The remark took me by surprise. Our Great American Road Trip course has been following the real life adventures of literary icon Michael Crichton as it unfolds in his autobiographical page-turner, Travels. We’ve followed Crichton into the depths of the sea, to the top of Kilimanjaro, and across a Pakistani landslide. We trekked along side him into the Rwandan jungle and the Mayan pyramids. And I’m not even sure I’ve adequately covered the highlights. In short, this guy was a living, breathing issue of National Geographic. Personally, I have vacillated among a range of responses: envy, most certainly, disbelief, a desire to retrace his itinerary….but pity? No, that never occurred to me.
K—and as it happened, several of his cohorts, were of the opinion that Crichton’s high-octane adventures were a sign of discontent, of not being comfortable with himself or his life. They saw him as a thrill-seeking high chaser. Others, such as the writer below, were just incredulous:
· Questions for each reading (they have to come each day with 3 discussion topics)
· 3 personal reflections
· 1 formal essay (based on one of your reflection pieces)
Two of the following:
· artistic response (such as themed journal cover, sketch, or other artistic element)
· souvenirs (“photos” from the internet, maps, brochures, etc.)
· video or multimedia response
· Three scholarly articles with one page summary
· Two scholarly articles and two draft pages (for their final 12 page paper)
I think literature is most valuable when it is personal; when it's an interaction between a per on and pages. It is the job of a student to make meaning--in all disciplines, really, but especially in literature. That meaning might come from connections to personal events, links to interesting concepts from other disciplines or literature, or trough a keen imagination. I wanted the trip journals to allow room for students to make meaning on their own terms, in their own way. I couldn’t be any more pleased with the journals thus far.
|This student mapped and scrapbooked key events|
|This guy made travel brochures from some of Crichton's destinations|