Cultural Study: Understanding a Novel Through Understanding of the Culture of the Times

Penelope Sherman-Goyer, English, Turning Point Academy

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


This curriculum will provide students with an understanding of the Vietnam War, the American Home Front at the time and the lives and traditions of those living in Vietnam today.  This curriculum can be used in cross-curricular partnership with Social Studies.  Students will learn about the turbulent time of the 1960-1970s and how it affected our nation as well as the world.  It will prepare them to understand why reading novels is important for not only being able to pass a test, but also to understand the cultural significance that led to the world they inhabit today.  It will let them look into what is behind a novel, the significance of the time period in which a novel takes place and prepare them for reading further novels and delving into not only the time they took place, but also the significant cultural aspects of the setting of the novel.  This unit is designed to help students realize that if they are having difficulty understanding what an author is trying to say, that just putting aside the novel will never teach them anything, but through a little research, they can begin to open the time period and culture of the novel, thus grasping deeper meaning and understanding.