Adapted Classics: The Humor of Twain, Poe, and Hawthorne
But more important, it’s hard to imagine a more engaging topic for middle school students than humor or a better approach to introduce them to classic literature.A classroom discussion about humor would be educational fun for all, students and teachers alike, since humor has many forms that are worth learning and laughing about. It’s a difficult subject, but one worth exploring.
Every American either knows or will discover that Mark Twain was an outstanding humorist, probably the greatest humorist the world has ever known. But the other two authors, Poe and Hawthorne, were not known as humorists. Actually, Poe did write many stories that were primarily humorous, and Hawthorne a few, but they certainly did not attain their fame that way.
Yet both Poe and Hawthorne also regularly slid humor into their serious literary works. It’s interesting to consider how the humor they used differed from or resembled the humor that made Twain funny, and how the humor of Poe differed from or resembled the humor of Hawthorne. These differences and resemblances in humorous technique reward attention, consideration, and discussion, even in the middle school classroom. So have some fun in the classroom. Follettbound editions of Adapted Classics books are waiting for creative teachers like you.