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Grade: Senior
Subject: Literature

#1064. Intergrative Lesson on Genres of American Literature

Literature, level: Senior
Posted Wed Apr 28 10:10:32 PDT 1999 by Anita Shaw (
Randolph-Macon Woman's College, Lynchburg, VA 24503
Materials Required: handout of matrix on genres and blank matrix for novel
Concepts Taught: Romanticism, Realism, and Naturalism

Grade/Level: Eleventh Grade/Average; Mixed Ability

Subject:World Literature Unit: American Literature

Goal:Students will be able to recognize patterns between genres of American Literature and sample works and inductively arrive at generalizations about these genres: Romanticism, Realism, and Naturalism.

Objectives: Presented with information in two matrices (one on Power Point "Genres of American Literature", another made during class on three novels) students will: 1) Describe, compare, and search for patterns between the genres 2) Explain the similarities and differences between the content presented on the first matrix and the content on the second matrix ; 3) Hypothesize outcomes for different conditions, based on evidence from the data; and 4) Generalize to form broad relationships and summarize the content.
1) Teacher will state that this is a review of the unit on American Literature. Ask the students if they remember any of the important elements studied.
2) The teacher will write any responses on chalkboard.
3) The teacher will move on, telling students what exactly they will go over today. (Hopefully will be able to connect to one of the students’ responses somehow connected to genres or types of American Literature.)

I. Describe, Compare, and Search for Patterns
A. The teacher will present the power-point presentation, specifically the slide with the matrix telling about the genres of American Literature: Romanticism, Realism, and Naturalism.
B. Students will be given handout of this presentation. Students may pair up.
C. The teacher will begin analysis of the matrix information explaining how the genres are organized. Teacher will make sure students know what each category means.(setting, tone/language, typical main characters, and themes/subjects)
D. Questioning will begin, during which the teacher will ask students to pay particular attention to any patterns they may see occurring across genres.
II. Explain Similarities and Differences
A. The teacher will ask for student responses about the similarities between the genres. Student responses will be written on board.
B. The teacher will ask for student responses about the differences between genres.
Possible responses:
1.Romanticism and Realism have characters that fit a specific quality or ideal.
2.Language of Romanticism and Naturalism does not try to relate to audience.
3.Realism and Naturalism explore the possible
4.Romanticism and Naturalism put emphasis on nature
5.Romanticism ‘s setting is in place that represents a quality or ideal.
6.Realism seeks to relate to the common, everyday person
C. The teacher will ask students to suggest hypotheses to explain the patterns they observe between the genres. (Ex. progressive pattern from Romanticism to Naturalism; literature reflected time period)Student responses will be written on board.
D. The teacher will guide students in creating a matrix on three sample works read during the unit. Once completed, students will be asked to notice any relationships or patterns between the works.
E. The teacher will ask students to compare the information from the second matrix to the first. Student responses will be written on the board.
Possible Responses:
1. There are characters within the Scarlet Letter that stand for a specific quality. Example: Roger Chillingsworth stands for evil.
2. Huckleberry Finn uses the dialect of the south i.e. “local color”.
3. The Badge of Red Courage depicts a character’s responses to the Civil War.
F. The teacher will ask students to suggest hypotheses to explain the characteristics they observed about the information from the second matrix to that of the information from the first matrix. (Specifically, place the works under the corresponding genres and telling why they fit.)
III. Hypothesize Outcomes for Different Conditions
A. The teacher will ask students to suggest hypotheses to explain how each genre
fits into American Literature. Student responses written on the board.
Possible Hypotheses:
1. They reflect the historical period and how people responded to it.
2. Authors’ works mirrored political or intellectual movements in the
IV. Generalize to Form Broad Relationships
A. The teacher will ask the students to suggest hypotheses that account for the pattern they have observed of the development of American Literature.
Possible Hypotheses:
1. The literature reflected the development of the country and its people.
2. The literature reflected development in the literary world.
B. The teacher will ask each pair to write a justification for the hypothesis(es)that they agree with or support, or generate and justify an original hypothesis(es), based on evidence from the data.
C. Students will hand in written assignment to teacher.

Teacher Notes
1. Romanticism takes place in the 18th-early 19th centuries. Historically, we should pay particular attention to pre-Civil War and how idealistic certain factors of the country were becoming. Morals and ideals were put on the forefront of issues such as abortion and slavery. It was an emotional time in our country.
2. Realism comes on the scene after the Civil War ends which is why authors feel compelled to deal with the subjects of slavery and racism. Realism is a popular literary form in our country until the early 1900’s, therefore it has the advantage of thriving in a time of great change and progression in our country which explains the historical context. (slavery, industrialization, imperialism, )
3. Naturalism is actually an off-spring of Realism. It will often deal with possible or actual events. The important element in Naturalism is its emphasis on how people respond to external pressures that are particularly difficult.

*** Teacher will also refer to her copy of Power Point presentation.