• Lesson 3: Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury: Narrating Quentin's Mental Breakdown

    Portrait of William Faulkner by Carl Van Vechten.

    In The Sound and The Fury, Faulkner's presentation of time is unique and complex, as the Quentin chapter symbolically opens with a description of Quentin's watch, which was given to him by his father.

  • Lesson 2: Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury: Benjy's Sense of Time and Narrative Voice

    Portrait of William Faulkner by Carl Van Vechten.

    In the first chapter of William Faulkner's emotionally charged novel, The Sound and the Fury, Benjy Compson, the severely retarded son who narrates this section, matters in a most profound sense. It is through his voice—childlike, detached, and often disorienting—that readers are confronted with the reality of time as a recurring motif and how time affects and informs human experiences.

  • Lesson 4: Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury: Narration, Voice, and the Compson Family's New System

    Portrait of William Faulkner by Carl Van Vechten.

    The third chapter of The Sound and the Fury is told from the perspective of Jason Compson, now the patriarchal head of the family, after his father's death, Quentin's suicide, and Caddy's abandonment of her own daughter (also named Quentin). His leadership does not bode well for keeping intact the remnants of the Compson family, ultimately indicating the passing of both the Old South at large and its one-time aristocratic families such as the Compsons.

  • Lesson 5: Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury: April Eighth, 1928: Narrating from an 'Ordered Place'?

    Portrait of William Faulkner by Carl Van Vechten.

    Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury perhaps best gains clarity and meaning in its final chapter, which uniquely is narrated in the third person, omniscient narrative style. The final chapter, often referred to as the "Dilsey chapter" maintains a present, linear narrative that begins to shed light on the events of the preceding three chapters.

  • Lesson 3: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Literary Humor

    Nathaniel Hawthorne, author.

    Nathaniel Hawthorne' stories are more often associated with dark examinations of complex systems of morality than any sense of conventional comic humor.  And yet Hawthorne's subtle satiric wit oftentimes offered equally piercing insights into the human psyche. n this lesson, students read and examine a humorous story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and compare it to other American literary humorists.

  • Lesson 2: "Old Southwest" Humorists and George Washington Harris

    George Washington Harris, an American humorist who influenced later writers such  as Mark Twain.

    George Washington Harris was an authentic comic genius whose work influenced later writers such as Mark Twain and William Faulkner. In this lesson, students read a Sut Lovingood story by George Washington Harris and examine the story's structure.

  • Lesson 2: Religion and the Argument for American Independence

    Pastor Jonathan Mayhew of Boston

    Using primary documents, this lesson aims to introduce students to how the American revolutionaries employed religion in their arguments for independence.

  • Personal or Social Tragedy? A Close Reading of Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome

    Edith Wharton at her writing desk.

    Students practice strategies of "close reading" in order to understand Edith Wharton's gripping tragedy about an unhappy marriage set against the stark backdrop of rural New England.

  • Edith Wharton: War Correspondent

    American author Edith Wharton

    Through reading chapters of Edith Wharton's book, Fighting France, From Dunkerque to Belfort, students will see how an American correspondent recounted World War I for American readers.

  • Thornton Wilder's "Our Town": The Reader as Writer

    Portrait of Thornton Wilder, as Mr. Antrobus in "The Skin of Your Teeth," by  Carl Van Vechten (August 18, 1948).

    To appreciate some of the extra-literary elements of a play, students pause at various intervals in their study of Thornton Wilder's Our Town to develop their own settings, characters, and conflicts.