I felt the need to create a study guide to help the many teachers purchasing Stories of the Confederate South. So for my blog entries, I’m going to try to enter one a day–one for each story in the book. Today is devoted to the collection’s opening epigraph and to “Deo Vindici,” a poem.
STUDY GUIDE LESSON 1
OPENING EPIGRAPH:”The real war will never get in the books.”
1) Discuss or research Walt Whitman, America’s Bard of Democracy, author of Leaves of Grass. He wrote several Civil War poems himself. Whitman was a nurse in the Federal Army.
2. Define of epigraph: “A quotation set at the beginning of a book, story, poem or other literary work that suggests a theme or helps set a tone.”
3. Discuss or freewrite about the meaning of this quotation. Why would he say such a thing? Was America ready for the truth about the war then? Is it ready now? What if historical research reveals that we’ve been taught some things incorrectly?
Notes for Deo Vindici
1) PLAN A CLASS ORATORY CONTEST
This is a performance poem, designed to be read aloud, and to be read with fire and feeling. A study could be made of oratory or of famous orators during the Civil War.
2) Vocabulary: A quiz may be constructed from these words. The students should definitely know the meanings of the words before they read the poem. As some variant spellings are used in the poem, this too can be discussed. Many of these words lend themselves to discussion and historical and cultural discovery. Each of these terms can be developed further in projects.
1. Deo Vindici – Latin for “God will vindicate us.” This was the official motto of the Confederacy.
2. neocon – an abbreviation for neoconservatives, the new conservatives.
3. Leonard Skynard – A famous Southern Rock Band.
4. Chivalry – A code of conduct for medieval knights that emphasized qualities such as oyalty to God, king, country, and friends; respect for ladies; courage in battle; truth and honesty in life; and protecting and helping the weak, helpless, innocent, and poor.
5. Civility – Possessing good manners, politeness, courtesy and demonstrating the qualities of being “civilized.”
6. Bonny Blue – Usually spelled, “Bonnie Blue.” It was a very popular flag of the Confederacy, and a very popular song was written about it, “The Bonnie Blue Flag.” Here is an image of the Bonnie Blue.
7. Sharecropper – a farmer who earns a portion of the crops he works or pays the landlord a share of the crops he raises in lieu of rent.
8. Belles – A Southern lady.
9. Cajun – A descendent of the French speaking Acadians who were expelled from Canada by the British and settled in the Gulf Coast region, centered around Louisiana.
10. Creole – a descendent of the original French and Spanish colonists of Louisiana.
11. Tejanos – Texans of Mexican or Spanish descent.
12. Isleños – Spanish colonists from the Canary Islands who settled in Louisiana in the late 1700s.
13. Celts – A person of Irish, Scottish, Welsh descent.
14, Gullah – A member of a group of blacks inhabiting the sea islands and coastal districts of South Carolina, Georgia, and northeastern Florida. They do have their own dialect.
15. Geechi – Often spelled “geechee.” Also describes the people along Coastal South Carolina and Georgia.
1) Create a collage that represents this poem.
2) Research in detail one of the groups of people named in the poem.
3) Create a music CD of the different types of music and of the songs or artists mentioned.