by Yrsa Daley-Ward
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.
- William Shakespeare
"Sonnet 18" is one of Shakespeare’s best-known love sonnets, also known as "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"Pair “Sonnet 18” with “what love isn’t” and ask students to discuss how the two poets explore love. How does Shakespeare’s poem portray a version of love we more commonly see in media? How is this different from Ward’s portrayal of love?
Heart to Heart
- Rita Dove
In this poem, contemporary American writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Rita Dove reinvents a common symbol--the heart--and in doing so, shows us what it means to be human.Pair “Heart to Heart” with “what love isn’t” and ask students to discuss how each poem portrays love. Do these two poets have similar perspectives on love? Do they portray love in a way you agree with or relate to?
Excerpts from Three Sisters
- Anton Chekhov
In Anton Chekhov’s play “Three Sisters,” the Prózorov siblings struggle to find happiness in a rural Russian village.Pair “Excerpts from Three Sisters” with “what love isn’t” and ask students to discuss how the conception of love presented in the poem compares to the ideas about love voiced by the sisters in the play. Would any character from the play agree with the description of love in “what love isn’t”? If yes, who, and if not, why not?
Loving Decision: 40 Years of Legal Interracial Unions
The informational text “Loving Decision: 40 Years of Legal Interracial Unions” discusses the court case that invalidated laws preventing interracial marriages, as well as the status of interracial relationships today.Pair “What Love Isn’t” with “Loving Decision: 40 Years of Legal Interracial Unions” and ask students to discuss how the two texts depict love. How does Ward’s poem explore some of the Lovings’ struggles discussed in the text? What obstacles do interracial couples encounter that other couples do not? How does the poem capture, or fail to capture, this?
A Respectable Woman
- Kate Chopin
In Kate Chopin’s “A Respectable Woman,” a woman finds her morals tested when her husband’s friend comes to visit.Pair “What Love Isn’t” with “A Respectable Woman” and ask students to discuss different aspects of love. How do both texts explore some of the challenges that come with love? How does Mr. and Mrs. Baroda’s relationship compare to Ward’s depiction of love?
- Pablo Neruda
In this poem, a speaker uses figurative language to describe the exceptional qualities of their love.Pair “what love isn’t” with “Sonnet XVII” and ask students to consider how experiences of love are similar or different across cultures. Daley-Ward is a contemporary British poet of Nigerian and Jamaican descent, while Neruda was a 20th century Chilean poet. What similarities do students see in their experiences of love? What differences?
The Roof of Leaves
- Donna L. Washington
In Donna L. Washington’s short story “The Roof of Leaves,” a husband and a wife are able to save their marriage due to quick thinking after a fight.Pair “what love isn’t” with “The Roof of Leaves” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore how imperfect love can be. How do both texts illustrate how people in love can go on when they have conflicts or encounter obstacles? According to these two texts, what is “difficult” and “surprising” about love?