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Classic American Short Stories Teaching Unit
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- An allegory is an extended metaphor. “Young Goodman Brown” can be considered a moral allegory in that the story represents something else. The reader can read the story as a story of a young man who journeys into the forest to meet the devil, or the reader can find a more symbolic meaning behind the events. What lessons do you believe Hawthorne is trying to reveal through this short story? Explain.
- “Young Goodman Brown” ends with a question from the narrator that speculates as to the nature of the story. Do you believe that Goodman Brown experiences what the narrator describes, or is what happens a fi gment of his imagination? Use passages from the text to support your answer.
- Much of the story “Bartleby, the Scrivener” uses food imagery: the characters’ names, Bartleby’s odd eating habits, and the effect of food on the conclusion of the story. Explain the ways in which food or the lack of food is used throughout the story. Then, evaluate how eating and food help reinforce the story’s themes.
- Think about the narrator in “Bartleby, the Scrivener.” Describe the narrator and what the reader learns about him throughout the story. Would you consider the narrator reliable or unreliable? Why? Why do you believe that Melville chose to tell the story from the point of view of an unnamed lawyer on Wall Street? How would the story have changed if it was told from Bartleby’s perspective?
- Explain how the story “Bartleby, the Scrivener” could be seen as a precursor to existentialism and absurdist literature.
- “Young Goodman Brown” and “Bartleby, the Scrivener” are centered around characters who withdraw from life. The protagonists in both stories share many similarities and differences. Use passages from both short stories to explain the reasons why both men have withdrawn from life. Then, explain the ways in which they withdraw, and what happens as a result. Be sure to focus on the similarities and differences between the two characters.
About this Document
A teaching unit and individual learning packet from Prestwick House. Includes the following: comprehensive chapter-by-chapter study guides for students; questions suitable for essay topics or discussion; vocabulary lists; multiple-choice and essay test with answer key; introductory material from Prestwick House to familiarize both students and teachers with the work.