ERIC Number: ED277024
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Contemporary Literature/Traditional Curriculum.
An upper school English program has been experimenting with ways to reinforce its traditional literary curriculum with contemporary works. Three contemporary novels in particular (Naylor's "The Women of Brewster Place," Walker's "The Color Purple," and Miller's "A Canticle for Leibowitz") have been found to foster a sense of continuity with the enduring works which populate the classical, British, and American traditions. The contemporary fiction is incorporated into the program in such a way as to deepen students' appreciation of the demanding themes and evolving fictional, dramatic, and poetic forms they have already encountered. Each recent work represents a unique and "modern" approach to an ages-old theme; each takes its place within a centuries-old tradition of genre, or of narrative technique. The Naylor book paints the lives of a group of working, oppressed black women who have migrated to a rundown area of the city. They form a composite portrait of a community of neglected women, and serve as a poignant modern counterpoint to the variegated band of pilgrims Chaucer draws with such subtlety. "The Color Purple" is an epistolary novel and so fits nicely into a curriculum that includes "Pamela" and "Pride and Prejudice." Miller's evocation of a postnuclear future, when in effect the world returns to the barbarian and primitive system that marked the early Middle Ages is a superb introduction to that era for students in this program. (Possible essay topics and "journal response" assignments are included.) (NKA)
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 of Teachers of English (76th, San Antonio, TX, November 21-26, 1986).