Unpacking A Metaphysical Conceit, Again

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SWBAT unpack a metaphor as part of ametaphysical conceit

Big Idea

Sometimes it is worth teaching a lesson a second time

Reviewing How to Think about Complex Texts

10 minutes

First I have the students who participated in the carousel before lead the discussion about unpacking metaphors.  They use their notes to go over the four steps- identifying the main comparison, identifying the main image, analyzing language effects, and synthesizing the different components to understand the main effect- again while the other students take new notes. I have the PowerPoint slides up, but I am not talking. 


Then I have the whole class watch this video

which speaks more about writing papers than it does about unpacking metaphors, but the important ideas about complexity and insight are present. 

Metaphor Carousel

35 minutes

The students move around the room four times looking at four different excerpts of metaphysical poems written on brightly colored butcher paper. Each stop takes them to a new excerpt of a poem where they will look at a different aspect of the poem. 

They start by finding the main comparison in each of the short sections of poetry on the charts. They discuss with each other what that main comparison might be and then write it on the chart with a black marker. 

I wait until it seems like each of the groups is ready to move and then I call out, "Switch."

Next they look at the main images in the poem.  I also ask the different groups to think about where the poem is taking place and who is speaking to whom.  I realize that simply asking the students to look for the main image wasn't enough, they needed to think about the context of the poem as well. Now that they are thinking about all the images I ask them to think about which ones are literal and which metaphorical.  Is the poet really standing in garden looking at real trees? Yes, then what do the trees he sees represent. 

Is the poet really in a desert with his beloved? No, then that must be a metaphor.  What could a desert represent to the lover of a coy mistress. 

The students talk these ideas out and then write down what they thinl is the main image. 

When they rotate again they are looking at language effects: sound and rhythm devices, alliteration, assonance, consonance, rhyme patterns.  This helps them determine the connotation of the metaphor, does the way it sounds match the way it reads?  I ask them to read it out loud at least twice and with at least two different readers, then discuss what they hear and what words and sounds stood out to them. 

Finally, I have the students go through and identify the overall effect of the comparisons, images, and sounds.  They look at all the other work students have done and arrive at an overall conclusion.

They then have to explain their conclusion to the rest of the class.


Wrap-Up: Review the Lesson

10 minutes

Finally I have each group go through the section of poetry they are standing next to and explain it.  I ask the groups to divide up the speking responsibilties so that everyone has to speak.