Living, Dying, and the Quest for Meaning Literature: Unit 1 Free Write for 10 minutes on what you think the meaning of life is and where it originates from. So what is the meaning of life and where does it come from? Religion Family Solitary reflection Political Activity Scientific endeavors Art Music Work Sources of meaning So why is this unit called LIFE, DEATH, and the Quest for meaning? This is because during the lives of characters in the novels we will read, they give us clues as to what they considered to be important and give their lives meaning. Furthermore, their deaths can tell us quite a bit. As we are reading, here are a few things to keep in mind *How do the characters in the different texts describe death? Friend or enemy? *What, if any, are the connections between the characters’ attitudes towards death and the values they recommended living by? *How does the community help or hurt the individual who seeks to face death or to make meaning of the present moment? *Are there things worth dying for? Worth killing for? And finally…. *What is the meaning of life? Unit 1 Literature Gilgamesh Ramayana Oedipus Sundiata 1984 Dante’s Inferno At the end of the Unit you will be taking a multiple choice test and turning in a 2-3 page paper on one of the following topics: 1. Several of the works in this unit make us consider the reasons that people hold certain beliefs. Choose at least two of these works and explore what motivates people to have belief in the first place. What causes people to be superstitious, religious, trusting? Are there innate human desires we wish to fulfill? 2. People do not find life meaningful all by themselves. We human beings learn to face life and death within communities that help us figure out what we think about the world and how we will live in it. Select two or three works and explore this questions. How do the characters’ communities assist and/or hinder them in the process of forming values and beliefs? Or, what is the role of the community in the process of dying? How do you evaluate the relationship between these characters and their communities? 3. Most of you have recently seen a movie or a television show that concerns themes similar to the ones we have been exploring in this unit. How does the recent text deal with issues of death, or issues of meaning and value? How does it compare with the texts we have explored in this unit? Select one or two works from our unit and compare them with a contemporary work from popular culture.