Skyview Logo

Art Reflects the Society From Which It Emerges

03/15/24

By Janet Worley

SkyView Academy, Head of Schools

During a recent discussion in my AP Lang class, one of my students inquired about possibly reading The Hunger Games. The conversation went something like this:

AP Lang Student: “Why can’t we study The Hunger Games?”

Me: “What year are you?”

AP Lang Student: “Sophomore.”

Me: It’s written at a third-grade level.”**

AP Lang Student: “But it’s a Dystopian Society.”

Me: “A Dystopian Society that exploits children.”

AP Lang Student: “Exactly. Our driving thesis this year is ‘Art reflects the society from which it emerges.’ ”

At that moment, I didn’t know whether to hug them, celebrate the demonstration of critical thinking and rhetorical analysis, commend their intellectual insight, or crawl into a corner and weep.

As the discussion between my AP Lang students and me transpired, I witnessed their complete understanding of my overall objective for their learning. This brought me unspeakable joy, but it also illuminated significant heartbreak.

My Honors and AP students know my position on The Hunger Games and other such literature with adult themes written at elementary reading levels. I candidly discuss with them why I choose the literature I do, continually pointing them back to our driving thesis. Additionally, I explain that selecting literature that only advances some of their learning would be irresponsible of me. High school sophomores in a college-level course gain no benefit from reading a book with elementary vocabulary.

I desire to instill in them why they need to critically examine the art found within a society. Our Socratic discussions continuously explore how the medium of art reveals society's good, bad, and ugly.

As the discussion between my AP Lang students and me transpired, I witnessed their complete understanding of my overall objective for their learning. This brought me unspeakable joy, but it also illuminated significant heartbreak. My high school students clearly see what most adults leave unspoken. Our society fails to protect our children. In The Hunger Games, when no adults step up to protect the most vulnerable in society, Katniss volunteers as a tribute. While I suspect my sophomores simply wanted to read a more effortless piece than I selected, they demonstrated wisdom beyond their years in their analysis.

Society bombards our children with unlimited access to resources far beyond what is developmentally appropriate. Video games knowingly decrease attention span. Unlimited access to all forms of entertainment exposes our children to adult content. Social media, whether in the forms of Roblox and Minecraft chatrooms or Snapchat and Instagram, creates a number of mental health challenges. 

At the end of our discussion, I posed the following questions to my students. If art reflects the society from which it emerges, and you believe The Hunger Games reflects our society, who bears the responsibility of change? Can we turn the tide? Why or why not? My students will respond to this FRQ #3 writing prompt upon our return from Spring Break. 

But I pose the same questions to our community. I also add two more. 

  1. What actions can we take to ensure our corner of the world prioritizes our children's holistic safety and development? 
  2. Do we too often seek actions from others instead of ourselves?

Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Believe me, I know. Launching Maddy and Hunter into adulthood came with many sleepless nights, gut-wrenching decisions, and gallons of tears. But I would not change one hardship. 

Honored to Serve You All,

Janet Worley

** Some ratings suggest 5th grade…either way, my students understood my general assertion. AP Lang seeks to provide college credit for success in the course.

Filter Updates

Hawk FeaturePrinicipal's BlogNews &  EventsAlumni ConnectionsEmergency Alerts

Categories

Latest Updates

SkyView Academy
6161 Business Center Drive
Highlands Ranch, CO 80130
303-471-8439

Questions?:
communications@svak12.org

Enrollment?:
enrollment@svak12.org 

SkyView Academy Nondiscrimination Notice: SkyView Academy does not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, ancestry, need for special education services, or any other grounds prohibited by law. SkyView Academy serves students with disabilities and English Learners and provides services to students as required by state and federal law. For more information, visit the Student Support Services page under Schools.

 

chevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram