Could Norman Rockwell's painting of Ruby Bridges being escorted by the Feds into the school be tied to the profession of education in theme?The theme I am trying to stay with to tie 3 works into a...

Could Norman Rockwell's painting of Ruby Bridges being escorted by the Feds into the school be tied to the profession of education in theme?

The theme I am trying to stay with to tie 3 works into a theme for my profession, education, is:  We have freedom to be individuals (who we want to be) through an education/learning.  I thought "I know how the caged bird sings" (poem), and this painting could tie with my profession and this theme.  Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.  I am having trouble with this.

I also need a 3rd work from the disipline of music or film to tie to this theme and my profression.  Please list any that might be appropriate.  If I can just get started with this very large assignment, I can do it!  Finding the correct pieces to tie together to the profession of education seem to be the hardest part for me.

I also have to have a thesis statement to tie them all together! Help if possible!  I have been stuck for several days trying to get started!!  The theme could be changed to something better if needed -- any ideas?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You have a great deal going on here and many great ideas.  I think that being able to streamline and focus on what it is you want to say would be a very good start in terms of producing quality work.  It's there.  Your enthusiasm and zeal are testaments to good work, but some paring down of ideas and precision of thought is going to be needed.  In terms of Rockwell's painting, I think that you can get many ideas about your theme of education and individual identity.  The painting itself shows the girl, Bridges, as being completely distinct from all others.  Naturally, her race is a part of this, but there is more.  Her walk to school was one where she says she was being escorted by "prayers" and there is a transcendent quality present.  It is the trait of seeking an education and the hope and power to transform what is into what should be.  She was told by her mother that she was going to a "new school" and that she needed to behave.  The bond she ended up forming with her teacher who hugged the little girl each morning and worked after hours to make sure she was caught up is living proof of how education can help develop who we are as human beings and individuals.  When Bridges says that she started modeling her teacher's New England accent of their work, I think that this is proof that education can provide the foundation to transform our identities.  In 1960, few would have thought that the six year old walking to school amidst jeers and death threats would be lecturing at the Harvard Divinity School, confirmation that education can provide our freedom to become individuals capable of great things.

The search for an art sample that might assist you is going to be quite lengthy, as there is much to help you.  Films that emphasize education as part of a process to become individuals that can do great things would be as varied as "To Sir, With Love," "Educating Rita," or "Stand and Deliver."  There is an enotes discussion forum with what films individuals feel are great teaching films.  I think you might want to check this out for further detail.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One suggestion is that the theme be altered slightly:  What about "In education there are the opportunities to be an individual." 

In Rockwell's painting, Ruby Bridges is afforded the opportunity to be her own person and develop in the new environment which affords her the chance to truly learn.  With the aid of her teacher, she is able to take advantage of this opportunity.

In 2000, Sean Connery made a film entitled Finding Forrester.  In this movie, Jamal Wallace is a talented African-American boy who is very adept on the basketball court, but his real dream is to become a writer. Jamal comes from an inner-city school in the Bronx; he has received attention from the prep school after making high scores on the standardized tests.  However, the main reason the school has taken him is his prowess on the basketball court. 

One night on a bet Jamal breaks into the apartment of a person known only as "The Window" to the kids in his neighborhood.  Frightened as he hears the man returning, Jamal drops his backpack.  When he returns the next day, he finds all his written material in the backpack corrected, analyzed, and commented upon.  Jamal learns that "The Window" is the reclusive Pulitzer Prize winner, William Forrester.  Ironically, the professor, Robert Crawford, assigns a book written by Forrester, and Forrester tells Jamal that he blocked the publication of Crawford's book. The writer, then becomes the mentor of Jamal if Jamal will keep his name a secret, and he assists him in dealing with his difficult professor at the exclusive school in Manhattan where he won a scholarship.

The mentoring of Forrester seems to parallel that of the teacher of Ruby Bridges.  And, Jamal comes from the inner-city to attend a school that has some doubts about his competence.  There are some other complications to the plot which make this and interesting film. 

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm really struggling to understand what you are getting at here, but I'll take a swing at something and just bat around a few ideas I have that might help. Rockwell is my absolute favorite artist, so I love the Ruby Bridges idea. What I'm considering since you are stuck on your idea is this: What if you focused on soemthing about the need to be given the opportunity to learn. Ruby Bridges would work for this, and I'm thinking the play or movie The Miracle Worker about Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan. While it might have taken its title from a piece within it, I believe that I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is actually a book, but there might be something in it that could tie to the idea of being given the opportunity to become educated. To Kill a Mockingbird could work if  you wanted to tie these works into student/teacher relationships. Scott had issues with her teacher's expectations that tried to dumb her down.

My advice is to really try and figure out what you want to say about education, and then we can figure out what works you need.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

#2 gives a number of great ideas that could be used very effectively to develop the theme of education, but I guess as other editors have here established perhaps you would benefit from more clearly establishing your own theme and what you want to say about education and how it is represented. Certainly I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings would be an excellent example to use, depending on which slant you wish to take.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rockwell has another painting title "The Principal's Office" (I think) that would also work well for your theme of education. 

Maya Angelou does quite a bit of learning about herself in the book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."  Perhaps you can tie in self-knowledge as well as acquired knowledge of other subjects for your theme of education?

Good Luck!

kerrierg | Student

I like the theme altered by mwestwood, but I am not seeing how this wouldl work for the poem "I know why the caged bird sings." 

any insight?  the first step in my work is having my profession tie to one of the preselectedl literature choices.  there are other selections to choose from if I can't get this one to work.  But, it seems like it should, I just haven't quite gotten it yet.