1. Before students enter the classroom, have copies of the
short story “The Carpet King” by Ginny Swart printed
and ready to distribute. At the beginning of the period, have
the following questions written on the board:
does the place in which you live affect the kind of person
Think about the ways in which you are
affected by your continent, your country, your state, your
city, all the way down to your neighborhood. How do these
elements of your environment shape who you are?”
the class about 10 minutes to think and write about
these questions in their journals.
Begin a 15 minute class discussion about the question
of the day. Examine
each step of this hierarchy (continent,
state, city, and neighborhood) and how these spheres
of our environment affect us. You may even wish to break
into groups to have small, separate discussions about
each sphere influences us. To do this, assign one group
to each of the following questions:
does living on the North American continent affect
does living in the United States affect our perspectives?”
does living in [your state] affect our perspectives?”
does living in [your city] affect our perspectives?”
does living in your neighborhood affect our perspectives?”
about five minutes of brainstorming, bring the whole class back together to
discuss the thoughts and ideas of
each group. Students should be assembling and sharing their prior knowledge
of the cultural, societal, and environmental influences
on people. Encourage the class to think about the differences
between them and someone who lives in a different
continent, country, state, city, or neighborhood. Students
begin to see the many ways in which these factors influence our
actions, ideas, and beliefs.
Explain to the class that they are going to be reading
a variety of fictional texts which reflect
and societal perspectives of the characters. Hand
out copies of the story “The Carpet King” by Ginny Swart,
and give a brief introduction to the text. It is
usually enjoyable for the students to practice reading aloud using
like “popcorn”, where students can read
a paragraph and then pass the reading onto another
student by naming him/her.
If you prefer, you may have the class begin reading
the text silently. Depending on the ability levels
of your students,
you can have them read half the story and discuss
the following questions, then finishing the reading
for homework, or have
the class read the story entirely in class, saving
the questions for homework.
to Consider for “The Carpet King”
1. How would you describe the setting or environment
in which the story takes place? Think about the
continent, country, city, and neighborhood. What
kind of house does this family live in? What
part of town do they live in? Why?
Compare and contrast the attitudes of the mother, father,
and daughter toward Charles Andrews
at the beginning of the story and then at the
end. Does their view of him change?
What kind of man is Charles Andrews? How can you tell?
sets him apart from the
family? What cultural and societal values
show in his manner?
Why do you think Mrs. Le Roux considers buying one of
Andrews’ carpets? What
might the carpets represent to her? What
does Mr. Le Roux
think of the carpets?
Does Mr. Le Roux trust Mr. Andrews? Why do you think
Mr. Andrews was able
buying the carpets? How did their respective
values and beliefs play into this transaction?
How does the author bring a sense of her African culture
into the story?
have on the reader?
1. Take the first 10 minutes of class
to discuss the reading from the previous
how cultural and societal values
influenced each of the characters. Ask the class
if they found
anything about the story surprising
or ironic. Also find out how the
students can relate
the story to their own lives (i.e.,
found yourself in a situation similar
to the Le Roux family?)
Explain to the class that today they will be examining
text that looks at some issues
expressed in “The Carpet
Just as cultural values affect
our perspectives, the ideals embraced
by particular social classes can
affect us as
well. Sometimes the values of society
can steer the future in directions
we cannot foresee. Give
the class about 5-10 minutes to
the short story “Total Urbanization” by
Allow the class to separate into groups to discuss
questions as a guide (students
may choose a recorder
write down their answers):
to Consider for “Total Urbanization”
1. Describe the setting and mood
at the beginning of this story.
Where does it
What is the general feeling
of the story?
What kind of world does the narrator live in? According
him, how did
to this point? How is this
world different from
the one we currently live
Explain the significance of the title “Total
have been the negative
affects of this world transformation?
Why do you think it
is important to the main
to be “a great
someone whom history
will remember? Is this
What does the narrator regret
most as he is
dying? Does his
Do you think such a future could realistically
Why or why
Collect student responses to questions and
close with a wrap-up discussion of issues raised by the readings.
Allow students to direct discussion as much as possible.