Today we finish our last segment of video, this one entitled "Eternity". Some of the students are having a hard time understanding what the point of learning about Romanticism is, if "Romanticism is just flowers and chocolates."
"Let's think about what flowers and chocolates represent," I tell the students. "You buy a girl flowers and chocolates because you think this will please her, because you know what she likes. You wouldn't buy a girl flowers and chocolates if you knew she didn't like them, would you?"
Everyone agreed they would not.
"That is the Romantic ideal, that you know a person, their individual likes and dislike, what they want to accomplish, what they are afraid of, those flowers and chocolates are gesture to that person that you know who they are, and you think of them as an individual.
"Before the Romantics Europeans defined themselves much more by their family kinship and by where they came from, which is why they would call themselves 'Robert of York' or Thomas John's son (Johnson). Because of the Romantics you have this idea that you are going to be who you want to be, that you will determine your own destiny."
Saying this to a room full of high school seniors is a bit like telling goldfish that they are in water.
This last video delves into the Romantics varied and personal beliefs about science, religion and the very nature of self. It touches on Percy Shelley's outspoken atheism and ideas about free love, and Byron's cult of personality.
We discuss why the concept of celebrity is so alluring from reality TV to gossip websites and magazines. Of course no one wants to admit that they think NorthWest is a cute baby or who the next candidate for the Bachelor is, but we are all aware of these people, and sometimes follow the more sensational goings on. Even athletes are not immune from celebrity worship.
This final video is a off-putting to many of the students. "Selfie" may be the word of 2013, but they are reluctant to admit how important the individual has become in the 21st century.
As we arrive at the end of the series and Peter Ackroyd sums up Romanticism one of the students sits up and says, "We're all Romantics."
After the video is over, I ask students to write about Romanticism, and what they think it is.
The responses are thoughtful and summative, it's clear that the majority of the class realizes as that student did, "We are all Romantics".