Hearkening back to the days of carnival side show acts, these pamphlets allow students to be creative and still link directly to the text.
Introduction: Each pamphlet I see is different from the one before it, and the students seem to spur one another on to great ideas. To ensure that groups are varied in artistic interests and abilities, I ask each student to first fill out a survey indicating any of the following topics that they enjoy: creative writing, artistic renderings, or technological wizardry. I then place students in groups of 4-5, ensuring that each group is well-rounded.
Text: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (and John Gardner's Grendel, or simply Beowulf)
Difficulty: Moderate (using only one text, I use for basic level students, using two I reserve for honors classes)
Applications: I also do this project using Beowulf's Grendel alone, and I would imagine you could apply it to any "monster" in literature.
For this project, you and your team will be creating a pamphlet for a carnival sideshow act: “Outcasts and Freaks: Grendel and Frankenstein’s Monster.” This pamphlet will have a number of different components, and I have based the make-up of your team on your individual strengths. Though you will create one cohesive pamphlet, how exactly you choose to divide up the work is entirely up to you.
All pamphlets will be created by taking an 8.5 by 11 inch piece of paper (though the color and weight is up to you) and folding it 2 times, thus creating six different sections, three per side. As a result, the pamphlet itself will then have six required components, each of which I have described below.
The Cover (1 section):
This should use sensationalistic language that would entice a reader to come to your particular sideshow act. It can advertise a name and include artwork, but it should not feature images of the monsters themselves.
The Artwork (2 sections):
Two sections should be devoted to artwork of the monsters themselves (one per section). To see some good examples of art from vintage carnival posters, you might visit the following site (and the “Talbot” bears no relation to me!): Madame Talbot Posters
Feel free to browse around the library or the web to look for other examples.
The History (2 sections):
One section each (so two sections total) should be devoted to the history of the monsters. This should give the details, and the facts should be taken from the text. However, you may dress up the language as you see fit, remembering that you are trying to entice people to come see this “freak show”. (Things to consider: background information about each monster, about how he was captured, about what makes him unique, and about why he would be part of a “freak show.”)
The Promise of Things to Come (1 section):
This should let the reader know what he can expect when he pays to view the monsters. What will they do? How will they act? (Things to consider: Will they do “human” activities? Like what? Will they be able to converse? Will they demonstrate their strength?)