Activities: Video Activities
How do place and time shape literature and our understanding of it?
Video Comprehension Questions: How is the West positively portrayed in early-twentieth-century American literature and culture? How does this change in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s?
Context Questions: How have the geography and resources of the United States influenced American culture? How have Americans used and abused the land?
Exploratory Questions: To what extent is the American Dream dependent on the bounty promised by the land? How do politics influence these works? Are American ideals considered, examined, and evaluated most during times of crisis?
What is American literature? What are its distinctive voices and styles? How do social and political issues influence the American canon?
Video Comprehension Questions:What is eco-literature? What is testimonio?
Context Questions: Why might Bulosan and his works have been "lost" for half a century? What forces worked against him, and what forces later advocated for him? Why did Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath receive social and political criticism when it was first published? How is Under the Feet of Jesus a feminist story? How does this affect its social message?
Exploratory Questions: Why is it so difficult for the impoverished and for minorities to make their stories heard? What is the role of literature in providing a voice for these struggles, and how does this form of expression relate to those used in politics or the media?
How are American myths created, challenged, and reimagined through these works of literature?
Video Comprehension Questions: What is a jeremiad, and how does Steinbeck use this form?
Context Questions: How does Steinbeck show that the American Dream can be dangerous? How is that reaffirmed by Viramontes? Does the promise of "home" play an important role in the works discussed in this unit? What about in the works of Viramontes and Rivera?
Exploratory Questions: What is the American Dream? How has the American Dream changed over time? How do diverse cultures view the American Dream? How have significant historical events affected the dream? How will new opportunities and threats in the twenty-first century challenge the American Dream? What is your version of the American Dream? Who might be able to achieve your version of the dream, and who might not be able to achieve it?
This tool builds multimedia presentations for classrooms or assignments.
An online collection of 3000 artifacts for classroom use.
Download the Instructor Guide PDF for this Unit.