Read Thoreau’s 1849 essay, ‘‘Civil Disobedience.’’ What are the circumstances in which Thoreau wrote this essay? What are the main points that he makes? Why do you think that Ellison chose to use the quote that he did to start ‘‘‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman?’’
Examine the adaptation of ‘‘‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman’’ by Ellison and Rick Berry as a graphic novel, looking particularly at the illustrations. How do the illustrations change or affect your reading of the story? What techniques does illustrator Berry bring to Ellison’s short story? Pick some of the drawings that you would have done differently, redraw them according to how you think they should appear, and share with your class why you think your adjustments help convey the story better.
Read Ellison’s classic collections of essays on television, The Glass Teat (1970) and The Other Glass Teat (1975). What does Ellison have to say about the influence of television on American culture? Consider the ways television has changed since the 1970s. Write an essay about what you imagine Ellison might say about the television of the present day.
John W. Campbell, writer and editor of Astounding Science Fiction and Analog, is considered the father of modern science fiction. Research Campbell’s life and identify those writers on whom Campbell had the most influence. Write an essay that explores what you see as Campbell’s legacy to the field.
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