• To Kill A Mockingbird and the Scottsboro Boys Trial: Profiles in Courage

    The Scottsboro Boys with their lawyer and guards (UPI photo, March, 1933).

    Students study select court transcripts and other primary source material from the second Scottsboro Boys Trial of 1933, a continuation of the first trial in which two young white women wrongfully accused nine African-American youths of rape.

  • Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird": Profiles in Courage

    To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee and Mary Badham

    This lesson plan asks students to read To Kill A Mockingbird carefully with an eye for all instances and manifestations of courage, but particularly those of moral courage.

  • The Red Badge of Courage: A New Kind of Courage

    Civil War-era portrait of a Federal soldier.

    In The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane presents war through the eyes —and thoughts —of one soldier. The narrative’s altered point of view and stylistic innovations enable a heightened sense of realism while setting the work apart from war stories written essentially as tributes or propaganda.

  • The "Secret Society" and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

    "Jazz Baby," 1919. From Historic American Sheet Music, 1850–1920

    In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, "class struggle" is portrayed as an intensely personal affair, as much a tension within the mind of a single character as a conflict between characters. Students' own experience of the struggle to belong can provide a starting point for an exploration of the mixed emotions--jealousy, admiration, desire, resentment--that characterize main character Nick Caraway's attitude towards the "secret society" of wealthy Easterners. Other lesson activities also include a close study of the text and an examination of Fitzgerald's letters and other statements.

  • Jack London's The Call of the Wild: "Nature Faker"?

    Photo of the dog that inspired Jack London's Buck. Copyright Richard Bond and  Helen Abott.

    A critic of writer Jack London called his animal protagonists “men in fur,” suggesting that his literary creations flaunted the facts of natural history.  London responded to such criticism by maintaining that his own creations were based on sound science and in fact represented “…a protest against the ‘humanizing’ of animals, of which it seemed to me several ‘animal writers’ had been profoundly guilty.”  How well does London succeed in avoiding such “humanizing” in his portrayal of Buck, the hero of his novel, The Call of the Wild? 

  • Lesson 5: Faulkner's As I Lay Dying: Concluding the Novel

    Portrait of William Faulkner by Carl Van Vechten.

    In this lesson, students discuss interpretations of Faulkner's novel As I Lay Dying as they examine the themes of hope and loss.

  • Lesson 4: Faulkner's As I Lay Dying: Burying Addie's Voice

    Portrait of William Faulkner by Carl Van Vechten.

    In this lesson, students explore the use of multiple voices in narration and examine the character of Addie Bundren in Faulkner's As I Lay Dying.

  • Lesson 2: Faulkner's As I Lay Dying: Family Voices In As I Lay Dying

    Portrait of William Faulkner by Carl Van Vechten.

    In this lesson, students explore the use of multiple voices in narration and examine the Bundren family through the subjective evidence provided by a multiplicity of characters in Faulkner's As I Lay Dying.

  • Lesson 3: Faulkner's As I Lay Dying: Crossing the River

    Portrait of William Faulkner by Carl Van Vechten.

    In this lesson, students examine the use of multiple voices in narration while also exploring the use of symbolism.

  • Lesson 1: Faulkner's As I Lay Dying: Images of Faulkner and the South

    Portrait of William Faulkner by Carl Van Vechten.

    Students learn more about Faulkner's life and the culture of the South while exploring the use of multiple voices in narration.