This week in English class we have started a new kind of Socratic seminar called BRAWL. During the BRAWL, the class breaks into teams of four which work together throughout the BRAWL. At the beginning of the week, each student submits a question based on our reading (The Count of Monte Cristo) and our teacher selects the best questions for different categories of analysis. The questions are broken up into theme, organization, specific, unusual, comparison, etc. Then, each team works together to answer the questions as best as they can and on the day of the BRAWL, one person from each group is chosen to represent the team. These “tributes” are then grouped in a circle in the middle of the class and a random question is asked to each. As the questions are swirled around the circle, the others can chime in to get points for their team.
I’ve really enjoyed this experience because I never realized how amazing literature really is. Whenever I read books, I just follow the stories and don’t pay any attention to certain things. But BRAWLing on The Count of Monte Cristo has opened my eyes to how intelligent authors are. Alexander Dumas is super clever and I would’ve never appreciated his amazing talent. The smallest references, punctuation marks, and even names can have a much deeper meaning than it appears. During Socratic Seminars I have done in the past, not everybody is engaged, and the same people are talking the entire time. But during the BRAWL, everybody had to participate and work together. It was really great to see and some people’s insight really blew me away. Allusions, comparisons, it’s amazing how unlimited the English language is. Although we can’t ask Dumas about why he did certain things and what he was trying to say, we can appreciate his works and his extraordinary style of writing. If you have not read The Count of Monte Cristo, do it. It is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. Definitely a classic!