Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir for the classroom

From: James Michael Rogers (
Date: 10 Mar 2010

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    "So is lots of good literature. Hemingway is wasted on high school students - they just don't have enough life experiences to absorb it."

    But Hemingway wrote some of his best stories before he was 25. He published his first collection at 24. It all starts to go downhill when he hits 40,


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Randy Krbechek
      Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 18:27
      Subject: RARA-AVIS: Noir for the classroom

      Derek -

      Gee, this sounds like a lot of fun.

      My thought here is to be careful. Not because I'm worried about
      impressionable minds, but because much of noir is written for adults.

      So is lots of good literature. Hemingway is wasted on high school
      students - they just don't have enough life experiences to absorb it.

      Take "A Farewell to Arms." A lovely novel. Thank god I was 25
      before I read it.

      I'm not worried about offending the kids - mine are both in high
      school, and I hipped my son to "Johnny Get Your Gun."

      Want something on the bleak side - have 'em read Dalton Trumbo.

      Me, I'd steer them toward Hammett's Continental Op stories. Too, too
      young for Chandler. Beautifully written, favorites of mine, not for kids.

      This is not kid literature. Don't waste it on them. Show 'em the
      great writers, but just wet the whistle. Give them something to grow
      into as they get older.

      Randy Krbechek
      English major in college
      Later, I found all the good stuff


      How about a diet of Shakespeare?

      King Lear
      Henry IV part 1
      Julius Caesar

      (never, never Romeo and Juliet or Tempest)

      That's 45 days of great classroom reading right there.

      And then - spend another 45 days on "Paradise Lost." Drink deeply
      from Milton's cup.

      That's a killer semester. The kids will never forget you.

    >From: d <<>>
    >To: <>
    >Sent: Mon, Mar 8, 2010 9:34 am
    >Subject: RARA-AVIS: Noir for the classroom?
    >Hello, everyone!
    >I'm a high school language arts (English) teacher, and I've just
    >been asked to
    >come up with suggestions for a new elective class called "Great Books." The
    >idea is to have a class that would offer students compelling,
    >contemporary books
    >that are high interest, yet have some "deeper" issues to discuss. Of course,
    >since I'm on the list, you can already guess that I'd love to include a
    >contemporary noir thriller.
    >I come before you to see what you might recommend that might meet
    >the criteria.
    >The class is geared for juniors and seniors, so a little "adult content" is
    >fine, but nothing too over-the-top. (For example, I've taught THE BROTHERHOOD
    >OF THE ROSE by David Morrell in a previous class and never gotten
    >any parental
    >phone calls. I could probably get away with THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS
    >TWICE, but
    >anything by Vicki Hendricks would be OUT.)
    >Again, we're trying to look for books from the past few years, but I'm pretty
    >open to suggestions.
    >Feel free to e-mail me offlist or reply here. Thanks in advance for your help!
    >Derek Anderson
    >Mahtomedi High School
    >Mahtomedi, MN

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