Teachers may consider the ways in which these activities may be linked to other Big Read community events. Most of these projects could be shared at a local library, a student assembly, or a bookstore.
1. Ruth and Augustus Goetz adapted Washington Square for the stage. Their play The Heiress began a successful run on Broadway in 1947 and inspired the 1949 movie starring Olivia de Havilland. Working with your school’s performing arts department, perform the play for a school assembly or at a community Big Read event.
2. Have students create a photo gallery of mid-nineteenth-century New York City. Many images can be found at the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog of the Library of Congress. Encourage students to include a caption for each photograph. Display the gallery in the classroom or school library.
3. Create a new cover for the novel that would encourage today’s audience to read Washington Square. Display your students’ artwork at a local bookstore or a Big Read sponsor.
4. Partner with a local theater to host movie
screenings of The Heiress (1949) starring Olivia de Havilland and Washington Square (1997) starring Jennifer Jason Leigh. Afterward, lead a
discussion about the films. What aspects of the
novel did each version seem to highlight? How
did the portrayal of the characters in each
film compare with the novel? Which actress
did students prefer in the lead role? Which adaptation was more faithful to the book?
5. Have students research the history of the
women’s rights movement in the United States
and create a timeline that highlights the most