Alexandra Cerce
Dr. Coiro
EDC 448
22 October 2009
Diverse Text Set

Context for using the text set: The texts listed below are intended for an 11th or 12th grade English class. They would be incorporated into a unit entitled “The Affect of Culture in Literary Works”. The course would explore novels, short stories, and poems from different parts of the world. All of the texts are suitable for and will benefit varying levels of learners.

A. Print Resources:

Text #1: Things Fall Apart

Citation: Achebe, C. (1959). Things fall apart . Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Educational Books.

Text Summary: This is the story of Okonkwo, a leader of his village and local wrestling champion. In the eyes of his people, he is considered a great man, one to be admired. The novel follows Okonkwo’s downfall as his village begins to succumb to the influences of British colonialism and Christianity.

Rationale: I selected this text because of its strong themes of tradition, family, honor, and social status. This book shows characteristics that are common in African tribes from this time period. It gives students a text-to-world connection and if there are students in the classroom of African American descent, the story may also give them a text-to-self connection as well.

Use of Text: The students would use this story as a guide for discussion on approaching the story’s themes in today’s society compared to their significance in the African tribal culture as shown through the text.

Attachment: This text is 224 pages in length and has not been included.

Text #2: “Hills Like White Elephants”

Citation: Hemingway, E. (1927). In B. Lawn (Ed.), 40 Short stories: a portable anthology (3rd ed.).
Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.
Text Summary: This is a short story about a couple waiting at a train station in Spain. The woman is pregnant and she is deciding whether or not to have an abortion.
Rationale: My reasoning behind choosing this story is the difficulty level of the reading. Readers are given hints leading them to believe that the characters are talking about abortion but the actual word is never said. Students who have trouble reading between the lines may need to look at this story multiple times before gaining an understanding of it. This text will challenge each student’s thought process.
Use of Text: Because this story is so short in length, I would make copies for the students rather than have them buy the anthology it appears in. The students will be able to use the text to piece together the clues that lead audiences to realize what the conversation in the story is about. They will be asked to contribute their own ideas as to the meaning of the title. Students will also be asked to be aware of the relationship between the girl and the American while reading the story in order to compare it to relationships in other texts.
Attachment: See Attachment #1.

Text # 3: “Interpreter of Maladies”

Citation: Lahiri, J. (1999). Interpreter of maladies (pp. 43-64). New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin


Text Summary: This story is about the Das family, Indian-Americans that are visiting their homeland. They are dressed like outsiders and do not speak the language. They require an interpreter to take them on a tour. Once alone with the interpreter, Mrs. Das reveals that she committed adultery and that her youngest child is not her husband’s. She hopes that the interpreter will help her but he is disappointed in her actions and cannot fulfill her request.

Rationale: I chose this text because it gives readers a look into the value of marriage across cultures through Mrs. Das’ emotional journey. The writing style allows for readers to empathize with the character while still feeling what she did was wrong. I feel that the topics in this text would motivate student discussion and writing.

Use of Text: Students will use this text as a resource for a reflection assignment. They will also have it as a reference and comparative source when looking at the relationships in Things Fall Apart and “Hills Like White Elephants”.

Attachment: Due to the length of the text, I have only included some excerpts from the text. See Attachment #2.

Text #4: “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”

Citation: Marquez, G. (1984). Collected stories (pp. 217-225). New York: Harper Collins Publishers.

Text Summary: This is a fictional short story originally written in 1968 about an event occurring in a small Columbian town. Pelayo and Elisenda find an old man with wings laying in their courtyard. They are astonished by the sight and call a in neighbor to tell them what he is. The man with wings is assumed to be an angel and quickly becomes the main attraction in the village. People come to the village from afar in hopes of having their ailments cured by the “angel”.

Rationale: This text was selected because of its use of symbolism incorporated into a Latin American setting. This story also introduces students to the use of magical realism. Both elements are important when studying literature. Students will learn how the Columbian culture played a role in the creation of this story and its elements.

Use of Text: Students would use this text to find examples of magical realism in order to gain a full understanding of the concept. With the help of class discussion, students would also be able to analyze the symbolic meanings found within the story and compare it with other texts. Their personal interpretations will be incorporated into discussion on this text.

Attachment: Due to its length, the story has not been included.

Text # 5: “The Raven”

Citation: Poe, E. (1845). The raven. Retrieved October 15, 2009 from

Text Summary: This is a poem about an unnamed narrator as he falls into madness while trying to forget a lost love by the name or Lenore.

Rationale: The tone of this text is darker than the others I have chosen but I believe that every English class should try to incorporate some of Edgar Allen Poe’s work into their texts. He was a major part of literary history and has his roots here in America. Even students who find it hard to read Poe’s work appreciate it once they understand what it is about. I selected this particular poem because of the narrator’s slow descent into in insanity that is reminiscent of Okonkwo’s downfall in Things Fall Apart. I would use this as a basis to show how two very different texts from two very different authors can still have similarities in their content.

Use of Text: The students would be given a copy of “The Raven” in class to take home with them and read as homework. They would be asked to write any notes or questions they had about the poem on the side of the paper to discuss during the next class. I would then show the students a video clip of Vincent Price reading the poem and allow students to try to answer their own questions by seeing and listening to the text as opposed to just reading it.

Attachment: See Attachment #3

B. Media Sources:

Text # 6: Miracle in Rome
Citation: Naranjo, L. (Director). & Marquez, G. and Naranjo, L. (Writer). (1988). Miracle in rome [Motion
picture]. Columbia: Fox Lorber .
Text Summary: Twelve years after the unexpected death of his daughter, Margarito Duarte must exhume her body. When he finds her in the same condition as when she died, she is thought to be a saint. The town’s people collect money to send Margarito to Rome with his daughter’s body in order to see the Pope in hopes that he will canonize her as the first Columbian saint.
Rationale: This movie was written by the same author as “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”. Both the short story and this movie have much of the same symbolism and can easily be compared. Both have very distinct religious references and have an emphasis on light vs. dark.
Use of Text: The cinematography and imagery used in this film will give students a visual for themes similar to that of “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”. The movie was filmed in Spanish, therefore, when taking notes, the students will be more likely to pay attention since they will have to look at the subtitles.
Attachment: I have attached a picture of the movie cover. See Attachment #4.

Text #7: “The Raven” performed by Vincent Price

Citation: MasterMagi. (2007, March 29). The raven- edgar allen poe [Video File]. Retrieved
October 15, 2009 from

Text Summary: This video clip shows a dramatic reading of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, “The Raven”.
Rationale: The use of this video clip along with physically showing students “The Raven” on paper allows for auditory and visual learners to have the same chance of understanding the poem as other students. Hearing how the words are supposed to flow and seeing the actions of Vincent Price will help students
Use of Text: The use of YouTube videos is very beneficial to a class because they are accessible from home. I would have the students read the poem on their own first, jotting down any questions they had about it, or taking note of anything they did not understand. I would then show them the video in hopes that they would be able to get a better grasp on the poem and possibly be able to answer some of their own questions they had before seeing the video.
Attachment: This video can be found on YouTube at the url listed above.

C. Online Interactive Resources:

Text #8: The Poe Museum
Citation: The Poe Museum. (2004). Retrieved on October 15, 2009 from

Text Summary: This is an interactive website that has helpful information for students and teachers alike. The website contains biographical information on Edgar Allen Poe, a small selection of his famous works, educational links, and even an online quiz about Poe’s life.
Rationale: I have selected this text to accompany the poem “The Raven”. The website gives valuable information about the author through a brief but informative biography along with a timeline. There is also a useful quiz for students based on the information given about the author’s life.
Use of Text: I would hope for the students to visit the website on their own in order to gather information about Poe and his work. I would demonstrate to the class how to get to the website and I would show them the features that it offers. The students would be able to use links posted on this website that are geared towards ‘decoding’ Poe’s work in order to deepen their understanding of “The Raven”.
Attachment: A print out of the website’s homepage can be found on Attachment #5.

Text #9: Magical Realism and Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Citation: Ruch, A. (2004). The modern world. Retrieved on October 15, 2009

Text Summary: This interactive website gives a breakdown of Magical Realism, a biography of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and a history of Columbia.
Rationale: I selected this text in order to give more depth to the study of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his work. The website covers Marquez’s early days, his family, and his later years giving the reader a good grasp on parts of his life that may have influenced his writing. I feel that it is important for students to have background information in order to fully prepare them to understand a story. This website also contains helpful quotes from Marquez and links to journals discussing his work that would be good resources for paper topics.
Use of Text: I would use this text in order to give the students a formal definition of magical realism, and a look at the life of the author. I would also try to focus the students on the Columbian history so that they have a better picture of the setting in which Marquez’s stories take place.
Attachment: See Attachment #6.

D. Instructional Resources

Text #10: Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart: Teaching Through the Novel

Citation: Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart: Teaching Through the Novel. Retrieved on October

15, 2009 from


Text Summary: This text is a lesson plan introducing students to the first work of the author Chinua Achebe through background information on Africa and Achebe’s views of the author in society.

Rationale: My reasoning behind this text is simple. It follows the main purpose of the entire unit. This lesson plan would be easy to incorporate into a class looking into culture through literature because it is all relevant information. It includes some thoughtful guiding questions and activities.

Use of Text: With some personalized adjustments to the lesson plan, I feel the approach would be beneficial to students.

Attachment: See Attachment #7

It is important for there to be a connection between texts in a classroom. The more connections students can make throughout the year, the more information they will retain. Students would be responsible for making these connections and finding differences between the selected works and gaining an understanding of how an author’s background and culture affect their writing. The hope would be for the class as a whole to read all of the selected texts. Using interactive websites, class and group discussions, notes, written work, background information, the teacher, and each other as resources students will have gained a great deal of knowledge about many cultures of the world and the impact they have on literature.

Learning Objectives:

· Students will read a variety of texts in order to enhance their knowledge of literature around the globe and will gain a better understanding of cultures outside of the United States.
· Students will demonstrate an understanding of cultural influences within a text by identifying appropriate, significant examples using their knowledge of symbolism and comparing them to those found in other works.

NCTE/IRA Standards

1. Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
9. Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.

RI Reading GLEs

R-12-4 Demonstrate initial understanding of elements of literary texts by…
12-4.1 Identifying, describing or making logical predictions about character, setting, problem/solution or plot/subplots, as appropriate to text; or identifying any significant changes in characters, relationships, or settings over time; or identifying rising action, climax, or falling action
12-4.3 Generating questions before, during, and after reading to enhance/expand understanding and/or gain new information
12–4.5 Identify literary devices as appropriate to genre (e.g., similes, metaphors, alliteration, rhyme scheme, onomatopoeia, imagery, repetition, flashback, foreshadowing, personification, hyperbole, symbolism, allusion, diction, syntax, bias, or point of view)

R–12–5 Analyze and interpret literary elements within or across texts, citing evidence where appropriate by…
12–5.4 Explaining how the narrator’s point of view, or author’s style, or tone is evident and affects the reader’s interpretation or is supported throughout the text(s) (Local)