In teaching essay writing it is a good idea to look at great modern essays; one being Rebecca Solnit’s “Woolf’s Darkness: Embracing the Inexplicable,” which first appeared in the New Yorker on April 24, 2014. It provides a great opportunity to explore the theme of perspective. I would begin and end the unit with the Theodore Roethke conversation so that the big questions concerning hope, darkness and what our perspectives see, remain at the surface. That way students can appreciate how well her essay explores these ideas, allowing them to gain new perspectives.
Level: Secondary English/Language Arts
Subject Area: American Literature