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LA News Archive The Schoolhouse

Grave Stories
Posted 06/07/2016 01:00PM

by Allie Goodrich ‘13

Groton, MA – For 50 minutes during the afternoon of Thursday, June 2, the chairs in the Media Conference Center became "gravestones."

Junior Honors English students sitting on them read aloud the short monologues they had written for the characters they created in the mode of Edgar Lee Masters and Thornton Wilder.

Spoon River Anthology is more the inspiration, but to have the characters sitting there like that, that’s an Our Town kind of stage,” said Mr. David Smith as he explained the project and the authors' respective work. 

Spoon River Anthology is a collection of poems narrating the epitaphs of the residents of a small, fictional town. For the class’s project, Mr. Smith tasked his students with creating their own characters by writing short monologues, which they presented at the end of term.

“I got into the notion of these monologues teaching Spoon River Anthology,” continued Mr. Smith.

“I’ve always loved Our Town, the play, and found the scenes touching. [I] began to see it as a possible exercise in developing a character. And hopefully by developing a character they [the students] read character more astutely in their own work later on.”

“Maybe I’ll be a little more generous with words next year because it was kind of a tight squeeze,” he said as he recalled how, by the time the students had cut down their work, each monologue numbered two hundred words or less.

Each character was unique, but they all shared in the themes of death, love, pain, and life.

“I think some of the writing they come up with is amazing,” said Mr. Smith. “They created those characters and they wrote those monologues, and then I just created a narration that would lace them together.”

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