William Faulkner’s self-proclaimed masterpiece, As I Lay Dying, originally published in 1930, is a fascinating exploration of the many voices found in a Southern family and community. The following curriculum unit examines the novel's use of multiple voices in its narrative.
Curriculum unit on the historical context of Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle and how the book helped reform efforts in Congress to pass the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906.
A curriculum unit of three lessons in which students explore Hopi place names, poetry, song, and traditional dance to better understand the ways Hopi people connect with the land and environment through language. The unit is centered on the practice of growing corn. Students make inferences about language, place, and culture and also look closely at their own home environment and landscape to understand the places, language, and songs that give meaning to cultures and communities
The book is, of course, in no sense a burlesque, but it is an effort to treat the lives of simple ordinary people in an American Middle Western town with sympathy and understanding…. Certainly, I did not write to make fun of these people or to make them ridiculous or ugly, but instead to show by their example what happens to simple, ordinary people—particularly the unsuccessful ones—what life does to us here in America in our times—and on the whole how decent and real we nevertheless are.—Sherwood Anderson
Winesburg, Ohio presents a galaxy of strange and distorted characters in a small town in Sandusky County, not far from Cleveland, well over one hundred years ago. Even a casual glance through a few of the stories leads inevitably to the question: Why are these people all so weird—so grotesque? By contrast, the central character of this short story cycle, George Willard, seems a perfectly normal young man on the brink of maturity and poised to make the life-changing decision to leave Winesburg behind.
This curriculum unit includes three lessons. The first lesson introduces students to the concept of the grotesque, central to the Winesburg, Ohio story cycle, through a close reading of two stories: “The Book of the Grotesque” and “Respectability.”
The second lesson focuses on character development within the short story sequence to analyze the experiences of the character, George Willard. While George is not mentioned in a few of the stories and figures only fleetingly in others, he dominates much of the action across the story cycle and serves as the central thread running throughout the text. This lesson has students focus on the evolution that George undergoes in the course of the following stories: “Mother;” “Nobody Knows;” “An Awakening;” “Death;” “Sophistication;” and “Departure.”
The third lesson returns to the concept of the grotesque and with teachers modeling an analysis of this literary element in the story, “Adventure.” Students are then given the opportunity to independently investigate additional stories in the cycle for applications of this literary element. Extending the lesson activities provide a host of additional research, creative writing, and project opportunities.
Winesburg, Ohio demonstrates Anderson’s belief that people are neither simple nor easily classified. Often distorted by life experiences, his grotesques nevertheless possess a “sweetness of the twisted apples” that evokes our understanding and empathy rather than distaste.
During the Early Modern era (1450–1750), the expansion in maritime trade and the incorporation of the Americas into worldwide exchanges meant the world became increasingly interconnected. These connections led to a greater need for diplomatic relations with other states. Like many modern institutions, diplomacy as we know it today had its origins during this period.
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is a novel that engages middle school students in thought-provoking discussion, and provides practice in literary analysis skills. The three lessons in this unit all stress textual evidence to support observations and generalizations uncovering the novel’s central character traits, symbols and themes.
“Democracy in America” by Alexis de Tocqueville is one of the most influential books ever written about America. While historians have viewed “Democracy” as a rich source about the age of Andrew Jackson, Tocqueville was more of a political thinker than a historian. His "new political science" offers insights into the problematic issues faced by democratic society.
This unit is a study of the shifts in narrative voice and literary genres that Melville makes throughout Moby-Dick. It serves to introduce students to several unique features of the novel without demanding as much class time as would reading the entire text. The lessons comprise a series of close readings of passages from the novel.
Tennessee Williams’ classic play The Glass Menagerie (1944) was an extension of the Expressionism that was then prevalent in mid-century Europe. The Expressionist Movement was marked by certain characteristics: a rejection of realism in favor of dreamlike states; non-linear, often disjointed structures; a utilization of imagery and symbolism in the place of naturalism; a focus on abstract concepts and ideas.
Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, is a CCSS exemplar for grades 11 – CCR taught at the upper high school level and in AP English. This three lesson unit looks at a variety of schisms and divisions in the novel. It provides a close reading of the novel by considering Dostoevsky’s view of human nature, through his characters; the theoretical division Man v Superman; the societal setting in the novel.