Today represented my final effort to convey the importance of “questioning.” To do this, we watched an old episode of The Twilight Zone called “I Shot an Arrow,” and we worked out the various levels of questions the show was trying to make us think about. The worksheet available for download at the end of this post will guide you through the process.
We watched the first half of the show and came up with questions. Among other questions were such headscratchers as “Why did they take a shovel into outer space?”, “How did a bunch of old cardboard boxes survive a rocket explosion?”, and “Does Corey look more like President Bush or John Chinchen?” So many questions…
Then we watched the second half of the show and developed some answers. In our discussion after watching the episode, I tried to focus the class on the big evaluative question being posed by the show: Is it ever okay to suspend moral or ethical rules? Of course, because the Twilight Zone is moralistic and simple-minded, the simple answer Serling came up with was, no, it’s not okay to do the “wrong” thing, and if we do the right thing everything will turn out okay. Personally, I think the episode would have been a lot more interesting if Corey would have done the wrong thing (killed the crew and stole their water) and then died a couple of days later. I like stories where rewards and punishments bear no obvious relation to the “goodness” of the characters’ actions or desires, but that’s just me.
Anyway, after that we went over the questions students were developing for writing. Based on these student-developed questions, I’ll be creating a writing assignment that we’ll start work on tomorrow.
If you missed today, you can borrow the Twilight Zone episode from me and do the worksheet at home.
Downloads: Twilight Zone question worksheet