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Examining the Marriage Between Literature and History Rationale The fundamental barrier between a work of literature and a history book is simply that of fact and fiction Literature reserves the luxury of blurring that line for dramatic effect An historical text is obliged to follow a strict guideline known as the facts But how do teachers successfully convey what history is attempting illuminate about the human condition Turgid facts dots on a map or statistical charts provide no emotional connection to the humanity that must exist in any responsible senior history course The responsibility of illuminating the human condition has always been up to the writer poet artist etc Can the history co-exist with fiction in a successful course My mentor has made a 35-year career as multi-disciplined English and History teacher He encouraged me to delve into why we must create a successful marriage between the two in our history classrooms of course it is a two way street history is equally important in understanding fiction I also chose this topic because I have yet to teach a full course in history only some supply teaching here and there so I felt it important to write from a place I was somewhat familiar The Process My process of investigation was two-fold I read extensive materials including print web-based and academic journals on the philosophy of combing history and fiction The most compelling reading materials I chose were the historical novel and poetry For the sake of clarity I have chosen to focus on one novel and one poem as a centerpiece for the RPP Tim OBriens The Things They Carried chronicles the American experience in Vietnam and on the home front and Wilfred Owens poem Dulce et Decorum Est remains one of the most powerful war poems ever I also have chosen to focus on OBriens novel because of its successful blurring of the line between fiction
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