Making Curriculum Pop

LESSON PLAN: Literary Pilgrimages: Exploring the Role of Place in Writers’ Lives and Work

Another cool lesson from the New York Times Learning Network Blog...

January 21, 2010, 1:37 PM

Literary Pilgrimages: Exploring the Role of Place in Writers’ Lives and Work

Orwell's birthplaceAgence France-PresseThere are big plans for the nondescript birthplace of Eric Arthur Blair in India.  Go to related article »

Overview | How do places and experiences affect writers’ lives and works? Is where a writer comes from relevant to reading his or her work? In this lesson, students consider the power of place in their own lives, research the life of a writer and develop travel brochures and annotated maps representing the significance of places in the writer’s life.

Warm-up | Hand out plain white printer paper and ask students to draw a map of their bedroom or home, highlighting specific items and locations that have been influential in shaping who they are today. You might prompt them to think about both special memories as well as how and where they spend most of their time.

After giving students time to draw their maps, ask them to reflect, in writing, on the following question: How do our bedrooms, homes and personal items shape who we are? Ask them to refer to significant places and objects on their maps as they write.

When they have finished writing, invite students to share their maps and writing in pairs or small groups, then reconvene for a whole-class discussion. Invite students to share some of the significant spots and items in their lives with the class.

Then ask: What in your home holds meaning for you, or shapes and/or reflects your identity? If you became famous, what would be most important to preserve for visitors to “the museum of you” to see? What could somebody learn about you by visiting where you grew up? Conversely, how could such a visit potentially be misleading? Why do people like to visit where celebrities and historical figures once lived? What do such visits reveal? What are their limitations? Why do places have such power in many people’s imaginations?

In the article “Where Baby Orwell Lived,” Charles McGrath considers why we “fetishize writers’ residences” and examines places worthy of pilgrimage:

To read the whole lesson visit the NYTLN blog here.

Views: 11

Replies to This Discussion

This would be a good lesson to introduce new historicism criticism.
Patsy, good idea!!



© 2024   Created by Ryan Goble.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service