Using two novels and one film—
They Cage the Animals at Night by Jennings Michael Burch;
Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska; and
October Sky, directed by Joe Johnston and based upon Homer Hickam’s novel
Rocket Boys—Nicosia demonstrates how these witnessing texts, born of the traumatic struggles of youths as they yearn for authentic voices and their piece of the elusive American Dream, are politically transformative memorates that can be included within public school curricula to enhance contemporary American classroom experiences. The author presents pedagogical strategies for teaching testimonial witness literature to pre-service English teachers at a large and diverse public university. Nicosia challenges pre-service teachers to scrutinize the forces that both thwart and enable the witness away from potential victimization and toward the victory inherent to becoming a victorious, writing witness.