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.
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).
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.
The harrowing adventure of four men fighting for survival after a shipwreck is chronicled by Stephen Crane in "The Open Boat." Students learn about narration, point of view, and man's relationship to nature in this classic example of American literary naturalism.
In the first chapter of William Faulkner's emotionally charged novel, "The Sound and the Fury," Benjy Compson, the son with intellectual disability 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.
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?
By studying Mark Twain's novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and its critics with a focus on cultural context, students will develop essential analytical tools for navigating this text and for exploring controversies that surround this quintessential American novel.
King Arthur, Camelot, Gawain, a bold challenge, a perilous journey, a beheading, an enchantment, and a shape-shifter are the ingredients of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. For the modern reader, Sir Gawain's tale is riveting even without understanding its symmetry or cultural and historical context. Viewed through the lens of the medieval thinker, reading this Arthurian tale becomes a rich, multi-layered experience.
Learn how writer Zora Neale Hurston incorporated and transformed black folklife in her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. By exploring Hurston’s own life history and collection methods, listening to her WPA recordings of folksongs and folktales, and comparing transcribed folk narrative texts with the plot and themes of the novel, students will learn about the crucial role of oral folklore in Hurston’s written work.