Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

9. Social

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•  Using the Video
•  Authors
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•  Activities
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Activities: Author Activities

Theodore Dreiser - Teaching Tips

Back Back to Theodore Dreiser Knight Activities
  • Ask your students to pay attention to Dreiser's use of regional dialects in "Old Rogaum and His Theresa." Which characters speak in dialect? How does Theresa's language separate her from her father? How does Connie Almerting talk? What conclusions are we supposed to draw from each character's different way of speaking? You might ask students to compare Dreiser's use of dialect to some of the "regional realist" writers featured in Unit 8.

  • As many critics have noted, the conclusion of "Old Rogaum and His Theresa," though not tragic, is not exactly a happy one. Readers are left with the uneasy feeling that the Rogaum family's disputes are not over. While both Theresa and her father are glad that she has safely returned to her home, the girl's desires still seem to be in conflict with her father's Old World ideas about proper conduct. After discussing the lack of resolution in the ending of the story, ask your students to write a sequel to "Old Rogaum and His Theresa" in which they speculate on how Theresa and her father will get along while she continues to live at home.

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