Lesson 1 (from Book 1, Chapter 1)
This chapter introduces Robert Cohn to the reader. He is depicted as a shy, self-conscious student at Princeton who is tormented by others because he is Jewish. He takes up boxing to relieve his feelings of inferiority and a physical way to vent his bitterness.
The objective of this lesson is to look at the anti-Semitism presented in this first chapter and how it shapes the character of Robert Cohn.
1) Have a class discussion of the different types of prejudices that are still seen in society today. How do these prejudices hurt others? Have students compare the way Robert Cohn feels while at Princeton with how a student in school today would react to prejudice of any kind.
2) Have the class do a research paper on anti-Semitism in the 1920s, which is the time the novel takes place. Compare it to the attitude toward the...
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