Analyzing Sydney Carton's Choice and Dickens' Finale in A Tale of Two Cities

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SWBAT analyze how the end of a character's story fits within the larger themes or message or a book as a whole by reading and writing about the final chapter of A Tale of Two Cities.

Big Idea

Dickens has many message in his novel. Now that we have all of the puzzle pieces in front of us, it's time to figure out what he was up to.

SSR and Mini-Quiz

20 minutes

I will start class with our typical ten minutes of reading time. I will encourage students who are caught up with their reading homework to review the chapters from this weekend to prepare for a brief quiz. I will encourage those who are not caught up to catch on up.

About ten minutes in, I will hand out index cards and ask them to tell me as much as they can about the end of Madame Defarge's story. I will call this a quiz, but I will likely count it as a formative assessment. I am going to do this mainly to provide some accountability for their reading, though we are really moving towards the writing standards soon, which is another reason to make it a less formal assessment of their reading/learning. I really just want to see what they can tell me about this complex character and how her story develops and ends in the last few chapters of the book (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3). 

The Final Reveal: Whole Class Reading and Analysis of Book Three, Chapter 15

25 minutes

For purely selfish reasons, I will read the last chapter of this book out loud with my students today. We will not pause much, but I will pause a few times at the beginning of the chapter to point out Dickens' thesis, which is mainly that all revolutions look the same and if you oppress a class or group of people, they are likely to revolt in some way (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2).


Wrap Up and Next Steps

10 minutes

As a wrap up, I will do the first of what I hope will be many grammar mini-lessons. Moving forward, we will be working on writing our Dickensian pastiche (a short piece of narrative written in Dickensian style), so I want to make sure that they are thinking with the appropriate English conventions as we work towards those final drafts.

I spent some time this weekend reviewing the sentences they wrote as exit slips last week. I chose a few that had some specific errors common to most of the sentences to talk through and revise as a class using this powerpoint. I plan to have students write me sentences every few days so that we can review their work and (hopefully) improve their writing at the sentence level to help them improve their writing overall (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.3).

For today's mini-lesson, I will specifically remind them of the importance of correlating intention/message with style. I want them to think specifically about I will ask them to review each sample sentence with this question in mind: does the intention match the style and vis a versa?

In addition, I will remind them of some of the standard English conventions (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.2) since a few of them struggled with their punctuation and capitalization. Finally, I will talk to them about phrases and clauses so that their next sentence writing endeavors will demonstrate a more sophisticated style (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1b).