by Arthur Chapman
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.
America the Beautiful
- Katharine Lee Bates
Considered to be one of the most popular songs in modern America, "America the Beautiful" is a ballad written by Katharine Lee Bates. This figurative languaged-filled song captures America's core democratic principles.Pair "Out Where the West Begins" with "America the Beautiful" and ask students to consider how each poem's use of imagery contributes to its tone and theme.
- 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 Claude McKay's "America" with Chapman's "Out Where the West Begins" and have students compare the two poems' depictions of the same country. How do the tones differ? How does the imagery differ? What do they have in common? How does each poet's point of view influence the work's central ideas?
Manifest Destiny, I Do Believe
- BirdBrain History
In “Manifest Destiny, I Do Believe,” Cordelia – a fictional missionary and pioneer - writes a letter about her bold plans to travel west and “civilize” the Indians in the name of Manifest Destiny.Pair “Manifest Destiny, I Do Believe” with “Out Where the West Begins” and ask students to compare how the speakers in each piece describe the west, with a focus on tone.
- Barbara Radner
“Traveling West” describes the nature of American pioneers’ expeditions westward during the 19th century.Pair “Traveling West” with “Out Where the West Begins” and have students consider how the latter poem expounds upon the idea of the American west presented in the text. Do you think people idealized it? Why or why not? Might this have motivated people to travel westward despite all of the risks and dangers they faced in making the journey? Do you think the pioneers were disappointed when they got to the west, or do you think they arrived ready to work hard and build the lives they wanted?
Lewis and Clark: American Explorers
- Barbara Radner
“Lewis and Clark: American Explorers” explores the circumstances of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s famous 1804 journey to chart the western United States.Pair “Lewis and Clark: American Explorers” with “Out Where the West Begins” and ask students to think about how the views expressed in the poem compare to the factors that motivated Lewis and Clark to explore their country. Do you think Lewis and Clark’s expedition confirmed the expectations of the American people for the West as set forth in the poem? Why do you think people were so hopeful? Are people generally optimistic or pessimistic about the unknown?
Excerpts from Roughing It
- Mark Twain
In Roughing It, Mark Twain recounts his time looking for work out West in a semi-autobiographical, comic travelogue. In this excerpt, Twain often mingles the tragic and the comic in an effort to reveal how harsh and humorous life can simultaneously be, especially in the “Wild West.”Pair “Excerpts from Roughing It” with “Out Where the West Begins” and ask students to compare how the two texts glorify or admire the West, as well as whether Twain undermines some of the glory of the poem with his satiric points.
A Woman Who Went to Alaska
- Mary Kellogg Sullivan
In this excerpt from A Woman Who Went to Alaska, Mary Kellogg Sullivan discusses the experiences of miners in search of gold during the Klondike Gold Rush.Pair “Out Where the West Begins” with “A Woman Who Went to Alaska” and ask students to discuss how the miners would feel about how the West is portrayed after their experiences. Why do they think miners would feel this way? How do they think miners would describe the West?