Two Year Project of Literature in the Social Studies Classroom

Global History and Geography II: 10th Grade


NOTE:  Students have the option of reading FOUR books; reading THREE books and viewing ONE film; or reading TWO books and viewing TWO films during the course of the four marking periods.  Scholar Level students may view ONE film only.






Zamyatin, Yevgeny


This novel led the way to A Brave New World.  It is an antiutopian fantasy with a vision of the society to come.

Huxley, Aldous A Brave New World A fantasy of the future which shades a blazingly critical light on the present. "Community, Identity, Stability" is the motto of this utopian World State.  Everyone in this new world consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a "Feelie", a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Huxley foreshadowed many of the practices and gadgets we take for granted today.
Orwell, George 1984 George Orwell's celebrated 1948 vision of a world subsumed in tyranny and war describes the process of events by which Winston Smith, a London clerk at the Ministry of Truth, comes to understand the nature aims of the government he works for, and portrays his doomed attempt to create a private life for himself and his lover, Julia.
Dickens, Charles Title of Two Cities Set against the backtop of the French Revolution, it tells the story of a family threatened by the terrible events of the past.  Doctor Manette was wrongly imprisoned in the Bastille for eighteen years without trial by the aristocratic authorities.  Finally released, he is reunited with his daughter, Lucie, who despite her French ancestry has been brought up in London.  Lucie falls in love with Charles Darnay, another expatriate, who has abandoned wealth and a title in France because of his political convictions.  When revolution breaks out in Paris, Darnay returns to the city to help an old family servant, but there he is arrested because of the crimes committed by his relations. His wife, Lucie, their young daughter, and her aged father follow him across the Channel, thus putting all their lives in danger.
Dickens, Charles Hard Times

Hard Times is a blistering portrait of Victoria England as it struggles with the massive economic turmoil brought on by the Industrial Revolution.  Championing the mind-numbing materialism of the period is Thomas Gradgrind. The novel opens by arguing that boys and girls should be taught "nothing but Facts.  Facts alone are wanted in life." Forbidding the development of imaginations, Gradgrind is ultimately forced to confront the results of his philosophy-his own daughter's terrible unhappiness.  Full of suspense, humor, and tenderness, Hard Times is a brilliant defense of art in an age of mechanism.

Remarque, Erich Maria

All Quiet on the Western Front*

The story of young Paul Baumer, who enlists in the German Army in World War I and takes place with his comrades in the trenches.  A soldier's fight against the principle of hate.

Henegan, James

The Grave

Vivid portrayal of the impact of the Irish Potato Famine.  Thirteen-year-old Tom, an unhappy foster child in Liverpool, falls into a massive open grave and is transported to Ireland in 1847, where he finds himself in the midst of the deadly potato famine.
Hemingway, Ernest Farewell to Arms

The unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse.  It is a story of love and pain, of loyalty and desertion.

Dunmore, Helen The Siege 1941 Siege of Leningrad.  Sudden news of a German attack rips the Levin family-twenty-two-year-old Anna; her young brother, Koyla; and their father, Mikhail-from their countryside retreat, throwing their world into unimaginable turmoil. Soon all of Leningrad is trapped by the besieging German army, but daily life must go on. While Koyla plays with his toy fort, his tiny body grows cruelly thin. While Anna dreams of an artist's life, she forages for food in the ever more desperate city.  Likewise, Dunmore's lush, lyrical appreciation of life's comforts: a fire in the hearth, jam on the tongue-dwells in The Siege even amid the darkest despair. Before the siege is over, a mysterious ex-actress (Mikhail's onetime lover) and a gentle young doctor (Anna's true love, perhaps) come to the Levin's frozen little apartment.  Not all of the five will survive, but their struggle and their tragedy will ultimately bear hope for a new beginning.

Solzhenitsyn, Alexander

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich A common carpenter, Ivan Denisovich is one of millions viciously imprisoned for countless years on baseless charges, sentenced to the waking nightmares of the Stalin's Soviet work camps in Siberia.  Even in the face of degrading hatred, where life is reduced to a bowl of gruel and a rare cigarette, hope and dignity prevail. This powerful novel of fact is a scathing indictment of Communist tyranny, and an eloquent affirmation of the human spirit.
Ayer, Eleanor Parallel Journey A young German woman and an ardent member of the Hitler Youth lead parallel lives.  Helen Waterford  and Alfons Heck were born just a few miles from each other in the German Rhineland.  But their lives took radically different course:  Helen's to the Auschwitz extermination camp; Alfons to a high rank in the Hitler Youth. While Helen was hiding in Amsterdam, Alfons was a fanatic believer in Hitler's master race. While she was crammed in a cattle car bound for the death camp Auschwitz, he was a teenage commander of frontline troops, ready to fight and die for the glory of Hitler and the Fatherland.  This book tells both of their stories, side-by-side, in an overwhelming account of the nightmare that was WWII. The riveting stories of these two remarkable people must stand as a powerful lesson to us all.

Hersey, John

Hiroshima On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city.  This book, John Hersey's journalistic masterpiece, tells what happened on that day.  Told through the memories of survivors, this timeless, powerful and compassionate document has become a classic "that stirs the conscience of humanity" (The New York Times).
Markandaya, Kamala Nector in a Sieve* A peasant woman in India struggles to find happiness in a changing India. Married as a child bride to a tenant farmer this peasant woman had never seen, she worked side by side in the field with her husband to wrest a living from land that was ravaged by droughts, monsoons, and insects. With remarkable fortitude and courage, she sought to meet changing times and fight poverty and disaster. She saw one of her infants die from starvation, her daughter become a prostitute, and her sons leave the land for jobs which she distrusted. And somehow, she survived.
Whelan, Gloria Homeless Bird

India-When thirteen-year-old Koly enters into an ill-fated arranged marriage, she must either suffer a destiny dictated by India's tradition or find the courage to oppose it.

Alvaerz, Julia In the Time of Butterflies* Set during the waning days of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in 1960, this extraordinary novel tells the story the Mirabel sisters, three young wives and mothers who are assassinated after visiting their jailed husbands. Thus martyred, the Mirabel sisters have become mythical figures in their country, where they are known as Ias mariposas (the butterflies), from their underground code names.
Follet, Kenneth Eye of the Needle An extraordinary World War II German agent with secret information about the Allied D-Day landing waits at an English lighthouse to be picked up by a submarine an becomes sidetracked by an affair with a paraplegic's wife. This enemy spy knows the secret if the Allies' greatest deception, a brilliant aristocrat and ruthless assassin-code name.  The Needle holds the key to the ultimate Nazi victory. Only one person stands in his way: a lonely Englishwoman on an isolated island, who is coming to love the killer who has mysteriously entered her life.
Paton, Alan Cry the Beloved Country

Cry, the Beloved Country is a beautifully told and profoundly compassionate story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom, set in the troubled and changing South Africa of the 1940s.

Myers, Walter Dean

Fallen Angels

A riveting account of the Vietnam War from the perspective of a young black soldier. Richard Perry, a 17 year old from Harlem, who arrives in Vietnam in 1967.  Perry enlists in the Army in the summer of 1967 and spends a devastating year on active duty in Vietnam. Perry, Lobel, Johnson, Brunner, and Peewee came there for different reasons, but now they share a single dream-getting out alive.

Filipovic, Zlata

Zlata's Diary In September 1991, shortly before war broke out on the streets of Sarajevo, 11-year-old Zlata Filipovic began to keep a diary. In a voice both innocent and wise, she wrote of the horrors of war-the deaths of friends, a shortage of food, and days spent in fear-and issued a compelling plea for peace that has moved parents and children, and will continue to awaken the conscience of the world.  A graphic firsthand look at the war in Sarajevo by a Croatian girl whose personal world has collapsed.

Satrapi, Marjane


Heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Irag. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.  Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran.  

Da Chen

Colors of the Mountain* In 1962, as millions of Chinese citizens were gripped by Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution and the Red Guards enforced a brutal regime of communism, a boy was born to a poor family in southern China. Colors of the Mountain is a story of triumph, a memoir of a boyhood full of spunk, mischief, and love.  He befriends a gang of young hoodlums as well as the elegant, elderly Chinese Baptist woman who teaches him English and opens the door to a new life.  Chen’s remarkable story is full of unforgettable scenes of rural Chinese life.
Bell, William Forbidden City Seventeen-year-old Alex Jackson comes home from school to find that his father, a CBC news cameraman, wants to take him to China's capital, Beijing.  Once there, Alex finds himself on his own in Tienamen Square as desperate students fight the Chinese army for their freedom. Separated from his father and carrying illegal videotapes, Alex must trust the students to help him escape.  Closely based on eyewitness accounts of the massacre in Beijing, Forbidden City is a powerful and frightening story.




Great Expectations

1974 release, directed by Joseph Hardy is not rated.  1998 release of the movie is rated "R" and stars Ethan Hawke and Gwenyth Paltrow.  Set in the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution, it is the story about Pip, an orphaned British boy, befriended by a mysterious benefactor, who enables him to become a gentleman of means.

Dr. Zhivago

Not Rated
Based on a novel by Boris Pasternak which tells the story of Zhivago, a young poet and physician, who finds himself trapped by competing loyalties after the fall of the Czar and the emergence of the  Communists during the political turmoil that followed the First World War. Tom between his duties the his wife and family and his love for the young nurse Lara, Zhivago suffers an internal struggle that mirrors the strife of the civil war around him.

The Longest Day

Not Rated
An all-star cast for this epic recreation of the Allied invasion of Normandy that took place on June 6, 1044.  The film dramatizes the viewpoints of the French, English, Germans, and American soldiers.  Featured actors include John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda, Richard Burton, Sean Connery, and many more.

The Manchurian Candidate

Noted Rated
Director John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate is a bleak, mordant spy thriller in which communist brainwashing and mother love make a potentially lethal combination. Plagued by recurring nightmares, a shell-shocked career soldier (Frank Sinatra) begins to suspect that a fellow GI (Laurence Harvey) is not in fact a war hero, but rather a brainwashed enemy operative.  If he's right, can he figure out his old pal's mission?

 Film Response

After you have viewed the film, identify the major themes of this film.

You are one of the main characters in the film.  Choose an important scene from this film that includes your character and that illustrates a major theme.

The Introductory paragraph and letter should be neatly typed and formatted.

Student Activity: DBQ Constructed Response Project

You are a humanities teacher who wants his/her students to discover the themes and connections between literature and social studies. Your task is to read your assigned text(s) and come to a conclusion about the main themes of the book.  You then will create a Document Based Essay Question for your students. This essay question should include three documents with 5-10 scaffold questions in all (1-2 for each selection). These questions and documents should help your students understand the theme of the text as it relates to their course of historical study.


What is Constructed Response Question?  What is its purpose?  How should good Constructed Response Questions be written?

Constructed Response Questions are:

Use some of the following terms to help you design your Constructed Response questions:



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