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Pygmalion

The following collection of thematically related readings is available in Pygmalion and Related Readings in McDougal Littell's Literature Connections series.

Excerpt from Metamorphoses by Ovid
Summary: This poem is Ovid's version of the Greek myth of Pygmalion, the sculptor who falls in love with his creation.

Excerpt from My Fair Lady by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, © 1956
Summary: The musical version of the play provides a glimpse of certain events that Shaw chose not to dramatize, such as the grueling language training Eliza undergoes with Higgins.

"Her First Ball" by Katherine Mansfield
Summary: In this short story, we get a hint of the emotions and sensations Eliza might have experienced at the grand reception.

Excerpt from "The London Language" by Robert McCrum, William Cran, and Robert MacNeil
(from The Story of English © 1986)
Summary: This exceprt from a history of the English language describes how Cockney--the dialict Eliza and her father both speak--has developed over the centuries.

"Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan
(from The Threepenny Review, © 1990)
Summary: In this essay, a prominent Asian American writer discusses not only the limitations that are often associated with people who speak "broken" English, but also the intimacy that results from their special language.

"Two Words" by Isabel Allende
(from The Stories of Eva Luna, © 1989)
Summary: This short story shows another young woman who uses language to lift herself out of poverty.

"The Model" by Bernard Malamud
(from The Stories of Bernard Malamud, © 1983)
Summary: Ask yourself this question after reading this short story about a painter who hires a young woman to pose for him: Does he make the same mistake as Higgins?

"Words" by Vern Rutsala
(from Selected Poems, © 1991)
Summary: The speaker in this poem suggests that bad grammar and impoverished vocabulary might be a reflection of awareness rather than ignorance.