How does Magwich's Return Affect our Theme Statements?

1 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT determine a theme of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of a text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details, by reading and analyzing two consecutive chapters in Great Expectations.

Big Idea

Miss Havisham v. Magwich: what does this match-up reveal about theme?

Getting Started

10 minutes

Starting with the theme statements they wrote for homework (Link to the last class) is a great way to prepare ourselves for the reading today. To begin, students will read their theme statement to their neighbor. After I will ask if anyone wants to share theirs with the whole group, or if there are any questions, but I won't collect the work because they are going to add to this assignment for homework tonight.

Popcorn Reading

40 minutes

All of Pip's dreams are crushed in this chapter, when his convict returns and reveals himself as Pip's benefactor. It is also the last chapter in the second stage of his Great Expectations, and therefore a good time to start thinking about the overall message of this novel (RL.9-10.2). Focusing on theme now encourages more purposeful reading for the final stage.

We will read this chapter popcorn style (RL.1-10.10). The individual reading can read a single paragraph or a few, whatever he or she is comfortable with, and then they pass the reading to someone else, who repeats the process. They are comfortable enough with the language now to read in this format without taking double the amount of time necessary. We will stop intermittently to answer questions and clarify reading. For instance, it will be important to stop and consider how Pip treats the convict throughout the chapter, especially when the convict burns Pip's money in the fireplace, and why he is unhappy to hear the convict's news.

Wrapping Up

10 minutes

For homework, students will add to their theme statements, using this chapter as fodder (RL.9-10.2). At the beginning of class, their theme statements were based mostly on what they knew about Miss Havisham and her life goals, but in the chapter we looked at today, Magwich's life goals contrast her's. Both characters lead us toward theme. I will ask these questions to help guide them:

  • Does the same statement hold true? If so, use this chapter to prove the statement.
  • Does it need rewording? Alter and clarify as necessary and then use the chapter to prove the idea.
  • If time permits, I will ask students to turn back to the neighbor they talked with at the beginning of class to share ideas.

Want to see some samples? Look here.