Analyzing and Jigsawing Figurative Language in Book 3 of Fahrenheit 451

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SWBAT explain how the author's word choices help to explore and create strong affective connotations by analyzing figurative language in book 3.

Big Idea

We turn our analysis of figurative to the most powerful section of F451, Book 3.

Book Three, Discussion Intro

15 minutes

In this lesson, the students should be able to show me and each other their ability to present their own findings on the effects of figurative language (RL.9-10.4) rather than rely on my input.  That said, this unit is not focusing on plot sequencing or some of the basic comprehension strategies, so as with book 2, I will begin by reciting a quick summary of the main action for my students so that we are all on the same page and can begin going deeper with textual evidence (RL.9-10.1) that goes beyond plot rehash and into Bradbury's use of language. 

Quick Summary Points:

1.) Montag is called on a fire call to burn his own house.  Beatty takes special pride in forcing Montag to do the actual burning.

2.) Montag becomes afraid that Beatty will trace down Faber using the green earbug/bug, and so Montag torches (murders with fire) Beatty.  Strangely, Beatty does not seem to struggle or fight back.

3.) Montag goes on the run.

4.) Montag plants books in his firemen colleagues' houses (Mr. Black) and calls in an alarm. 

5.) Montag visits Faber to get a scent disguise, and then to go on the run.

6.) Montag hides in the river, eluding the mechanical hound and the t.v. cameras which are televising the event.

7.) Montag meets Granger near the traintracks and discovers a subculture of men who are memorizing books.  He will stay with them, at least unit the war is over.


Quick questions for whole class discussion and processing:

How does these scenes continue to forward the theme of dehumanization that we have been exploring thus far (RL.9-10.2)?

Do you think Montag is re-humanizing, de-humanizing, progressing or regressing (RL.9-10.2)?

Which event do you think had the greatest impact on Montag (RL.9-10.3)?


Group Analysis and Jigsaw

30 minutes

The figurative language (RL.9-10.4) in book 3 is amazing, and I want to give my students the chance to analyze it in their base groups.  I will ask them to do the following:

Identify and analyze strong connotative words in your section (RL.9-10.4), make character inferences and predictions (RL.9-10.3), and make one link to the theme of dehumanization (RL.9-10.2).  My prompt is VERY open-ended here because the students could select nearly any description to analyze it from this standpoint.  I will remind them that they are looking for language that has particularly strong affective connotations and to expand their analysis from there.  Also, the students have been working through multiple examples of this kind of language in books 1 and 2, so hopefully now in book 3 they will have more to bring to the discussion table without my direct help or suggestion (SL.9-10.1).  

Each group will get one set of page numbers assigned to it, and I have picked these based on key moments in the text (I would cite page numbers, and I do that for the students, but you likely have a different version than I do, so I have left them off and have inserted the plot points as a reference below).

1. Mrs. Bowles' reaction Montag reading "Dover Beach" (this is technically in book 2, but I use it as a review and for a group that might be behind, thus allowing for some differentiation on the spot).

2. Beatty quoting literature at Montag, trying to win the argument with him that literature is not important (right before Beatty is killed).

3. Montag torches his own home.

4. Montag kills Beatty.

5. Montag is on the run and plants a book at Black's house. 

6. Montag at the river.

7. Montag and Granger talk; Granger and his men are by the firelight.



Groups Report Regarding Figurative Language in Book 3

25 minutes

Again, each group will get one of these assignments, and I have groups of 2-3 students, so there are repeats on each topic, which creates the opportunity for more than one group to find differing quotations in a given section, and even in some cases, to discuss the same quotation from different points of view. 

The focus here is for students to discuss the strong affective connotations associated with each of the words in a given quotation (RL.9-10.4).  In doing this, I am hoping to foster a sensitization toward language that is highly charged.  Peter Rabinowitz refers to "Rules of Notice," as these are repetitions or other words that generally stick out to an experienced reader.  I am hoping to help my students notice more words like this when they read for figurative language.  And this activity presents a turning point, as I hope to hear more from them than I plan to supply my own insights.

As each group presents to the other groups (jigsaw), I plan to have the students listen, take notes in their books, and offer reflections and questions (SL.9-10.1)