Browse Exhibits (5 total)

Banality of Evil and the Role of Judgment

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This exhibit displays moments in Robert Cormier's work where evil is shown as banal or ordinary. Related are episodes of peer pressure and how individual judgment can help one dodge pathways that lead to participating in evil acts. The exhibit features youth voices and takes up questions of peer pressures, the dilemma of sympathy for a "bad guy," the role of choice in the enactment of good or evil, and the role of repentance. Artifacts include marked draft chapters of Tunes for Bears to Dance To, letters to and from Robert Cormier, student papers analyzing Cormier’s work, and scripted oral presentations of Literature-N-Living students.

Empathy, Regret, and Responsibility

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This exhibit looks to the growth and gains that Robert Cormier's readers make by reading stories that examine inhumane behavior. Themes in this exhibit touch on the point of view of the victims of terrible acts, remorse as an impetus toward self-change, how trust and honesty factor into complex inter- and intra- personal dynamics around these questions, and the possibility of teaching for empathy in and out of schools. Included in this exhibit are letters between Cormier and teachers, a curriculum defense, and scripted oral presentations of Literature-N-Living students.

Sources of Terror

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This exhibit considers Robert Cormier's representations of terror and two sources of such a feeling: in extremism and in ambiguity. Themes present in this exhibit address terror as a plot choice and ways in which well-written and humanely conceived literature can engage readers and provide food for reflection. As well, items that speak to psychodynamics of terrorism attempt to unpack some of the complexities of fear, persuasion, and ambiguity. Included are letters, a magazine article on terrorism written by Cormier, published book reviews of After the First Death, student projects and papers, and unpublished miscellaneous draft material.

Support and Healing

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This exhibit looks to sources of strength Robert Cormier's characters lean on or lack in their efforts to safeguard their humanity. Moving outside Cormier’s novels themselves, this exhibit also looks at the role of literature in questioning our humanity, overcoming personal strife and trauma, and the process of memorializing through storytelling. Artifacts in this exhibit look to what role family support has in a character's chances of survival and happiness as well as how writing itself can provide therapy for authors facing trauma. Included are fan letters, draft criticism, draft novel chapters, and student essays.

Therapeutics of Making

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This exhibit looks to how a passion for reading and the process of making a book can channel energy in positive directions. Both Robert Cormier and his readers share their enthusiasm for the role of active and frequent reading in invigorating thought and moral questioning. Also represented is the publication process behind a book and how the author is one part of a larger communication. Included in this exhibit are student letters, multimodal projects, editorial correspondence, draft interview responses, and international awards and criticism.