CLASSROOM USES FOR “Life’s Little Deconstruction Book”

(Andrew Boyd, W. W. Norton, $7.95, paperback)


> Fun, jargon-free primer on post-modernism.

> Playful introduction to cultural theory and post-structuralist thought.

> Works for both introductory and upper-level courses.


Activity ideas for theory and upper-level courses:

•     Individual maxims provide great focal points for discussion.  Consider the possibilities of  “225. Defer identity.” or “8. Control the remote.”

•     Have students write their own maxims as part of their commentary on other work.  Or have them identify the 10 or 15 maxims that offer the best critical accompaniment to another text.

•     Discuss book itself as a post-modern text—how its own format is an example of the themes it addresses.

Activity ideas for intro or freshman comp courses:

•     Have students bring their 5 favorite maxims to class and gather in groups to discuss.

•     Have students crystallize a rich narrative text into their own maxims.  The book is an invitation to play with language and ideas.

•     Use the book as part of unit on maxims, aphorisms and proverbs. Have students work in groups creating their own life-maxims.  It’s a way to invite students to enjoy writing.

•     Have students write continuous prose about what it was like for them to do this sort of fragmented writing, and have them write responses to each other’s fragments.

•     Have students pick 10 of the maxims that speak most strongly to them, and write about why they picked those particular ones.

•     Use maxims, such as “143. Gate your community.” as jumping off points for field trips to observe contemporary culture in action.  Students could do ethnographic studies and write their reactions.  It could spark a wonderful, empowered kind of cultural critique in students.