A Lesson Plan on Social Satire featuring
The Invention of Lying
SUBJECTS — ELA: Social Satire;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Romantic Relationships;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Trustworthiness.
Age: 13+; MPAA rating PG-13 (for language, including some sexual material, and a drug reference); 2009, 100 minutes; color;.
Note to Teachers: The introduction, the assignments, and some of the discussion questions are suitable for any film that contains social satire.
Description: This warm-hearted comedy presents an alternate universe which is the same as the modern day U.S., except that no one knows how to lie and everyone speaks exactly what comes into their heads. There are no "white lies," there is no fiction, and everyone can be absolutely trusted. There is also no religion.
As the movie opens, the audience is introduced to Mark Bellison, a slightly overweight young man with a pug nose who is unsuccessful at work and unlucky in love. In short order, Mark is rejected by a beautiful woman, gets fired from his job, and is about to be evicted from his apartment. The movie shows how Mark discovers the ability to lie while poking fun at modern society and some of our most cherished institutions.
Rationale for Using the Movie: This humorous film is an excellent example of social satire, a literary genre that began with the plays of Aristophanes and has continued in all art forms through the ages. Examples in literature include, Candide, Gulliver's Travels, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Catch 22. This film, like all good social satire, has meaning beyond the laugh, spoofing social status, social conventions, religion, advertising, and more.
Objectives/Student Outcomes Using this Learning Guide: Students will learn about social satire through exposure to an excellent example of the genre. Students will examine how the techniques of satire work and exercise their skills in literary analysis and writing.
The complete lesson plan contains helpful background, more examples of social satire and an introduction to the mechanics of humor. Discussion questions and assignments are also provided.
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Social Satire is an important genre in all artistic expression. The Invention of Lying makes us laugh at ourselves and challenges many cherished believes. It is an excellent example of social satire..
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