Describing Miss Havisham Makes Me Gag: Analyzing Dickens' Diction in Chapter 8 (Day 2 of 2)

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Objective

SWABT analyze the words and phrases that are used to describe the characters of Miss Havisham and Estella by completing a close reading and discussion of chapter 8.

Big Idea

The diction and details used to describe Miss Havisham prove that language is powerful.

Getting Started

10 minutes

We will start class today by sharing our homework. For homework, students answered two questions on a quote from chapter eight: they were asked to explain how Pip is feeling and to make a real life connection to what he is experiencing. Students will share their real life connection with their immediate neighbor (SL.9-10.1).

Sharing their homework with their neighbor is a good way to engage everyone right away. This process reminds them what we read yesterday and gets them ready to finish the reading today.

Analyzing Diction to Determine Mood in Chapter 8

30 minutes

We have about four pages left in the reading. While we finish, we will continue working on the worksheet we started yesterday. The last part of the reading includes key information about Satis House and Estella. Without careful reading, one could miss the strange moment when Pip sees what looks like a body in yellowish-white hanging from the brewery one moment, yet sees nothing when he looks again. At the same time, Pip feels like he sees Estella everywhere, yet, at the same time, she doesn't seem to be there. His paranoia adds to the tension of the scene and creates suspense and wonder in the reader. We will focus on the language that creates this mood (RL.9-10.4). I will also pinpoint key words that will help them characterize Estella. For instance, at one point she responds to Pip with a "contemptuous toss." Students may know the word "contempt," but some reason, they rarely know the word "contemptuous." Just focusing on that one word, opens up a full discussion on Estella's nature and helps students draw conclusions about her motives.

I am hoping that our discussions on language go as well today as they did yesterday. The students really seemed to be visualizing the scenes and reacting to the characters, I think, because they appreciated the descriptions. They don't need to understand every word of this text, but by directing them toward key phrases, they can decipher deeper meanings and draw conclusions about the characters and themes (RL.9-10.4). The worksheets show better analysis: watch the video to see.

Using Journals to Personalize the Reading

15 minutes

Once we finish the reading, I will ask students to put themselves in Pip's position. He has just met the strangest woman in the world, and he has to go home to Mrs. Joe, who is destined to ask a hundred questions about Miss Havisham, the house, and how he spent the afternoon. Students will write about what they expect the conversation to sound like, and what they expect Pip to say about everything he experienced (W.9-10.1). We will quickly go over their predictions as a group.

I expect that many of the students will figure out that Pip will lie to Mrs. Joe in order to avoid punishment. I want them to have that in mind when they read the next chapter, which they are doing independently for homework; the journal will help them understand the reading. If they expect Pip to lie, then when he tells his outrageous tales, they will understand. Otherwise, they are likely to become incredibly confused when they read about big dogs eating from gold plates.

Wrapping Up

5 minutes

In the last few minutes of class, we will talk about the homework; they are going to read chapter nine and complete two questions.

We are starting to transition from reading almost wholly in class to mostly at home. Short stints of reading with specific tasks in mind are doable and will prepare them for more extended assignments.