Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun provides a compelling and honest look into one family's aspirations to move to another Chicago neighborhood and the thunderous crash of a reality that raises questions about for whom the "American Dream" is accessible.
In this lesson, students analyze Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration of the Negro Panel no. 57 (1940-41), Helene Johnson’s Harlem Renaissance poem “Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem” (1927), and Paul Laurence Dunbar’s late-nineteenth-century poem “We Wear the Mask” (1896), considering how each work represents the life and changing roles of African Americans from the late nineteenth century to the Harlem Renaissance and The Great Migration.
In this lesson, students analytically read “Learning to Read,” a poem by Francis Watkins Harper about an elderly former slave which conveys the value of literacy to Black people during and after slavery. The activities help students examine the experiences of enslaved people, the history of literacy, and 21st century values on the power of reading.
Nigerian born Chinua Achebe is one of the world's most well-known and influential contemporary writers. His first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), is an early narrative about the European colonization of Africa told from the point of view of the colonized people.
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.
Students learn the linguistic strategies Achebe uses to convey the Igbo and British missionary cultures presented in the novel and how the text combines European linguistic and literary forms with African oral traditions.
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.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story "The Yellow Wall-paper" was written during a time of change. This lesson plan, the first part of a two-part lesson, helps to set the historical, social, cultural, and economic context of Gilman's story.