2: Answer Key (p. 14)
- Man is not an “island” meaning that man lives in a community with others and not isolated.
- Why Donne says that “every man is a piece of the continent” is of course nothing we can know for certain (some students might point this out to you), but Donne’s idea is probably that we all belong to a greater something – a community, an environment even if we do not necessarily want to.
- “For whom the bells toll” refers to the church-bells rung at a funeral.
- Hopefully these questions will help students see that at times we feel like islands and at other times we feel more as part of the world around us. Teenagers might very well be experts here since they at times might feel like no one understands them.
- Donne’s message is that we are part of “a continent” – something larger than ourselves. The idea that what happens to someone else also affects me – our lives are intertwined – another man’s death also causes me pain. Some students might think of environmental issues in this connection – that whatever a person does, it affects the world. Philosophers, religious leaders and business executives tend to think this way as well – we are part of a greater “system” so everything we do affects the “system”. The system might be your family, your class, your work, the local community or the world.
- The answers to this question might indicate something about the different personalities in your classroom – some will prefer solitude while others always want to be social. They might also see that this will vary depending on the situation.