by James Baldwin
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.
- Ovid, translated by Anthony S. Kline
- 1 A.D.
Ovid was a Roman poet born in 43 B.C. who is best known for his book of classic mythology, Metamorphoses. Pygmalion is a classic story about a sculptor who falls in love with his creation.Pair these two Greek Myths. First, ask students to compare the tone and register of language used in both. Why might each author have chosen a different tone and what is the effect of each? Next, students can also compare the creation of Pandora and the “birth” of Pygmalion’s woman. Do students think either Pandora or Pygmalion’s statue could be considered human? Why or why not?
The Stanford Prison Experiment
- Saul McLeod
The Stanford Prison Experiment was conducted by Phillip Zimbardo in 1971. By organizing an exercise that simulated prison life, Zimbardo intended to discover how quickly people conformed to the roles of guard and prisoner. While many people thought that brutality reported among American prison guards had to do with personalities, some thought it had to do with the prison environment.Pair this non-fiction article about an experiment on power with the story of Prometheus I & II and have students discuss the central ideas of each. What can happen if someone is given too much power? How do they act when they feel that their power is threatened?
Athena and Poseidon’s Contest for Athens
This text features an intro to the genre of Greek mythology and a story about how the city Athens got its name.Pair “Athena and Poseidon’s Contest for Athens” with “The Story of Prometheus” and ask students to analyze the gods and heroes in this story—how do the ancient Greeks think about their world and its unexplainable forces, the gods? Or, discuss the function of gifts in both stories. In “Athena and Poseidon’s Contest for Athens” gifts are given to win a contest and valued for their usefulness. In “Prometheus” and “Pandora’s Box” gifts might have unintended consequences. Why do students think gifts come up in multiple Greek myths?
Japan's Quest for Empire
- Jessica McBirney
This article provides a brief history of Japan’s age of imperialism throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.Pair “Japan’s Quest for Empire” with “The Story of Prometheus and Pandora’s Box” to continue the discussion on how power and progress can corrupt. Prometheus brought fire and civilization to humans, but the gods punished them with harsh retribution. Pandora was given a box as a gift, but inside of it were all sorts of terrible things. Japan industrialized quickly, but when it joined a war with industrial nations like Germany and the U.S. it suffered harsh retributions. What happened when Japan opened the “Pandora’s box” of nationalism or industrialization? Is there a price of progress?
Jupiter and His Mighty Company End the Golden Age
- James Baldwin
In "Jupiter and His Mighty Company End the Golden Age," Baldwin retells the classic myth of the Titans, focusing on the battle between Jupiter and Saturn that brings about the end of the Golden Age.Pair "The Story of Prometheus and Pandora’s Box" with "Jupiter and His Mighty Company End the Golden Age” and ask students to discuss themes of power and tyranny. How do myths teach us valuable lessons about humankind? What lessons can be learned from these myths?