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.
- CommonLit Staff
Stanley Tookie Williams III (1953-2005) was a leader of the Crips, an infamous gang that began in Los Angeles in 1969. He spent much of his life in prison. Today, he is well known for the writing that he did while in jail, which included anti-gang activist literature and children’s books. When he was executed in 2005, his death sparked controversy surrounding the death penalty.Pair “The Thief and his Mother” with “Stanley Williams” to show students how up bringing can influence a person’s identity.
The Ant and the Dove
- 620-560 BCE
In this short fable, an ant and a dove protect each other from danger.Pair “The Ant and the Dove” with “The Thief and His Mother” and ask students to compare the fables. Do any of the characters in either story make good? How are they expected to know what good is? What are some conventions of a fable?
The Guilty Party
- O. Henry
William Sydney Porter (1862-1910), better known by his pen name, O. Henry, was an American writer. His short story, “The Guilty Party,” published in 1909, is a tragic story about a girl named Liz who is engaged to be married, overcome with jealousy, and then driven to violence.Pair "The Guilty Party" with Aesop's "The Thief and His Mother" and ask students to compare each work's message about fault and guilt. According to the author of each work, who is to blame?
- Saul McLeod
In this article, McLeod discusses classical conditioning, a way of changing a person’s behavior by exposing them to different experiences, and experiments carried out using this method. One 1920 experiment showed that classical conditioning can be used to create a phobia, not only in animals but potentially in humans as well.Pair “Classical Conditioning” with “The Thief and His Mother” and ask students to discuss what makes us behave as we do. Ask them to consider John Broadus Watson’s claim: ““Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select - doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and the race of his ancestors.”
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
- 620-560 B.C.
The classic fable of a sheep herder boy who lies and pays the price.Pair "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" with "The Thief and His Mother" and ask students to compare the morals both tales teach. Is there any similarity between "calling wolf" and never telling someone what they're doing is wrong?
The Drive-In Movies
- Gary Soto
In Gary Soto’s short story “The Drive-In Movies,” Soto describes his desire to go the drive-in movies as a kid.Pair “The Thief and his Mother” with “The Drive-In Movies” and ask students to discuss the relationships between mothers and sons in the two texts. How are their relationships similar and different? Ask students if they think Gary’s mother's reward for her sons could negatively impact them in the future. Why or why not?
Thank You, M'am
- Langston Hughes
In Langston Hughes’ short story “Thank You, M’am,” a boy attempts to steal a woman’s purse so he can buy a pair of shoes.Pair “The Thief and His Mother” with “Thank You, M’am” and ask students to discuss how the mother and Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones respond to stealing in the two texts. How do students imagine Roger’s future, and do they think it will be similar to what happens to the thief in “The Thief and His Mother”? Why or why not?
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
- Beatrix Potter
In “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” a very naughty Peter Rabbit doesn’t listen to his mother when she warns her children not to go in Mr. McGregor’s garden.Pair “The Thief and His Mother” with “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” and ask students to discuss what drives a person to do bad things. How would you compare the thief’s mother to Peter Rabbit’s mother? Does parenting play an important role in learning what is right and what is wrong? Or are some people, like Peter, compelled to be naughty?
- Shirley Jackson
In Shirley Jackson’s short story “Charles,” a young boy recounts the misbehavior of a classmate named Charles to his parents.Pair “The Thief and His Mother” with “Charles” and ask students to discuss how parents influence their children. How does the thief’s mother contribute to him turning into a thief? Do students think that Laurie’s parents have any influence on his actions? How do you think the interest that Laurie’s parents show in Charles affects Laurie?