Suggestions for Internet / WWW based project work

The following suggestions for work are based on texts found in The American Wilderness anthology.

- A Wilderness Condition (anthology pp. 91-92) 
- The American Wilderness (anthology pp. 93) 
- The Wilderness Cult (anthology pp. 94-97) 
- The Irony of Victory (anthology pp. 98-100) 

I. The class is divided into 4 main groups to cover the 4 theoretical sections.

II. In each of the 4 main groups: Study your theoretical section in the anthology.

III. Work in smaller groups, in pairs, or individually within your group:

Work with the special WWW project(s) suggested for your section.
Choose, download, and study a text from the WWW selection. 
Consider the following points: 

1. How does the text illustrate your theoretical section?

2. What is the importance of wilderness in the text? Is the text basically about the man-wilderness relationship, or are wilderness themes used more incidentally?

Aspects to consider: 
  - place: forest, desert, plain, mountain, city 
  - animals: domestic / wild, harmless / dangerous 
  - Indians: savages, noble savages, other

3. What attitudes towards the wilderness are represented in the text? What is the predominant attitude?

Aspects to consider: hostility / attraction, separation / oneness. 

4. Discuss what wilderness criteria can be applied to the text, and place it on a wilderness-civilization scale (anthology pp. 87-90).

5. How does the text fit into the mythological compass (anthology p. 103)? 

6. Are any of the criteria in The Frontier and Dime Novels (anthology p. 81 and 101) relevant to your text? 

IV. Present your findings to the class. 

To the teacher – Index

Student Activities
Guided Fantasy into the Wilderness – Procedure
Guided Fantasy Script
Additional Wilderness WWW resources


Definitions of wilderness may be explored by all students. 

The suggestions for group work are based on texts in The American Wilderness anthology.

There are 3 types of student activity: 

1. Web projects exploit web facilities. The first web project in each section is of limited scope; the relevant links are given. Other web projects may allow the students to explore a theme on their own.

2. Texts of different types, lengths, and levels of difficulty (* = easiest) can be downloaded and read on the screen or printed. Most of the texts are in HTML format.

3. Text support is mainly private home pages about individual writers.


Get the procedure and script here and read the script aloud in class. 

Time: 30 minutes


1. If possible arrange the room so that it is free of bright lights or sunshine. 
2. Make sure you are not disturbed while reading, if necessary put a notice on the door to avoid intrusion. 
3. Introduce the vocabulary necessary to understand the script:

settler nybygger 
settlement nybyggerlandsby 
dense tæt
reliable pålidelig 
encourage give mod 
single file på én række 
cave hule 
volunteer melde sig frivilligt 
otter odder 
destination bestemmelsessted, mål 
ravine bjergkløft 
steep stejl

4. Ask the group to take comfortable relaxed positions, either lying on the floor or sitting with their heads supported. 
5. When they have all settled down, start to read the script in a slow, even voice pausing at the dots. It should take about 20 minutes. Some people find it helpful to deepen or soften their voices as they read the passage. 
6. After reading the passage give them time to open their eyes and start moving. Sometimes someone will have fallen asleep. They can either be left sleeping, or you can wake them by gently rubbing their hands and arms. Avoid waking them by sudden movements or loud noises. 
7. Start a discussion about the experience by asking:
What parts of the guided fantasy were real to you?
Were there any bits you did not like?
Did you reach out to touch the water?
What did you feel when you saw the Indians in the boats?
What did you choose to bring as a souvenir?
Did you decide to stay in the new place and build a settlement?

Do not press the questions too hard to force answers from people, as some of the experiences may have been very personal.

Guided Fantasy Script

I want you to close your eyes and relax ... Make yourself comfortable ... Feel the way your body touches the floor or chair ... Listen to the sounds around you ... Let them fade into the background ... Breathe slowly ... and concentrate on breathing out.

We are all going on a journey in our imaginations ... Try to picture the scenes and events I describe ... I will sometimes ask you questions ... Try to answer them in your own mind ... We can discuss these and the whole experience later.

Make sure you are comfortable and concentrate on breathing out slowly ...... We are now ready to begin the journey.

The journey goes several hundred years back in time ... and to a place far away ... America ... We have left Europe to seek our fortune in the new world ... We have recently arrived on a ship ... and we have been staying with a group of settlers who live in a small village on the coast ... But we cannot stay there for long, they are religious Puritans, we are not ... So we have planned an expedition to find another place where we can settle down more permanently ... If we find a good place we will stay there.

It is early morning, and we are all standing outside the little village, waiting for our guide ... You can hear the waves of the sea beating against the rocks behind you ... Before you, in the distance, you can see the rays of the morning sun shining on the wild ragged mountains ... Between you and the mountains there is a dense and dark forest ...... You see a figure approaching on the path a distance away ... it must be your guide ... When he gets closer you realize he is an Indian ... Is he dressed as you expect an Indian to be dressed? ...... He seems strong and reliable ... He says that he will take you to a good place where you can stay ... There will be risks and it may be uncomfortable at times ... but he knows the forest and you will be safe with him ... You can choose not to go with him but stay in the village ... Do you want to go? ... Does someone encourage you? ... Or do you encourage someone to go?

The guide sets off along the forest path. The path is narrow and you have to walk single file ... The forest becomes darker and denser ... The path starts to twist and turn ... and sometimes you cannot see the people in front of you ... Do you hurry to catch up? ... Or do you keep your own speed knowing they are still there? ...... You hear a lot of sounds you don't know ... birds chirp and croak, and there is a constant humming of insects ... far away you hear a roaring sound ...... At one time you see something moving in the undergrowth, and you get glimpse of a small brown animal before it quickly disappears ...... The path is almost gone now ... you have to walk carefully in order not to stumble ... and you must often bend your head to avoid branches ... Are you getting tired?

After some time the path becomes wider. It is also lighter in front of you ... and soon you get out into an open, grassy area ... Some of the others are sitting in the grass enjoying the sun ... You sit down to relax ... The grass is soft and nice, but there are a couple of sharp stones that hurt you a little ...... You look around ... there are a few large rocks but also a lot of nice lush grass and a few brightly red flowers ... You pick one and hold it to your nose, it smells strongly perfumed ...... Some distance away the forest stands like a massive wall, and over the trees there are high mountains that shine in many colors in the sun ...... You gradually become aware of the sound of murmuring water ... a river or a waterfall? ...... Then you hear the guide's voice, he says that your rest is over ... He explains that you will have to cross a river ... It will be noisy but not dangerous, and you will not get wet if you are careful ... Then he leads you away through the forest ...... As you walk, there is an increasing noise, and when, a little later, you get to the bank of a river, you realize why ... There is an enormous waterfall ... You look up and watch the water tumbling in impressive cascades down from an overhanging rock ...... Through the falling water you can see a dark cave ...... Then you see the guide disappear into the cave ... You look at the others ... Who is going to be next? ... Do you volunteer? ... When it is your turn you move closer to the falling water and manage to slip into the cave without getting wet ... The noise is quite heavy now ... You look at the falling water from the inside ... the rays of the sun make the water sparkle and burst into many different colors ... You stand watching the beauty of it for a while ...... If you hold out your hand you will reach the falling water ... Do you reach out? ... If you do, how does it feel on your hand and fingers? ...... Then you notice that one of the others is pointing at something ... What is he pointing at? ...... The others are pressing behind you, you have to move on ... The floor of the cave looks slippery with wetness ... Do you want to hold on to somebody's arm? ... Do you offer to support any of the others? ...... On the other side it is easy to get out of the cave. You sit down and wait till all the group is together again ... What are you thinking about?

Your guide tells you that it is time to move on ... He says that you will be going through a territory which belongs to his tribe, but members of another tribe sometimes cross it in boats on the river ... You should all move quietly and be on your guard ... The person next to you mumbles something to himself ... You look at him, and he looks at you ... What do you see in his eyes? ...... What do you feel yourself? ... You all start walking along the river, which winds its way in a small valley ... It is easy to walk here, the ground is quite flat and grassy ... Sometimes you can look into the clear water, right down to the stony bottom ... Can you see any fish? ...... After a while you get to a place where the river narrows ... There is a kind of dam stretching out into the water, probably built by an otter ...... The ground is rocky here and you have to climb a high rock to get on ... When you get to the top you have a magnificent view of the countryside ... You see the river, and you can even see the waterfall ... To the other side there are wild-looking mountains ...... Suddenly you notice the Indian's hand in front of you, waving you down ... You fall flat on your stomach ... and you can feel your heart pounding ...... Then you follow the Indian's pointing finger ... On the river there are two canoes ... with two Indians in each of them ...... They are some distance away but you can see that they have bows and arrows ... What else can you see? ...... Your guide whispers that you must keep completely quiet ...... You follow the canoes with your eyes as the Indians paddle down the river, approaching you ... When they get closer you can hear them talking in a strange language ...... Then they are past you and soon they disappear out of sight ... Your guide tells you that you can move on ... You will soon reach your destination ...... You now walk away from the river following a narrow ravine with steep rocks on both sides ... It is heavy going ... and you are getting tired ... but you struggle on, knowing that the day's journey will soon be over.

After a while the narrow ravine opens up ... Before you, you see an open countryside, flat with a few trees ... The place is richly green, and the setting sun casts a glowing light on everything. There is a small gurgling stream, and when you follow it with your eyes you see that it runs towards the sea, which you can get a glimpse of in the distance, dark blue and with a haze over it ...... You sit down on a fallen tree to think things over ... How do you like this place? ... If it is the right place you will stay with the others and build a settlement ... Do you want to stay? ...... You want to bring something from this place to remind you of it for ever ... You look around to find a small object you can take with you ... What do you find? ... How does it feel in your hand? ......

It is getting darker ... Evening is falling ... Your guide says that he will stay the night with you ... The next day all of you will decide whether to stay or not ... If not, he will take you back to the settlement you left.

It is now time to open your eyes ... and when you are ready, sit up slowly.

© Leif Frederiksen

Modeled on "Guided Fantasy" in Jim Bond: Games for Social and Life Skills, Hutchinson 1985









Great Outdoors








Web Projects


Web project: A visit to Plymouth
The Salem Witch Museum. Salem, Massachusetts

Plimoth-On-Web. Plymouth Plantation web page

Web project: Grant Wood's painting American Gothic (1930)
Grant Wood: American Gothic

A poem about American Gothic. By John Stone


(* = easiest)

William Bradford: from History of Plymouth Plantation. Plantation Extracts from Bradford's description of the first years of the Mayflower immigrants in Plymouth, 1620-1642 (**)

Anne Bradstreet: As Weary Pilgrim (1669). A poem (**) - se vedhæftet pdf-fil: "bradstreet.pdf" (3 Kb)

Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter (1830). A novel about a single mother's difficult life in a Puritan community (***)

Nathaniel Hawthorne: Roger Malvin's Burial (1832). A short story about a man who has to leave his companion mortally wounded in the forest (***)

Nathaniel Hawthorne: Young Goodman Brown (1835). An allegorical tale about a young Salem Puritan who attends a witches' sabbath in the woods (***)

Louisa May Alcott: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving (1881). A short story (*)

A White Heron (1886). A short story about a girl's conflict of conscience between a young ornithologist and a heron he is hunting (**) - se vedhæftet pdf-fil: "jewett.pdf" (28 Kb) 8 sider

Sarah Orne Jewett: Looking Back on Childhood (1892) (2 pages, pdf, 8 Kb). Autobiographical (*) Good for background to A White Heron - Se vedhæftet pdf-fil: "jewett2.pdf" (7 Kb) 2 sider.

Text support
Nathaniel Hawthorne



Web project: The legend of Pocahontas

Use search engines to find Pocahontas sites

Web project: Painting the American landscape

Use search engines to find sites with American landscape paintings

Web project: The West
WestWeb: Western History Resource. Start from this site and explore one aspect of the West from a wilderness point of view

Web project: Dime Novels

Use Internet search engines to find a couple of dime novels and analyse them

Web project: Native Americans
Start from NativeWeb and explore one wilderness aspect from a native American point of view.


(* =easiest)



Web project: Edward Hopper
Cape Cod Morning Use "Search the Site" to find the picture

Web project: The Unabomber and the media
Use search engines to find out how the media look upon the Unabomber. Is it a typical attitude that is expressed in the TIME article in the anthology?

Web project: Influences from Henry David Thoreau
In the anthology Marv Mikesh quotes Thoreau: "I went to the wilderness, for I wanted to live deliberately ...". Find the original quotation (look for "deliberately") in Where I Lived and What I Lived For – chapter 2 of Thoreau's Walden (1854). Study the contexts, and compare Thoreau's and Mikesh's motives for going to the wilderness

Compare Thoreau's philosopy of life in Walden with Lewis' ideas in James Dickey's novel Deliverance (in the anthology)


(* = easiest)

Frederick Jackson Turner: The Significance of the Frontier in American History (1893). Turner's classic paper on the role of frontiering in the formation of American character and institutions (***)

Henry David Thoreau:

Walden (1854). An account of an experiment on living alone in the woods (***)

Walt Whitman: I think I could turn and live with animals... (1855). A poem, no. 32, from Song of Myself (**) - Se vedhæftet pdf-fil: "whitman.pdf" (4 Kb) 1 side.

Jack London: To Build a Fire (1908). A short story about a man on a trail in a very cold Arctic winter (*)

Jack London: The Call of the Wild (1903). A novel about a dog that escapes from civilization to lead a wolf pack (*)

Edgar Rice Burroughs: Tarzan of the Apes (1912). A novel, the first in the Tarzan series (**)

Upton Sinclair: The Jungle (1906). A novel about the appalling conditions in the Chicago stockyards (**)

Gary Snyder: Riprap (1965). A poem (**)

The Unabomber's Manifesto (1995). The manifesto that the Unabomber forced the press to publish (**)

Text support
Jack London

Walt Whitman



Web Project: A visit to the Sierra
GORP. Great Outdoor Recreation Pages – Sierra National Forest

The Sierra Club

Web Project: A visit to Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon. Tourism and National Park Information

Web project: National Parks access control
What is done to restrict the number of tourists allowed in national parks? Find examples and identify some general principles. Useful links:

Deschutes National Forest

GORP. Great Outdoor Recreation Pages

Bureau of Land Management

ParkNet. The National Park Service Place on the Web

Web project: Survival in the wilderness

Outdoor Action Guide to Outdoor Safety Management

Web project: Planning a trip into the wilderness
Plan a two-week vacation in the Appalachians. You do not have any equipment, so you want to buy all the special equipment you need. Useful links:

GORP. Great Outdoor Recreation Pages


(* = easiest)
The Evolution of the Conservation Movement 1850-1920. Library of Congress resources (***)

The Wilderness ActThe complete Text of the Wilderness Act of 1964 (***)

John Muir: Our National Parks (1887). Non-fiction (***)

Text support

John Muir Exhibit

Wilderness defined

Early uses
Bible. Search the Bible for "wilderness".

The Middle English Collection at the Electronic Text Center, UVa. Choose: "Search all publicly-accessible Middle English Texts" and search for "wildernes" (note spelling!)

Dictionary definitions of wilderness
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Search screen.

OneLook Dictionaries

Hent filerne:

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