Interpreting Literature: Session V To Kill a Mockingbird 2015-05-14

Student Sequels

Pre-order from Amazon! We picked up where we left off last week with a discussion of the many different symbols found within To Kill a Mockingbird. Students have been working on an essay regarding the most obvious symbol of the mockingbird, but there are several others that are less obvious.

After understanding these additional symbols, students were challenged to write the opening paragraph to their own sequel to TKAM! It wasn’t necessary to know the entire plot of their sequel, and as a prompt, they were to weave in one of the symbols from the novel that we had just discussed. This opening paragraph was to be short–between three and five sentences, and could pick up at any time in the future–one day after the end of the novel or ten or twenty years after–it was up to students to decide!

After only five or six minutes, students came up with some WONDERFUL sequels! If anyone would be willing to continue his/her story over the summer, I would love to read it. In July we can read the “real” sequel together and see if there are any similarities. I would love it if someone would take me up on my challenge! 🙂

Analysis Chapters 25-31

We finished our discussion of the novel by talking about how the different characters were affected by the outcome of Tom Robinson’s trial. We reviewed the end of the novel and the events that took place which finally revealed Boo Radley to Scout! In the end, Scout can finally walk in Boo Radley’s shoes. She can understand his point of view both as a human being and physically, as she stands and views the town from his front porch. Good stuff!

Final Essay on Education (Thesis with Tension)

Essays on the mockingbird symbol are due by May 21.

I gave students a handout which they will need to answer part of the final essay prompt on the topic of Education. Much is said about formal schooling in the novel. Harper Lee gives a very critical view of methods of teaching and of some educational jargon in Chapters 2, 3 and 4, and Atticus voices his criticism of some educational philosophies in his speech to the jury in Chapter 20. Certainly Scout is depicted as learning more from Atticus and Calpurnia and from her experiences outside school than from her formal schooling. The scenes at school provide a direct counterpoint to Atticus’s effective education of his children: Scout is frequently confronted with teachers who are either frustratingly unsympathetic to children’s needs or morally hypocritical (Miss Caroline and Miss Gates). Remember: we aren’t just discussing Harper Lee’s views as expressed through the novel; you’re going to take a position and agree or disagree with her.

Please refer to the essay outline I provided you a few weeks ago to help with crafting this essay. It is due by May 31 and should include a thesis with tension and a Works Cited (MLA Format).

Final Quiz

The final quiz will be next week.The final quiz will include story content, vocabulary, information from the Key Facts handout (literary analysis), information from the Great Depression handout (especially the timeline), and a few questions derived from our in class topics, such as Jim Crow and the Scottsboro Boys Trials. 

Last class next Thursday! What a journey this has been–see you then!