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Transcending Understanding

, , , , , , | Learning | January 11, 2022

I am teaching American literature to juniors — kids roughly sixteen to seventeen years old. The class is usually taught chronologically, starting with colonial literature, and I try to show how history is directly reflected in literary styles and topics. 

We’ve finished Romanticism and its death in the Civil War and have moved on to Western expansion (cowboys, Native Americans, the Wild West, etc.) and the literary genres of Realism and Regionalism. I’m grading a short quiz over what we’ve covered so far.

Quiz Question: “Identify one technological advancement in the US that led to increased popularity in the style of either Realism or Regionalism.”

Student’s Answer: “The Transcendental Railroad.”

My Only Thought: “Totally far out, pardner…”