Students examine Martin Puryear’s "Ladder for Booker T. Washington" and consider how the title of Puryear’s sculpture is reflected in the meanings we can draw from it. They learn about Booker T. Washington’s life and legacy, and through Puryear's ladder, students explore the African American experience from Booker T.'s perspective and apply their knowledge to other groups in U.S. History. They also gain understanding of how a ladder can be a metaphor for a person’s and a group’s progress toward goals.
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.