Teaching The Song of the Lark
The stories and novels of Willa Cather are ideal for the classroom. Currently taught everywhere from middle school through graduate school, Cather's works can be read alone or to enhance thematic studies of all kinds. The rich sense of place she evokes in all of her books (perhaps especially in her "Nebraska novels" like The Song of the Lark and My Ántonia) often means she is studied as a "regionalist." But Cather's works in general, and The Song of the Lark in particular, can be seen through many lenses. Her classic American themes -- immigration, westward expansion, small town life, the American dream of remaking oneself -- can be viewed alongside such often-taught works as The Great Gatsby, "Our Town," and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Recent feminist and Women's/Gender Studies scholarship make Cather's work particularly interesting to study in conjunction with women writers from Jane Austen to Virginia Woolf to Zora Neale Hurston. And because The Song of the Lark in particular is a classic Bildungsroman, reading or viewing it can enhance the study of any other novel, from any time or place, that fits this universal structure. Like Holden Caufield or Stephen Dedalus, Thea Kronborg is struggling, above all, to "get out what's inside of [her]" and find out who she is.
Includes suggestions for how to divide the film into four segments for classroom viewing.
Before Viewing: Questions and Activities
This section contains questions and activities to use with students before viewing the film.
After Viewing: Questions and Activities
This section contains questions and activities to use with students after viewing the film.
Adapting the Novel
Provides discussion and activity suggestions focusing on the film adaptation process to help students become more critical viewers and thinkers.
This section offers additional activities for student research, writing, reports, and other projects.
Visit this annotated list of biographies, literary criticism, and Cather-related Web sites to find resources for both teachers and students.
Teaching The Song of the Lark | Using This Web Site | Willa and the Diva
Essays + Interviews | Novel to Film | A Cather Timeline
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