National Endowment for the Arts - The Big Read
The Bridge of San Luis Rey and Our Town

The Bridge of San Luis Rey and Our Town

by Thornton Wilder

It seems to me that my books are about: what is the worst thing that the world can do to you, and what are the last resources one has to oppose it.

Thornton Wilder in the role of George Antrobus in The Skin of Our Teeth (Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Schedule/Lesson Plans

This is a suggested teaching schedule for a 10 Day class study of Thornton Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey and Our Town. Lesson plans and handouts can be downloaded individually by clicking on the name of the file in the schedule below. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view these files.

Audio Guide CDs are available only for the communities participating in The Big Read. If your community is participating, contact the lead community organization to receive a free Audio Guide CD. Non-participating communities can listen to the full audio online.

Day One Focus: Biography
Day One Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Two
Focus: Culture and History
Day Two Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Three
Focus: Narrative and Point of View
Day Three Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Four
Focus: Characters
Day Four Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Five
Focus: Symbol and Allusion
Day Five Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Six
Focus: Themes of the Novel
Day Six Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Seven
Focus: Reading a Play
Day Seven Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Eight
Focus: Setting the Stage
Day Eight Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Nine
Focus: Comedy vs. Tragedy
Day Nine Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Ten
Focus: What Makes a Writer Great?
Day Ten Lesson Plan [PDF]


Handout 1: Spain in the New World [PDF]
Handout 2: The Real World of Our Town [PDF]
Handout 3: Thornton Wilder’s Other Works [PDF]

Download all ten lesson plans and handouts [.zip]

Page numbers refer to the Perennial Classics 1998 paperback edition of The Bridge of San Luis Rey.
Page numbers refer to the Perennial Classics 2003 paperback edition of Our Town.

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