7 Classic Books Brought to Life

Ever wondered what Jay Gatsby looks like when he isn’t being played by Leo? Trying to map Holden’s travels in The Catcher in the Rye? Not sure what a Nazgûl actually is? Shmoop infographics have all the answers.

7 Classic Books

Brought to Life


Lord of the Flies

What the stink is a conch?

Hint: it’s not the nickname our brother gave us in 3rd grade. We swear.

The Harry Potter Series

Is Hermione’s hair really that fabulous?

Yes. And don’t try to disagree with us.

Romeo and Juliet

Do opposites really attract?

Sometimes with deadly results.

To Kill a Mockingbird

What did Boo Radley’s porch look like?

It was actually kind of inviting, if you ask us.

The Lord of the Rings Series

What did Hobbits look like before Hollywood got its hands on ’em?

Er, don’t blame the messenger.

Animal Farm

What does it all mean?
It’s an allegory with a capital(ist) A. To each pig his own, you know?

Pride and Prejudice

Who loves (and lusts) whom?
It’s complicated. Like, really, really complicated.

Oh, and in addition to full Learning Guides on each text, our most popular infographics have corresponding Online Courses, which you can access via a Shmoop subscription.

Feast your eyes,


Quote of the Week

“Who are you wearing?

~ Joan Rivers

We think we heard Daisy ask Gatsby that, too.

5 Things to Know About Purim

Hey, Shmoopers,

Everyone’s pretty solid on what Easter is all about: Jesus and bunnies. But fewer people know the deal with Purim. (Spoiler alert: it’s not just “Jewish Halloween.”) So, as per uzh, we’re here to fill you in. Here’s the rundown.

1. The story comes from the Book of Esther.

2. Esther is a queen. She’s Jewish.

After Queen Vashti snubs the king, Esther is chosen by King Ahasuerus to be his new queen. How does he pick his bride? With a BCE-era beauty pageant of course. Apparently “announcing your background” isn’t part of the talent portion of the competition because Esther stays mum on being Jewish.

3. Mordecai is Esther’s cousin. He’s pious.

Mordecai basically raised Esther, and now he’s kind of like the little angel on her shoulder. Even though Esther is the only book in the Bible that doesn’t use the word “God,” it’s pretty clear that Mordecai is one pious dude: he refuses to bow down to the evil counselor, Haman. Which brings us to…

4. Haman is the bad guy. He loses.

The anti-Semitic Haman is plotting to destroy the Jews. Esther puts the kibosh on that—finally revealing that she’s Jewish—and everyone rejoices. (Okay, we left out a few plot points, but that’s the gist.) We all know that the best way to celebrate the death of your mortal enemy is with cookies and loud screaming…hence, hamentaschen and the tradition of shouting every time Haman’s name is said.

5. Purim is dress-up day. 

The Book of Esther officially makes Purim a holiday. But, uh, it’s pretty vague beyond that, so people went their own way with it. One tradition? Because Esther hides her true identity for much of the story, many modern Jews celebrate Purim by dressing up in costume. While Queen Esther is a classic fave, really anything goes. Arya Stark, anyone?

Cookies, costumes, and good guys prevailing. What more could you want?

Happy Purim,


Quote of the Week

For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty.

~ The Book of Esther

Party like it’s roughly 500 BCE.

6 Easy Ways to Teach Math to Reluctant Mathletes

“When am I ever gonna use this?”

Math teachers around the world are all too familiar with that question. And it’s especially tough when you’re trying to drill math concepts into the brains of kids who are sure they’re going to be pet sitters or deejays or screenwriters or other professions that don’t require mad math skills.

Don’t sweat it. We’re here with a few tips to help you bring those kids to Mathland.

6 Easy Ways to Teach Math to Reluctant Mathletes 

1. Relate the concepts to books they love.

This one’s easy—and kind of hilarious. Never again will students wonder what mathematical negations have to do with Edward and Bella.

2. Ease them in with word problems.

Word problems are sneaky suckers. They trick students into thinking it’s more about reading than math, and then—ka-blam!—students are doing complex math concepts before they realize it.

3. Use videos to explain concepts.

We’ve got hundreds of videos to get you started. And if your students are into it, you can even have them make their own Shmoop-style video. Which leads us to…

4. Get hands-on with the material.

What better way to explain scale factor than by having students actually go out and make, say, a giant tube of toothpaste?

5. Make it interdisciplinary.

Team up with your school’s history teacher to have students calculate the probability that the next president will be over 6 feet tall or that voter registration will increase in any given year.

6. Use Shmoop’s Math Common Core Teaching Guides.

Shmoop’s Common Core-based Math Teaching Guides will arm you with assignments and handouts that’ll make teaching math positively alge-breezy. Inside each guide, you’ll find quizzes, activity ideas, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time.

Happy teaching, and save us some pi.

10 Women Who Changed U.S. History

Hey, Shmoopers,

If you’ve been forgetting your weekly #WCW or you missed out on your Galentine’s Day brunch, then you’re in luck. March means Women’s History Month, so you have a full thirty-one days to make up for your slacktivism. 

While there are obviously more than enough ladies to fill the whole month and then the rest of the months to follow forever, we want to highlight just a few. They might not all agree when it comes to ideology—and you might not agree with them—but they do have one thing in common: they’re women warriors.

 10 Women Who Changed U.S. History

1. Angelina Grimké Weld

An abolitionist, Grimké Weld presented an anti-slavery petition to the Boston State House, making her the first American woman ever to address a legislative body. A little more impressive than being the first woman to sign a petition on change.org. Get off the couch, peeps.

2. Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Not only is she the namesake for Lindsay Lohan’s character in Mean Girls (uh…right?), but Elizabeth Cady Stanton also founded the National Woman Suffrage Association. We can’t decide if she’d love Mean Girls or hate it.

 3. Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman not only brought hundreds of runaways all aboard the Underground Railroad, but she also acted as a covert spy for Union forces in South Carolina, making her the most amazing female spy ever. Beating even you, Melissa McCarthy. (We know you read our blog.) When was the last time you helped abolish slavery?

4. Eleanor Roosevelt

Traveling across the country, penning a newspaper column, and speaking on the radio, Eleanor Roosevelt wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and put her money where her mouth was. So it’s fitting that she’s being considered as one of the candidates to grace some U.S. currency, getting a woman on a greenback for the first time in over a hundred years. 

 5. Betty Friedan

After demystifying (demystiquefying?) the creature known as woman with The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan convinced President Johnson to fight against gender discrimination in the workplace, doing her best to slam his head right through the glass ceiling. Metaphorically, of course.

 6, 7, 8, and 9. The Supremes 

Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan are the only women to have ever served on the Supreme Court. Out of 112, that’s not a great showing, but these four women have certainly made their mark. And while they might not “Stop! In the Name of Love,” these Supremes do stop in the name of injustice. Plus, no one will ask them who they are wearing, that’s for sure.

 10. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Talk about a list of firsts. A former teacher, Ros-Lehtinen was the first Latina in Congress. She was also the first Hispanic woman to be elected to the House of Representatives and Senate in Florida. And to round it out, she was the first person to deliver the State of the Union response in Spanish. ¿Qué genial, no?

So, uh, what have you done today? 



Quote of the Week

“I am not afraid; I was born to do this.”

~ Joan of Arc

Speaking of women warriors…

7 Fictional Places We Hope Never Host the Olympics

Hey, Shmoopers,

The Olympics are officially in full swing, which means we’ll be glued to our televisions—or our Kindles?—for the next two weeks. What can we say? We love us some Bob Costas. Sure, Rio hasn’t been the most, uh, idyllic setting so far. But since we like to keep the glass half full, we’ve come up with a list of fictional places that would have been even worse than Rio for this year’s games.

7 Fictional Places We Hope
Never Host the Olympics


1. The Temple of Doom

Unless fedoras were part of the new U.S. Olympic team outfit—and they came with the physique and dashing smile of a young Harrison Ford—we’re pretty sure no one would make it out alive. Plus, people kinda need their hearts to play sports. Or so we hear.

2. Jurassic Park

Considering the T. rex could run 45 MPH and the fastest human alive reaches about 30 MPH (which, still, wow), it probably wouldn’t turn out too well for the competitors. Although at least we’d get to hear the John Williams score during every single medal ceremony. Never gets old.

3. Basically Anywhere Odysseus Went

Sure, he was in the Olympus neighborhood, but there were a few too many mishaps along the way for our liking. Imagine how many athletes would get distracted by those Sirens. Or what Circe might turn the U.S. gymnastics team into. And we definitely wouldn’t want to run into a Cyclops on our way to the Olympic Village—let alone a whole gaggle of ’em. All in all, not a pretty image.

4. Mordor

Yes, it would be every Shmooper’s dream come true. But we hear most of the world is terrified of Orcs. Plus, we all know the Olympics have five rings. How would they choose the One Ring to rule them all?

5. Someone Else’s Dreams

Inception is cool in theory, but we saw the shenanigans that went down in Cobb’s brain. Nothing we’d like to try to swim a lap to.

6. Dante’s Inferno


7. Brave New World‘s London

Doping is already enough of a problem. Add soma to the mix and basically every competitor would be disqualified. Or not, depending on how the ruling went.

What other fictional places make Rio look like a dream come true? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #ShmoopOlympics.



Quote of the Week

“You’ve got to put your body on the line. Remember our motto: If you want to be the best, you’ve got to take out the best.”

~ Grace, Gold, and Glory

Sing it, Gabby.


12 Dad Quotes to Spruce Up Your Father’s Day Cards

Happy Father’s Week, Shmoopers!

Yeah, we said week—we’re big dad fans around here. To celebrate, we’re sharing our favorite quotes by, for, and about fathers. Watch out, Hallmark—you’ve got some stiff competition.

Here they are, organized by…dad. Click on any dad’s name for the full context surrounding the quote (along with some other goodies). After all, if you’re gonna plaster one of these on your Father’s Day card, you’d better be able to back it up with some knowledge.

Atticus Finch

“You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ’em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change.”

Why is Atticus everyone’s favorite literary dad? Because he says stuff like this all the time. Sorry, Mr. Bennet, you don’t hold a candle to the Finch patriarch.

Fred Flintstone

“Yabba dabba doo!”

Hopefully your dad’s wardrobe isn’t too much like Fred’s, but there’s nothing wrong with being a goofball.

Dirty Harry

“You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do you, punk?”

Have you ever met a dad who didn’t love Dirty Harry? Well, have you, punk?

Don Vito Corleone

“Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this justice as a gift on my daughter’s wedding day.”

Most dads would get their daughter a KitchenAid or living room furniture as a wedding gift. But Don Corleone isn’t most dads.

Uncle Joey and Uncle Jesse

“Cut it out!” and “Have mercy!”

No reason to leave uncles in the dust. Joey and Jesse practically raised the Tanner girls…and, as with any good late-80s sitcom, shenanigans ensued. (Speaking of uncles with great one-liners, shout-out to Uncle Ben.)

Frank Barone

“Holy crap!”

Maybe leave this one off the Father’s Day cards.

George Bailey

“A toast to my big brother George: the richest man in town.”

George Bailey is the richest man in town because he’s got a family that he loves. Thanks, sappy mid-century movie.

Albus Dumbledore

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Okay, so Dumbledore isn’t anyone’s dad, but he knew how to throw down fatherly advice with the best of ’em.

Homer Simpson


Homer Simpson might be the most famous dad of all time, and he’s got the perfect bumbling catchphrase to go along with the title.

Nick Carraway’s Dad

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.'”

Good advice, Daddy Carraway. Too bad your son is having none of it.

Archie Bunker

“Get out of my chair, Meathead.”

Oh, Archie. You always (read: never) had a way with words.
What’s your favorite dad quote? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #ShmoopDads.

Quote of the Week

“Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.”

~ The Princess Bride

Moral of the story: don’t mess with anyone’s dad.

School’s (Almost) Out! 5 Sunburn-Free Summer Activities

Hey, Shmoopers!

What time is it? Summertime! Now is a perfectly acceptable moment to bust out yourHigh School Musical moves as you dance out of the classroom and into the sun. Or into the overcast humidity, depending on where you live.

What’s on your summer bucket list this year? Road trips, pool parties, and movie marathons? Retail jobs, family reunions, and babysitting? Whatever you have planned, spice it up with some Shmoop summer goodies.

Browse Classics with a Twist

Thought you knew the classics? You may be surprised to learn about The Lord of the Fries, a harrowing tale of pre-teen boys stranded in a fast food restaurant. Or Shakespeare’s Comedy of Terrors, a lighthearted comedy supported by a cast of of havoc-wreaking zombies.

Launch into Drivers Ed

Your mom called. She’s getting tired of being your chauffeur. Check out our Drivers Ed pages to see the driving rules in your state, check out driving tips and tricks, and learn how to avoid tickets, accidents, and sketchy hitchhikers.

Spruce up on Seuss

Communism, anarchy, and single parenthood. Sound like the themes from a Russian tragedy? Try The Cat In The Hat. If the last time you read Dr. Seuss was during pre-school, it’s time for a refresher. While you’re at it, grab a friend and compete for the high score in the new hit game, Fox in Socks.

Become a Mythology Star

Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Celtic…whatever type of mythology you want to dive into, we’re here to help. Next time your friends start discussing Thor and Loki from the Avengers, you can casually slip in a reference to Aegir. (Just don’t be too condescending. You don’t want to become a pain in the Asgard.)

Brainstorm Careers

Yeah, we know. Career planning isn’t the sexiest—or summeriest—item on this list. But, like Clark Kent ditching the nerd glasses and turning into Superman, there’s a certain thrill to figuring out what you love—and learning how to turn it into a lifestyle.

There’s lots more where that came from, and we’re excited to keep hanging out this summer. Let us know what you’re up to on Facebook or Twitter.

Quote of the Week

The summer months passed while I was thus engaged, heart and soul, in one pursuit. It was a most beautiful season…


What’s your one summer pursuit? Hopefully it doesn’t involve mad science.