Introduction to biography essay

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Students should work at all levels of the taxonomy. It should not be viewed as a ladder, however, nor as a framework for differentiated instruction (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006, pp. 119-120). The taxonomy is helpful for breaking down state standards into meaningful components as teachers plan their instruction. Planning for instruction will be elaborated upon in of this essay on content and curriculum mapping.

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In the decade after his university graduation, Stevenson steeped himself in life, finding an essential core of good humor in people and things. Something of the lightheartedness of this period survives in the humorous essays in (1881), published when the author was thirty-one years old. The essays in this collection had been originally published from 1876 to 1879 in the , , and magazines. The collection received little attention from the critics, but the brilliant whimsy and ironic tone in these pieces were well matched to their loose structures, modeled after Thomas Browne's and William Hazlitt's works, which Stevenson admired. He pretends to analyze marriage in "Virginibus Puerisque" and the relationship between old and young in "Crabbed Age and Youth"; he mounts a pseudophilosophical defense of sloth in "An Apology for Idlers" and humorously advocates the old method of illuminating cities in "A Plea for Gas Lamps." In "Child's Play," "El Dorado," and "Pan's Pipes," the author seems more entranced with the flight of his own rhetoric than he does with the topic at hand. There is a more serious side to the collection as well: in "Aes Triplex" and "Ordered South" Stevenson deals with his physical frailty and the trips away from Scotland's rugged winters he had taken for his health. As a boy, Stevenson had been to the Continent several times, and he grew up to love purposeless, rambling tours across Europe.

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Stevenson characteristically turned the ocean-crossing and transcontinental journey into grist for the literary mill. "The Story of a Lie" and "The Amateur Emigrant" were two products of Stevenson's trip. The former, a short story, was published in the in 1879. In the latter, a travelogue, Stevenson noted the harsher side of life, especially for the immigrant passenger aboard ship sailing for America. Its grim tone distressed his friends and family. Certain passages were considered too graphic by the publisher and by Stevenson's father: Thomas Stevenson bought all the copies of the already printed travelogue because he found it beneath his son's talent. Stevenson also produced a travelogue about the train journey, "Across the Plains," which was published as the title piece of his 1892 essay collection. The suppressed piece and "Across the Plains" were eventually published together in in 1895, the year after Stevenson's death.

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Stevenson detailed his three cruises and adventures in the letters he wrote to his friends, exulting in his newfound health, relating incidents of life on the open sea, and capturing the flavor of life lived away from Western civilization. From 1889 to 1894 his attitude toward the islanders in his letters gradually changed from paternalism to sympathy for their troubles with Western imperialism. He studied South Seas politics to espouse plans that he believed would ensure harmony between the whites and the indigenous races of the South Pacific. The naiveté of his early letters is absent from his remarkable book of essays on the various island groups and their peoples--. Written from material he had collected on the three cruises, the book reveals a much shrewder observer of human nature and politics than the man who had written . He viewed the islanders as humans who were not without a valid culture of their own. They were not all cannibals, nor were they all noble savages. As for politics, he advocated self-rule for the islands, a view that did not always make him popular with contemporary travelers and settlers in the Pacific. But he was never predictable. While he was in Hawaii, for example, Stevenson felt himself drawn to the royalists--those who wanted the United States out of Hawaii. But he resisted becoming involved in their intrigues because he did not fully trust the royalists themselves.

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In 1888 the main threads of Stevenson's art and life seemed to snap; he wrote the last of his literary essays for magazine by May, and his serious quarrel with Henley had opened his eyes to betrayal. In a letter he wrote to Baxter in May 1888, he sounded as though he was gambling for new stakes. He informed his friend that he would take a South Seas cruise, one that he expected to heal him emotionally as well as physically: "I have found a yacht, and we are going the full pitch for seven months. If I cannot get my health back ... 'tis madness; but of course, there is the hope, and I will play big."

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In the last two years of his life Stevenson's letters to his friends in Great Britain increasingly revealed his longing for Scotland and the frustration he felt at the thought of never seeing his homeland again. To S. R. Crockett he wrote, "I shall never see Auld Reekie. I shall never set my foot again upon the heather. Here I am until I die, and here will I be buried. The word is out and the doom written." It may have been this preoccupation with Scotland and its history that made so powerful a tale. With its theme of filial rebellion, its evocation of Scotland's topography, language, and legends, it is a masterly fragment and the most Scottish of all his works. , a biographical work that recounts his grandfather's engineering feats, reveals that Stevenson was trying to find a bridge back to his own family and finally coming to terms with his earlier rejection of the engineering profession. In he depicts his grandfather as a scientist-artist, linking his own growing objectivity in his style of writing to the technical yet imaginative work of his forebears. Increasingly Stevenson's art embraced more of the everyday world and drew on his experiences in the South Seas for its strength. His South Seas work, both nonfiction and fiction, gradually grew more powerful than the earlier works for which he is, ironically, more famous. When he died of a stroke on 3 December 1894 in his house at Vailima, Samoa, he was at the height of his creative powers.