by Horatio Alger, Jr.
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.
I Hear America Singing
- Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was a famous American poet, essayist, and humanist who is often called the father of the “free verse” style of poetry. He wrote during the urbanization of America and celebrated the idea of America alive with nature, art, and imagination. In this poem, Whitman describes the varied, lively voices across America.Pair the excerpt from The World Before Him with “I Hear America Singing” and ask students how the concept of hard work and the American Dream have evolved as part of our culture.
The Fallacy of Success
- G.K. Chesterton
G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) was an English critic, philosopher and writer. Chesterton often wrote parables, which are stories that illustrate lessons in morality. In this opinion piece, Chesterton uses humor to mock books that aim to teach a person how to become wealthy and successful.Pair the excerpt from “The World Before Him” with “The Fallacy of Success,” and ask students to discuss how the ideas of success and luck are portrayed in each text. What would Chesterton think of Alger’s stories? Which author do students agree with more?
Letters from Wilbur Wright
- Wilbur Wright
- 1899 to 1903
The Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912), were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation pioneers who are credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903 four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. These published letters from Wilbur Wright give us insight into the amount of resilience, positivity, and inventiveness it took to succeed.Pair "Letters of Wilbur Wright with "From the World Before Him" and ask students to analyze whether the story of the Wright Brothers a story about the American Dream.
American Dream Faces Harsh New Reality
- Ari Shapiro
This article from three years after the economic recession reports on the American Dream and the dwindling faith in it.Pair “The World Before Him” with “American Dream Faces Harsh New Reality,” and ask students to discuss how the idea of optimism and luck is portrayed in each text. Has the world changed dramatically since 1902?
Hollywood Dreams of Wealth, Youth, and Beauty
- Bob Mondello
This article looks at how Hollywood films since the 1900s have depicted life in America and how they have helped manufacture the American Dream.Pair “The World Before Him” with “Hollywood Dreams of Wealth, Youth, and Beauty,” and ask students to discuss how the American Dream emerged in our culture.
How Santa Claus Found the Poor-House
- Sophie Swett
In this story, two young boys living in a "poor-house" in Victorian England receive a Christmas gift like no other--a reward for their resilience and loyalty.Pair this excerpt from The World Before Him with “How Santa Claus Found the Poor-House” and ask students to consider what these stories have in common. How does the main character in each achieve success? Are these storylines realistic? Why or why not?