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American Modernism

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 10 months ago

American Modernism


Though I teach the Harlem Renaissance as a separate unit from other Modernist writers like Hemingway and Fitzgerald, I do want students to see that they are not really separate movements. Since both units are relatively short, I have included both on this page.


Students usually really like Modernism. Most of my students tell me that The Great Gatsby is their favorite book from my class. Much of this unit is poetry; therefore, it is easy to cover quickly. My honors students read The Sun Also Rises and my other students read A Farewell to Arms for summer reading, so I do not teaching those novels during that time period. However, for the sake of organization and clarity, I have placed The Sun Also Rises introductory Power Point and accompanying notes and in the appropriate section of the lesson plans page.


Students generally enjoy Edwin Arlington Robinson's poem "Richard Cory." Simon and Garfunkel wrote a song based on the poem, which is available on their Greatest Hits CD.


I teach The Great Gatsby across all levels. Teachers may find my Gatsby page helpful for links. Also, I have adapted a Gatsby Treasure Hunt written by Valerie Arbizu. Some of her links were dead, and I found it easier to house some 1920's music onsite rather than rely on the availability of the music offsite. My students really enjoyed the treasure hunt, and it is a great introduction to the novel.


I find that students also really like the Harlem Renaissance, too. In addition to the typical writers, I also like to include a song written by Lewis Allan and made famous by Billie Holiday: "Strange Fruit" (mp3). Lewis Allan was the pseudonym of Jewish schoolteacher and union activist Abel Meeropol. "Strange Fruit" began as a poem, which Meeropol later set to music. Meeropol is also famous for adopting Michael and Robert Rosenberg, the sons of Julius and Ethel, after they were executed. Although this song is not written by an African-American and was not, strictly speaking, from the Harlem Renaissance era, I feel that its powerful message is perfectly placed in this unit.


EDSITEment has a great lesson plan for Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. I adapted this lesson for easier use by my students at this page.



All of these handouts (along with many others) are gathered at my handouts page.

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