To Kill a Mockingbird and what else?
November 20, 2007 6:41 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend ancillary short stories, essays, or poems that I could present together with To Kill a Mockingbird?

I'm a high school English teacher, and we're reading that perennial favorite To Kill a Mockingbird. Can anyone recommend some decent short stories, essays, or poems that share the themes of coming of age, injustice, sibling relationships?

My students are actually pretty bright, and I'd like to get away from the sophomore lit anthology and find something a more adult, more contemporary.

(Yes, I've already asked a reference librarian, but I've had far more success here on MetaFilter in the past. I mean, c'mon, last summer I asked for an ancillary text to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and someone recommended "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman," (which subsequently blew me and my students away) something my librarian friend had never even heard of. Not to sound maudlin, but my AskMetaFilter pals are teh bestest friends a teacher could ask for!)

Thanking you in advance!
posted by John of Michigan to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

This one deals with injustice, TKAM-style, in a very direct way: the lyrics to 'Strange Fruit'? It has more impact if you play a version of it as the students walk in. If they're walking in, they won't really listen to the lyrics, probably. That's when you can read out the lyrics.

It worked well for my Microhistory professor, when she was doing the history of song. "Hey, guess what that song you guys kinda tuned out was about?" It might be too dark, though.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 7:04 PM on November 20, 2007

Best answer: Do you know the Robert Hayden poem, "Night, Death, Mississippi"? That also gives context in an amazing way. But using it will depend on the maturity of your class.

If I can think of other works for your suggested themes, I'll post again.
posted by Riverine at 8:01 PM on November 20, 2007

I wonder if something by Carson McCullers might do? Both The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and The Member of the Wedding seem similar to me in mood and tone, and certainly have that "southern girl coming of age" vibe going for them. Perhaps some good excerpts from those, which might have the added advantage of encouraging students to go out and read the whole book on their own?

On a less serious note, but possibly an amusing little side thing your students would get a kick out of, I can't refrain from recommending this old but still funny little flash animation that's loosely about TKaM. Very, very loosely.
posted by Stacey at 8:09 PM on November 20, 2007

Best answer: A couple short stories:
- coming of age, sibling relationships: "White Angel" by Michael Cunningham (includes underages sex and drugs)
- injustice: "Smokers" by Tobias Wolfe

Both classics, both great stories.
posted by booth at 9:05 PM on November 20, 2007

Best answer: "The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst

I found the two to pair quite well in the classroom.
posted by Seamus at 8:25 AM on November 21, 2007

I'm glad someone asked this...I'm going to be reading TKAM with my homeschooled 13 year-old son after Christmas.
posted by lhauser at 8:57 AM on November 21, 2007

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