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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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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


Sarah Orne Jewett - Teaching Tips

Back Back to Sarah Orne Jewett Activities
  • Sarah Orne Jewett had a deep interest in the occult, a theme that arises in "The Foreigner." Ask students to think about the role of the "other-worldly" in this story. Why does Jewett include the ending she does? How does it affect Mrs. Todd? How does it affect the narrator? How does the occult event serve to bind together women in the story? What is the relationship between Jewett's commitment to realistic depiction and her interest in the occult? Refer students to the contextual material featured in "The Spirit Is Willing: The Occult and Women in the Nineteenth Century" in Unit 6. Ask them to think about how this story relates to the experiences of the Fox sisters.

  • Jewett once told an editor who urged her to write a novel that she did not think she was capable of managing the narrative structure of a long work: "But I don't believe I could write a long story as you... advise me in this last letter. The story would have no plot. I could write you entertaining letters perhaps, from some desirable house where I was in most charming company, but I couldn't make a story about it." After you give students this background information, ask them how fair Jewett's self-deprecating analysis is to her ability to structure narrative. How do her stories challenge conventional plot structures? Do her plots move in a linear fashion? How does information come out? How are characters developed? How does she use the short story to experiment with narrative form?




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