by Joseph Bruchac
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.
The New Colossus
- Emma Lazarus
“The New Colossus” is a poem by Emma Lazarus that was published in 1883. It describes the millions of immigrants who came to America through the port of New York City at Ellis Island.Pair “The New Colossus” with “Ellis Island” and ask students to compare the depiction of the Statue of Liberty in the two poems. What does the Statue of Liberty represent in “The New Colossus”? How does this compare to what she stands for in “Ellis Island”? How do the two poems explore America’s history of immigration?
Excerpt from Trail of Tears Diary
- Jobe Alexander & Mary Hill
The Trail of Tears is the name given to the forced relocation of Native American nations following the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The removal included many members of tribes who did not wish to assimilate. Many Native Americans suffered from disease and exposure, and somewhere between 2,000-6,000 Cherokee died on the trail. The Trail of Tears Diary includes interviews that reveals the extraordinary resilience of the Native American nations during the trail.Pair “Excerpt from Trail of Tears” with “Ellis Island” to provide students with additional information about how native peoples in America were treated. How do both texts explore the change to Native Americans’ lives when their land was claimed by immigrants and explorers? How does the treatment of Native Americans contribute to the speaker’s conflicted feelings about America’s history in the poem?
- Claude McKay
Festus Claudius “Claude” McKay (1889-1948) was a Jamaican-American novelist and poet who played an important role in the Harlem Renaissance. In this sonnet, the speaker reveals his mixed feelings about living in "the land of the free."Pair “America” with “Ellis Island” and ask students to discuss the both speakers’ conflicted feelings about America. Why does the speaker in “America” have conflicted feelings about living in America? How does this compare to the speaker’s conflicted feelings about America’s history in “Ellis Island”?