Today, we started watching the play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett as it was recorded for the Beckett on Film series. This important play addresses many of the same issues presented by Steinbeck in Of Mice and Men: companionship, the unattainability of goals, power and its abuse, loneliness.
1. Reflection on brotherhood. We started class by writing a reflection responding to the question, “What does Steinbeck suggest about brotherhood through Of Mice and Men? What are the problems of brotherhood? The rewards?” Then we briefly discussed our answers.
2. Godot Intro. I provided students with some entry points for making connections between the play and the novella. There are the obvious comparisons: it’s about two vagabonds, one of whom is slightly pushier than the other, who don’t really do much except talk about their past and their future. They stick together even though they live in a harsh, cold world that values individual success. Also, we thought about the difference in time period: Of Mice and Men was published in 1937 in America, Godot premiered on stage 16 years later in 1953 in Paris, written by an Irish author. Between those dates World War II changed everything. We wondered how the war may have impacted the writing. And yet, there are striking similarities that speak to our condition as humans.
3. Film viewing. As we watched the film (available above), we filled out a viewing guide to draw our attention to the images, sounds, and parallels to Of Mice and Men. We watched up to 15:32 in 1st period, 21:05 in 2nd, 15:32 in 4th, 20:52 in 5th, and 17:44 in 6th. Parents, families, feel free to watch along at home! We discussed, too, how Didi and Gogo are inspired by vaudeville performers like these:
No homework tonight. We will continue watching the play tomorrow.