SJHS Students Compare Literature

Submitted by tiffanie.miley on

“Reading is the process of constructing meaning,” said Mrs. Mary Rice, an English teacher at SJHS.  Oftentimes, students feel they are able to get more meaning out of a book when they are able to read books within a group. This is one reason why Mrs. Rice’s ninth grade English classes are reading Dracula and Ivanhoe in groups.  The classes have studied the basic themes of both books, and will soon be splitting in to two groups, (with one group reading Dracula, and another reading Ivanhoe).  Although the students are only picking one book to finish with the class, many of them are going to finish the other book on their own.

Dracula is a novel about a vampire from Transylvania who travels to Victorian England.  Ivanhoe is also about England, but it explores the medieval era instead of the Victorian. It focuses on Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe, and the results of his return from the Third Crusade. The two books are similar in some ways but in others they are very different. Dylan Larsen, a student in one of Mrs. Rice’s honors classes, said he liked the beginning of Dracula because it was “so mysterious.”  Students in Mrs. Rice’s classes have read the beginning of both books, and they are prepared to finish one or both eventually. Mason Barnes, a student in Mrs. Rice’s ninth-grade Honors class, said, “I’d like to know the original story of Dracula.” Many other students in the class are excited to be able to choose what they want to read. 

Students have done many activities to learn about the plots and ideological settings of the two books. They have done character drawings, looked at information about the time period of the two stories, and made graphs and diagrams of information in the book. Dylan’s favorite activity was making tension line graphs that show how the tone of Dracula changes throughout the first two chapters. Hopefully these activities will help the students make a more educated decision about what they want to read.

Christopher Taylor, SJHS Staff Writer