Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Scott Honeycutt

Committee Members

Jonathan Briggs, Daniel Westover


When Tennessee Department of Education adopted Common Core in 2010, Tennessee implemented New Critical ideas associated with the college classroom, but did not present this connection to English teachers. Comparing high school education reforms like A Nation at Risk (1983) and TNCore to the New Critical works of Cleanth Brooks, T. S. Eliot, John Crowe Ransom, Robert Penn Warren, William Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley, reveals that New Criticism is the literary method grounding current ELA education reform. Referencing Deborah Appleman’s Critical Encounters in Secondary English (2015), Diana Ravitch’s The Death and Life of the Great American School System (2010), and questionnaires completed by Tennessee teachers, this study tracks New Criticism’s influence from the college classroom to the high school classroom. Presenting English teachers the history behind what and how they teach will equip them to explain their methodology to students.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.