ERIC Number: ED209154
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Oct-29
Reference Count: 0
The Use of Fictional Literature in Teaching Concepts of Cultural Geography.
Silverman, Sherman E.
This paper suggests that college-level geography instructors use novels to help students understand how people have interacted with particular environments within particular periods of time. In addition, it offers excerpts from approximately 20 novels that deal with topics often treated in human (cultural) geography courses. The author suggests that employing novels as a synthesis between change processes and geographical regions is a useful pedagogical device because it enables students to deal with explanation as well as description. The bulk of the paper centers around a topic which is of primary interest in many human geography courses--the cultural landscape. The cultural landscape is defined as that culture-specific milieu which results from the interaction of environmental influence upon human behavior and the reciprocal human influence upon the environment. The author categorizes the American cultural landscape into five primary types--the inner city, suburbia, rural, the small town, and the frontier--and then uses these typologies as a framework within which to discuss human phenomena in the context of change. Examples of topics discussed and the novels selected to illustrate them include, (1) social and psychological impact of technological change, exemplified in "The Octopus," Frank Norris and "The Jungle," Upton Sinclair; (2) the promise of opportunity in 19th century America, exemplified in "The Pit, A Story of Chicago," Frank Norris and "The Fortunate Pilgrim," Mario Puzo; (3) realities of life in small town America, exemplified in "Main Street," Sinclair Lewis and "Winesburg Ohio," Sherwood Anderson; and (4) the transformation of the American wilderness, exemplified in "My Antonia," Willa Cather. (DB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council for Geographic Education (Pittsburgh, PA, October 29, 1981).