Reflection: Grappling with Complexity Emily Dickinson's Simplicity of Language: "I heard a Fly Buzz--" - Section 3: Crash Course on "I heard a Fly buzz--": Figures of Speech in Practice

 

As I noted above, students showed a tendency to fall back on the three figures of speech which they've studied for years: metaphor, simile, and personification. However, in the class discussion today, I was particularly impressed (as seen in the video), but students pushing to understand synecdoche. In class discussion, there were a lot of questions, "Is ____ a synecdoche?" as they tried to make sense of the concept, and I stressed that it had to be part of something standing in for the whole thing to be. For example, "hands" for sailors (all hands on deck) would be, but "crown" for a king would not (it's an object associated with it, and therefore metonymy), or "life is but a dream" would also not, as "dream" is not a "part" of life, in the strictest sense. 

The students puzzling through concepts, and coming to understanding, will be a major motif in English II this semester. Positive reinforcement, modeling and examples, and class conversation will hopefully help build this understanding.  

 

  Taking Risks: Students Pushing To Understand New Figures of Speech
  Grappling with Complexity: Taking Risks: Students Pushing To Understand New Figures of Speech
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Emily Dickinson's Simplicity of Language: "I heard a Fly Buzz--"

Unit 13: Literacy: Figurative Language in the Poetry of Whitman & Dickinson
Lesson 3 of 6

Objective: SWBAT interpret Emily Dickinson's use of figures of speech in context and analyze how these figures of speech contribute to the meaning and tone of the poem, "I Heard a Fly buzz--".

Big Idea: The stillness in the room was like the stillness in the air--Dickinson's simile sets the tone for the moment of death.

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