Paired Texts > Allegory of the Cave
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
This article from National Public Radio reports on the life and success of Anna Julia Haywood Cooper, an American author, educator, prominent scholar, and one of the first black women to earn a doctoral degree in United States history.Pair “A Child of Slavery Who Taught a Generation” with “Allegory of the Cave” and ask students to consider how Plato’s allegory on education can be applied to this historical figure.
Gloria Steinem (1934-present) is an American feminist, journalist, author, and social-political activist. She gained national recognition as a leader of the "Second Wave" feminist movement in the 1960s and 1970s. On May 6th, 1970, Gloria Steinem stood before the Senate and delivered this speech, advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and seeking to dispel myths about women.Pair “Testimony Before the Senate Hearings on the Equal Rights Amendment” with “Allegory of the Cave” and ask students to compare Gloria Steinem to the enlightened person who returns to the cave. Based on these two texts, how do we convince people of the truth or create social change?
In the famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., outlines his nonviolence approach to addressing injustice while responding to criticism.Pair “Allegory of the Cave” with “Letter from Birmingham Jail” to provide students with context about the work of Socrates. Ask students to consider the questioning Socrates uses to develop his ideas about the nature of knowledge, and why this form of questioning might have been considered dangerous. In paragraph 11, King characterizes Socrates as a person who believed “it was necessary to create a tension in the mind.” How do both King and Socrates view tension and its role in society?
In "Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania," Benjamin Franklin proposes what an academy in Pennsylvania should look like and the subjects it should teach students.Pair “Allegory of the Cave” with “Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore the importance of education. How do the subjects that Franklin wants to offer at the academy help widen students’ perspectives and understanding of the world? How does “Allegory of the Cave” explore ways in which students could be disadvantaged if they don’t receive an education?
In "Of Studies," Sir Francis Bacon discusses the values of education and how it benefits those who pursue it.Pair “Allegory of the Cave” with “Of Studies” and ask students to compare the purpose of each text. Does Plato’s text add to Bacon’s argument? Why or why not? If Plato and Sir Francis Bacon could have a conversation about education, what would they say?
In the informational text "The Selective Laziness Of Human Reasoning," Tania Lombrozo discusses why humans are biased towards their own opinions.Pair “Allegory of the Cave” with “The Selective Laziness Of Human Reasoning” and ask students to discuss how do both texts explore the limitations of humans’ knowledge. Why is it important to be open to other people’s opinions and knowledge? What are the costs if humans fail to do this?
In "How Search Engines Spread Misinformation," Dr. Chirag Shah explains how sensationalism and profit can combine to increase the spread of misinformation on search engines.Pair “Allegory of the Cave” with “How Search Engines Spread Misinformation” and ask students to discuss the relationship between ignorance and access to information. In “Allegory of the Cave,” the cave represents ignorance and lack of information. In what ways might overwhelming access to misinformation create a new form of ignorance - a more modern cave?