Any ideas about how to make this work more relevant?
Best of luck in this endeavor. Recently, I discovered that the book ends up being one of the books discussed in "The Finer Things Club" on the television serial, "The Office." I liked how it was used in this setting. Three individuals, who purport to be of distinctive taste discuss the book and its meaning, in the break room of the office, where there is constant disruption. Whether or not it was intentional, the scene ends up representing a critical point in the book. Does experience and epiphanies have to be accompanied by physical endeavors or can they be internally experienced? The theme of travel as allowing individuals to open themselves and their psyches to new experiences is a theme in the book. This is seen in the travels of the women, but is challenged by Mr. Emerson's assertion that he already has a view, "in here." This would indicate that growth and maturation can also be internal experiences- the idea that all the universe can be seen within a "grain of sand" and understanding and revelation are not necessarily contingent on physical journey. If you are teaching the work to secondary school students approaching the point of leaving, this might be an interesting starting point. For example, does one "have" to go to a college far away in order to gain the maturation or growth associated with the experience, or can one grow just as well close to home? Perhaps, this might be a talking point to make the work more relevant.