essential questions 4UG

To Tell the Truth: Finding the Truth in Fiction 
Shades of Truth
• Are there certain truths that can be considered universal or absolute?
• Are some truths more true than others?
• What are the consequences of examining “all of shades of gray”?
• How does one’s perspective shape or alter truth?
Illusion versus Reality
• What is reality and how is it constructed?
• What tools can the individual use to judge the difference, or draw a line between,  illusion an reality?
• What are the potential conflicts when one person’s reality is anther person’s illusion?
• How can we ever truly be certain of our reality?
The Human Condition
• In the face of adversity, what causes some people to prevail while others fail?
• What is the meaning of life?
• What is the meaning of life and does that shape our beliefs regarding death?
• Are we governed/guided by fate, free will, a greater power, or do we fall somewhere on the spectrum between?
Culture: Values, Beliefs and Rituals
• How do individual develop values and beliefs?
• What factors shape our values and beliefs?
• How do values and beliefs change over time?
• How does family play a role in shaping our values and beliefs?
• Why do we need beliefs and values?
• What happens when belief systems of societies and individuals come into conflict?
• When should an individual take a stand in opposition to an individual or larger group?
• When is it appropriate to challenge the beliefs or values of society?
• Are there universal characteristics of belief systems that are common across people and time?
• To what extent are belief systems represented and reproduced through history, literature, art, and music?
• How do beliefs, ethics, or values influence different people’s behaviour?
• How do individuals reconcile competing belief systems within a given society (e.g., moral beliefs conflicting with legal codes)?
• When a person’s individual choices are in direct conflict with his/her society, what re the consequences?
• What is morality and what are the factors that have an impact on the developmen of our morality?
• What role or purpose does religion/spirituality serve in a culture?
• What purpose or function do ethics/philosophy have in governing technological advances?
• How do our values and beliefs shape who we are as individuals and influence our behaviour?
 Language and Literature


  • How is our understanding of culture and society constructed through and by language?
  • How can language be powerful?
  • How can language be used by an individual to empower an individual?
  • How is language used to manipulate us?
  • In what ways are language and power inseparable?
  • Is it possible to have culture without language?
  • Is it possible to thing without language?
  • How does language influence the way we think, act, and perceive the world?
  • How do authors use the resources of language to impact an audience?


  • How is literature like life?
  • What is literature supposed to do?
  • What influences a writer to create?
  • What is the purpose and function of art in our culture?
  • How does literature reveal the values of a given culture or time period?
  • How does the study of fiction and nonfiction texts help individuals construct their understanding of reality?
  • In what ways are all narratives influenced by bias and perspective?
  • Where does the meaning of a text reside? Within the text, within the reader, or in the transaction that occurs between them?
  • Can a reader infer an author’s intentions based on the text?
  • What are enduring questions and conflicts that writers (and their cultures) grappled with hundreds of year ago and are still relevant today?
  • How do we gauge the optimism or pessimism of a particular time period or a particular group of writers?
  • Are there universal themes in literature that are of interest or concern to all cultures and societies?
  • What are the characteristics or elements that cause of piece of literature to endure?
  • What distinguishes a good read from great literature?
  • Who decides the criteria for judging whether or not a book is an y good?
  • What is the purpose of a genre of literature: science fiction? satire? historical novels?