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Using Classic and Contemporary Literature to Explore Themes in Law and Politics
Unformatted Document Text:  Civil LawLaw in Literature: Contracts and Negotiable Instruments (June 26, Session 1)Readings:William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, pgs. 47-91 Civil MattersLaw in Literature: Property Concepts (June 26, Session 2)Readings:Leo Tolstoy, “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” (Gemmette)Hamlin Garland, “Under the Lion’s Paw” (Gemmette) Short Paper Project: In a 3-4 page paper, summarize the plots and identify the main characters in both of the short stories on property. Does Tolstoy answer the question posed in the title of his story? What do you think is the moral of the story? Should there be a limit to how much property (land) an individual can own in a capitalist economic system? How is Haskins “under the lion’s paw”? In what ways are the problems of the turn-of-the-century Midwestern farmers similar to the problems that people face today? Be sure to write your paper in an essay format. This paper is due June 26. Civil LawLaw in Literature: Contracts and Negotiable Instruments (June 27, Session 1)Readings:William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, pgs. 94-137Civil MattersLaw in Literature: Torts (June 27, Session 2)Readings:Sir Alan Herbert, “Fardell and Potts: The Reasonable Man” (Gemmette)James Reid Parker, “The Most Outrageous Consequences” (Gemmette) Civil LawLaw in Literature: Contracts and Negotiable Instruments (June 28, Session 1)Readings:William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, pgs. 140-203 Short Paper Project: One of the goals of law is to maintain social order by applying a set of standards to be followed by all citizens of a society. Yet, laws often have unintentional loopholes, for they are limited by the fact that they cannot anticipate all possible violations of the behaviors they seek to prevent. Nor are punishments always congruent with the crime committed. As they say, read the fine print. The interpretation of the law during the court hearing is a clever one, and Shylock is not only prevented from exacting the pound of flesh, but he is also forced to strike a deal according to the terms of which he must convert to Christianity and surrender his fortunes. Discuss how the trial scene reveals a conflict between justice and mercy as legal and moral concepts. Be sure to mention Shylock’s legal claim and how the law begins to work against him. Is the conflict resolved? Do you think that the resolution of the conflict is fair and just? Discuss these questions in a 3-4 page paper due June 28. Page | 32

Authors: Fliter, John.
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Civil Law
Law in Literature: Contracts and Negotiable Instruments
(June 26, Session 1)
Readings:
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, pgs. 47-91
Civil Matters
Law in Literature: Property Concepts
(June 26, Session 2)
Readings:
Leo Tolstoy, “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” (Gemmette)
Hamlin Garland, “Under the Lion’s Paw” (Gemmette)
Short Paper Project: In a 3-4 page paper, summarize the plots and identify the main characters in both of
the short stories on property. Does Tolstoy answer the question posed in the title of his story? What do
you think is the moral of the story? Should there be a limit to how much property (land) an individual can
own in a capitalist economic system? How is Haskins “under the lion’s paw”? In what ways are the
problems of the turn-of-the-century Midwestern farmers similar to the problems that people face today?
Be sure to write your paper in an essay format. This paper is due June 26.
Civil Law
Law in Literature: Contracts and Negotiable Instruments
(June 27, Session 1)
Readings:
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, pgs. 94-137
Civil Matters
Law in Literature: Torts
(June 27, Session 2)
Readings:
Sir Alan Herbert, “Fardell and Potts: The Reasonable Man” (Gemmette)
James Reid Parker, “The Most Outrageous Consequences” (Gemmette)
Civil Law
Law in Literature: Contracts and Negotiable Instruments
(June 28, Session 1)
Readings:
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, pgs. 140-203
Short Paper Project: One of the goals of law is to maintain social order by applying a set of standards to
be followed by all citizens of a society. Yet, laws often have unintentional loopholes, for they are limited
by the fact that they cannot anticipate all possible violations of the behaviors they seek to prevent. Nor
are punishments always congruent with the crime committed. As they say, read the fine print. The
interpretation of the law during the court hearing is a clever one, and Shylock is not only prevented from
exacting the pound of flesh, but he is also forced to strike a deal according to the terms of which he must
convert to Christianity and surrender his fortunes. Discuss how the trial scene reveals a conflict between
justice and mercy as legal and moral concepts. Be sure to mention Shylock’s legal claim and how the law
begins to work against him. Is the conflict resolved? Do you think that the resolution of the conflict is
fair and just? Discuss these questions in a 3-4 page paper due June 28.
Page | 32


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