Author's articles

To Kill a Mockingbird: A novel and history lesson in one
By Paul Thomson · 11 years ago
When studying American history, there’s no way to avoid the subject of slavery. It was a key facet of the American economy in the 16th and 17th centuries, and a major contributing factor to the ...
The Red Badge of Courage, The Great Gatsby and Atonement: Crucial Texts for WWI, WWII and the Civil War
By Paul Thomson · 11 years ago
While novels should never replace non-fiction books in any history classroom, works of fiction written around and about important historical events can add an extra level of depth to a student’s understanding of history. Just ...
Romeo and Juliet on the Silver Screen
By Paul Thomson · 11 years ago
It’s impossible to estimate the effect William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has had on the modern day concept of the love story. It’s not uncommon for someone to reference those two star-crossed lovers when talking ...
Hotel California Meets The Great Gatsby: Music as a Teaching Resource for Literature
By Paul Thomson · 12 years ago
The most famous artistic product of the boozy 1920’s is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, a novel about a man trying to recreate an ideal past in a drunken, materialistic present. It’s one of ...
Love is Not Love… In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, Anyway
By Paul Thomson · 12 years ago
Sonnets 18 and 116 are two of Shakespeare’s most quotable love poems. If you’re a fan of weddings, rose-petal-filled baths, or Kate Winslet in Sense and Sensibility, you’ll probably recognize the lines "Shall I compare ...
King Lear and Othello: Shakespeare’s Tragedies for the Truly Morbid
By Paul Thomson · 12 years ago
Romeo and Juliet is mandatory reading in most public high schools across the country. For romantics, it’s a beautiful story of the ultimate sacrifice. For lit buffs, it’s a showcase of some of the best ...
WWII as Told by Heller's Catch-22 and Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five
By Paul Thomson · 12 years ago
Everyone is talking about the new HBO miniseries The Pacific. While it is well scripted, brilliantly performed, and visually realistic, what really has critics' attention is its jumbled storyline. Herein, they say, lies the series' ...
Exploring Meaning of Stairway to Heaven, Free Fallin, and Subterranean Homesick Alien
By Paul Thomson · 12 years ago
Last year, we were collectively inspired by Pixar's Up, a movie about fulfilling lifelong travel dreams with the help of several thousand helium balloons. If you're looking for a simpler way to get your airborne ...
Reviewing Classic Teen Literature: The Westing Game, A Wrinkle in Time, & Something Wicked This Way Comes
By Paul Thomson · 12 years ago
Traditionally, young adult lit involves themes like forging your own identity and building self-acceptance. Recently, however, we’ve seen a noticeable increase in themes of forsaking your family to become undead, changing your personality to the ...
Deconstructing Moody Poems: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Do Not go Gentle into That Good Night
By Paul Thomson · 12 years ago
Dylan Thomas and T.S. Eliot are probably the two moodiest poets we're forced to read during high school. The real shame of the impression this leaves is that, when read correctly, they're actually full of ...
Universal Themes and Family in Faulkners "Barn Burning" and "The Diary of Anne Frank"
By Paul Thomson · 12 years ago
Despite being only some one hundred paragraphs long, William Faulkner’s 1938 short story "Barn Burning" pals around in quite the variety of literary circles. Since its protagonist, Sarty, is a ten-year-old boy who breaks away ...
Zen and the Art of the Glass Family in J.D. Salinger’s Short Stories
By Paul Thomson · 12 years ago
While J.D. Salinger is best known for his 1951 classic The Catcher in the Rye, his own favorite works center on a family of brilliant, reclusive, unorthodox former child prodigies known as the Glasses. (Think ...
1920s American Identity, as Seen by Fitzgerald and Hemingway
By Paul Thomson · 12 years ago
F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway were not only best friends, bitter rivals, and fellow members of the Lost Generation literary movement, they also helped redefine American identity in a post-world-war world. Rather than simply ...
To Kill a Mockingbird’s Atticus Finch: Not Just Wise, but Complicated, Too
By Paul Thomson · 12 years ago
He’s a model attorney, an excellent father, and (at least as played by Gregory Peck in the 1962 movie version) dashingly handsome – is there anything Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird can’t do? ...
Brushing Up on Characters and Symbolism in Shakespeare’s Hamlet
By Paul Thomson · 12 years ago
Hamlet, Hamlet symbolism, Hamlet characters, book, analysis, william shakespeare, play, Shakespeare’s Hamlet has so thoroughly been woven into Western culture that you probably can’t go a week without hearing an allusion to it, whether or ...
Crazy and Inspiring Quotes from Hamlet and To Kill a Mockingbird
By Paul Thomson · 12 years ago
"The Tragedy of Hamlet" is one of those plays that hovers around a thousand on the quotability meter. "To be, or not to be" and the ensuing inner debate on suicide is one of the ...
The Columbian Exchange Beginning with Spanish Colonization
By Paul Thomson · 13 years ago
The Europeans’ so-called discovery of the so-called New World goes down in history as one of the most important and earth-shattering moments in human history, ranking right up there with the advent of agriculture, the ...
The Whosie-Whatsit War: How the French and Indian War Shaped US History
By Paul Thomson · 13 years ago
To call the French and Indian War America’s "forgotten war" would be misleading, since that doesn’t leave any good nicknames for the Barbary Wars, the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War, or ...
Madness, Futility, and Death: A Shakespearean Take on Poe’s "The Raven"
By Paul Thomson · 13 years ago
Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Raven" is one of the most easily recognizable poems in the world, ranking it right up there with "Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit." Written from a first-person perspective, the poem chronicles ...
Visions of Dystopia in The Giver and "The Lottery"
By Paul Thomson · 13 years ago
Lois Lowry’s The Giver is only one in a huge series of classic "dystopian" literature. (Think "utopia," then think Third Reich.) What makes it stand out from novels like 1984 or Brave New World – ...