Paired Texts > The Danger of a Single Story
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.
In "America's Shifting Views on Immigration," Mike Kubic discusses the history of immigration in the United States, from immigrants' initial passage through Ellis Island to immigration today.Pair “America’s Shifting Views on Immigration” with “The Danger of a Single Story” and ask students to discuss a single story that has been used to construct stereotypes around immigrants. How do the views on immigrants in “America’s Shifting Views on Immigration” compare to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s shifting understanding of immigrants?
Native American author Chuck Larsen adds key details that are missing from story of the "First Thanksgiving."Pair “The Plymouth Thanksgiving Story” with “The Danger of a Single Story” and ask students to discuss how the story of the first Thanksgiving has primarily been told as a single story. What has been the effects of this? Consider pairing excerpts from “The Danger of a Single Story” with “The Plymouth Thanksgiving Story” to portray the main ideas of Adichie’s text in a more accessible way for students.
In Marcel Proust's "Excerpt from Swann's Way," a narrator's past and present blur together as he is on the verge of sleep.Pair “The Danger of a Single Story” with “Excerpt from Swann’s Way,” and ask students to discuss how the narrators in the two texts are influenced by the stories they read. How do both texts explore the power that stories have to shape who we are and our understanding of the world? Do students think some books are better at positively influencing people than others? Why or why not?
In Wole Soyinka's poem "Telephone Conversation" the speaker is asked to disclose how dark they are when they attempt to rent an apartment.Pair “The Danger of a Single Story” with “Telephone Conversation” and ask students to discuss how the poem might present an alternative story to the interaction between a racist person and the person being discriminated against for the color of their skin. Considering Adichie’s argument in regards to the danger of a single story, what would be the danger of only portraying victims of racism as passive rather than people who challenge discrimination by drawing attention to its absurdity?
In the informational text "The Hero's Journey," Jessica McBirney discusses a common structure among many stories across genres.Pair “The Danger of a Single Story” with “The Hero’s Journey” and ask students to discuss the important role that stories play in our lives. How does Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie suggest certain stories shape our understanding of the world? How do students think the structure of the Hero’s Journey shapes our understanding of the world and heroes?
In the informational text "The Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Scandal," Jessica McBirney discusses the incident between the two figure skaters that captured the nation.Pair “The Danger of a Single Story” with “The Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Scandal” and ask students to discuss how stories can shape how we see the world. How did Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s experience with stories shape her views of the world? How did the narratives that the media created about Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan shape how the public viewed Kerrigan’s attack?
In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's short story "Cell One," a girl's brother is arrested and is changed by the injustices he witnesses in prison.Pair “The Danger of a Single Story” with “Cell One” to provide students with a talk by the author of the short story. Ask students to discuss how Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explores various perspectives on a Nnamabia. What might “a single story” about Nnamabia sound like? Why is important to explore the complex stories of people rather than to simplify them and all people who seem “like” them into “a single story”?
In "How It Feels to Be Colored Me," Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) offers her personal and unique perspective on race and identity as a Black woman coming of age in the United States.Pair “The Danger of a Single Story” with “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” and ask students to explore the similar themes presented in both texts. How is Adichie’s message of the avoidance of stereotyping in “The Danger of a Single Story” similar to Hurston’s personal view of race and identity that is presented in “How It Feels to Be Colored Me”? Consider the time periods that each of these texts was written. Do you think that over time we have become better, worse, or stayed the same at considering people’s unique perspectives on their identity?
A speaker explores stories from generations of his family members and hopes for an end to the injustices facing the Black community.Pair “The Danger of a Single Story” with “Counting Descent” and ask students to discuss the role of families and the power of stories shown in each text. What does each text say about how experiences from childhood impact someone’s perspective? What is the message of “The Danger of a Single Story”? How is it similar to and different from the message of “Counting Descent”? How do both authors use their family histories to reveal their message?
In "Five Times Shiva Met Harry," a teenage girl challenges her love interest to learn about different perspectives.Pair “The Danger of a Single Story” with “Five Times Shiva Met Harry” and ask students to compare the themes of the two texts. According to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in “The Danger of a Single Story,” why is it important to seek out information from different perspectives? According to Shiva in “Five Times Shiva Met Harry,” why was it important for Harry to seek out history different from what he was taught in school? How is the message of these two texts similar?