Time needed: 5 (50 Minutes) Class Sessions
Objectives: Students will be able to:
– Identify a common theme in two very different texts
– Identify and apply a literary device that compliments the narratives
– Learn vocabulary that may present a challenge to understanding
– Compose a literary essay that highlights their understanding of the concept of family and how it can be viewed in literature.
Essential Question: How do strained family relationships affect one’s future?
Aim: How can we identify irony in Kurt Vonnegut’s “The Lie?”
Do Now: The students will have read the short story the night before and written a Reading Log. In addition, they are asked to think of a time when they felt like their parents had too much control on their life or they had to lie to cover up something. Looking back, would they change their approach to the situation? Several students will elicit their responses to get the discussion of the text started.
Incredulity: hard to believe
Resigned: surrendered, submitting
Grandeur: high rank
Materials: “The Lie” by Kurt Vonnegut
1. Dramatic irony: The reader knows something the character doesn’t. One example is the rejection letter from Whitehill that Eli hides from his parents.
2. Situational Irony: The reader expects one thing and the opposite happens. One example is the changing roles of Doctor Remenzel and his wife. Leaving it open to the students, what does this example imply?
3. Verbal irony: A character says one thing but a completely different meaning in implied. An example is Eli’s monosyllabic responses to his parents and chauffeur’s questions, reassuring them that everything is fine but his tone and body language express the truth. What are some other examples where a character says something but means something entirely different?
4. Sections of the story are read to identify irony and characterization in the text. Parts are assigned to students.
Once the Remenzels returned home, they decided to seek a family counselor to repair open wounds within the family. Students are given the role of family psychologist and have them as their clients.
1. Each student chooses one of the following characters: Mr. Remenzel, Mrs. Remenzel or Eli.
2. As part of their counsel they are to undergo one-on-one counseling. Students are to write a patient/character sketch of the family member.
3. Sketches should be at least one paragraph and include at least four of the following: role in story, family origin, educational background (Mrs. Remenzel’s can be guessed by her characterization in the story), hopes for the family, personality traits or ironic moments in the text.
4. Teacher(s) should walk around the room and see if anyone is in need of assistance. They should also make sure students are following the format of the sketch.
5. Students read their analyses out loud.
Homework: If not completed, character sketches should be finished. Read “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker and write a Reading Log.
Day Three and Four
Aim: What is the significance of the quilts in “Everyday Use?”
Sidle: Walking in a timid manner
Do Now: Those who have not done the Reading Log for the class are asked to do so, while the rest of the class will write in their journals about a family heirloom or object that had a lot of significance in their lives. What was the object and what did it mean to you?
Materials: “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker
Mini-Lesson: Review of symbols and symbolism. A symbol is a word that represents something beyond itself. Examples include a diamond ring for marriage, rose for concepts such as love, purity, Ketc. Students are asked to come up with examples of symbols.
Activity: Parts of the story are read aloud that highlight symbolism, characterization and irony.
The following is written on a Paper Board.
1. What do the quilts symbolize to Maggie? To Maggie, they symbolize family and comfort, as she has an everyday use for them as a reminder of her grandmother.
2. How different is the meaning they have to Dee? Dee wants to use them for decorative purposes and sees them as reminders of her superior social and economic status.
3. What do each of the characters in the family symbolize?
a.The mother- Practical. Working class and intelligent despite her schooling only reaching the second grade. “In 1927 blacks asked fewer questions than they do now.”
b .Maggie- Literally scarred- from her injuries suffered when the first house burnt down. Her scars are symbolic of the scars African-Americans faced as the result of slavery. She is never used to never winning anything.
c. Dee/Wangero- Superficial, egotistical. The educated and assertive. From what we know of the time this was written in, she was involved in the Black Pride Civil Rights movements of the 1960’s. She has gone so far as to change her name to get in touch with her African roots and disengaged herself from a past of being named after the people who oppress me.” A real life example is Malcolm X, who changed his name from Malcom Little to disengage himself from the name of his oppressors.
d. Hakim-a-barber- He is presumed to be either the husband or lover of Dee, but not much else is known about him other than he follows a strict diet that could indicate Islamic tradition and wears his hair long. He has also changed his name, so he is involved in disengaging himself from an oppressive past and represents Black Pride.
Question for discussion: What appears to be the unifying theme in the two texts? Some possible titles for the essay.
Students will make their own outline and come up with a working title for their essay.
Homework: Students will continue working on their essay.
Aim: Writing the unifying essay
Materials: “The Lie” and “Everyday Us”
– What does each text say about family?
1. In “The Lie” Eli’s character belongs to a well-to-do New England family set in the 1960’s His mother married into money and his father is old money, or has been wealthy for a few generations. They do not have an open relationship with their son Eli, and perhaps this is due to his father¡¦s busy schedule as a doctor and his mother’s head being constantly up in the clouds looking at brochures and delegating her son to a number rather than a name. In his family, he has to lie because it is unheard of that a Remenzel is denied admission to the prestigious prep school every male in the family has attended. Instead of being scolded for his small offense his father uses his money and power to make an exception for his son to be admitted, but his surprised when it is ineffective.
2. In “Everyday Use” we are presented with a family of three women, one of whom leaves home to pursue higher education. There is no father to speak of, so the mother takes on the role of both mother and father with her sturdy build and laborious tasks she undertakes everyday. It is a poor family that lost a lot during a fire, and lives without natural windows or common amenities that a family such as the Remenzels would take for granted. The family means different things depending on the character.
3. Structure of the essay
a. First paragraph>Introduction: “Strained family relationships come in all different colors and economic levels………….”
b. Second paragraph: Introduce “The Lie” and summarize it briefly
c. Third paragraph: Irony and its elements in the narrative
d. Fourth paragraph: Introduce “Everyday Use” and summarize it briefly.
e. Fifth paragraph: Symbolism of the quilt and story¡¦s characters
f. Sixth paragraph>Conclusion: What advice do you have for each family to strengthen the familial bonds?
3. Students should fill out template as the first draft in class. Teachers will walk around the room and assist them if needed. If a student feels they are finished and teacher agrees, they are to take out assigned reading and be prepared to write a second draft.
1. Students start writing their unifying essay.
2. Teacher walks around to assist students.
Homework: Work on the second draft.