by Joseph Jacobs
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 Boy Who Cried Wolf
- 620-560 B.C.
The classic fable of a sheep herder boy who lies and pays the price.Pair “Jack and the Beanstalk” with “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and ask students to compare the forms of the two fables. How do they use narrative structure to set up the story and set forth the morals of their respective tales? How do any differences in narrative structure contribute to the themes of each piece?
The Golden Touch
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
This text is Hawthorne's retelling of the classic myth of King Midas, whose greedy wish for a “golden touch” ends up taking away what is most valuable to him.Pair “Jack and the Beanstalk” with “The Golden Touch” and ask students to compare the themes and messages of the two pieces. How do they build upon and inform one another in terms of the question of the role of money and the desire for money in our lives? Do you think they set forth the same answer to that question? In what ways is King Midas’s quest for a larger fortune different from Jack’s wish to secure money for his mother and himself?
- Lewis Carroll
“Jabberwocky” is a nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll that chronicles an encounter between a heroic boy and a monster called the Jabberwock.Pair “The Jabberwocky” with “Jack and the Beanstalk” by Joseph Jacobs. How is the boy’s mission to fight the Jabberwock different from Peter’s wish to secure more money? What imaginary elements do these texts have in common, and how do these elements impact the action and message of each text?
- The Brothers Grimm
In the classic folktale by the Brothers Grimm, “Rumpelstiltskin,” a young woman asks for a mysterious creature’s help when she must spin straw into gold.Pair “Jack and the Beanstalk” with “Rumpelstiltskin” and ask students to discuss the lengths the characters are willing to go in order to obtain wealth. How do Jack’s actions compare to the actions of the king? Do you think Jack acted out of greed or necessity?
The Prophet Khizir
- Elizabeth Laird
In “The Prophet Khizir,” Elizabeth Laird retells an Iranian short story about a poor man’s decision to deceive a king in order to feed his family.Pair “Jack and the Beanstalk” with “The Prophet Khizir” and ask students to discuss what motivates the characters in each of the texts. What are the characters willing to do in order to survive? Do you think the circumstances of Jack and the poor man make their decisions to lie and steal acceptable? Why or why not?