by Shel Silverstein
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.
- Amy Tan
In “Fish Cheeks,” which is about a Chinese American girl who feels embarrassed by her family during dinner, Tan explores how culture can be essential to a person’s identity.Pair “Fish Cheeks” with “Underface” and ask students to discuss how the two texts explore different aspects of a person’s identity. Why does Amy try to hide parts of her identity? Why do you think the speaker in “Underface” presents a certain identity to the world? Do you think the characters are disadvantaged if they choose to hide parts of who they are?
- Shel Silverstein
This short but profound poem deals with the experience of hiding one’s identity.Pair “Masks” with “Underface” and ask students to discuss how Shel Silverstein explores identity in the two poems. What are the disadvantages to hiding who you are, as explored in the two poems? How are the two poems similar in style and tone?
- Julia Alvarez
In Julia Alvarez’s short story “Names/Nombres,” the author explores the various names she has received over the years.Pair “Names/Nombres” with “Underface” and ask students to discuss whether or not a person’s identity is fixed. Can a person’s identity be fluid? Does Julia’s identity change with her name throughout the text? Why or why not? How does the identity of the speaker in “Underface” evolve throughout the poem?
Yesees and Noees
- Shel Silverstein
In Shel Silverstein’s poem “Yesees and Noees,” a speaker describes three different types of people: the “Yesees”, the “Noees”, and the “Thinkforyourselfees”.Pair “Underface” with “Yesees and Noees” and ask students to discuss how the two poems explore the idea of being true to yourself. Why might someone hide their ‘underface’? How does this compare to the reason someone might always say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, rather than thinking for themselves?
“The Worst Birthday” from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- J.K. Rowling
After a year spent at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry, Harry Potter returns to his non-magical family for the summer, where he must endure his family treating him badly because they fear his powers.Pair "The Worst Birthday" from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with "Underface" and ask students to discuss what it means to put on a false face. Why do people hide their true feelings or identities from those around them? How does Harry put on an “underface” around the Dursleys? How is it possible to feel lonely when in the company of other people?
- Deb Westgate-Silva
In Deb Westgate-Silva’s short story “Getting Even,” Rosa tries to get even with a friend who hurt her.Pair “Underface” with “Getting Even” and ask students to discuss how Rosa hides her true feelings from Stephanie. Why doesn’t Rosa let Stephanie see her “underface”? How do you think keeping her feelings to herself contributes to Rosa’s feelings of loneliness? What do you think would have happened if Rosa was honest about Stephanie about how her actions affected her?
- Adrienne Su
In Adrienne Su’s poem “Peaches,” a speaker describes being the child of Chinese immigrants in America.Pair “Underface” with “Peaches” and ask students to discuss how both poems explore the complexity of identity. How do both poems explore multiple aspects of a person’s identity? What do students think is the speaker’s “underface” and “outside face” in the poem “Peaches”?
- Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
In Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick’s short story “Gren’s Ghost,” a boy agrees to meet his classmate at a castle, unsure of what to expect.Pair “Underface” with “Gren’s Ghost” and ask students to discuss how identity is explored in the two texts. Do students think that Finn has an “outside face” in the story? What does he show to the world and what does he keep hidden? How does Gren help Finn present a different “face” to the world? Do students think this new face is more authentic?
Sweet, Difficult Sounds
- I.M. Desta
In “Sweet Difficult Sounds,” a young girl who immigrated to America from Zimbabwe struggles with confidence as she adjusts to her new school environment.Pair “Underface” with “Sweet Difficult Sounds” and have students discuss the difference between Nothukula’s school personality and her real personality. How does Nothukula’s description of herself in Zimbabwe compare to the way she acts in America? Describe Nothukula’s “outside face.” Why is she hesitant to show her true personality? How do you think Nothukula will change based on the ending of “Sweet Difficult Sounds”?