American Literary Humor: Mark Twain, George Harris, and Nathaniel Hawthorne
A three-lesson curriculum unit examines the history and conventions in the American literary humor of Mark Twain, George Washington Harris, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. In Lesson One, scholars read “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” and look at the conventions and devices Twain employs to create humor. Old Southwest humorist George Washington Harris is the focus of the second lesson. Readers discuss how the way Harris structures his story influences the perception of his characters. For the third lesson, class members analyze Hawthorne’s style of humor, then rewrite a paragraph from Hawthorne’s story in a dialect similar to Twain or Harris. Lessons can be taught individually or as a unit.