Upper Schoolers Create Two Museums to Connect Two Novels

Students in the Upper School Literature of the South and Literature of the Southwest classes designed two museums this week: the Museum of Mississippi and the Museum of the Southwest. The Museum of Mississippi displayed a collection of exhibits that stimulated critical thinking about the connections between William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing. In the Museum of the Southwest, students demonstrated the connections between Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony and Natalie Diaz’s When My Brother Was an Aztec. Set up in Olson Commons and an Olson classroom during this last week of school, fellow Upper School peers and faculty were able to enjoy and ponder the creative displays.
Upper School English Teachers Julia Hansen and Courtney Check loved challenging students to think deeply about the two texts. Each display had a one-page display write-up as you see in a museum with the connection described and explained. Check out some of the titles of the students’ displays:
  • Over the Hump: The Symbolism and Interconnectivity of Camels in As I Lay Dying and Sing, Unburied, Sing
  • Weighed Down: Faulkner and Ward’s Take on The Burden of Motherhood
  • Solving a Rubick’s Cube: Analyzing Family Relationships in the Texts As I Lay Dying and Sing, Unburied, Sing
  • Roots: Where Our Generational Trauma Stems From in Faulkner and Ward
  • Time and Journey: How Working Around One’s Own Clock Drives Someone To Their Own Pursuits
  • Ship Lost at Sea: Tireless Isolation Demonstrated [in] Southern Texts
  • Exacerbating Effects: How Misled Aid Causes a Cascade of Catastrophe
  • Faltering Families: The Causes of Rifts Within Households in Faulkner and Ward

Each description was paired with an item or collection of items for the exhibit. There were dolls, stuffed animals, game boards and game pieces, clocks, mini trees, model ships, and more to illustrate the connection that each student made between the texts.

“This assignment was new this year, and it required students to compare the entirety of two full texts—no small feat!” shared Ms. Check. “I’m extremely impressed with their efforts here and I’m pleased with some of these creative titles.”
What a clever way to analyze and connect novels in English class!