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William Golding Trial / Witness Testimony - Ms. Hale

Witness Testimony Assignment - on the Trial of William Golding

The eighth grade students of San Domenico are putting William Golding on trial for slander of the human race, charging him for grossly misrepresenting human nature in his novel Lord of the Flies. Your job is to research one of the following witnesses, and write a witness statement, taking a stand on the topic of human nature, using your life experiences as justification and proof.

You will be assigned a witness, after requesting three witnesses of interest. Keep in mind that we are approaching these witnesses as researchers and scholars. I expect complete maturity during this process. In order to have an edifying learning experience, I expect all of you to do solid research from multiple sources, keeping a serious attitude about the witness’ history and role in our trial. After researching your witness’ life experiences, publications, philosophies, and ideas, you will write a statement, commenting on the nature of human beings. I will provide three models for you to see. I expect at least three sources, including one primary source, and a works cited page. No plagiarism. Don't forget to cite your sources!

The essential questions include:
• What is the nature of humankind?
• Are human beings by nature violent and evil?
• How do we explain the cruelty and the kindness we see in the world around us?
• Are we merely the products of our environment or are we the creators of the world and ourselves?

Presentation of Witness Statements
After you have written your witness statement, you will then be assigned a time slot for your delivery. You will then dress up in character and deliver your statement to the class of jurors. Your costume should reflect your witness and his other life.We will then take turns presenting our witness statements to the class. During this time, we will all take notes on each witness, highlighting important evidence provided by each witness. While we hear these statements, we will each decide the strength of each side. Then as a class, we will vote to either convict William Golding or not. Each student will write a detailed reflection of the witness statements, noting the salient presentations and evidence.

Witnesses (Each name is a link to a more in-depth biography). Additionally, to help understand your witness's views on many topics use the Brainy search box . There are a number of links throughout the list to this website. Enter the name of your witness into the search box to retrieve dozens of quotations. Here are two excellent examples of previous student's work. Hannah Arendt Clifford Geertz

Anne Frank: (Research) Your published diary tells about how you were able to triumph in the face of evil and hardship. Research excerpts from Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, and do general research on the Holocaust of World War II. You must be able to reveal your experience and your views on human nature.

Ashley Montague: (Research) You are a well known American anthropologist (someone who studies the nature of humans) and writer. You believe strongly that humans are not instinctive killers and that human nature is molded by culture. You have written several books specifically on aggression. You must be able to explain your important theories on the day of the trial in a convincing manner. To prepare for this role, research and read articles by Ashley Montague. The play The Elephant Man is playing in NYC, starring Bradley Cooper. Brainy search box.

Mother Theresa: (Research) You were the most selfless and saintly person alive. Your work in saving the dying and homeless in India has inspired people throughout the world to take up similar work. How did you become this charitable person? You will tell the court about what your life and experience reveal about human nature. In order to prepare for your role, you need to read many articles about yourself. You are a key witness on this trial.

Maya Angelou: (Research) You were a famous American novelist, poet, and public speaker. You wrote and delivered the poem at President Clinton’s Inauguration. As a black woman, you experienced the pain of racial prejudice. You also had to rise above hardships such as childhood sexual abuse, poverty, and abandonment to become the world famous author you are today. Read poems, parts of novels,and speeches you have written to prepare for your role.

Thomas Jefferson: (Research) You were the third president of the United States, and the author of the Declaration of Independence. Your most famous line is “All men are created equal.” Your beliefs in democracy clearly indicate your ideas about human natures. In order to prepare for your role, you need to research your life and formulate your opinion on human nature. You should review American History books, and watch the recent film Jefferson in Paris. Brainy search box.

Harriet Tubman: (Research) You were an African-American woman and leader of the Underground Railroad, a network which helped many slaves escape from Southern States to the North. You put your life in danger and risked being taken into slavery yourself in order to guide others to freedom. What do you think of human nature? In order to prepare for our role, read as many excerpts from your book as you can.

Jane Goodall: (Research) You are a very famous scientist who has studied chimpanzees in the wild of Africa for over 30 years. You have written several books and National Geographic articles in which you have speculate about the connections between chimp behavior and the nature of humankind. Your testimony in court will inform the audience about that the behavior of chimps in the wild might reveal about human nature. In order to prepare for your role, find some of your writings and study them.

Oskar Schindler: (Research) You are a member of the Nazi party and a German Industrialist who was able to save 1200 Jews from death in the final days of World War II. In order to prepare for this role and to write your views on human nature, you should be very familiar with the film Schindler’s List and the book of the same name. You should also research magazines articles that were published at the time the film was released.

Desmond Morris: (Research) You are a scholarly zoologist whose book, The Naked Ape, inspired those people who believe that humans are naturally aggressive and instinctive killers. This is a good role for people who are interested in animals and science. To prepare for it, read parts of The Naked Ape.

Sigmund Freud: (Research) You are known as the “father of psychoanalysis.” Trained as a medical doctor, you researched connections between physical illness and mental symptoms. You are most famous for developing the concepts of the conscious and unconscious mind, and for your theory about the structure of personality (the id, the ego, and the superego). Your studies and observations in the fields of medicine and psychiatry have given you strong opinions on human nature. Prepare for your ole by reading sections from general psychology textbooks. Brainy search box.

Abraham Maslow: (Research) Trained as a psychologist, you are very interested in the areas of creativity, love, human achievement, and altruism. You believe that psychological problems are due to unmet basic human needs. Unlike Freud and other early psychologists, you believe that human news go beyond the needs for survival, safety, and security. You think that acceptance, achievement, and other higher level needs are important building blocks for psychologically healthy humans. Your beliefs about human nature are connected to these theories. Prepare for our role by reading sections from general psychology textbooks.

Cesar Chavez: (Research) You are famous Mexican-American labor leader who used non-violent protest in order to call attention to the conditions of migrant farm workers in California and the Southwest. You called for boycotts of farm products using pesticides which might harm farm workers and organized marches and fasts in order to draw support this cause. How do your actions and experiences related to the questions of human nature? Magazines at the time of his death may have a lot of information on him.

Donald Trump (Research) You are the 45th President of the United States and a former famous and controversial entrepreneur and businessman who has built, lost and rebuilt a personal fortune numerous times. You are now running for the office of President of the United States. Though once a Democrat, you have now taking up the causes of the conservative, tea-party movement in America, supporting an anti-immigrant, anti-government platform by appealing to the 'nativist' fears and beliefs of your constituency.

Malcolm X: (Research) You are a black leader who grew up in poverty, committed crimes, spent time in prison, and converted to Islam. You are a powerful and persuading speaker who rose to a very high position in the Nation of Islam and used that position to speak about the injustices and prejudice blacks face. You sometimes questioned the methods of other civil rights leaders and the leaders of he Nation of Islam, and were ultimately assassinated in New York City. What do your experiences and your ideas on the way to achieve equality say about human nature? In addition to library sources, rent and watch Spike Lee’s Malcolm X. Brainy search box.

The Dalai Lama: (Research) You are to Buddhism what the Pope is to Catholicism. You are believed to be the reincarnation of the original Buddha, and you are also the leader of the country of Tibet. The Chinese however, took over Tibet, sent you into exile in India, killed may Tibetans, and destroyed Buddhist temples. Still, you practice and preach a philosophy of peace and non-violence. What are your beliefs about human nature as a result of your religious faith and experiences? Magazines, your autobiography, and other sources will help you.

Oprah Winfrey: While often the people you interview on your syndicated television talk show have been thought both wonderful and horrible experiences, this is no less true of you. You were sexually abused at a young age, but rose to be one of the most powerful and popular women in broadcasting. You have stared in movies about people struggling to rise above oppressive circumstances (The Color Purple, Selma). You have called on other daytime talk show to rise about topics that appeal to mankind’s basest desires and use their shows for good. Still your weight and personal life are used to feed those desires in newspapers sold at supermarket stands. What are your views on human nature?

Lawrence Kohlberg: (Research) You are a college professor who has spent your career studying the moral development of human beings. You maintain that all people pass through a predictable series of stages as they grow to be moral and ethical creatures. You are one of the most admired theorists about morality and its development. Brainy search box.

Sister Helen Prejean: (Research) You are a Roman Catholic nun. You have chosen to act as a spiritual advisor and friend to prisoners on death row. You published a book, Dead Man Walking, which has been made into a much, acclaimed film. You believe that every human being, even the very worst ones, are more than the sum of their crimes. Read excerpts form your book and see the film (parental clearance required for the film, which is rated R)

Nelson Mandela: (Research) The son of an African chief, you spent years of fighting to end Apartheid, the cruel system of strict and racial separation imposed by white South Africans on the natives. You were captured, tortured, and imprisoned for 30 years. When Apartheid ended five years ago, you were released from prison, hailed as a hero, and elected President of the Republic of South Africa. You have vowed that hatred and violence have no place in the new South Africa. Your autobiography will be a good source of information. Showtime released a great film on your life as well.

Joe Marshall: (Research) You are a former teacher and co-founder of the Omega Boys’Club in San Francisco. The author of Street Soldier and radio talk show host, you work with troubled youth to help turn their lives around. As a black male, you have much to say against gangs, street violence, and the lifestyles of today’s youth. You were recently honored with a Mac Arthur’s “genius” award and hundreds of thousands of dollars for the work you do. Read excerpts of the book Street Soldier. Look online for interviews with the real man.

Martin Luther King, Jr: (Research) You are one of the great leaders of the civil rights movement in America. You changed forever America’s passive acceptance of racism and segregation. Your ideas on non-violent change brought you respect and yet, you died from an assassin’s bullet. Why were you killed? Was your assassin evil? Were the racist laws you fought to change a signal of evil in the hearts of humans? Read more about yourself in American History books, encyclopedias and biographical references. Brainy search box.

Thurgood Marshall: (Research) You were born and raised in the segregated America, yet you rose to be the first black justice of the US Supreme Court. As a lawyer you fought many tough cases related to segregation and civil rights. What would you think of the court case against William Golding? Would you say that Golding was right - and that racism indicates innate evil in human nature? Or would you argue that the democratic freedoms that allowed you to rise to one of the most important positions in the United States indicate good things about the human nature? Read more about yourself in books, encyclopedias, and biographical references.

Albert Einstein: (Research) You are one of the most influential thinkers in history of humankind. You have also lived through some of the most amazing historic times. You left Germany of your birth (to escape Hitler;s Aryan ideals) and eventually became a citizen of the United States. In 1921 you received the Nobel Prize for your discovery of the theory of relativity - a concept that eventually led to the creation of the atom bomb. How do you feel about unleashing ideas that could eventually destroy the human race? Do you believe that mankind has the goodness to handle this knowledge? Read more about yourself in biographies, encyclopedias, and history books.

J.Robert Oppenheimer: (Research) You were the leader of the Manhattan Project, America’s secret mission to be the first nation to create the atom bomb. You seemed to believe that having the bomb was necessary for America. How did it feel when you heard that the first two bombs dropped on Japan had killed hundreds of people? Do you think mankind is innately aggressive, and that this aggression will eventually lead to self destruction? How is your opinion about human nature different from or similar to William Golding’s? Rent the documentary “The Day After Trinity.” and read more about yourself in history books, and biographical references. Brainy search box.

Osama Bin Laden: You are a member of the prominent Saudi bin Laden family and founder of the terrorist organization of al-Qaeda, best known for the September 11 attacks on the United States and its associations with numerous other mass-causality attacks against civilian targets. You are on the American Federal Bureau of Investigation list of FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. Since 2001, Osama bin Laden and his organization have been major targets of the United States War on Terrorism. In 2011 bin Laden was shot and killed by during a covert operation conducted by members of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group and the CIA.

Barak Obama: You were the 44th President of the United States; the first black president to hold office. You served as junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 2005 until you resigned after your first election to the presidency in November 2008. You lived abroad with your single mother when young, eventually graduating from Harvard Law School. Before entering politics, you were a community organizer in the Chicago area assisting predominately low-income, African-Americans to make positive changes in their lives and communities.

Bernard Madoff: You are a former financier and convicted felon. You once served as a non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange, pled guilty to an 11-count criminal complaint, admitting to defrauding thousands of investors of billions of dollars. You were convicted of operating a Ponzi scheme that has been called the largest investor fraud ever committed by a single person. Federal prosecutors estimated client losses, which included fabricated gains, of almost $65 billon. Other estimates of the fraud, excluding the fabricated gains are $13-21 billon. On June 29, 2009, you were sentenced to 150 years in prison, the maximum allowed.

Thomas Hobbes - a famous British philosopher of the 17th century, you argue for strong authoritarian government, because you believe that, left to our their own devices, people will lead destructive and chaotic lives. Brainy search box.

Clifford Geertz - A leading American anthropologist, you argue that human identity and behavior are totally dependent on the cultures in which human live - that, in fact, people without culture could not exist.

Pope Francis - You are an expert on Biblical history and the Bible. You can testify about doctrines regarding sin and the nature of good and evil in humans.

Isaac Bashevis Singer - You are perhaps the most famous Jewish writer in the Yiddish tradition. Your stories have captivated readers for decades. Your unique view of human nature, of innocence and purity, will make your testimony invaluable to the court. If you assume this role, you should read several of Singer’s stories and study a recently taped interview. Brainy search box.

Abraham Lincoln: (Research) You are the 16th President of the United States, serving from 1861 to 1865. You are known for leading the nation during the Civil War and your fight to abolish slavery. You have witness the complexity of human nature during your life.

Alice Paul: (Research) You are an American suffragist, feminist, and woman’s rights activist. You spent half a century as a leader of the National Woman’s Party. You militantly fought for equal rights for women, and endured many hardships on that road. You even spent time in jail for the cause. How do you feel about human nature after your life struggle to gain equality for women?

Bashar Al-Assade: (Research) You have been the president of Syria since 2000. Despite expectations that you would reform the country’s democratic and economic states, you have continued to reinforce your father’s authoritarian methods of rule. You are very current and there is a lot of information about you in the news. Your take on humanity is critical for our trial. Brainy search box.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe: (Research) You are a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician, currently the President of Zimbabwe. You have ruled Zimbabwe for nearly three decades, known as a hero against white rule and a leader of one of the most violent land seizure programs in the world. You are a controversial dictator, whose view on humanity will impact the jury’s decision. Research articles on his life and check out the current film Mugabe and the White African.

Malala Yousafzai: (Research) You are a Pakistani human rights activist, and the youngest Novel Prize laureate to date. Your work has impacted the entire International world. Many young readers have read your book I am Malala.

Muammar Gaddafi: (Research) You were a Libyan revolutionary and politician. You served as the de facto ruler of Libya for forty years, when you took power in 1969. You were ousted from office during the Libyan civil war. A highly controversial and divisive figure in history, your testimony is critical in analyzing human nature.