Grade 11 - 12 ELA: Are humans good or evil?

In this Common Core-aligned task for English Language Arts, students will examine the writings of Hobbes and Rousseau to gain a deeper understanding of their divergent viewpoints on human nature. They will apply Hobbes's and Rousseau's ideas in analyzing various literary works in preparation for the final assessment. For their final product, students will read "The Hollow Men" and make an informed argument, supported by evidence, connecting the ideas expressed in this text to the ideas expressed by one of the Enlightenment thinkers. Students write an easy answering the question: according to T.S. Eliot, are humans good or evil? In their essay, students argue which side they think Eliot takes. In their argument, they explain whether Eliot's thesis is supported by the ideas of either Hobbes or Rousseau. They also address the counterclaim (in other words, explaining why the other enlightenment thinker's ideas do not support Eliot's thesis). Students use evidence from "The Hollow Men," The Social Contract, and Leviathan to support their assertions.