The Revenant by Sonia Gensler: Essay & Project Ideas

There are so many wonderful elements at work in The Revenant by Sonia Gensler that it’s hard to choose our favorite. But one thing we absolutely adore is the many possibilities this book offers for use in the classroom. There are SO many ways to relate The Revenant to other classroom subjects (as we explored extensively last week).

Today, we want to share some suggestions for essay & project ideas you can use that link The Revenant to your classroom work.

Essay Topics:

* Explore the way The Revenant follows certain elements of the Gothic novel. In what ways does it fit in with the classic definition of the Gothic novel? In what ways does it differ?

* Research life at Cherokee seminary schools and compare your findings to the way it is depicted in The Revenant. How much is accurately portrayed? Where does the author take artistic license?

* The Revenant takes place during the Spiritualist Movement in America and Europe. Research the movement and talk about the elements in that are portrayed in the book.

* Readers of The Revenant may be surprised at the racial/social class conflict among the Cherokee. Research this part of history and compare it to modern racial/social class conflicts.

* Compare/contrast Willie’s attitude regarding responsibility & family from the beginning of The Revenant to her attitude at the end of the book. How do the changes in her attitude reflect her inner journey? What does this tell us about her as a character?

Project Ideas:

* There are photos all over the Internet and in archives, featuring the Cherokee Seminary schools. Compile a collage of these photos to show what life was like for students and teachers at that time.

* Create a map depicting the “Trail of Tears” and show significant landmarks along the way. Relate this experience to what students would then find at the Cherokee Seminary schools.

* Two of the characters in The Revenant use a “talking board,” better known today as a Ouija board. Take a look at the historical examples at The Museum of Talking Boards and create/draw your own. Explain why you included certain elements.

* A poem by Emily Dickenson is featured in The Revenant. Write a poem from the point-of-view of one of the Cherokee characters (dead or alive).

For the comments: Any other ideas you can think of? Share them below!

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