Humanities at Mass Academy is taught by Ms. Small and is a very unique experience. The class is centered around discussion-based learning, a contrast to the lecture-based English and History classes I am used to. The class is very student-driven, allowing the students to lead the discussions and create our own essay prompts, all with the goal of exploring the human condition.
The first essay I wrote in this class was also the most rigid in its formatting and ideas and was a comparison of two pieces by Ray Bradbury: “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” and “The Pedestrian.” The writings explore the use of technology and its relationship with humanity in the future. Both pieces deliver a similar message of humanity being forced to choose between technology and themselves, a message I chose to explore in my essay “Freedom, Technology, and Their Battle Over Humanity” shown below.
The unit on rhetoric and satire was one of my favorites, both in terms of the content and how we covered that content. We discussed rhetoric and satire through the analysis of several pieces, ranging from various speeches given by presidents to “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift. To further increase our knowledge on the topics, we created our own satires, whether that be with a video, an article, or some other form of media. Our group chose to create a video critiquing corporate business owners, through which I was able to improve my knowledge of satirical and rhetorical techniques as well as my acting.
In my essay for this unit, I was allowed much more creative freedoms in both the structure and ideas of my writing. In this composition, I chose to analyze the techniques and themes of one of the most famous satires in history: Animal Farm by George Orwell. The novella aims to critique totalitarian governments, primarily the Soviet Union, through its parody of historical figures and events, a claim I explored in my essay “Equal Animals and the Flaws of an ‘Equal’ Society” shown below.