What are People For?

Module 15 Overview

Essential Questions

How do we define ourselves in relationship to self/family/society?
How do we determine if we are ‘good?’
What tools or techniques does a writer use to illustrate their characters?
How do readers infer author’s intended message/meaning?

excerpt from "Some Notes on the Novella"

"I believe the novella is the perfect form of prose fiction. It is the beautiful daughter of a rambling, bloated ill-shaven giant (but a giant who’s a genius on his best days). And this child is the means by which many first know our greatest writers. Readers come to Thomas Mann by way of “Death in Venice,” Henry James by “The Turn of the Screw,” Kafka by “Metamorphosis,” Joseph Conrad by “Heart of Darkness,” Albert Camus by “L’Etranger.” I could go on: Voltaire, Tolstoy, Joyce, Solzhenitsyn. And Orwell, Steinbeck, Pynchon. And Melville, Lawrence, Munro. The tradition is long and glorious. I could go even further: the demands of economy push writers to polish their sentences to precision and clarity, to bring off their effects with unusual intensity, to remain focused on the point of their creation and drive it forward with functional single-mindedness, and to end it with a mind to its unity. They don’t ramble or preach, they spare us their quintuple subplots and swollen midsections.

Let’s take, as an arbitrary measure, something that is between twenty and forty thousand words, long enough for a reader to inhabit a world or a consciousness and be kept there, short enough to be read in a sitting or two and for the whole structure to be held in mind at first encounter—the architecture of the novella is one of its immediate pleasures."

McEwan, Ian. "Some Notes on the Novella." The New Yorker. Conde Nast, 29 Oct. 2012. Web. 26 Mar. 2015. http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/some-notes-on-the-novella

Gregor Samsa / Franz Kafka

Big picture

Keep in Mind...

  • —There is no ‘right’ meaning behind Kafka.
  • —After the first sentence, not much ‘exciting’ happens. Think about WHY?!?
  • —Pay attention to the family dynamics and relationships!
  • —Keep an eye out for humor. The juxtaposition of Gregor’s mindset and his circumstances (in Part I especially) is supposed to be funny. Picture the action in your mind!

Module 15 Tasks

  1. Complete Module Overview Video Task (20-30 minutes)
  2. Watch Copy Shop & Complete Discussion Board (30-45 minutes)
  1. Annotate Chapter 1 & Chapter 1 Task. (1-2 hours)
  1. Read graphic novel version of Chapter 1 & contrast text excerpts (30 minutes - 1 hour)
  1. Participate in a discussion on Kafka/Kafkaesque. (30 minutes)


  1. ACT Lessons (2 new quiz results & corresponding reflections)