Discussion Questions of the poem “Woodchucks”

Read the poem, “Woodchucks” by Maxine Kumin and watch the two videos, “The Stanford Prison Experiment” and “What Would You Do” and answer ALL of the following questions in a substantive and meaningful post of at least 300 words. Before you post, remember your post should come to a conclusion about the text and it must use specific quotes from the text to support your conclusion.

Then respond to AT LEAST three other student’s posts. These responses must also be substantive. One or two sentence responses will not be counted.

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Discussion Questions of the poem “Woodchucks”
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Read the link “Explication of Kumin’s Poem.” How does it change the way you look at the poem? Summarize the author’s point about the poem.
Some people have said that Kumin’s poem is a sketch of the development of a perpetrator. The perpetrator often begins as an ordinary citizen, even one who might consider himself a pacifist, but with the right set of circumstances and justifications, the ordinary person becomes perpetrator over a series of steps. If this is true, then those steps might be visible metaphorically in Kumin’s poem. Do a line by line and stanza by stanza reading of the poem and note each step the farmer takes to move him further into his role as perpetrator.
Discuss “The Power of the Situation” as discussed in the movie, about the Stanford Prison Experiment. What is the point? If according to the poem, “The Woodchucks,” the ordinary citizen must make a number of steps before reaching perpetrator status, what steps do you see in the movie?
The Standford Prison Experiment was made in the 1970’s as a way to see what ordinary people would do in bad situations, the clip from the TV show, “What Would You Do” is much more recent and suggests that nothing has changed since The Holocaust? What does this say about humanity? About our motivations and choices? Can we change?
Many people see these instances and get angry, and most believe that in those situations, their own moral compass would win out, but time and again, studies have shown that it doesn’t. What can we learn about how we change our perceptions about ourselves?

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