The Old Man and the Sea
a Web Quest by
Andrew S. Basler
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Teachers | Credits
Ernest Hemingway is one of the greatest authors in literary history. He wrote many classic novels and short stories, including his 1952 novel The Old Man and the Sea for which he won a Pulitzer prize and a Nobel Prize for literature. Hemingway is best known for his compact, minimalist style. His content was wide ranging, based on his own life experiences. Together, his style and content represent the modernist tradition in literature.
In this Web Quest, you will do several things. First, you will watch the movie The Old Man and the Sea based on Hemingway's novel. Then, you will use the internet to research Hemingway's life, modernism in literature, and how Hemingway's novel exemplifies the modernist tradition. Your grade will be based on your responses to several questions, to be answered in short essay form. To see what your grade is based on, skip down to the Evaluation Rubric.
1. First, you will watch the movie The Old Man and the Sea, which follows the plot of the novel very closely. The movie will give you the synopsis of the story necessary to complete your research.
2. After watching the movie, you will use the internet to research Hemingway's life and modernism. You will use the knowledge from your research to answer the short essay questions. Here are some web sites to get started. In addition to these, use the U search engine to complete your own searches.
Modernism in Literature
3. Use your own knowledge, your research, and the above web sites to answer the following questions in short essays (no more than one page per question).
What distinguishes modernism from other movements (i.e. romanticism, post-modernism, etc)?
Specifically, what characteristics distinguish modernist literature from other writing styles?
What major events in Hemingway's life impacted his view on the world, and led to his modernist style?
In what ways is The Old Man and the Sea representative of modernism?
4. Now that you have answered questions based on research, you have the experience necessary to think critically without any outside help. Read the following Hemingway short story, and analyze it from a modernist perspective. In essence, what attributes of the short story make it a modernist piece of literature? What evidence is drawn from the text?
Indian Camp, an excerpt from In Our Time
5. Upon completion of the above steps, turn in your short essays to the teacher.
You will be evaluated based on the following rubric:
|Web Quest Evaluation Rubric||Possible Points||Self-Assessment||Teacher Assessment|
|Clear understanding and identification of the modernist movement in literature||
|Applied research to The Old Man and the Sea, analyzed the story from a modernist perspective.||25|
|Applied critical thinking skills to analyze Indian Camp from a modernist literature perspective.||25
|Thoroughness of research and completion of all steps of project.||25|
|Total Possible Points||
If you have any questions regarding the grading rubric, be sure to ask your teacher before you begin your work.
Modernism was a backlash against more traditional types of literature. It was born out of the instability that rocked the world during the World Wars, and birth of the atomic era. It was characterized by the relativity that dominated culture and thought. Hemingway was one of the greatest modernists, and changed the way both critics and ordinary people thought about novels and short stories alike.
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Grade Band: 9 - 12 English, English I - IV.
Tennessee Sate Curriculum Standards: Language Arts
1.13 Apply effective research skills
1.15 Research various sources to present information in a variety of formats
1.16 Develop personal, imaginative, and analytical responses to literature
2.06 Read independently for a variety of purposes
2.08 Analyze the impact of literary elements in various texts
2.11 Recognize the influence of an author's background and experience on literary work
3.01 Access and demonstrate multiple technological reference source
Preceding and Ensuing Events of Instruction:
Before beginning this Web Quest, the students should have read The Old Man and the Sea in its entirety. Also, in class show the movie version, which closely follows the novel. The movie is available online at www.amazon.com . It is recommended that each student complete this Web Quest independent of others. This Web Quest is designed to maximize critical thinking skills through researching and analyzing content. In addition, this Web Quest may be used to introduce or represent the modernist period of literature. After the students have completed their responses, the teacher may want to supplement the class-time through group discussion or fish-bowl type exercises. This should further reinforce what the students learned. The teacher may want to use this as an at-home assignment, or as a library research project, including other sources for research. The movie is not imperative to the assignment. Simply reading the text will give the students enough information to complete this Web Quest.
Learning Improvements and Purpose of Web Quest:
The students will learn to use a primary text and supplements to analyze content. In addition, the student will gain internet research experience. The purpose of this Web Quest is to: introduce the students to modernism as a movement and how it is exemplified in literature, to promote the internet as a useful research tool, to improve critical thinking skills through literary analysis, to provide an in-depth study of Hemingway's life and works, including the short story Indian Camp and his award winning novel The Old Man and the Sea.
Google (2004). Search Engine. Retrieved April 27, 2004 at http://www.google.com
Gymnasium Steglizt Department of English (n.d.) Short Stories by Ernest Hemingway. Retrieved April 27, 2004 at http://www.gs.cidsnet.de/englisch-online/Leistungskurs2/hemingway6.htm
Hemingway Resource Center (2004). Biography. Retrieved April 27, 2004 at http://www.lostgeneration.com/childhood.html
Lye, John (1997). Some Attributes of Modernist Literature. Retrieved April 27, 2004 at http://www.brocku.ca/english/courses/2F55/modernism.html
University of Virginia (2004). In Our Time, Chapter One. Retreived April 27, 2004 at http://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/HEMINGWAY/ch01.html
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