Friday Favorites

As an English teacher of 31 years, I have read and taught many books, plays, stories and poetry.   Some of these I enjoy more than others.  I thought I would talk about a few of my favorite pieces of literature that I get to teach each year.

As a teacher of British Literature, I get to teach great classics all year long, but my favorites of all each year are Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, and The Importance of Being Earnest.   Hamlet is Shakespeare’s longest play of all that he wrote, and certainly the most well-known and most often quoted.   I love to teach it less as a piece of literature and more as a piece of theatre. I use three different film versions to help kids see the different ways this great play can be interpreted, and we always have a lot of fun.  It is a tragedy and very sad at the end, but we always have great discussions about Hamlet and his failure to really act except when it is too late or at the wrong time.

Pride and Prejudice, of course, is one of the best books ever, at least for women.   The guys never seem to really get into like my girls do, but we always have a good time talking about the creepy Mr. Collins, the dastardly Mr. Wickham, the snobby Lady Catherine, and of course the dreamy Mr. Darcy.    And you can’t teach Pride and Prejudice without watching the quintessential version with Colin Firth. He is Mr. Darcy.

Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is just about the funniest play I know.  The language is witty, the characters are interesting and quirky, and it has a happy ending with everyone ending up with the right person.   Who can complain about two men who lead double lives just so they can have  a little fun, but are willing to give it all up for love. It is a great play to end the year after reading a darker 1984, which we just did this week.

Great British Literature will stand the test of time, and these titles are great.




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