by Doug MacGowan
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 Pied Piper of Hamelin
- Robert Browning
"The Pied Piper of Hamelin" is a classic narrative poem about a man who is asked to rid a town of its rats. But when the greedy mayor won't pay, the Pied Piper takes revenge by luring the townpeople's children away.Sometimes, history can inspire fiction, particularly when it comes to folk stories and fairytales. Pair “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” with “The Dancing Plague of 1518” and ask students to compare these two events. What similarities do they share? What historical evidence lies behind both stories? What theories can students devise that might explain both events?
- CommonLit Staff
“Herd Behavior” describes how individuals change when they are part of a crowd.Pair “Herd Behavior” with “The Dancing Plague of 1518” and ask students how people’s behaviors change in crowds. Could the behaviors exhibited in the case of the dancing plague have been caused by the types of social pressure described in “Herd Behavior”? Why or why not?
Witchcraft in Salem
The informational text “Witchcraft in Salem” recounts how mass hysteria gripped the town of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692-1693, a period now known as the Salem Witch Trials.Pair “Witchcraft in Salem” with “The Dancing Plague of 1518” and ask students to compare these two historical phenomena. What potential causes or factors have been considered in both events? How did people react to these extraordinary events? What explanations did they provide? How would we consider these phenomena today?
Don’t Blame the Rats for Spreading the Black Death
- Bethany Brookshire
In the informational text “Don’t Blame the Rats for Spreading the Black Death,” Bethany Brookshire discusses new research that shows humans were likely responsible for spreading the Black Death.Pair “The Dancing Plague” with “Don’t Blame the Rats for Spreading the Black Death” and ask students to compare the plagues described in each text. How did these plagues affect a large number of people? What do people think caused these plagues? Why?