. How does Dodgson plan to make money with the technology?

c.  What does Dodgson give to Nedry to hide the embryos in?

Real Time Relevance

a.  Economics – Who could afford to visit Jurassic Park? Can you patent a species? Should people profit from exploiting the natural world?

b. Ethics – What responsibility do we have to sustain the current ecology? Does the pleasure the public gets from zoos or pets outweigh the animal’s rights? Should humans even attempt control of dangerous beasts? What are the upsides and downsides to cloning?

c.  Evolution – Are birds the descendants of dinosaurs? What would the world be like if man went extinct? Discuss the dwindling bee population and the implications of our current dominance. How does behavior adapt?

   10 Spot Essay: If it were possible, what wild animal would you miniaturize and

                           domesticate and why?

Day 25: Jurassic Park pgs. 93-143

Close Reader Quiz #18 - Anticipation

a.  How does the park make sure the T-Rex has enough to eat?

b. What are gizzard stones?

c.  What dinosaur does Muldoon worry the most about?

Bringing it Home  - Dino-stories

a.  Focus on Tim and Lex’s feelings about dinosaurs.

b. What makes dinosaurs so fascinating to kids? Recall your first memory of dinosaurs. How were they first explained or described to you? What appealed to you or repelled you from dinosaurs when you were a child? If you have no concrete memories associated with dinosaurs or fossils, how would you explain their existence to someone who knew nothing of them?

c.  Be prepared to share you answers with the class.

   10 Spot Essay: In your own words, how does Dr. Malcolm explain Chaos Theory and

                            how is it working in the novel?


Day 26: Jurassic Park pgs. 144-233

Close Reader Quiz #19 – Relinquishing

a.  Why does Tim let himself fall from the tree?

b. What does Dr. Wu say the breeding dinosaurs have in common?

c.  What happens to Ed Regis?

Grammar Radiation

a.  Define Participle: a verb form that acts as an adjective.

b. Define gerund: a verb form that ends in -ing and acts as a noun. Don't confuse it with a verb phrase in progressive tense or with a present participle, which also ends in -ing but acts as an adjective.

c.  Complete participle, participle phrase and gerunds worksheets.

Character Confessionals

a.  Choose Alan Grant, Ian Malcolm, Ellie Sattler, Tim or Lex to channel.

b. Through your character’s perspective, write a few sentences about your first day on the island. What animals have you seen? How is the park managed and arranged? What things have you learned in your short stay?

  10 Spot Essay: Why does Hammond think that helping humanity is a terrible way to

                            use technology?

Day 27: Jurassic Park pgs. 234-287

Close Reader Quiz #20 - Hindsight

a.  Why do the duckbills stampede?

b. What does John Arnold figure out?

c.  What two carcasses does Muldoon examine?

Lyric Linker – Low’s “Dinosaur Act”

a.  Watch the music video.

b. Read the lyrics aloud.

c.  Analyze the song in relation to Jurassic Park

                                                           i. What is meant by the title?

                                                         ii. How can some believe Dinosaurs never existed or existed with mankind?

                                                       iii. How are fences “pulled up” in Jurassic Park?

                                                       iv. What is uncovered “through the dust”?

                                                         v. What can we make of “the bright red snowflake”?

Character Confessionals

a.  Choose John Hammond, John Arnold or Muldoon to channel.

b. Through your characters perspective, write about your duties and responsibilities at the park. Write whether you think yourself good at your job and why.

  10 Spot Essay: Explain the Malcolm Effect.

Day 28: Jurassic Park pgs. 288-344

Close Reader Quiz #21 - Proactive

a.  Why does the Tyrannosaurus stop attacking Lex and Tim?

b. Why can’t the motion detectors spot Grant, Lex and Tim?

c.  When using the computer, what system does Tim get back online?

Fleshing Out Figures

a.  The most consistent criticism of Crichton’s work is underdeveloped characters. Help Crichton by picking up the slack on one of his characters.

b. In less than two pages, write a short scene involving your character that occurs before or after the events of the novel(do not borrow from sequels). If you can think of a way to write a scene that occurs during the course of the novel, please do. The scene must demonstrate character traits and dialogue consistent with the book’s portrayal. It must also evidence something inexplicit about the character that you have inferred from reading. After writing the scene, a brief explanatory paragraph pinpointing where your inference was derived is also required

Day 29: Jurassic Park pgs. 345-399

Close Reader Quiz #22 - Extinction

a.  Ian Malcolm doesn't believe that life on planet Earth is in danger. What is in danger, from his point of view??

b. What odd behavior is noticed in the Raptor nest?

c.  How does Hammond die?

Specialist Presentations

a.  First three specialist presenters will give their speeches.

b. As a class, we will discuss and question the specialists based on questions written during the speech.

  10 Spot Essay: Write about whether you agree or disagree with author Michael

             Crichton’s statement, “I don’t believe we know why we do what we do”.

Day 30: Jurassic Park

Specialist Presentations

a.  The final two specialists on the biology/ecology/geology in literature unit will give their speeches.

b. We will question and discuss again.

Real Time Relevance - Pondering Pleo

a.  Watch Caleb Chung’s presentation on his robotic dinosaur Pleo. http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/caleb_chung_plays_with_pleo.html

b. Discuss the irony of artificial intelligence melding with prehistoric life.

Unit I Course Assessment: 1000 point potential

                                                                                     PERCENT   POINTS

Class Involvement (Participation and in class activities) 30%             300(10/day)

10 Spot Essays                                                                  20%              200

In Class Essay                                                                  20%              200

Choral Reading                                                                 10%              100

B or B Debates                                                                  10%              100

Grammar Radiation                                                          5%               50

Fleshing Out Figures                                                         5%               50

*Specialist Presentations don’t factor in until Unit V, when everyone has given one, where they equal 20% of the final grade.