Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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8. Regional Realism   

8. Regional

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

Activities: Context Activities

Core Contexts
The Best Seat in the House: Parlors and the Development of Gentility in Nineteenth-Century America
When Huckleberry Finn meets the rural Grangerford family in the course of his adventures on the Mississippi, he is awed by the grandeur of their house: "I hadn't seen no house out in the country before that was so nice and had so much style.... There warn't no bed in the parlor, not a sign of a bed." Huck's naive description of the Grangerfords' "stylishness" is of course meant... Go

Moving Pictures: Native American Self-Narration
In their coverage of Native American autobiographical texts, literary anthologies tend to focus on works by Indian authors who wrote their own stories in English (such as Zitkala-Sa or Charles Alexander Eastman) or on those who dictated their oral narratives to white translators and editors (such as Black Elk). But Native American autobiographical expressions... Go

Black, White, and Yellow: Coloring the News in Late-Nineteenth-Century America
Americans in the late nineteenth century had unprecedented access to news, both of their immediate neighborhoods and of the world, as print technology, literacy, and appetites for information exploded. By 1900, there were... Go

Extended Contexts
Monkeying Around: Trickster Figures and American Culture
Just like written literary traditions, oral storytelling traditions have genres and styles. The "trickster tale" is one of many genres of oral narrative tradition. The central figure in these tales is the "trickster," usually depicted as an animal. Characterized by paradox, duality, cleverness, shape-shifting, duplicity, and a knack for survival, trickster figures are... Go

The Human Framed: Anatomy, Photography, and Realism in Nineteenth-Century America
Viewing Thomas Eakins's masterful depiction of medical surgery in his painting The Gross Clinic, an art critic writing for the New York Herald in 1876 was both impressed and repelled by its stark realism: "The painting is decidedly unpleasant and sickeningly real in all its gory details, though a startlingly life-like and strong work." Showing the famous surgeon... Go

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