September 8


Literary Unit Theme:

Stages of Life

Essential Question:

What turning points determine our individual paths to adulthood?

Unit Skills and Concepts:

Students will site lessons/concepts they learn about humankind and themselves by studying the lives of others in literature.

Students will identify thematic elements of the "stages of life" in short stories, drama, and poetry.

Students will demonstrate the ability to understand and analyze significant details of plot development.

Students will demonstrate understanding of the climax in plot structure.

Students will analyze characters in fiction and drama - their words, actions, motivations, strengths, and weaknesses.

Students will identify and explain how tone, figurative language, and sensory devices in poetry effect a thematic look at a stage in life.

Today's Skills or Concepts:

After a review of the discussion of Erik Erikson's "Developmental Stage - Old Age," the student will be able to record the stage's crisis, positive possible outcome, or negative possible outcome in Katherine Anne Porter's "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall."

Students will be able to record and discuss developmental stage(s) - crisis, positive possible outcomes, or negative possible outcomes - in Alice Walker's "Everyday Use."

Mini-Lesson Outline:

A. The teacher will guide a class discussion of "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall," based on students' responses concerning their reading logs and written answers to critical thinking questions.

B. Students will read Alice Walker's "Everyday Use," pages 449 - 456 in the text. As they read, students will complete the "Stages of Life" reading log(s) appropriate to the story.

C. In their notebooks, all students will answer the following questions:

Discussion Questions for Alice Walker‘s "Everyday Use" (1973)

  1. Identify how the narrator describes her garden and what this description would signify.
  2. What is the importance of the TV show in the story?
  3. How does it help us understand Mama and Dee?
  4. Comment on Mama’s dream. What could it tell us about the characters and the themes of the story?
  5. Identify the physical descriptions of the three women in the story.
  6. Make a list of their personality traits.
  7. Then discuss what each of these women could symbolize in the story.
  8. Comment on the three women’s responses to the fire.
  9. What is the importance of the quilt in the story?
  10. What does it represent?
  11. What does it mean to Dee, Mama and Maggie?
  12. Do these three women differ from one another in relation to their perceptions of the quilt? If yes, in what way(s).
  13. What is the importance of names in the story? For example, what does “Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo” signify in the story?
  14. Discuss the significance of the “churn” in relation to the three women in the story.
  15. What could Dee’s taking a Polaroid photograph signify?
  16. Why do you think Dee prefers to exclude herself from the photograph?
  17. Why does Maggie have a real smile at the end of the story?
  18. Comment on the mother’s choice at the end.
  19. Why is the story titled “Everyday Use”?
  20. Why does the mother compare her daughters to different animals?
  21. What does this reveal about her attitudes toward Dee and Maggie?