We know that you teach a lot of literature in your high school courses! Of all of them, what is your favorite piece? Be sure to tell us the grade level you typically use the piece in.
My personal favourite (Yup, Canadian here!) is Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. For reasons far beyond Dickens' nearly lyrical quality throughout, the ethical and political challenges with which students are faced form a powerful argument for teaching this piece. I use Dickens in my AP Literature and Comp. class (Grade 12).
I also use the opening paragraph of Bleak House as a close reading passage (another great passage that shows Dickens' nuances that range from social and political commentary to even the humorous "Megalosaurus" that lumbers up Holborn Hill. I've included it below for those who might like to give it a try. I usually don't go beyond "[...] the death of the sun." but here's the whole paragraph:
Charles Dickens, Bleak House, 1852-1853
Chapter 1 — In Chancery
LONDON. Michaelmas Term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable [sic.]in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another’s umbrellas in a general infection of ill-temper, and losing their foot-hold at street-corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if the day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest.
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