The English Teacher’s Literary Guide to The Stranger
Typical teacher scenario: English instructors find themselves tasked with teaching a work of literature they have never taught before. To prepare a unit of lessons, they start by searching for materials that will provide them a better understanding the book.
An online search will bring up an array of commercial websites such as Cliff Notes, Spark Notes, Book Rags, Grade Saver, etc. – all essentially plagiarizing each other and all offering only a superficial grasp of the work.
Another step? Searching for scholarly articles through college library sites or even driving to the college library and perusing the dusty tomes among the stacks – only to encounter dense, verbose, and professorial writing that offers few ideas and insights practical for the high school student.
Wading through videos, reading through notes from teacher editions, asking help from colleagues – it is all time-consuming and often less than rewarding. What to do?
The English Teacher’s Literary Guide to The Stranger by Albert Camus provides easy-to-read yet engaging insights perfect for the high school classroom from an instructor who has taught literature at every level for more than 30 years.
This guide provides a variety of tips and quips, anecdotes and allusions, strategies and suggestions to bring the book alive in class. Designed as a handy reference, the guide will supply the busy teacher with concise yet perceptive insights into each chapter – always striving to answer the question: What was the author’s purpose?
But That’s Not All!
Also included in this guide are discussion/journal activities, individual and group study guide questions, pop quiz, and an exam with essay prompts and the exam key. Depending on how you wish to approach the reading of the novella, the pop quiz covers the entire book while the study guide questions are found at the end of each section. At the very end is also a PowerPoint presentations on the background of Albert Camus.
The Merits of Teaching The Stranger
For the past 25 years, I have chosen Albert Camus’ The Stranger as novel to teach my students about the Absurdism, Expressionism, Traditionalism/Modernism/Post-Modernism, and the three branches of Existentialism. I have found students have two reactions to memorable anti-heroic character of Meursault – fascination and frustration. Ultimately, students appreciate The Stranger as a memorable and meaningful work with a unique beginning and end, and powerful themes still germane to their lives.
A Foundational Work for Students
Camus’ novel ever remains a foundational work to teach the literary and artistic concepts of expressionism, absurdism, and post-modernism, as well as the philosophy of Existentialism. It is a quintessential example of a groundbreaking experimental novel. It is a terrific work for instructing the Honors or AP Literature student. It is one of the most widely read and studied novellas worldwide. I find the book a pearl for teaching such literary techniques as irony, tone shift, imagery, structure, motif, symbolism, allusion, archetype, theme and many other literary techniques.
Commentary and Activities
As you work through the commentary of each chapter, you will find journal assignments, study guide questions and pop quizzes to check for comprehension or enhance understanding. At the end of this guide, you will find a final exam with essay prompt and key.
Table of Contents
Biography & Philosophy Pages 3-6
Style & Themes Pages 7-10
Humanities Activities Pages 11-16
Commentary Part I Pages 17-29
Guides, Quizzes, Activities Part I Pages 23,24,28,29
Commentary Part II Pages 30-39
Guides, Quizzes, Activities Part II Pages 35,39,40
Exam, Essay Prompts & Key Pages 41-49