How does popular culture engage history? In this lesson plan, students will examine The Searchers, one of the most widely acclaimed Western movies of all time, to explore interpretations of race, gender, and family–both in the time period depicted by the film and the time period in which the film was produced.
Set in the Dominican Republic during the rule of Rafael Trujillo, In the Time of the Butterflies fictionalizes historical figures in order to dramatize the Dominican people’s heroic efforts to overthrow this dictator’s brutal regime. In the following activities, students will examine the actions of the characters in the novel and discuss an all encompassing definition for courage.
Lesson 2 is a study of symbols in William Golding’s novel "Lord of the Flies." After reviewing the general concept of symbolism, students focus on four of the most dominant symbols that permeate the novel: the island itself; the conch; the Lord of the Flies effigy; fire.
This lesson focuses on character analysis throughout William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies. While contemplating both direct and indirect characterization techniques, students will be able to consider how characterization builds relationships among the boys in the novel.
In 1845, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, and Written by Himself was published. In it, Douglass criticizes directly—often with withering irony—those who defend slavery and those who prefer a romanticized version of it.
This lesson is designed to apply Common Core State Standards and facilitate a comparison of informational texts and primary source material from the Scottsboro Boys trials of the 1931 and 1933, and the fictional trial in Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill A Mockingbird (1960).
The corrupting influence of slavery on marriage and the family is a predominant theme in Solomon Northup’s narrative Twelve Years a Slave. In this lesson, students are asked to identify and analyze narrative passages that provide evidence for how slavery undermined and perverted these social institutions. Northup collaborated with a white ghostwriter, David Wilson. Students will read the preface and identify and analyze statements Wilson makes to prove the narrative is true.
In this triumph of magical realism, "One Hundred Years of Solitude," chronicles a century of the remarkable Buendía family’s history in the fictional Colombian town of Macondo. The three lessons presented here explore the fantastic elements of this imaginary world, the real history that lies behind them, and García Márquez’s own philosophical musings on writing about Latin America.
Through close readings of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, students will analyze how Hurston creates a unique literary voice by combining folklore, folk language, and traditional literary techniques. Students will examine the role that folk groups play in both their own lives and in the novel.
John Steinbeck recognized that one of the most criticized elements of The Grapes of Wrath was his alternating use of inner chapters or “generals” that interrupt the narrative of the Joads. In this lesson, students will first determine the function of Steinbeck’s opening chapter which acts as the first “inner chapter.” Then, they will explore the relationship between inner chapters and the Joad narrative chapters throughout the novel.