On Friday, November 22nd, Ms. Eyrich’s AP English Literature students gained insights into The Awakening by Kate Chopin by engaging in a creative making activity in Mr. Martino’s Critical Making Studio in the Center for Innovation & Design.
In Chopin’s novel, the houses encountered by the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, play a significant role in her ongoing quest for freedom from the duties required of her as a mother and a wife. In small groups, the students were tasked with creating a metaphorical representation for three different spaces in The Awakening— the Pontellier house, Mademoiselle Reisz’s apartment, and the pigeon house.
Mr. Martino gave the students an overview of the tools and materials at their disposal, which included cardboard, colored paper, cotton balls, popsicle sticks, Play-Doh, stickers and beads. The students then had five minutes to review the text with their teammates and map out their ideas.
In their 30 minutes of building time, they used different materials and different colors to represent a variety of themes and emotions – from the comfort and freedom of the pidgin house (with cotton ball furniture) to the societal obligations embodied by the Pontellier home in New Orleans (with popsicle stick bars on the windows).
At the end of the class, the students shared their creations – and their thought processes – with the other groups.