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McCarthyism
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Activity 2

McCarthyism

B1+
Group 1


In cobra country a mongoose was born one day who didn’t want to fight cobras or anything else. The word spread from mongoose to mongoose that there was a mongoose who didn’t want to fight cobras. If he didn’t want to fight anything else, it was his own business, but it was the duty of every mongoose to kill cobras or be killed by cobras.

“Why?” asked the peacelike mongoose, and the word went around that the strange new mongoose was not only pro-cobra and anti-mongoose but intellectually curious and against the ideals and traditions of mongoosism.

“He is crazy,” cried the young mongoose’s father. “He is sick,” said his mother. “He is a coward,” shouted his brothers. “He is a mongoosexual,” whispered his sisters.

Strangers who never laid eyes on the peacelike mongoose remembered that they had seen him crawling on his stomach, or trying on cobra hoods, or plotting the violent overthrow of Mongoosia.

“I am trying to use reason and intelligence,” said the strange new mongoose. “Reason is six-sevenths of treason,” said one of his neighbors. “Intelligence is what the enemy uses,” said another.

Finally, the rumor spread that the mongoose had venom in his sting, like a cobra, and was tried, convicted by a show of paws, and condemned to banishment.

Moral: Ashes to ashes, and clay to clay, if the enemy doesn’t get you your own folks may.


“The Peacelike Mongoose”, James Thurber, Further Fables for Our Time, 1956.

Copyright © 1956 by Rosemary A. Thurber.
Reprinted by arrangement with Rosemary A. Thurber and The Barbara Hogenson Agency, Inc. All rights reserved.
To read more about James Thurber, go to www.ThurberHouse.org and www.JamesThurber.org

1
Pick out two details proving this text is a fable.

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2
a. What is the peacelike mongoose accused of? Why?



b. What happens to the peacelike mongoose at the end?
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3
a. Does this tale share any similarities with the treatment of alleged communists during McCarthyism?



b. Who do the cobras stand for in real life?
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B2
Group 2


1
Get ready! Have a close look at the cartoon. Then listen to the following words and use them to guess what the topic of the video is.

Get ready!

Herblock
McCarthyism
dangers
communists
hysteria
the United States

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“It’s okay – We’re hunting Communists”

2
Watch the video and find the following information.

1) Type of document ➜
2) Number of speakers ➜
3) Topic ➜
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3
Complete the table with information from the video.

Who was Joe McCarthy? Why was McCarthyism a threat?
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4
a. What aspect of the video does the cartoon illustrate?



b. What image of the House Un-American Activities Committee is given in the cartoon?
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MEDIATION
Groups 1 & 2
Let's recap! Use the elements above to present your documents orally. Explain to what extent art is a powerful weapon to denounce society.

Useful vocabulary: It deals with... It denounces… It is a way to... It uses the metaphor of… to condemn… It exposes... As far as I’m concerned… To my mind…


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