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The Student News Site of Piscataway High School

The Chieftain

The Student News Site of Piscataway High School

The Chieftain

Speculation in Literature Classes Travel to Rutgers Cinema to Watch Dune 2

Spec students gather to eat popcorn and watch huge sandworms on the big screen together
Rutgers Cinema Dune 2 Field Trip.

Senior students at the high school recently had the opportunity to view the new film Dune: Part Two in theaters on a field trip to Rutgers Cinema with their English Speculation in Literature classes.

Interior of Rutgers Cinema. Photos by Mr. Lojko

Dune: Part Two, sequel to the 2021 film Dune is an American Sci-fi/Adventure film. Starring celebrities like Zendeya, Timothee Chalamet, and Austin Butler, it is no wonder this three hour film ranked 93% on Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer and earned a 95% audience score.

Written and produced by French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, the duology is actually a movie adaptation of the 1965 novel titled with the same name, written by Frank Herbert.  It describes the story of a young prince who is stranded on a desolate planet and has to learn the ways of a desert tribe to restore the honor of his family and fulfill an ancient prophesy.

Dune 2 Promotional Poster (Warner Bros.)

The Senior-exclusive class, Speculation in Literature offered at the high school has the course description of “explor[ing] the human experience through the lens of the imagination,” overall to “help students develop discussion and critical thinking skills as they negotiate complex issues of government, change, alternate identities, fear of the unknown, climate change, imperialism as expressed by well-known literary works”.

Interior of Rutgers Cinema. Photos by Mr. Lojko

Obviously unconventional, Speculation in Literature, more commonly known by students as “Spec”, takes a contemporary approach to English in the modern day.

Spec teacher Mr. Scalora differentiates the five-credit core English class from the elective Film Studies because the elective is “really sold to kids as you just sit there and watch movies.” Film is a large component of Spec, but the class builds off tremendously from this: “it’s more about learning how to read film. Everything we talk about in literature, plot, characters, symbols, foreshadowing, all of that is told through the camera.”

Students of the class are particularly fond of the analysis and discussions that arise in the class, with seniors Emily Rojas and Laurel Amankwah conveying that they “feel like this class gives [us] the option to ramble on about movies and watch new ones that [we] haven’t gotten the chance to watch … it lets [us]ramble on about things that [we are] passionate about.”

From this it is no surprise therefore that this pragmatically modern class would host a trip to see the sci-fi spectacle Dune Two, especially because “Speculation is all based on sci-fi. So the ideas that Dune covered were human genetics, space travel, what happens when we open up our minds narcotic by a giant space worm” reveals Ms. Scalora. “We really explore all these outlandish ideas, and Dune kind of brought all that together”.

Interior of Rutgers Cinema. Photos by Mr. Lojko

The whole point of Speculation in Literature is to veer away from traditional English structure hypotheticals and put speech into practice. The class wanted to get as real and applicable as possible; and what’s more real than seeing the visuals live in theaters. If they needed any more reason, Mr. Scalora admitted another catalyst for the trip, that being “To kind of get out and do something different, [since] a lot of students don’t go to the movies anymore”.

In the end students were ecstatic about the trip, but opinions about the film were mixed.

Rojas “[liked] the action, … [but] it was longer than it should have been.” Another student responded, “I liked the second one better than the first one”.

Regardless, the amazing opportunity available to students to explore English during a fun outing takes precedence.

Amankwah recommends the class “if you like films and movies and want to learn how movies are made and the cinematic point of view of movies.”

Regardless of what they thought about the film, students taking Speculation in Literature appreciated the trip hosted by the school and ranked it a 100% on the unofficial PHS “Tomatometer”.

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About the Contributor
Nyasa Bryson
Nyasa Bryson, Journalism Student Reporter
Hi! I’m currently a junior at PHS and this is my first year officially writing for chieftain as a reporter (my freshman year I fell in love with the class and wrote as a student). You’ll see a lot of current events and just things that generally interest me: ranging from strike coverages to new fashion lines to music to AHS (Coven>>). Thanks for checking us out!

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