Thursday, December 02, 2010


I'm on my lunch break. Normally, I don't take one, as I have so much to do, so much "Ed-line" to keep up with (our school's on-line grade book program). The only time I take "off" for lunch is when I have meetings. Such was the case today. A student senate meeting led by a mature and responsible young lady whose grandfather is an icon in the world of religious/ inspirational art. But that's a story for another day. I only mention it because I came back from the meeting and decided to take the rest of the lunch period for "me" before I went back to grading, recording, posting, and, finally, teaching.

So I'm on my lunch break and I think maybe I'll try to write what's been on my mind since before the break: Robert Bolt's "A Man for all Seasons," the movie I'm showing to my AP 11th
grade English Lit. class. I told them yesterday that this was possibly my all-time favorite movie. Then I thought of all the other movies I love (including one I shared two weeks ago with the sophomores--The Mission) and I amended it to be "one of" my favorites. Regardless of where it ranks on my list (at least in the top 5), it is a favorite. Amazing. Powerful. Inspiring. Memorable. Challenging (as in challenging me to do and be better). And funny.

Yes, funny. You wouldn't expect funny when talking about a 15th-century setting with religious and political...and philosophical...themes criss-crossing through it like a maze. But there are definitely funny spots in it... like Sir Thomas calling his wife Alice "Chick." The first time I heard that, I thought I had miss-heard it. I thought "chick" was more of a "modern" term of endearment. Not one issuing forth from erudite Renaissance mouths!!! But there it was again today, plain as day (and the close-captioning words on the screen). It made me laugh all over again, right along with my students.

What they will discover, however, as we progress through the movie, is that one's conscience, and the keeping of it, is no laughing matter. It is, quite clearly (at least here), a matter of life and death. I asked the students if there was any belief they were willing to give their life for. Most of them "hoped" they'd die for their family or religion. But several of them were unsure. It's a scary thing to deliberately choose death over life for the sake of principle. Maybe they're a little young to be dwelling on such things. I'd like to think that I at least gave them something to think about. Because there will come . . . a day . . .

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