Updated: Oct 18, 2019
What's going on everyone?
New to this Blog? You can follow along from the beginning by starting here.
Previous Week's Post: The post for Week 3 can be found here.
Want this Curriculum? You can find the full curriculum for this class here.
This Post Covers Days 8-9 of the Unit.
We started Day 8 by reading an excerpt from a BBC article (2011) about the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell military policy. I wanted to front load information about this policy since this phrase was going to come up in the game during this lesson. By this point in the game, the students know that the character Lonnie is planning on joining the military post graduation. She comes from a military family, so it is pretty much an expectation that she joins as well. These topics made it very easy to continue conversations around conflict. Previously, we had discussions around the internal conflict faced by Sam and Lonnie, but in this lesson we focused on external conflict with a focus on how the two girls are at odds with societal expectations. The first journal entry in this section of the game focused on how Sam doesn't "get" Lonnie. She doesn't understand why Lonnie, a rebel who never lets authority figures dictate who she is, would join the military, where she would not be allowed to be herself.
We had one of our more impactful conversations during this portion of the game. Journal Entry 17 is titled "A Very Long Phase." Sam's parents figured out that Sam is gay. Sam didn't want to tell her parents because she did not believe their reaction would be a positive one. She was right in this regard, but their reaction was still one she did not expect. In the image to the right you can see that this student mentioned "They don't believe her. Sam was surprised because she thought they will react angry or something like that." Instead of being mad about having a gay child, Sam's parents instead chose to just not believe her. They insisted that she was just going through a phase because she hasn't met the right boy yet. This led to a strong conversation about instances where people important to us refused to believe something about ourselves. Often this involved instances of authority figures refusing to trust them. While in the game this lack of trust was in response to Sam's sexuality, my students all have similar experiences tied their race. All of my students are people of color and each were able to mention some life experience that is relatable to Sam.
We finished playing Gone Home on Day 9. We didn't spend too much time talking because I wanted them to focus more on the content of the game. I had them take notes on this final section of the game because we will be partaking in a Socratic Seminar in the following lesson.
The game ends with Sam and Lonnie running away together. Lonnie calls Sam after ditching her bus to military school and Sam drives off to pick her up. We don't know where they are going; just that Sam will come back home eventually. You also learn that your parents are away on a camping trip celebrating their anniversary. This is why the house is empty when you arrive. This ending was initially disappointing for a number of students in my class because they were convinced that one, or both of the girls were going to end up dead. The final scene of the game takes place in the attic, which had been locked for the entirety of the game, and many of them were sure they were going to find a body up there. This is in part because of the setting, mood, and tone of the game. It's a secluded dark house in the middle of the night during a thunderstorm. So the students were caught off guard by the more happy ending they received. They believed this despite the fact that in the very first scene of the game, there is a note from Sam telling the player not to worry about her and that we would see her again. Instead of taking this note at face value, they thought she was lying.
The student in the image above mentioned that "In the final section of the game it surprise me since I did not think that Sam escape with Lonnie." This student also mentions that they "think this game was good since it shows us how some people prefer to hide what really they are just because society will not accept them." My student isn't saying that it's good to hide who you are, just that many people are forced to do so because of how society may react. This is the moral of the story that the developers at Fullbright were trying to teach us. After doing a quick whip around the room my students expressed that they understood why I wanted to teach with this game; that the game had an impactful story that they would enjoy writing about.
Next, as mentioned, they are going to partake in a Socratic Seminar so that they can share all of their ideas with their classmates and then they are going to write a review of the game.
Thanks for reading,
Next week's post can be read here.