Upper School Literary Museum Unveils Thought-Provoking Connections

Students in the Upper School classes Literature of the South and Literature of the Southwest recently designed two exhibits: The Museum of Mississippi, a collection of displays to stimulate critical thinking about the connections between William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing, and The Museum of the Southwest, which connected Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony and Natalie Diaz’s When My Brother Was an Aztec.

Set up in Olson Commons during the last week of school, fellow Upper School peers and faculty enjoyed and contemplated the imaginative displays.

Upper School English Teachers Ryan Bueckendorf, Courtney Check, and Dr. Julia Hansen ’01 were excited to challenge the students to reflect deeply on the comparative texts. Each student displayed a one-page write-up and a small object visually representing the student’s perspective and the connection between the texts.

Read below for a sampling of display titles:

  • Defeating the Ourobouros: Breaking the Cycle by Recognizing One’s Role in Conflict
  • Running Out of Time: Faulkner’s and Ward’s Use of Fans and Death
  • Selfish Solutions: Materialistic Coping Mechanisms in Faulkner and Ward
  • Reflections of a Grandmaster: A Pawn’s Perspective
  • Corrupted Coffin: The Cruelty of Unresolved Problems After Death
  • Negligence: A Comparison of Ailments With the Same Symptoms

Check remarked, “This is the second time we’ve done this assignment, and the student work remains visually and intellectually impressive. One of the best parts about this assignment is that students discover connections between the two texts that are original and insightful—some responses spot similarities between the texts that I’ve never considered! The whole project helps me maintain a healthy and ongoing curiosity about both texts. Another amazing aspect of the project is that though I know my own students’ work, the work from students in my colleagues’ classes is totally new to me (and to my students), so there’s excitement about seeing what everyone else has brought to the museum.”

Well done, Rams!