Literary landscapes decorate BHS media center shelves

The books sitting on top of the shelves of the Barnwell High School media center span the landscape of modern American literature and invite even the most hardcore book-hater to open them.

Colorful editions of "Ordinary People," " The Color Purple," "The Great Gatsby," "Catch-22," and others by American scribes catch the eye as one enters the center.

Frances Eubanks, an eleventh grade English teacher who teaches honors and college prep courses, has her students design the covers.

"It gives students experience using resources they would use writing a research paper in college - it acts as a precursor to the research paper," said Eubanks.

In addition to designing a book cover, students write a research paper and a dictionary citing words from the novel they don't know, Eubanks said.

The covers showcase themes, symbols or motifs used by the author of the novel which have to be supported by examples from the book and outside resources, she said.

"It was usually easy to find a theme, but it was hard to find a quote that supports the theme," said Zane Rice, an eleventh grade student who read Frank Herbert's "Dune," a classic science fiction novel.

"It's a little bit like a scavenger hunt," added Eubanks.

Rice chose religion, precognition and ecology for his themes.

Eubanks said Barnwell media specialist Margaret Zeigler and her aide, Robbie Niegowski are extremely helpful to the students.

Cam Eubanks read Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest," made famous by the 1975 movie in which Jack Nicholson plays R.P. McMurphy, the main character.

Cam's book cover shows intricate playing cards he designed with each character's face from the novel framed by pills and fishing hooks.

The book covers also have a short biographical sketch of the author and four positive reviews or critiques, said Eubanks.

"The reviews were hard to find because sometimes in the beginning of the review it was positive - but the end was negative," said Cam Eubanks. "I guess that is why they invented ellipses."

In addition to building vocabulary, developing research skills and using critical analysis, students learned how to paraphrase correctly and document sources using MLA style.

"We had to take notes (from books and lessons) in sentence fragments so we learned how not to plagiarize the sentence structure," said Sarah Gardner, who read Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell To Arms."

All the students said they will be attending college when they graduate and the skills they learned will undoubtedly be put to use in higher education classes.

"I know how to do a research paper in general now, and before I had never done a research paper," said Rice.