• Rudyard Kipling's "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi": Mixing Fact and Fiction

    Portrait of Rudyard Kipling.

    In this lesson, students will use interactive materials to learn about Rudyard Kipling's life and times, read an illustrated version of "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," and learn how Kipling effectively uses personification by mixing fact and fiction.

  • Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, and the Unreliable Narrator

    Edgar Allen Poe.

    Help your students consider a variety of narrative stances in Edgar Allen Poe's short story, "Tell Tale Heart," and Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge."

  • Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, and the Unreliable Biographers

    Engraving by Robert Anderson based on 1848 daguerreotype.

    We are naturally curious about the lives (and deaths) of authors, especially those, such as Edgar Allan Poe and Ambrose Bierce, who have left us with so many intriguing mysteries. But does biographical knowledge add to our understanding of their works? And if so, how do we distinguish between the accurate detail and the rumor, between truth and slander? In this lesson, students become literary sleuths, attempting to separate biographical reality from myth. They also become careful critics, taking a stand on whether extra-literary materials such as biographies and letters should influence the way readers understand a writer's texts.

  • Rudyard Kipling's "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi": Mixing Words and Pictures

    Portrait of Rudyard Kipling.

    In this lesson, students will read an illustrated version of "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," examine how Kipling and visual artists mix observation with imagination to create remarkable works, and follow similar principles to create a work of their own.

  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wall-paper"—The "New Woman"

    "Wash Day" satirizes the suffrage movement at the turn-of-the-century.

    Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story "The Yellow Wall-paper" was written during this time of great change. This lesson plan, the first part of a two-part lesson, helps to set the historical, social, cultural, and economic context of Gilman's story.

  • Crane, London, and Literary Naturalism

    Stephen Crane, best known for the Civil War novel The Red Badge of  Courage, also wrote the stark short story, The Open Boat.

    Heavily influenced by social and scientific theories, including those of Darwin, writers of naturalism described—usually from a detached or journalistic perspective—the influence of society and surroundings on the development of the individual. In the following lesson plan, students will learn the key characteristics that comprise American literary naturalism as they explore London's "To Build a Fire" and Crane's "The Open Boat."

  • Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find": Who's the Real Misfit?

    Georgia highway picture

    Known as both a Southern and a Catholic writer, Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964) wrote stories that are hard to forget. In this lesson, students will explore these dichotomies—and challenge them—while closely reading and analyzing "A Good Man is Hard to Find."

  • Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat"

    A dinghy like the one being towed by this skiff figures in Stephen Crane's  gripping tale "The Open Boat."

    The harrowing adventure of four men fighting for survival after a shipwreck is chronicled by Stephen Crane in "The Open Boat."  Students learn about narration, point of view, and man's relationship to nature in this classic example of American literary naturalism.

  • Knowledge or Instinct? Jack London's "To Build a Fire"

    Bound for the Klondike gold fields. Chilkoot Pass, Alaska.

    As a man and his animal companion take a less-traveled path to their Yukon camp, they step into a tale of wilderness survival and dire circumstances in this excellent example of American literary naturalism by Jack London.

  • Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path" in Graphical Representation

    Eudora Welty.

    By rendering aspects of Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path" into carefully considered graphical forms, students learn to appreciate elements of characterization, setting, and plot in a manner that engages them actively in the production of meaning.