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The Simpsons in Education

Updated on October 10, 2011

Having trouble getting your students to relate to classic literature? Try the Simpsons approach!! The animated TV series "The Simpsons" has created parodies and satires of many pieces of canonized literature. So, the next time your students need a humorous connection to what they're reading, find the episode that works best...

There's a Simpsons Episode for That!!!

William Shakespeare:

Macbeth- “Four Great Women and a Manicure”, Season 20 Episode 20

Hamlet- “Do the Bard Man”, Season 13 Episode 14

Katherine Patterson:

Bridge to Terabithia- “Lisa the Drama Queen”, Season 20 Episode 9

Edgar Allan Poe:

“The Raven”- “Treehouse of Horror I”, Season 2 Episode 3

The Tell-Tale Heart – “Lisa’s Rival”, Season 6 Episode 2

William Golding:

The Lord of the Flies- “Das Bus”, Season 9 Episode 14

Charles Dickens:

A Christmas Carol- “Tis the Fifteenth Season”, Season 15 Episode 7

Walt Whitman:

“Leaves of Grass”- “The Squirt and the Whale”, Season 21 Episode 19

John Steinbeck:

The Grapes of Wrath- “The Crepes of Wrath”, Season 1 Episode 11

Mark Twain:

Tom Saywer- “Simpsons Tall Tales”, Season 12 Episode 21

Grimms Brothers:

Hanzel and Gretel- “Treehouse of Horror XI”, Season 12 Episode 1


The Iliad- “D’oh Brother Where Art Thou”, Season 13 Episode 14


Literary Elements for Analysis

  • Character
  • Protagonist/Antagonist
  • Archetype
  • Setting
  • Plot
  • Plot Line (Introduction, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, Resolution)
  • Theme
  • Moral
  • Conflict (Person vs.---self, person, society, fate, nature)

Literary Devices for Analysis:

  • Parody/Satire
  • Sarcasm
  • Pun
  • Idiom
  • Irony
  • Allusion
  • Metaphor/Simile
  • Personification/Anthropomorphism

Cross-Content Material & Discussion Topics:

  • Current Events
  • National & Regional References
  • Cultural References
  • Historical References
  • Mythological References
  • Religious References
  • Equal Rights
  • Feminism
  • Sports References
  • Musical References
  • Political References
  • Environmental Issues


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    • TattooKitty profile image

      TattooKitty 6 years ago from Hawaii

      Hi experience days- thanks for reading and leaving a comment...

      Like fine wine and caviar, satirical humor is an aquired taste.

    • experience days profile image

      Sarah Firmin 6 years ago from England, UK

      Very good :-)

      It's a shame that the Simpsons episodes based on books are the least funny ones!

    • TattooKitty profile image

      TattooKitty 6 years ago from Hawaii

      Why thank you, biancapaloma!

    • biancapaloma profile image

      biancapaloma 6 years ago

      Absolutely brilliant!

    • TattooKitty profile image

      TattooKitty 6 years ago from Hawaii

      Hey molometer! Thanks for the votes! I would LOVE some worksheet details ;)

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Tattookitty, I have used the Simpsons as well in an EBD special school to teach genetics, in science. It really is a useful method to engage the kids. I can get you the worksheet details if you want.

      Voted up UI.

    • nasakadmat profile image

      nasakadmat 6 years ago from Lakshadweep


    • TattooKitty profile image

      TattooKitty 6 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for your kind words fucsia!! The Simpsons have so much more to offer than just laughs!!

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 6 years ago

      What a nice Hub! I did not ever think about this aspect of the Simpsons!

    • TattooKitty profile image

      TattooKitty 6 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for the comments tsmog and missolive! Students just love seeing these literary works come to life via animation ;)

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

      Great hub and what a list!

      I am going to bookmark this one and share with my co-workers - nothing wrong with a little compare and contrast. LOVE it!

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 6 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Oh, my Kitty. Can I attend your classes? I need a great review of long ago learned, now uncovering, writing clues. I never thought I would say this, but I can't wait to be retired - LOL! (see my hub - nemesis if you haven't) My sister-in-law is in teaching big time, I'm forwarding this to her, although she is an administrator today. Family connections - thanks!