This lesson focuses on John Winthrop’s historic "Model of Christian Charity" sermon which is often referred to by its “City on a Hill “ metaphor. Through a close reading of this admittedly difficult text, students will learn how it illuminates the beliefs, goals, and programs of the Puritans. The sermon sought to inspire and to motivate the Puritans by pointing out the distance they had to travel between an ideal community and their real-world situation.
Focusing on only the last two paragraphs of the document, have students read the first sentence and try to figure out what it is saying (see selection in student launchpad and in separate PDF with questions).
In White Fang, Jack London sought to trace the “development of domesticity, faithfulness, love, morality, and all the amenities and virtues.” In this lesson, students explore images from the Klondike and read White Fang closely to learn how to define and differentiate the terms “nature” and “culture."
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?
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.
Read the first two paragraphs of Jack London’s “To Build a Fire,” and then look at the following images. How do they compare to London’s description?