LESSON THREE: Symbolism in poetry and fiction
Students analyze and evaluate symbolism in poetry and short stories using a graphic organizer.
R2B Analyze and evaluate author’s use of figurative language (emphasize irony), imagery, and sound devices in poetry and prose.
Students retain copies of literature stimulus pieces for use in subsequent lessons.
§ Sources of Literature
o Overhead and transparencies
§ Handouts provided
o “Cinderella” by Anne Sexton.
o “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
o “One Perfect Rose” by Dorothy Parker. http://plagiarist.com/poetry/
o “Cinderella” Symbolism T-chart
o Formative Assessment, “One Perfect Rose”
§ Words to know
o graphic organizer
Formative assessment is independent practice to recognize symbolism in poetry and consider why the symbol is more effective than the literal meaning. Students independently complete “One Perfect Rose” by Dorothy Parker. See Possible Answers/Scoring Guide for “One Perfect Rose” by Dorothy Parker, formative assessment, which follows the student handout.
1. Display the definition of symbolism. Write the words “white” and “gold” on the board. Students brainstorm ideas, feelings, or emotions associated with each color. Discuss what those meanings imply when the color word is attached to an object (i.e., a cowboy wearing a white hat). Add the words, “birds” and “sunset.” Using the same practice, students brainstorm using those words.
2. Using the following passage, guide students through the following questions.
Cindy stared out the broken window at the dark, gloomy clouds as her finger
traced the single raindrop making its way down the glass thinking about the
argument she had with her boyfriend Mike which caused them to break-up.
What examples of symbolism can you identify in the passage above?
What are different meanings for the ideas identified?
Why did the consideration of the different meanings help you understand the writing?
What is the advantage of using symbols over just using the literal terms?
4. Identifying the comparison “toilets to riches,”explore the various meanings, emotions, and ideas connected to the comparison. With a partner, students brainstorm the symbolism of the comparison and share ideas. Ask students in the large group to identify another example of symbolism. Using the T-chart for “Cinderella” by Anne Sexton, students write suggestions and suggested symbolism. Guide students in their choices.
Identify a symbol used by the poet and explain the poet’s meaning in literal terms.
Why does the symbol have an advantage over literal terms?
5. Using “The Fall of the House of Usher” or “Mask of the Red Death” by Edgar Allen Poe, students identify and analyze three examples of symbolism found in the passage on a self-created T-chart. Students must consider emotions, feelings, and ideas that add to the literal meaning.