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Civil War Era Literature: Brother Against Brother (Realism/Psychological Realism/Naturalism/Impressionism)

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Literature +3 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

This collection of paintings and photos are used in conjunction with a variety of Civil War era works of literature, specifically those featuring elements of the following literary movements:

* Realism

* Psychological Realism

* Naturalism

* Impressionism

Works to be used in conjunction with artistic examples include:

1. Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, by Ambrose Bierce

2. An Upturned Face, by Stephen Crane

3. An Episode of War, by Stephen Crane

The first two works ("The Girl I Left Behind" and "Departure for the War")  will be used to launch/introduce "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." As a class, we'll complete a "See/Think/Wonder" and then read the short story. After completing the story, we'll return to both pictures and discuss how we could imagine such works of art illustrating this particular work.

We will then look through the small collection of photos from the Civil War, and discuss how such images would inspire a writer. I'll then introduce students to the Naturalism and Impressionism literary styles. We'll then read two Stephen Crane short stories, noting his "artistic" use of color, for example, and the despair evident in his naturalistic stories - - which could also be reflected in the photographs. 

#SAAMteach

The Girl I Left Behind Me

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Departure for the War [engraving]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

New York 7th Regiment Officers

Smithsonian American Art Museum