Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup
Search
Follow The Annenberg Learner on LinkedIn Follow The Annenberg Learner on Facebook Follow Annenberg Learner on Twitter
MENU
American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
Home About Unit Index Archive Book Club Site Search
8. Regional Realism   



8. Regional
Realism


•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
Activities
- Author
Activities
- Context
Activities
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Author Activities


Charles W. Chesnutt - Teaching Tips

Back Back to Charles W. Chesnutt Activities
  • Unlike Joel Chandler Harris, Chesnutt insisted that his renditions of traditional African American folktales were not transcriptions but rather "the fruit of my own imagination." He frequently incorporated elements from his reading of classical Greek and Roman literature into his stories; for instance, in "The Goophered Grapevine," Henry is transformed into a kind of Bacchanalian vineyard figure. Ask students to think about the implications of Chesnutt's "imaginative" additions to traditional African American tales. Why might he have been interested in incorporating classical elements into these stories? Why did he want to be known as a creator of stories rather than as a transcriber of existing folktales? Why might Harris and Chesnutt have had such different approaches to their characterization of themselves as authors?

  • Because his Uncle Julius stories contain a frame narrative from the point of view of a rather condescending white man, many of Chesnutt's early readers probably assumed that the writer was white. In 1899, when he began to write full time, Chesnutt made his own racial identity more public. Ask students to think about the role of the white narrator in the Uncle Julius stories. Why might Chesnutt have adopted this narrative voice? Why might he have eventually felt compelled to publicize his own racial background as the stories became more popular? You might ask students to rewrite the frame narrative of Chesnutt's work so that it is clearly not a white narrator. What would need to be changed? What would get left as is? How does this change the nature of the story?



Slideshow Tool
This tool builds multimedia presentations for classrooms or assignments. Go

Archive
An online collection of 3000 artifacts for classroom use. Go

Download PDF
Download the Instructor Guide PDF for this Unit. Go

© Annenberg Foundation 2014. All rights reserved. Legal Policy