Responding to the Short Story "Sucker" by Analyzing the Author's Viewpoint

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SWBAT examine and convey a complex idea through analysis of the short story "Sucker" by writing a short explanatory essay.

Big Idea

Once students have a clearer understanding of the complex characters in the short story "Sucker," it's time to put their ideas on paper.


10 minutes

This lesson will focus on the author, Carson McCuller's, viewpoint when writing the shot story "Sucker."  Students have already read the the story and answered basic understanding and analysis questions.  I want them to answer what the author's viewpoint was when writing this story.

One of the major themes of this story is how friendship can be difficult especially during adolescence. To help students connect to this story by bringing relevance to their own lives, I first ask them to write two or three sentences answering the question: "What is your belief about what makes a good friend?"  Each students shares their response with a learning partner.  I then ask for a volunteer to read their response out loud.


Building Knowledge

20 minutes

In the Student Learning Activity part of this lesson I ask the students to write about the authors viewpoint based on the analysis questions they answered during the prior day's lesson "Analyzing the Story "Sucker."   To prepare them for this task I first review author's viewpoint.

I define "author's viewpoint" by writing on the board:  "When authors write, their stories often reflect their own feelings or beliefs.  This is called the Authors Viewpoint."  I then say, "The author reveals or shows his viewpoint through his choice of words."  I remind them that they expressed their viewpoints when asked during the activator, "What makes a good friendship?"  I ask for clues or words that they used that could tell someone what their viewpoint was on friendship RL.9-10.4.  

I am accessing the CC standard RL.9-10.4 for determining how specific word choice creates meaning in a text. Even though the author’s viewpoint is not a specific 9th grade CCSS skill, I'm focusing on it because I want my students to go deeper into why the author decides to write about teenage relationships and his message about being "popular." Analyzing specific word choice and character development will assist them with understanding the author's view.  

Next I state that understanding the author's viewpoint will  help understand what they are reading. I remind them that while they read the short story "Sucker" I asked them to think about why the author might have wrote this piece of fiction?  I ask them to think about this question again by asking themselves, "Was the author trying to teach you something about friendship? or maybe he was trying to persuade you to think a certain way?"   Students volunteer their answers. 


Student Learning Activity

35 minutes

Writing about a complex text is one of my common core focus areas for this lesson.  I want my students to do something that is difficult for them but essential for passing ELA 9.  In this part of the lesson I ask students to respond in writing to the comprehension questions about the author's viewpoint that we just discussed during the Building Knowledge part of the lesson.

I tell students that I want them to convey their ideas and information about the author's viewpoint and that I'm really interested to see what they have to say in writing.  I know many of my students are writing avoident and feel like they cannot express themselves well through witting. For this reason I let them know that grammar and spelling are important but I do not want them to focus on these conventions at this point but instead to get their ideas on paper and if necessary they can edit for spelling mistakes at a later time.  The focus of this lesson's writing is on ideas and organization.

Next I explain that they will be answering two questions. The first question I ask is, "How does the author feel about the way Peter treats "Sucker?"  The second question, "What is the author's viewpoint on friendship?"  I give all students a writing guide Author's Viewpoint with these two questions. Students work independently while I sit with a smaller group who need my support to begin the writing task.  With this group I again review viewpoint by asking what it is and then ask them to discuss the first and then second question.  I explain that once we talk about their ideas it is easier to then put them in writing. With this group I suggest sentence starters such as "I think the author felt that Peter treated Sucker..." and "The author's viewpoint on friendship is..."

I emphasize to the whole class the importance of drawing evidence from the text to support their thinking and reflection, which is one of the common core standards that I focus on during this lesson RL.9-10.1


10 minutes

For a wrap-up I asked students to define "author's viewpoint" with a partner. l pick one pair to answer the question.  If anyone disagrees with their answer or wants to add to it I will pick them as well to share their thoughts with the class SL.9-10.1.