|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?