Launchpad: Twain & American Humor

Mark Twain and American Humor

Mark Twain | George Washington Harris | Nathaniel Hawthorne


Mark Twain

Mark Twain was the pseudonym of Samuel Clemens, one of America's most famous writers. Read his short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" and explore these websites to learn more about how Samuel Clemens created the "character" of Mark Twain, author.

Launchpad: Death in Poetry

Death in Poetry

Section: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

1) Death. Perhaps no other theme elicits such deep and varied emotions from individuals across the globe. It's no wonder, then, that poets through the ages—no matter the time or place—have sought to address death through poetry. Read the following poems by A.E. Housman and Dylan Thomas and begin to consider the theme of death in poetry.

Launchpad: Live From Antiquity

Live from Antiquity!

Section:  1 | 2 | 3

1) Read and discuss Antigone by Sophocles. Note about this edition: the arrows at the top-right corner of the text allow you to progress page by page through the work. The red mark on a blue bar along the top of the work shows how far you have progressed through the text.

Launchpad: Introducing Jane Eyre

Introducing Jane Eyre and Victorian Society

What was life like for women during the Victorian age? You will explore several websites that describe life in the Victorian era, a term used to describe the culture and society during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. Keep in mind that like all broad claims about a society, the following are examples of life during this time, and only begin to reveal the complexity of Victorian-era livelihood.

Launchpad: Welty's 'A Worn Path'

Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path” in Graphical Representation

Character, Setting, and Plot Development

Before you can transform Eudora Welty’s short story into a graphical story or comic strip, you will need to analyze the story and identify all of its parts, from characters, to setting, to plot. Start by asking yourself the following questions and making a list of all the things you can identify in the story, especially those that you can visualize and turn into images and pictures.

Launchpad: Pride & Prejudice

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen's treatment of social class in the early nineteenth century

One of the central themes in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is the role of class in early nineteenth-century England. Austen is interested in how social class shapes individual experience as well as the interactions among people of different classes.

LaunchPad: Crane, London, & Naturalism

Crane, London, and Literary Naturalism

Read one or both of the following stories:

LaunchPad: Brooks’ "We Real Cool"

Gwendolyn Brooks’ "We Real Cool"

Read Gwendolyn Brooks' poem "We Real Cool" out loud to yourself a few times. Then watch the video of John Ulrich discussing and reading "We Real Cool" as part of the EDSITEment-reviewed Library of Congress Favorite Poems Project. Pay particular attention to how you read the poem and how the poem is read in the Favorite Poems Project video—what words are emphasized? what kind of rhythm is established?

LaunchPad: Crane's "The Open Boat"

Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat”


Read the first section of Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat,” and then look at the following images. How do they compare to Crane’s description?


LaunchPad: Browning's Last Duchess

Robert Browning: "My Last Duchess"

Use the following links as you explore Robert Browning's poem, "My Last Duchess."