Interpreting Literature: Session V To Kill a Mockingbird 2015-04-30

Analysis Chapters 9-16

This week’s focus was on courage and conflict (both internal and external). We talked about how the different characters are showing courage in ways that are unique to their current situations. Atticus showed courage when he had to shoot the mad dog, and must continue to be courageous in defending Tom Robinson. Mrs. Dubose showed courage when she refused to die addicted to morphine, and Scout and Jem are learning to temper their responses when dealing with the town’s backlash against Atticus. 

For next week, please read through to chapter 24, fill in the Active Reading chart with the additional three witnesses from the trial, and answer the usual short answer questions. Essay reminder is below.

Conflict: External vs. Internal

At the heart of every novel is conflict, the struggle between two opposing forces. In an external conflict, a character struggles against some outside force, such as another person, nature, society, or fate. An internal conflict is a struggle between two opposing thoughts or desires within the mind of a character. As you read through to chapter twenty-one, try to notice how the external and internal conflicts introduced in the first section intensify.

We then did three exercises that emphasized external vs. internal conflict. In the first, each student was given a scenario and then had to identify whether the conflict was external or internal, and if external, whether it was a conflict between nature, society, or another character. The second exercise required students to then identify four conflicts from the novel that fit the four different possible types of conflicts–they did a great job with this as “conflict with nature” from the book is a little more difficult to come up with. The third exercise allowed students to have some fun completing four fictional scenarios, again, one of each type. By the end, we were pretty confident we could identity all four types of conflict!

The Civil Rights Movement

We ended class on a serious note by reading through some basic information on the Civil Rights Movement and then hearing a speech given by Fannie Lou Hamer at the 1964 DNC. This is an incredibly powerful speech and very difficult to listen to. One woman’s story of her refusal to be dissuaded from registering to vote–despite threats of harm and repeated physical abuse in jail–is truly sobering. While the characters in our novel show courage in their own ways, Fannie Lou Hamer is an example of a truly courageous human being. If you would like to listen to her speech, it is HERE.

Final Expository Essay

There is no essay due next week (hurray!), but that doesn’t mean you have nothing to do. 🙂 Please complete the research worksheet that I gave you before next week. We have two more essays to go–one on symbolism within the novel and the final essay on education. The education essay is due May 21.