C'mon Pigs, Sins and Virtues in Western Civilization (Day 2 of 2)

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SWBAT determine the meaning of figurative language by analyzing the sins and virtues in “This Is Just To Say” by W. Carlos Williams and “C’mon Pigs of Western Civilization Eat More Grease” by Allen Ginsberg.

Big Idea

Gluttony is more than food. What does it mean to consume?

Let's Get Started: What is Gluttony? Consumption?

5 minutes

The last class focused on defining the deadly sins and virtues and looking at narration, tone, and mood in two poems.  We were about to begin our discussion of C'mon Pigs of Western Civilization Eat More Grease by Allen Ginsberg when time ran short.  The students completed a short written response to the poem but we have not discussed it as a class.

So, I begin today by asking the class to define gluttony and consumption?  Ultimately, are they the same thing?

I take volunteers to answer the questions.  

Building Knowledge: Tone, Mood, and Allusion in C'mon Pigs of Western Civilization, Eat more Grease.

30 minutes

I pull up the PowerPoint, intro to the seven deadly sins and advance to the section on notes on narration, tone and mood.  I tell the students to work in their groups to answer these questions.  They are the same questions they answered for "This is Just to Say." Students need to see how literary devices impact a variety of texts and practice identifying the tone and mood and analyzing how figurative language impacts tone and mood (CCSS RL 9-10 4).  The questions are: 

—Who is the narrator?
—  First Person
—  Third Person: omniscient   or limited
—Who is the narrator talking to?
—What is the subject?
—What is the tone? 
—What is the mood?
—What is the difference between mood and tone?

With some guidance and prompting, students share the answers with the class and we move on to allusion and I give them the following definition of allusion: 

Allusion is a reference to a person, place, thing or idea of historical, cultural, literary or political significance. It does not describe in detail the person or thing to which it refers. It is just a passing comment and the writer expects the audience to possess enough knowledge to spot the allusion and grasp its importance in a text.

The next slide about allusion has examples from the poem. For example, I share the following lines:  


For wine, beer Cocacola Fanta Champagne

Pepsi retsinaarak whiskey


I ask the students what allusions they see in section of the poem. I also show them a New York Times article on the popularity of champagne.  I originally planned to play the Jay-Z song, but the overall language was not appropriate for class.  I didn't want the discussion to be about the song, but the allusion to champagne as a contemporary connection to the poem. I hope that the comparison to Jay-Z will show how an allusion is not limited to one text but can apply to many different texts with a different meaning.

The next section of the poem is: 

"Chinese guestworkers with alien soybean

Curds green cabbage & rice!

Africans Latins with rice beans & calabash can

stay thin & crowd in apartments for working

class foodfreaks—"

Again I ask, what is the allusion?  This allusion they get right away.  Issues of immigration and living conditions of documented and undocumented immigrants is an important issue in the Tucson community.  They also pick up on the way that immigration influences food and consumerism in the US.  It spurs and interesting discussion on consumers, immigration and how the US might be different than when Ginsberg wrote this poem.  



Applying Knowledge: Revise Your Position

15 minutes

Now that the class has had an opportunity to examine the poem, I pass back their response to the prompt: —Consider “C’mon Pigs of Western Civilization Eat More Grease”, what sins or virtues manifest in this poem? Use evidence from the poem to support your position. 

They wrote a quick response at the end of the last class.  Now that we have discussed the poem, I ask them to revise their response to this prompt and include examples of allusion to support their claim.


Closing: What's Next?

5 minutes

This marks the end of the mini-unit on literary elements.  So, next class we will begin our pre-reading activities for Othello.