Donna Fletcher , None, None
9th Grade ELA : Unit #2 - Poetry Analysis : Lesson #8

Interpreting Symbolic Images Embedded in the Words of Kate Chopin, Langston Hughes and Dylan Thomas

Objective: SWBAT analyze the abstract images in a poem by using the literary and conventional symbols.
Standards: RL.6.4 RL.8.4 RL.9-10.4 L.9-10.5
Subject(s): English / Language Arts
60 minutes
1 Introduction - 0 minutes

Initially, I wanted to end my unit at Lesson #7, but I was drawn to add another lesson because I want my students to realize that imagery is the bedrock of figurative language so that they will recognize its role in defining varying literary devices, especially since they are an important part of symbols.

In today's lesson, I will be introducing my students to two types of imagery:

(1) images that reveal the writer's imagination by appealing to the reader's five senses

(2) images that express abstract ideas more vividly

We will determine the figurative meaning of words and phrases, as indicated in RL.9-10.4 and L.9-10.5, in the following texts:

1. An adaptation from  "The Story of an Hour" (Paragraph #5)

2. "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by William Wordsworth

3. An excerpt from "Harlem" by Langston Hughes

4. "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas

We have discussed specific examples of figurative language: irony, metaphor, symbol, hyperbole, and personification. Today, we will be discussing imagery embedded in similes and symbols that support a writer's abstract idea as well as images that reveal a writer's imagination by appealing to the reader's five senses.

We will be looking at the first aspect of the standard so that everyone will be able to identify the two types of images and to see the images embedded in other literary devices. Then, we will consider the second aspect of the standard: the cumulative impact of word choice on meaning and tone of the text.

2 Warmup + Share - 20 minutes

For this part of the lesson, my students and I will be looking at an excerpt from "The Story of an Hour" that has been adapted for the lesson. They will read the excerpt and determine which of their five senses they will need to interpret the images in the excerpt.

I have chosen to adapt this excerpt by changing the words that are underlined, bolded and italicized because I did not want my students to be able to identify the images without being deterred by unfamiliar vocabulary. Many of my students grapple with definitions for words that are not in modern usage because it is difficult for them to mentally superimpose the meaning of a word when they are reading a passage of any length.

Original Text:

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which someone was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves. (The reading of this text is aligned to RL.8.4)

Adapted Text:

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all shaking with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a salesman was crying his goods. The notes of a distant song which someone was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves. (The reading of this text is aligned to RL.6.4)

I will have my students respond to the Warmup. Then, I will have them share their responses. At the end, I will ask them to identify the season that the author of the passage is using for the setting. Then, I will ask them to tell me what is the conventional symbol of spring?  

This writing task is aligned to W.9-10.10 because it is a written response that is shorter in nature. 

 

 

3 Engagement - 20 minutes

For this part of the lesson, my students and I will be looking at how we identify images that express express abstract ideas more vividly.

First, I will say "in the Warmup we looked at images that reveal the writer's imagination by appealing to your five senses. Now, we will be looking at how we identify images that express ideas more vividly."

i will present them with a copy of Wordsworth's poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, and I will play a video (Identifying Symbols in Poetry) to emphasize the points I wish to express in the poem. I am using an annotated poem because I want them to notice the figurative language which they are familiar with, and to use this content area knowledge to develop their understanding of the symbols. Then, I will have my students share the examples of symbols that they noticed in the poem using the images given in the poem. 

Then, I will present the poem Harlem by Langston Hughes. I will read the poem to my students. Then, I will ask them to identify the idea expressed in poem. I will listen to your responses (normally, students talk about dreams). If they are mentioning dreams or goals, I will ask them what type of dreams or goals is expressed in the poem so that we can focus on the word "deferred."

Then, I will ask them what do they think the word deferred means? After receiving their responses, we will establish a definition for deferred dream.

After getting a definition we can work with, I will ask them to help me find the images in the poem that expresses this abstract idea of the dream deferred.

Then, I will ask them to identify the images on their handout of the poem. At the end, I will ask them to identify the symbols of the deferred dream in the poem. Then, I will ask them what type of symbol is it? Is it a literary or contextual symbol? Is it a conventional symbol? Why? Why not?

This part of the lesson is aligned to RL.8.4 (I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud) and RL.6.4 (Harlem)

4 Application - 40 minutes

For this part of the lesson, my students will practice identifying symbolic  images that support abstract ideas in "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas. Before we start looking for these abstract ideas, I will have my students identify the conventional and literary symbols of life and death in the poem.

Then, my students will use highlighters to mark their images and write a paragraph describing these images they identified.

These tasks are aligned to RL.9-10.4 and L.9-10.5 because we are looking at images in the poem that are symbolic in nature. So, we are examining the literary and figurative meanings conveyed by the words of the text.

If the understanding is not reflected in the writing, what happens next?
Student Ownership

At the end of the lesson today, I expected to receive several paragraphs about Dylan Thomas' poem, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night." Despite our rich discussion about images and symbols, I could feel the fatigue descending on my students as I gently pushed for more written evidence and they gently pushed back with nonverbal cues indicating their tiring of the classroom exercise.

Had I tried ever too valiantly to get more and more claim-evidence-explanation paragraphs describing the literary and figurative meaning of words in the text? Had I beaten the topic to the point of ad nauseum? Quite possible.

This student's paragraph shows me that I have established the framework for my students and I to delve more deeply into challenging text despite the roadblocks or hindrances that may arise.

So what would I do differently in the future? I would develop a lesson focusing on reading and analyzing "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" for the literary and figurative meaning of words as well as central ideas. These tasks are aligned to RL.11-12.1, RL.11-12.4 and L.11-12.5. Therefore, I would have simply dealt with the text in this manner. This would have given my students ample opportunities to apply their prior learning and understanding to an engaging, though-provoking and rigorous text.

5 Post-Lesson Activity + Final Assessment - 0 minutes

When I initially planned this unit, I was not anticipating that I would have this lesson. After careful review of the results of my summative assessment given at the end of Lesson #7, however, I ascertained that it was necessary to develop a new task that would address my overarching goals for this unit.

Since this is the last lesson for this unit, I want to revisit our purpose established in the first lesson of the unit. I started this unit because I wanted my students to develop a criteria for rating the texts they read and to influence their choice of texts, so that they can write arguments based on their preference for or their feelings against a piece of literature (W.9-10.1 and W.9-10.1b). 

In this unit, we focused on my students' making judgments and creating criteria for these judgments, WISE and W/STEAM. In addition, they developed belief-based analyses using the literary analysis from the poems we read as support for their judgments.


Today, my students will be forming their opinions about carpe diem, and they will be using these opinions to develop an argument introduction and a CEE Body Paragraph. They will cite textual evidence to support their position on carpe diem  (W.9-10.1a) and they will be able to provide an analysis of a claim (W.9-10.1b) using C.E.E.

I am choosing a final assessment for this unit in addition to the summative assessment because some students needed more opportunities to prove their mastery of specific concepts while others are more than ready to complete the final assessment aligned to W.9-10.1a and W.9-10.1b.

For this part of the lesson, my students and I will be looking at carpe diem as a central idea in Robert Herrick's poem  "To the Virgins to Make Much of Time" because it focuses on rosebuds, and since we looked at roses in  Lesson #7  I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to explore the rose again though from a slightly different perspective. This task is aligned to RL.9-10.1 and W.9-10.1a and W.9-10.1b 

 

For this assignment, students will need to have access to the following supplementary materials:

1. "Still a Virgin" by Keisha (teen poet) 

2. "To the Virgins to Make Much of Time" by Robert Herrick

3. C.E.E. Paragraph Rubric 

4. Introduction Template

5. CEE Body Paragraph