ERIC Number: ED442129
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Reference Count: N/A
Mark Twain and American Humor [Lesson Plan].
In this three-part lesson, students examine structure and characterization in the short story and consider the significance of humor through a study of Mark Twain's "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." In Part I, through skits and storytelling, students first examine the structure of Twain's story and the role he creates for his tall-tale storyteller, Simon Wheeler. They then investigate Twain's use of dialect by continuing a story that Wheeler starts to tell, imitating his comic style. In Part II, students compare Twain's story with one of the Sut Lovingood stories by George Washington Harris, again examining the story's structure by performing it as a skit. After considering how this structure "frames" the trickster Sut Lovingood, as compared to the frame Twain creates for his trickster, Jim Smiley, students produce a character sketch of Harris' comic protagonist and a sample of his humorous dialect. Finally, in Part III, students read a humorous story by Nathaniel Hawthorne in order to gain perspective on Twain's brand of humor and its significance within the context of American literary tradition. After debating the merits of "moral" humor like Hawthorne's as compared with the "folk" humor of Harris and Twain, students test the possibilities of blending these traditions by recasting a paragraph of Hawthorne's story in dialect style. The lesson plan also contains the subject areas covered in the lesson, time required to complete the lesson, the skills used in the lesson, the grade level (9-12), and lists of the standards developed by professional or government associations that are related to the lesson, as well as activities to extend the lesson. (RS)
Descriptors: Characterization, High Schools, Humor, Language Arts, Language Usage, Lesson Plans, Short Stories, Story Grammar, United States Literature
For full text: http://edsitement.neh.gov/lessonplans.html.
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Teachers
Sponsor: National Endowment for the Humanities (NFAH), Washington, DC.; Council of the Great City Schools, Washington, DC.; MCI WorldCom, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: N/A