French III Students Learn Life Lessons While Reading Oscar et la Dame Rose

French III students read Oscar et la Dame Rose as a final project

French III students read Oscar et la Dame Rose as a final project

Mia Snow, Contributing Writer

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During the last quarter of the academic year, French III students are assigned a challenging task: read, comprehend, and analyze the 100-page French novel Oscar et la Dame Rose (Oscar and the Lady in Pink). This is the story of a young boy who is diagnosed with cancer and lives the final twelve days of his life trying to fit in year’s worth of experiences.

Oscar et la Dame Rose is a novel students might expect to read in their high school English class, as English teachers are more inclined to assign books with difficult content. High school French students may be surprised when they are assigned such a daunting task; however, according to SHS French teacher George Haddad, reading the book challenges students to engage in a vocabulary-rich story filled with both laughs and sorrow.

When asked why he chose such a significant book, Haddad responded, “I wanted to make my curriculum more rigorous, and prepare my students for the five-paragraph essays they will come to write in future language classes.”

A prominent theme in the book is connected to the lies that Oscar is told toward the end of his life. Consequently, students are required to write a five-paragraph essay on whether they believe lying is acceptable. Students are also expected to understand the nature of what is being conveyed in the book and connect it to a real-life experience–all in a foreign language.

Fortunately, students tend to understand the story, and sometimes they even share new insights with their teachers. Haddad explained, “In the story, Oscar has a beautiful moment as he witnesses the sun rise–he realizes that he can find happiness if he simply looks at each morning as if it were the creation of the world. One of my past students wrote about how he takes simple things like a sunrise for granted, and I found that really interesting.”

Haddad’s students benefit from reading the book by improving their language skills, but they also come away from the experience with valuable life lessons. When asked how students first respond to the prospect of reading the book, Haddad said, “I can tell students are nervous at the beginning, but I work through the process slowly, making sure everything is understood.”

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